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What is Compelling Content to You?

Posted By Darren Rowse 26th of July 2009 Reader Questions 0 Comments

Over the next week here on ProBlogger I’ll be exploring the topic of ‘compelling content’.

I’ve identified 7 principles of compelling content that I’ll be sharing (actually it could blow out to 9 as the more I think about it the more I realize there’s to say on the topic) but before I do I wanted to open up the opportunity for people to share their thoughts – undistracted from what I’ll share.

My hope is that in answering this question we’ll begin to set the scene for the posts that will come and that the series that follows will be more useful to everyone. I’d also like to use a few quotes from what you share in some of my following posts so please make sure you include your name and URL in the appropriate areas in the comments below.

So What Makes Content Compelling to You?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this question and sharing some of mine in the coming week. Make sure you’re subscribed to ProBlogger to be notified of the posts to come in this series.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Compelling content should cause the reader to ask questions. It needs to persuade or teach the reader in some way. It’s content that’s unique and can’t be found anywhere else. It begins a dicussion amongst other bloggers who comment on your content. Compelling content shows the reader that you, as a blogger, are interested in them.

  2. Making the article straight to the point, and write it in the way average people could understand. There are too many article which is good but they write it in a professional way, which to many is hard to understand the meaning and words behind the article.

  3. Compelling – interesting or unique facts
    Compelling – tugs at the emotions – makes me cry or laugh
    Compelling – illustrated in some way
    Compelling – teach me – how to do something or about something
    Compelling – well written, easy to read and follow – succinct

  4. Compelling Content is what moves me…in essence it is my voice. It is my motivation. Even if what I write doesn’t resonate with all of the potential readers out there, people who start reading what I write like what they see, and hopefully it then moves them as well.

    It has to move someone, even if it’s just yourself.

  5. Just make article and content beside your life….to make audience and readers close to our writting

  6. Using images certainly helps, but the key is in the style of writing. Story telling with a point behind it. Especially when the reader knows that the story is leading up to a point but you aren’t quite sure what the point is… It is best if the image or the metaphor at work is intriguing, unusual, funny or whacky… Your sock drawer video was a great example…

    Note, thought – another reason why I was willing to click the play button was because I saw that it was less than three minutes long… so be economical… Say it concisely. That also adds to the punch.

  7. Humorous & Educational

    Too straight-laced and I’m uninterested in what you’re trying to teach.

    Too outrageous and I feel like whatever you say is worthless fluff.

    But if you strike the perfect balance of being an entertaining educator, I’ll become a daily visitor for sure.

  8. 1. Of course valuable, scan able content. With appealing graphics like a photo or a chart or graph etc, which support the content.

    2. Make me more lazy! — Audio or Video content will reduce my work of reading these small text. I just want to click on play button, sit back and watch or hear something closing my eyes — Also helps me to focus. Video content helps a lot for visualizing things.

    3. Humorous — To make me read till end, without boring me.

    4. Personalized — The content which talks to readers, then the content which talks upon reader.

    5. Touches the emotion of the reader — This type of content carries away the reader along with it, and the reader can’t resist reading it till the end. This type of content drives the readers focus.

    6. Quality content, pillar article, which doesn’t contain a sales pitch at the end!

    7. Content which is written by taking more time in researching, experimenting, analyzing, case studies, interviewing the experts and finally writing the content with all the valuable details, without the extra fluff! To the point article. Hitting the nail on the head.

  9. 1 – MONEY – Can you make money from it !! – practical appliance

    2 – Solve problem

    3 – SHORT

    4 – Usability

    5 – Images (step by step)

    6 – Video (short – technical)

    7 – No too much personal stuff – get to the point.

    8 – Releable data – no need for too much chech.

    9 – Availlable alternatives

    10 – Fokus or dispersion (monetizing is all about focus and drill)

    11 – How deep is content (source of another ideas)

    12 – Linking to another usefull content -resources (more insight from another practical person/book/blog/etc)

    13 – Is there oposit direction?

    14 – What we are missing (we always do)?

    15 – What we can incorporate from another perspectives ?

    Cms For Startup

    Milan Smudja

  10. Something that stirs up emotion.

  11. For me compelling content is:

    1. Original
    2. Passionate
    3. Informative or entertaining
    4. Well written and well structured

  12. Sorry, I forgot to add to my last comment that perhaps the blog post that I am most proud off and was deemed the most compelling by the community (i.e. from Retweets, comments and blog link) was when I compared MMORPG computer games to women. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and it’s original and witty which is why I think it’s compelling content.

    Likely to mean nothing to most people here :)

  13. Hey Darren, personally to me compelling content is anything that I can’t stop reading. If I actually take the time to read the full article, post, ect then it is compelling.


  14. Hi Darren,

    I think that compelling content falls into two categories it is either very informative or very exciting. If a story has both then you hit the jackpot. I am very excited to hear your 7 or 9 diffrent aspects which create compelling content.


  15. It’s my first month in the blogging world but I write with this in mind:

    it should tickle curiosity and have links, pics, or a video related to the topic.
    It’s doesn’t have to be necessarely a long article but just enough to make you want to know more about the subject.

    And like The Bad Blogger has written ealier: straight to the point and easy to understand.

    But of course, it depends on what kind of blog you’re running.

  16. Generally when a reader comes to a particular article via search, he should click the home button and read some more. If the content in the original article makes him do that, then it is compelling content.

    My blog is a highly technical blog. So, when a non-technical person accidentally lands up there and casually reads it and wants to read another article to know more about IT networking technologies, then it is really really compelling content!

  17. This is how i define compelling content :

    1. Content that provides benefit to the reader
    2. Interesting
    3. Unique
    4. Can be extended to new post (like a series of posts)
    5. Up to Date
    6. Headline Provocative (very important)
    7. Enticing subheadings
    8. Not Neutral (reflects opinion, argumentative)
    9. Good Structured Post, clear content
    10. Single topic for each post
    11. Having Lists of course !
    12. Featuring nice metaphors, similes and opening sentences
    13. Social Proven, designed to get comment feedback and retweets so that it promotes itself.
    14. Signed by a real person name, not written by anonymous authors or people of low online caliber.
    15. Not too long a lost and not too long sentences.

  18. When a post fulfills my need for whatever I am searching for at a given particular moment so that I do not have to look any further-that is compelling content.

  19. Compelling content is the one that nails me to the chair, gives me hope, makes me feel relieved and impresses me by how much the content creator cares for the people like me!

  20. William Zinsser (On Writing Well) said that “clutter is the disease of American writing.” I’d go further and say that clutter is the disease of any thoughtless writing, regardless of who is writing it.
    Compelling content starts with writing style (just like physical attraction is a prerequisite to love and romance). The text might have helpful and interesting news but if the style is off-tangent, it makes me look away.
    For how-to and educational articles, the info should provide step-by-step instructions. I find that in most how-to articles, there are so many critical steps left out. Screen shots would help and I prefer bullet points for text.
    For creative, experience-sharing pieces, the info must be personal and must persuade you to do some independent thinking.
    Thanks for asking our opinions!

  21. I am compelled by content that informs me, changes my mind, reminds me, motivates me, inspires me, and/or gives me practical action steps to apply immediately.

    Of course, the most impactful writing tends to contain some all these elements.

    For instance, I have been a writer for a long time, but am always seeking to keep learning in this arena. So, before I read your newsletter, I had just finished reading a very compelling article about how to improve your writing by being more descriptive in your title; and then being thorough by including enough detail in the article to ensure that you fulfill your readers’ expectations, that you caused with a very descriptive title.

    Some ideas in that article were sort-of “new” to me because I was trained on the importance of being concise in my writing. However, I now realize that brevity, depending on the purpose of your article and the type of audience you seek, is not always appropriate for delivering compelling content.

    Furthermore, considering the fact that most comments are usually brief, I believe that this comment is even a great example of what I’ve shared here, as well.

    I hope this is helpful and look forward to reading the other comments and the future posts in this series.


  22. Compelling to one may not be compelling to another- a bit subjective.

    Humor is always good and stay on topic. Be entertaining and resourceful at the same time! Oh, and originality is always a bonus…

  23. Simplifying a complex topic.

  24. Compelling will help the authors to make the content more rich and clear. It doesn’t mean that compelling is to express your thoughts to the readers in a meaningless way, what the real compelling to me is:what I am like to express or show my readers will be in Straightforward. thinking would be in readers position. Because whatever we told, but only if the message gets reached and a reader get satisfied ,then only we should grow in our niche.

    Even while I am commenting to this question, I am compelled to give the exact answer! that’s it……..

  25. For me, compelling content answers a question, solves a problem, or teaches me something I need to know. For example, I clicked the link in your email (What is compelling content) and read his blog because I am write for a website and email copy and want to learn how to write more compelling content. And it was worth my time. Thanks.

  26. The impact of compelling content to me changes. It depends on what I’m looking for at that time.

    Content can be well written, but if I’m not looking for that information, it’s not as compelling to me no matter how well written it is.

    With that said, elements of compelling content for me would include things like:

    – valuable information I don’t see everywhere else
    – something that sparks an emotional response from me
    – makes me think in ways I hadn’t considered before
    – allows me to visualize what the person is saying (playing a movie in my head)
    – Something that includes examples so I can relate
    – humor helps but depends on the article
    – the author’s true personality showing through

  27. for me a compelling a content is not a content that helps you solve your problem or bring you more info (thats the reason of a content anyway), but also a content that will make you understand and absorb the information fast and in simple manner.

    what i mean is content that is informational,reliable easy to understand or follow and entertaining as well. (gettin a few laugh here and there helps the reading and build the excitement)

    Also,if possible,a visual aid (like a picture or diagram) makes the content interesting as well..

    that,in my opinion a compelling and a perfect content. put that kind of content and I wont hesitate to subscribe the posts

    perfect example? you’re reading that blog now.

  28. For me, compelling content:

    1. catches my attention.

    2. must be intriguing and must challenge me to use my intellect.

    3. gets my creativity started!

    4. may perhaps compel me to be thoughtful or meditative.

    5. usually teaches me something and forces me to think in new ways.

    6. causes me to want to learn more about a particular subject, perhaps do research, and then take action if there is any to be taken.

    7. can be almost any kind of content — whether asking me to have fun, figure out a serious problem, be the recipient of a news story, or work on self growth. The point is, the content must encourage me to grow, and hopefully take some kind of action — even if the action is to have some kind of fun! And yes, I have fun in a competive way, LOL, challenging myself.

    8. asks me/ compels me to solve a problem of some kind, or to take some kind of an action.

    The bottom line is, good content often causes me to look at something from a different paradigm, by providing me with new information, enabling me to expand on what I was previously doing. Good content inspires me to take action…

    krissy knox :)
    follow me on twitter:

  29. I’m actually writing this to myself – as I am launching my own blog website soon. I have researched plenty of content over the last few years and tested the real life applications on myself and others. I do not want it to be just content driven – I want the concept/product to be attuned to people as soon as they drop in to my location. How I present my stuff needs to make people FEEL YES, that is something I can strongly relate to, and this fellow must know what he is talking about – because he has made it extremely simple and effective.

  30. To me, compelling content would be something that can learn or leave with after visiting a blog. I like to feel that I’ve gained some knowledge that will help me in my blogging efforts, in my business, or maybe just something that inspires me creatively. Also, photos are always a plus. Blogs that have no photos, or not very good photos don’t excite me. I need eye candy!

  31. Good Morning Darren,

    Let me start with a quote.

    He worked by day
    And toiled by night.
    He gave up play
    And some delight.
    Dry books he read,
    And forged ahead,
    Success to earn.
    He plodded on with
    Faith and pluck;
    And when he won,
    Men called it luck.

    – Anonymous

    When we say “Compelling” we mean or “Tending to persuade by forcefulness of argument”. Compelling contents differs from websites to websites. For our website , those contents that motivates the reader and shows them the correct path to blog and generate money out of it will be mainly regarded as ‘compelling content.’

    But universally, “compelling contents are those contents that serves the purpose of its origin”

    Rajput Singh

  32. I define “compelling” as something that sucks me in and doesn’t spit me back out til the last word. So that might be:

    1. Something that is controversial and that I don’t necessarily agree with, but that is so well said and argued that I find myself thinking deeply about the topic anyway.

    2. Something that takes a new, fresh look at an issue.

    3. Effective story telling, usually from an unusual perspective.

  33. Great question – I had to give it some good thought, which was a great exercise for a Sunday!

    I always appreciate “how to” posts as well as interviews of people who are launching fascinating new projects. However, I find the most compelling content to be information that makes me think and learn – new ideas that serve as a type of personal classroom. Since I work a day job, but love my blog and many others, I feel I’m getting an education through innovative ideas without having to go to school.

    Thanks again for this – hope your Sunday was great!

    – Laura

  34. To me, compelling content is content aimed directly at the audience; it’s not content designed solely to make me a few bucks. My audience wouldn’t bother to read my blog if I didn’t supply the information they need to know. My blog is aimed at adults who have gone back to college. I’ve been there, done that, so I try to think of all the questions I had when I was struggling to juggle classes with work and raising a family when writing content. The needs of this particular segment are a lot different than the needs of traditional college students who have parents footing their bills. There’s not a lot of sites out there to support adult students, so when I write my content, I try to keep that in mind.

  35. To me, compelling content fills a specific need. Something someone can read that solves their immediate problem. A useful post is focused and doesn’t drift too much from the reason for the article.

    The other thing I think is super important (maybe more so?) for creating compelling content:

    There should also be an overall topic that it’s addressing via the tags and categories. Your single piece of content should be just one jigsaw piece in the puzzle of the topic you’re covering.

  36. Darren, adjusting your subject line in your e-mail feed was an excellent idea!! Fits right in with creating compelling content. Instead of the older “Problogger – Latest Posts,” we get a tasty preview of what we’ll find in the post.

    I appreciate your making it easier for the search function to retrieve a post I may want to re-read.

  37. This!

    Seriously, these eighty-five honest and detailed descriptions of what each person thinks is compelling content.

    If you ask me, it doesn’t get much more compelling than this.

  38. I find it very compelling when the content is authentic and timeless. Presentation is secondary, and while a nice professional website is important, the foundation comes from authentic and timeless. That is what I aim to do in my blog and that is what I look for in other blogs.

  39. Compelling content is content that draws me in and keeps me coming back. So content that is personable, true from the blogger’s heart, sincere, genuine, unadulterated and unfiltered will really draw me in. Of course, it needs to be deliver concrete value over and beyond what the other blogs have too. Having posts which are (a) well organized (b) contain all the proper information within 1 post rather than scattered all around are important too.

  40. Compelling content is the content in need. Great content are nothing for those who don’t need it. Poor written but working tips are compelling for those who desperately need it.

    You can’t know for sure when your content will be compelling. But it is always compelling to someone out there, and not compelling to another person out there.

    Just give your best shot, and keep doing it. That’s the key to build ass-kicking content.

  41. Compelling content to me is content that is pertinent to the topic, is focused in scope, and leads me to think that the author really knows what he/she is talking about. It makes me want to come back for more and to follow them…

  42. To me the most compelling is original content. And this is the difficulty of writing a good blog, to put something out in a way nobody ever thought about it before.

  43. Great question! The answer is contained in the question! Compelling content always has the ring of Authenticity to it, the ring of Truth. Even if its just a techie doing his job and telling you how to do something better, that little incremental improvement is his authentic contribution.

    What is your unique, authentic contribution? That is what makes for compelling content. People in touch with their own individual genius spill compelling content to those receptive to their state of consciousness. Inspiration requires both a writer in touch with himself and a receptive reader.

  44. A different perspective on a popular topic is compelling. If it makes me aware of an issue or is informative that too is compelling to me

  45. My ‘compelling content’ has now come to be dictated (mostly) by my most popular posts records on WordPress Stats.
    Over the last 2 years certain subjects have risen to the top and these are the topics I concentrate upon.
    A niche has been found.
    Of course good quality is essential.

  46. At first I think “compelling content” is highly personal. Dependent on mood, balance between work and sparetime, situation at home and the way you think, feel and act in life (e.g. Maslows hierarchy of needs).

    What’s NOT compelling? RT too much newsfeeder kind of stuff.

    1. Things that make me think and reconsider my points of views in life, concerning history or the “others” in general.
    2. New killer app kind of stuff.
    3. Pointing at interesting people (not necessary twitters). To be a guide in the world with all it’s wonders and triviality.
    4. Max of 6 tweets a day!

  47. When the agreeable tells a adventure I feel accountable to apprehend it. The adventure could be about a aberration or a account the biographer has experienced. For me, it makes it added acute if I can chronicle to the adventure as well. Perhaps I accept accomplished something similar.

  48. Compelling: an honest and authentic style always grabs the readers attention. Whether an exciting adventure, a funny retelling of a story, some new angle or intro to new topic, tutorial or just plain informational, it’s most important if the author writes w/o an agenda, is open minded, honest and here’s that word again, authentic. Our B.S. meters are on red-alert these days….

  49. Something that answers the questions that I am asking, meanwhile, provoking thought and information in a broader perspective.

  50. To me, “Compelling content” doesn’t need to be new information. Rather, I’d like to gain new perspective on existing ideas and be reminded that I’ve always known those principles. When gained different or new perspective in ways that I never thought about, I’d feel I become wiser.

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