Blog Log #13: The Key To Building an Engaged Audience Plus 30 Ideas For Fresh Content

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Nubby Twiglet | The Key To Building an Engaged Audience Plus 30 Ideas For Fresh Content

The quickest way to grow your blog doesn’t hinge on implementing the latest SEO techniques or posting a lot of pretty images. If you want an audience that’s engaged and keeps coming back for more, create genuinely helpful content.

If you poke around the internet, you’ll notice that a majority of the most popular blogs are heavy on content that teaches you something. Whether it’s how to live a better life, how to tie a scarf or how to whip up something new in the kitchen, people are always searching for opportunities to learn something new, even if it’s ridiculously simple.

Think about it this way. When you sit down to google something, would you key in:

Popular lipstick shades or how to pick flattering lipstick shades?
Graphic design portfolio or how to build a print portfolio?
Cute hairstyles or how to style short hair?
Chunky sweater styles or how to style chunky sweaters?

Audiences want applicable advice that is helpful and benefits their lives in some way. The concept of being helpful can feel a bit daunting at first. After all, not all of us are gourmet chefs, DIY masterminds or decorating geniuses. But, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. When it comes to being helpful, we each have a unique set of talents and life experiences. We just tend to assume that everyone else knows how to do what we do. You’d be surprised at how popular some of your tried and true skills can be when turned into a series of blog posts.

To be genuinely helpful, the key is to think of little ways to add a twist to what you already enjoy doing.


Here are some ideas to get you going:

1. Bake your way through a stash of favorite family recipes and photograph the results.

2. Review the books that have had the biggest impact on your life.

3. Break down your favorite makeup and skincare routines along with the products you recommend and why.

4. Document before and after shots of your home renovations with how-to guides.

5. Are you a green thumb? Create guides around what grows best in which climates.

6. Tour your city’s food carts and let us know your top picks!

7. If movies are your passion, create guides of must-see films broken up by genre.

8. Did you bypass college and follow a self-taught path to the career of your dreams? Tell us how you did it!

9. Share styling tips on how to get creative with a very limited wardrobe.

10. If you’re a master at smoothies, create a series around your favorite recipes.

11. Do you have a knack for hairstyles? Let us know the best ones for long, short, updos and more!

12. Create a series of helpful email templates related to your industry.

13. Share your tried-and-true social media tips and tricks for each platform.

14. Develop a series of paint swatch combos for the color challenged.

15. If organizing is your thing, share before and after shots alongside your sources for supplies.

16. Do you have a talent for modifying the mundane? Share your best IKEA hacks!

17. Are you a web designer? Let us know your favorite web font combos.

18. If you’re a thrifting champ, create guides for cities you’ve visited.

19. Is bartending your specialty? Share recipes and photograph your best drink concoctions!

20. Review your favorite restaurants in town and come up with your own rating system.

21. If you’re a shoe obsessive, create guides for the best shoes from working out to going out.

22. Is traveling your passion? Create guides for each locale you visit including transportation, dining and hotels!

23. Create a series of style posts centered around a favorite wardrobe staple.

24. Do you have a specific way of shooting and processing your photos? Show us how you do it.

25. Have you mastered how to clean your house without using harsh chemicals? Teach us your tricks!

26. If you’re a creative that’s burnt out on “pinspiration” posts, inspire us through real life mood boards.

27. Run your own business? Create an advice column centered around what you’ve learned.

28. Have you pulled off a career change into a completely different industry? Break down how you did it!

29. Are you a fitness junkie? Share routines for busy, on-the-go types.

30. Is event planning your passion? Teach us how to make gatherings and parties run more smoothly.


When it comes to building an engaged audience, be genuine, be helpful and share what you know.

Your turn: What are some recent helpful posts you did that were a big hit?


Image: Alexa Loy Photography.

31 Responses to Blog Log #13: The Key To Building an Engaged Audience Plus 30 Ideas For Fresh Content

  1. emily says:

    This was a great post Shauna. This is helpful, productive advice with really good ideas. I’ve yet to figure out what direction to take my blog in 2014. Thanks for the kick-start in brainstorming. ;)

    • Shauna says:

      giulia: I’m so glad you found it helpful! As bloggers, it’s a two-way street: we feel good sharing what we know and our readers feel good about learning something new.

  2. Xandra says:

    aaaaah you saved my blog post for tomorrow! I was spending all day in “blogger post block” not sure what to write about. Decided to go with #7, since I posted about #9 on Tuesday! ;) THANK YOU

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  4. Explorista says:

    I actually find that when I create travelguides for locations I visit, they get fewer interaction than more personal posts. I guess it is that not everybody is interested in that location, but they are interested in me and my experiences (hence, why they follow me). But I do absolutely agree with your point, your post should always be helping your readers in some way, and how to’s are my favorite type of content.

    • Xandra says:

      Explorista – I noticed the same! I enjoy writing travel posts, but people aren’t as interested in reading them it seems. I’m starting a new site for bloggers to contribute travel lists – or “wander lists” as I call them :) – so that people looking for guides can find them all in one place, and find new bloggers to read at the same time. Get in touch if you’d like to contribute! :)

      • Shauna says:

        Xandra: I feel like travel posts are something that people tend to find more through googling about a specific location so they won’t necessarily have a lot of comments from regular readers. But I do feel that having a variety of helpful content makes blogs more well-rounded overall, whether a specific posts gets a ton of interaction of not.

    • Shauna says:

      Explorista: I completely agree. Personal posts always do well. My point was more about there needing to be a balance and not just posts that scream “me, me, me!” A mix of helpful, how-to posts, personal posts and some more light-hearted posts are what make blogs interesting. I feel like just one thing gets really dry really fast.

  5. Recently I wrote a guest post for Linen and Silk and it went viral. The post was informative and I like to think helpful. It was shared and liked by many other fellow photographers too and it really felt nice that although we have our own style and different ways of working it struck a chord with them.

    Free, helpful advice, that is not sales-y but just real. The post can be found here:

    http://linenandsilk-weddings.com/2013/12/18/why-are-wedding-photographers-so-expensive-and-what-really-is-editing/#more-8801

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  7. Audrey says:

    Thank-you for the fantastic post, I’ve just started blogging again after two years (on a new site) and am only 4 post’s in but I have been wondering about way’s I could make my blog more accessible to readers. So thank you this article is truly inspiring!

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  9. Danami says:

    Thanks for sharing this ideas for content Shauna. One of my posts that was a hit was a post I wrote on the fear of asking for help. I shared my personal experience, tips, and information that could help others and also myself.

    • Shauna says:

      Danami: Those are some of the hardest posts to write but as you know, they really resonate with your readers because they can see themselves in you.

  10. Desiree' says:

    Thank you for this insightful post. It honestly resonated with me in a slap-in-your-face kind of way. I started my first & only blog last January & 4 months in – stopped. It’s alive & barely breathing, begging for a little attention. I’ve realized I was over-thinking everything I did, which took away from the genuine heartbeat of my blog. It’s time to step out. Thanks for the honest nudge.

    • Shauna says:

      Desiree’: Overthinking can be such a huge pitfall! There’s a fine balance because a blog with regular features and a defined voice gives its audience an idea of what they can expect. On the other hand, if it’s too structured, it becomes really boring. Finding that balance takes time and I’m always going back and forth….scheduling posts and then throwing them out at the last minute for something that feels more spontaneous. Good luck on your blogging journey!

  11. Izzy says:

    Hey hey! These are some great tips and suggestions. You’re proving your point with this post ;) One of my blogging goals for 2014 is to make my recipes more useful, relevant, and helpful. Thanks for the burst of inspiration!

    • Shauna says:

      Izzy: Good for you! You can’t go wrong with recipes — so many of us, wether we’re great cooks are not, are looking to spread our wings and try new things in the kitchen.

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  13. Miranda says:

    I’m working on coming up with new ideas for 2014 (behind the curve, I know…) and I just wanted to share this post just gave me a list of NINE ideas for posts to use throughout this year. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Miranda

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  16. Redcar says:

    Wow some great suggestions, my blog which is in Google Blogspot platform is doing really well for traffic, am starting to struggle to keep my audience engaged to increase social media shares etc. Do you have any tips for things like competitions etc ?

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