Can you Answer This Essential Blogging Question?

blogging question - question marks

When you sit down to write a blog post, do you ask yourself ‘how can I help my readers today?’

This might seem obvious to some, but it’s not really apparent to many bloggers. I can’t count how many times I’ve read a blog post that obviously took a different route, or how many times I’ve read blogs about blogging that encourage people to ask different questions.

Other questions that bloggers commonly ask, but that they shouldn’t concern themselves with as much, include:

  • How can I make more money with this blog?
  • How can I get popular on facebook or quora?
  • How can I get 10,000 subscribers?
  • How can I make a name for myself?
  • How can I promote my product or service?
  • How can I show off how great I am to my readers?
  • How can I get rich?
  • How can I write a post today, just so that I can say I did a post?

There are many more questions, but you can see my point — none of those should matter, ultimately. All that matters: how you can help your readers.

Why is this so important? Because readers come to your site not because they want to help you reach 10K readers, or buy your product, or read about how great you are … but for their own reasons. They might want to get fit and in shape, they might want to learn to be a better writer, they might want to be a better parent, a better worker, a better person … or maybe they just go to laugh or be entertained or be informed. Figure out what those reasons are, why people come to your site, what they’re looking for.

When you help others, it’ll come back to you. It’ll help you, in the long run. That’s not the only reason to help others, but it’s a nice side benefit. Look: when you help your readers, they will keep coming back. They’ll share it with friends because they want to help their friends. They will share it on their blogs or on Twitter, because it’ll help their readers too. They’ll bookmark it on delicious, because it’s so useful they’ll need it later. Helping your readers will help you achieve other goals … but you have to ask yourself how you can help them first.

And there are millions of answers to that question, that will be answer differently by each of us. Just a few ways you can help your readers … remember, these are just a few:

  • Show them how to do something they’ve always wanted to do.
  • Show them what mistakes they might be making.
  • Ask them a thought-provoking question.
  • Share useful resources.
  • Be entertaining, funny, informative.
  • Show them why they should care about something important.
  • Answer questions they have.
  • Provide inspiration.

Notice that selling them something, promoting something of yours, promoting yourself … these things aren’t on the list. Help your readers first.

So, how can you help your readers today?

About the author

Leo Babauta

Leo Babauta is the blogger behind the superblog, Zen Habits, which is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of life.