5 Ways To Make Even Your Most Gratuitous Blog Posts Useful


ProBlogger wrote over the summer that “Content Isn't King… Usefulness Is.” It brings to mind how I'm always at odds with figuring out how to be helpful in my blogging journey. Sure, it's nice to ramble on about random musings, especially on a subject as subjective as fashion. But in terms of standing out? If your blog doesn't give your readers a clear takeaway, it's hard to justify coming back on a daily basis. Wallis Simpson may have said, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” But I would like to be the one who says, “You can never be too rich or too useful.”

Wallis Simpson may have said, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” But I would like to be the one who says, “You can never be too rich or too useful.”

Being useful may make some eyes roll. Like, why can't we just have fun with our content. Believe you me, finding a useful angle for a gratuitous post to be of use to someone other than your own ego can sometimes be a drag… but all it really takes is a great framework, and your readers will be seeing the point in your musings in no time at all.

Determine what the “Take Away” is for your readers.

What is the point of your post? I know from experience, that sometimes when I start “the point” is one thing, then it turns out to be something completely different. Don't worry if that happens. Before you publish, read over your post to determine if there is a clear point to what you're writing about. Would that point be something you'd tell someone in real life? Is it important enough to talk about, you know, in a conversation? What is the benefit of this post? These are great questions to ask before a post goes live.

Structure posts in a “How To” format

Sometimes all you need to make a post useful is to make it a tutorial of some sorts. How do you layer clothes without feeling too constricted? How do you tie a half-Windsor knot? How do you sew a button? Whatever it is, you had to do something in order to make the post. Maybe just by sharing how you did that something, you'll be helping out your readers.

Create “Guides” instead of “Wishlists”

So often I'll see “wishlists” or “favorites” on blogs and, I love them and all, but it's hard not to think, “why should I care what they want?” Instead of making a list of things we want…. make it more relatable by making a guide for readers to use.

Focus on the universal component in your post

If your post isn't good fodder for becoming a guide or a tutorial, maybe it's about an experience you had. What is universal about your story? What is the lesson that you learned? What can translate into something your readers can relate to? Focus on the story telling and what makes this story worth telling to your readers.

Be funny!

I really wish I could be funny every day, but most days I'm lucky if can crack a half smile. But if you have it in you, BE FUNNY. People love to laugh, it distracts them from their regular ol' probably serious life. Laughing is fun, and if you can't do anything else, making someone smile for the day… now there is nothing more useful than that.

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

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16 Responses

  1. Raivyn dK

    Yes, definitely! When I write, I like to pretend I’m talking with a friend face-to-face.. because, really, my readers do become like friends over time. I reveal a lot about myself as a person.. Be helpful, and be a friend.


  2. Lilly

    Wow!! I never thought of being useful to my readers. This post is an eye opener for bloggers like me. I like the idea of teaching your readers something new. We could use this to attract conversation. If was a reader, I would definitely love to know more and ask questions. This will ultimately attract more readers to my blog. Thanks for this awesome tip!

    Lilly. xx

  3. Ann Krembs

    The timing on this post couldn’t be more useful! Thank you Jenine (as I’m setting out to write tomorrow’s post!) I think this post shall be printed and put along side my blogging calendar!


    Ann of Kremb de la Kremb

  4. Steph Lavoie

    Thanks! I always try to be useful or to “teach” my readers something. And those post that are guide are the most read on my blog.

  5. Rebecca

    Good inspiring tips on blogging! Im new to all this online blogging and creating an online boutique and this post definitely helped!!

  6. Onianwah

    Too true. I write like I’m conversing one-on-one with whoever is reading. Is that a good to do? People are interested in my life and natural hair but it would be nice to have other people stop by. I’ve started incorporating inspirational posts though and I’m working on the ‘how to’ angle of everything I write about. Fingers crossed that it all adds up and goes exactly the way I plan.

    Lagos, Nigeria

  7. Sabina @Oceanblue Style

    Have been blogging for almost a year on my fashion blog but been around since 2007 and reading your pages and loving them. But this is really, seriously outstanding! So useful:))) Sabina @Oceanblue Style

  8. Lillian

    This is such a relevant article! Since coming back to blogging I’ve been able to reflect on my mode of blogging and namely that it didn’t offer much for the reader. Personal style posts tend to be quite gratuitous so I have tried to integrate ‘how to’ components in my blog. Funnily enough I actually find it really easy to write these posts and they drive more traffic. I wish someone had mentioned it earlier. 🙂

    – Lillian http://sewoverdressed.blogspot.com.au

  9. Melody

    Great advice to create guides instead of wish lists. As I drooled over that $800 skirt in a “Needing Now” post I noticed that my readers didn’t respond as they usually would. So now I try to merge what I love with what they want and need. In the future, if I post a splurge item I’ll make sure to provide an alternative at a steal.