How to create content people want to read

If you’re a blogger or online content creator, you’re probably interested in sharing your work with more people.

You put a lot of time and hard work into creating the best content possible. But you know that the internet is crowded. It’s competitive and hard to get noticed.

So you turn to the gurus. Maybe you take a few online courses to learn how to “grow your audience” and become a blogging rockstar.

You learn all about pop-ups, lead magnets, sales funnels and more. All the strategies, hacks and tactics.

Yet, despite all the expert advice, a lot of bloggers never grow their audience much. It can be frustrating and demoralizing.

So what’s a desperate blogger to do?

What follows is a short cartoon guide and some commentary to hopefully help you find your way.

Focus on the reader

Illustrations by John P. Weiss


Some people use the internet for work and serious research, but most are there to escape. Think of your own online habits. You’re often there to be entertained, moved, or learn something new.

Focus on the reader when creating content, not how brilliant a writer you are. Think about what you’re creating from the point of view of the reader.

Will she enjoy and appreciate the work? Or will she feel like you’re trying to sell her something? People can smell an agenda.

Do you enjoy pop-ups on websites? Yeah, me neither. The same goes with endless email sign-ups. I don’t mind a simple, elegant email sign up, but I don’t want it shoved in my face. Mostly, I’m visiting the blog or website to enjoy the content.

If I like the content, I might join the email list. But I never join an email list because I was held hostage with a pop-up. In fact, I typically leave when the pop-up bursts onto the page.

Trust comes before sales

A quality blog or website is all about building a relationship of trust between the content creator and the reader. People can spot a snake oil salesman a mile away.

Trust comes from creating honest, consistent work, and responding to readers respectfully and honestly. All of which takes a lot of time and effort. Rome was not built in a day, and neither are loyal followers.

Whisper, don’t shout

One of the reasons Google became so successful was because of brilliant design. Instead of a noisy, busy home page with blinking ads and distractions, Google created a simple, colorful logo above their search bar. Simple and elegant.

Minimal design and liberal use of white space are easy on the eyes and mind. It doesn’t matter how inspirational your content is if it’s suffocating on a busy page of distractions, ads, pop-ups, and noise.

Design a clean, simple blog or website. Hook people with a compelling headline, interesting subheadings, and quality writing. Whisper, don’t shout. People crave elegance, not opportunistic bluster.

Be kind

People work hard. There are so many responsibilities, commitments, letdowns, hardships and more. When they escape to the internet, they don’t want stress, in your face marketing, or noise.

They want to smile. To laugh. To learn. They want to be treated with respect, and most of all, kindness. Does the content you create help people? Does it entertain them? Or are you making them feel bad?

Give people hope, not a hardship

The best writing and stories move us in some way. They tap into our emotions. We can all relate to loss, love, forgiveness, inspiration, and hope. No matter what you’re writing about, if you can infuse honest emotion into your work, you’ll connect with more people.

There’s enough sadness, anger, political noise and in-your-face marketing out there. Share peaceful content that gives people hope. Hope for a better life. Better health. Better personal growth. Artistic growth. Spiritual growth. Hope for the future.

Share authentic content

Create the kind of writing, artwork, music, and stuff that uplifts people. Content that entertains, educates, moves or improves people’s lives. This is how you create content that people want to read.

Work on making your content rare and valuable. Instead of creating superficial stuff on social media, set a routine and get disciplined.

Read a lot more. Travel. Meet new people. Experiment and expect to fail sometimes. Rediscover the humanity in others. Set aside your political dogma and just listen to people. They have their stories and truths.

Share authentic content. Keep honing your craft. Keep your design simple and your heart open. In these ways, you’re liable to start connecting with readers who are hungry for heartfelt content that only you can create.

Before you go

I’m John P. Weiss. I used to be a police chief. Now I’m an artist and writer. Thanks for reading!
This article first appeared on Medium