Content creation – no matter the type – can often feel like a one-sided relationship. You seem to give and give to your audience, but no one’s taking.
Before you nod in agreement, ask yourself one question:
Is what you’re giving worth taking?
You know what you’re giving is worth it when your audience is engaging and you’re networking with the right people.
You may find all of your writing efforts have been worth it when you look back at your year and see the changes in your traffic and exposure. But more importantly, you know it was worth it when you can look at the connections you’ve made and the feedback on how your articles, big or small, have positively impacted the lives of your readers.
But wait! Before anything else, ask yourself, “What have YOU done for your readers lately?”
What Your Readers Need and Why
“Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.” – Bertrand Russell
Help your readers meet their needs and you’ll help yourself. While every niche has a variety of insights on what readers need, we can use Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to identify the basics that motivate our actions. Here’s a quick refresher to help you recall or familiarize yourself with all 5:
- Physiological: Basic physical requirements needed for biological survival, such as food and water.
- Safety: Personal, health, well-being, financial, provisions, and protection needs.
- Love/Belonging: Sense of acceptance and belonging; to love and be loved.
- Esteem: Self-respect, confidence, and being respected; personal freedom.
- Self-Actualization: Being aware of personal potential; achieve personal growth to become the most that one can be.
Now, let’s talk about that elephant in everyone’s rooms that often triggers that flight or fight reflex that may inhibit these needs: fear.
Family and business consultant and psychologist Dan Baker classifies fear into two categories:
- Fear of not having enough.
- Fear of not being enough.
Not having enough food. Not being able to provide for one’s family. Not being loved. Not having enough confidence. Not reaching that personal potential. These are examples of basic fears that are on the minds of your readers.
How You Can Give
“Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, when I give I give myself.” – Walt Whitman
Help your readers by creating content that empowers them to overcome their fears, helps them to realize their true needs, and ultimately achieve what they want most. Incorporate Baker’s 12 mindfulness tools* that triumph over fear into your theme:
- Good Health
Can you recall a moment in time when you used any of the above tools to overcome a common fear in your niche and achieve a basic need? That’s exactly what you can give to your readers. And in doing so, you’ll help them overcome their fears in conjunction, meet their basic needs, and create immeasurable value that’s well worth the effort.
The Importance of Giving Over Taking
“The most successful relationships I have built are with people I do more for than they do for me. I give, give, give, give, give, then ask.” – Paul C. Brunson
Article writing is about giving. You can give and then take, but what happens if you take before giving?
It’s a trap many new Expert Authors fall into: “Taking is better than giving.” You might say, “That’s not me!” The truth is we see it all of the time in people who have good intentions, but fail to see their content as self-serving. For example, an expert gets frustrated and wants to move things along and ends up asking too much of their audience by pushing their take (promoting themselves) in the body of their article. This results in self-serving content that’s appears inauthentic and loses any value it may have provided the reader.
If you fail to give value, you and your brand will not grow. If you do give value, you will open yourself up to opportunities you otherwise would never be able to predict.
Hence our formula:
- You GIVE quality, original, and informative content that targets readers’ needs in the article body. Be sincere in your tone and style as well as share real stories and authentic examples.
- You TAKE by providing just enough information in the Resource Box to whet your readers’ appetite so they will be inclined to visit your website. By keeping your promotional content within the Resource Box, you increase your visibility and chances of being republished by other publishers who select articles from our directory.
This formula builds trust between you and the reader. When you skip the “give” and head straight into the “take,” trust plummets. And for added measure, we recommend “taking” or your promotional content in your Resource Box to be limited to 10%-15% of the total article body. For example, if your article body’s give is 1,000 words, then your Resource Box‘s take should only be 100-150 words.
How Giving Will Inherently Help You
“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.” – Brian Tracy
Adopt the “giving” mentality by asking yourself, “How can I help?” Don’t expect total reciprocity. You will not always get 100% back from what you give – it could be more, but it could be less.
Receiving should not be your target, but inherently, we all seek cooperation, equality, and respect through the return of favors. Think of it as “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” or quid pro quo. In article writing, you scratch your readers’ backs before you ask them to scratch yours.
The idea of giving away anything for free, even in the form of informative articles, tends to give some newbies chills because it’s simply harder to measure than traditional advertising and harder to see a direct correlation. You know the details on your end, but how readers interact with your articles may yield a variety of benefits that may not be easy to see the cause and effect.
It’s different for everyone, but trust in the process. It has worked for thousands of authors. If you give or scratch the backs of your readers with informative and relevant content, you will inherently gain trust, exposure, credibility, authority, and a supporting network of engaged individuals over time.
Final Key Points to Remember
Giving has been proven to be good for your health because it increases a sense of well-being and triggers altruistic appreciation, which has been found to decrease stress and increase happiness. It’s also good for your business because it leverages your professional brand into your market niche as a trustworthy and reliable resource that your readers can count on. Once earned, that trust has long-lasting positive effects that will make all of your efforts well worth it and opens your network further than you would have previously imagined.
Do you have questions or comments? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!
*Baker, Dan, What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better (New York: Rodale Inc., 2003), pages 19-20 (Nook).
PS: This post was inspired by the Taking Is Better Than Giving Myth Article Template from the Busting Myths in Your Niche Article Templates package. After my last post, I’m teeming with ideas from this package because all of these templates resonate with many of the questions we receive from our members on a daily basis.
Now is your chance to write your very own article that resonates with readers based on this template: Click here to get the 15 Busting Myths in Your Niche Article Templates from the Build Your Own Article Template Package series and share your own insights and experiences using the Taking Is Better Than Giving Myth Article Template.