Give vs. Take: “What Have Readers Done for ME Lately?”

Are You Asking the Right Question?

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:

  1. Physiological: Basic physical requirements needed for biological survival, such as food and water.
  2. Safety: Personal, health, well-being, financial, provisions, and protection needs.
  3. Love/Belonging: Sense of acceptance and belonging; to love and be loved.
  4. Esteem: Self-respect, confidence, and being respected; personal freedom.
  5. 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:

  • Appreciation
  • Optimism
  • Courage
  • Independence
  • Proactivity
  • Security
  • Good Health
  • Spirituality
  • Altruism
  • Perspective
  • Humor
  • Purpose

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


David Croucher writes:

Can’t add anything to this, Vanessa. It’s a brilliant summary of the key stuff. Did you do it, or delegate it?

Comment provided May 27, 2014 at 11:48 AM


Heidi writes:

Thank you for this article. Clearly I needed to hear exactly what you have written and the timing could not have been better as I build my blog. Again, thank you.

Comment provided May 27, 2014 at 1:51 PM


Dr. Brian Scott writes:

Congratulations on a great article both wise and articulate. If I went on it would be for pages. Give yourself a big pat on the back.

Comment provided May 27, 2014 at 8:36 PM


parth writes:

It has been perfectlly said that “Once earned, that trust has long-lasting positive effects”.It is not new thing because every new bloggers need take more time to make good relationship to the users. It sometimes make unhappy for new bloggers. It does not matter that what quality content they are providing. It really takes time.

Perfect time with perfect information. Thank you for sharing

Comment provided May 28, 2014 at 12:43 AM


Ritesh Agarwal writes:

True. Yet most people would shy away from practicing it in real life. As they say, the whole world is an ostrich :)

Comment provided May 28, 2014 at 3:20 AM


jenny j robert writes:

Sometimes it happen, if I am trying to solve a specific problem for my reader; it makes me sound “promotional”..
EzineArticles always provide great infomation via this blog. Thanks for this inspiring post.

Comment provided May 28, 2014 at 8:04 AM



Wow! Nice post to emphasise the point ” Give to grow and glow.”

Comment provided May 28, 2014 at 10:29 AM


Joe Orosco writes:

Wow! Just when I thought I was content with my progress as an Author, I read this article…

It just takes it to a higher level of understanding.

I’m an experienced newbie who is testing out the results of article marketing. Although my results are showing better every time a write, I still have a long way to go. I’m still climbing up hill, and I’m waiting for that turning point when you finally reach the top of the mountain and you get ready to push it all down hill, and watch it grow ten fold organically. You couldn’t stop it if you could!

So, I’m hoping to give a testimony some day and be a true believer of article marketing. I believe I found this article by fate. I’m going through some changes in my life, and have been seeking knowledge of how I can grow more. Today I found it. I’m a firm believer of pressing forward. So thank you for giving me insight and direction on my next steps to higher success!

Comment provided May 28, 2014 at 11:36 PM


Hi Joe,

I’m very happy to hear that the post helped you. You know the saying for any successful person, that is to fall down seven times but to get up eight. :)

If we keep pushing forward and never give up we will continue to excel.

Keep up the great work,


treb writes:

Great post Vanessa! I really had a great read and it was very informative..

Comment provided May 29, 2014 at 11:22 PM


Matthew Morris writes:

If I write my articles correctly, then they demonstrate my knowledge of my chosen niche. Every individual who reads it is one more person who learns that I really am an expert in this field. What more do I need from them?

Comment provided June 1, 2014 at 10:33 PM


David Croucher writes:

Why do you write, Matthew? OK, you want people to see you as an expert, and they do. How else do you want them to respond? If you write just to blow your own trumpet, then OK – you’ve done it. But most EzineArticles authors are doing this because they want either to promote something or to sell something. And these authors have a clear subtext, which the management have can help them to exploit properly.


Muhammad Jawwad writes:

That was Great Information :)

Just like we say Customer is Everything.In content writing, Reader is Everything.

You must put yourself in the shoes of the Reader and then write accordingly.

“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

You forget the word “them” in it.

Thanks for Sharing this Info :)

Comment provided June 3, 2014 at 7:30 AM


arundhathi writes:

Thank you. Excellent article with very clear info about high quality article writing.

Comment provided July 14, 2014 at 11:10 AM


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