How to Add Value

How to Add Value to the Conversation

by Dave Cottrell

How to add value to the conversation is probably the last thing on my mind when I get into chatting with someone, yet it probably should be one of the first.  Unless the only reason for being involved in a conversation is to hear my own voice, it must require more than simply opening my mouth and letting my thoughts tumble out!

Have you ever been talking away to someone and noticed their eyes glazing over?   That is a sure sign they are not in the slightest bit interested in what you are saying!  Add Value

How rude is that?

Think about it…  How rude are you being?  If what you are saying is putting your hearer(s) to sleep, perhaps it’s because there is nothing they find valuable in your words.  How true this is in blogging and in promoting your blog!  You need to add value to the conversation to keep their attention.  Even more important that that is the fact that you need to add value to the conversation that is valuable to your audience!

There may be few places where it is more important to add value to the conversation than in blogging.  This stood out particularly to me in a recent article written by Diane Bjorling, called “Different ways to Syndicate your content.”

Diane listed three important reasons for people to share their blog content.  They were:

  1.  To drive traffic to their blog
  2.  To raise their visibility overall
  3.  To add value to the conversation

These are all very important elements of a successful, high traffic, profitable blog.   The fact is, if they were to be listed in order of importance, I would suggest that the last one should be number one.  The most important reason for sharing your blog content, the the main thing to focus on before you even write an article, and the first thing on your mind when your start looking for places to share your blog is, “Is this going to add value to the conversation?”

So how do you add value to the conversation?  Without ever considering the list to be complete, here are a few tips on how to add value to the conversation.

  1.  Stay on topic.  This may sound really simple, but a lot of people break this rule.  I call this “conversation hijacking.”  This is where someone comes along, ignores what everyone else is talking about, and jumps in with their own, totally off topic subject.
  2. Closely following on this one is, stick with the flow of the conversation.  A very effective way to share your blog articles is to visit other blogs and take part in the conversation via the comments section that is usually found at the end of every blog article.  This has been proven to be a powerful way to drive traffic to your own site.  However, even if the contribution your decide to make to the conversation is on topic, it can be way off the flow.Be fresh.  Read through the article and comments before you write.  Don’t simply regurgitate what someone else has already said.  Have you ever stood in a group conversation where one of the people in the group kept repeating what the last person said?  At first it may be a bit amusing, but it gets very annoying, fast!
    • An example of this is could be a conversation on the Winter Olympics in Sochi.  People may have started on the subject of the games in general, but by the time you arrive, people are talking about the downhill ski event.  You just weren’t that interested in the event, finding it a lot like watching paint drying, but you found the snowboarding events just crazy exciting to watch and jump right in talking about that.  Did you just add value to the conversation?  No;  once again, you have just hijacked the conversation.  Pay attention to the conversation before trying to add vallue to the conversation, or you will just annoy people.
  3. Keep the flow going.  Just as you read through to make sure you really are fresh and adding value to the conversation, you also must keep it flowing, or the conversation will stop.  For bloggers, one of the most important things of all is getting comments.  When comments are happening, content is being shared.  When people are commenting on the comments, a conversation is happening, and the results can be exponential.  Some even go viral!
    • Don’t write a “killer” comment that is just so smart and witty that it is the final word on the subject.  Another name for that is “the conversation stopper.”  When you write comments that add value to the conversation, make them open ended, raising new questions and comments, drawing others into the conversation.
    • Be just a little bit controversial (DON’T overdo it, or you will make people mad!!).   If you can get people to see things in a way they haven’t seen it before, you add value to the conversation and keep the flow going.
  4. Do your research.  If you want to add value to the conversation, it needs to be valuable!  If all you simply bang out x number of words to make an article with the sole goal in mind of creating fresh content so the search engines will notice you, you’re not going to add any real value to any conversation, and your name will quickly be associated with junk, or even worse, with spam.
    • Garbage, carelessly written articles ARE spam, as they serve absolutely no useful purpose and add no value to anything.  Furthermore, they don’t even do what they were thrown together for.  Most of the people buying anything on the internet, today,  are too sophisticated to fall for junk.
  5. Stay in the conversation.  Don’t simply do “drive by” commenting.  How crazy would it be in a live conversation, where you’re standing with a group of friends having a nice chat and somebody comes walking by, says something, even if it’s on topic, fresh and in the flow, then walks away?   Imagine how it would be if such person’s comment just happened to be a little bit controversial, but they didn’t stick around to defend it.  All that would do is annoy people.
    • Stick around and answer the comments to your comments.  Never, EVER try to add value to the conversation on someone’s blog without first ticking the little box that emails you updates every time someone else replies.  This is of absolutely paramount importance in being a welcome addition to someone’s blog, and a huge boost to your own visible relevance.

Add value to the conversation.  This is a key rule to have in mind every time you begin your research for a new article, and every time you go to write a comment in reply to an article or a comment someone else has made on a comment.  If you make sure to always do this, people will begin to see your name, because your rank WILL climb in your niche, and even of greater importance, people will begin to see you as someone to pay attention to, who has something good to say, who really adds value to any conversation.  Practice to be someone known to add value to any conversation.   The rewards will be great.

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5 comments

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  • funny thing Dave..when I scooped this post this morning, what caught my eye was you talking about people commenting and specifically those people who manage to stop conversations in their tracks and while I laughed when I point it out, I also shook my head because at times I have been known to do the very same thing.. I like that wording by the way keep the door open
    What can I really say that would be of value to what you have written? Far too often people forget value and think ONLY of SEO or driving that magical traffic to their sites..they forget the WHY they are creating the content and they forget that wonderful expression
    context.
    I have a really good friend who has been saying for years and years that we are too much into that marketing mindset of selling and forgetting the wonderful feeling of engaging with others and we all need to stop and think about what we are doing.
    We need to start being “real” and authentic and writing for the purpose of sharing, teaching and just good old fashion entertainment…. I have a feeling more people would “sell” a lot more if they did.
    dang good post and thank you for sharing my post on syndicating.
    P.S. I had thought of writing the three reasons in a different order but wondered if others would pick up on the concept of value!

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    • Diane, you are inspiring! :)

      You nailed it by bringing up that term, WHY, or as I like to put it,
      “Why Have You been doing what you’ve been doing? What Helps You keep doing what you do? Where Have You been going? Why Have You been promoting what you promote? What Have You been doing? Who Have You been doing it for? When Have You last thought about these things? Who Have You been doing it for? Well, How You proceed from this point on, no matter what you have done before, is what matters now.”

      As Amy Jo Martin discovered watching a Ted Talk show, “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

      So trying to get people to buy something simply because you say so or even because you tell them it’s something you bought is not enough. You need to get into the conversation, into the story, and let them know WHY. That is what inspires people and inspired people are who buy.

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  • Thank you so much for this well written article Dave! It relates to so much in life and what we add to it for others. Yes, it is about adding value to the conversation, or should I say conversations. Conversations happen everywhere including the written word. It all starts in the mind with our thoughts. I pray to God often to guide my thoughts, words and actions. Our words and actions follow what we think about, so I would suggest that you let your thoughts be about giving value to others.

    In social media and marketing today there is a lot of talk about “branding.” What do people think of when they think of you?
    Ken Wolff recently posted…Mindset for Success: The Right Mindset is Crucial To Your Internet Marketing SuccessMy Profile

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    • Yes, branding sure is important. But at least equally important with branding is the perceived value of the brand. It is perceived value, for example, that let’s companies like Tide and Green Giant and others continue to sell a lot of product, even though there is plenty of competition from cheaper brands.

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