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!
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:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.