Chapter 2 - Writing

What to Write – Valuable, Supporting Details

The more valuable, useful, relevant, and specific content is, the higher the chance of it being shared. So it is imperative that blog content be layered with valuable, supporting details that SHOW instead of simply telling.

Facts/Stats

Don’t just tell the reader how it is. Give facts to back up your opinion and/or statement.

If you are writing about iPhones and iPads, don’t just say that people love the products. Instead, find a stat that backs up the statement. Try searching for different ways to show that people love iPads and iPods.

A search for “how many iPhones has Apple sold?” delivered the post “How Many iPhones Has Apple Sold?” – The Motley Fool. This post included the information “As of last quarter, Apple has sold a cumulative lifetime total of 821.8 million iPhones”

Telling: Lots of people love iPads and iPhones.

Showing: People in the United States can’t get enough of Apple products. A Motley Fool article reports that over 821 million iPhones were sold in the U.S. since 2007.

Important Note About Stats: Only include stats that mean something. People don’t remember stats, they remember the relationship. So only use stats when you find an interesting way to make the stat relatable. Remember not to manipulate stats to prove your point. Only use stats to create and support your idea.

Examples

Give specific examples when talking about a broad subject.

If you are writing about traveling cross country, don’t just tell the reader that a GPS is a useful tool. Give the reader a list of GPS systems. Take it one step further and give a characteristic of each that separates it from the others in the list.

A search for “best GPS systems” delivered “Best GPS Navigation Systems” by CNet. The search results show that the post was published less than three months ago (from the time this guide was published), so the information is current enough to be a resource. Make sure to check dates on data and only use current information.

Example of Telling: If you are traveling cross country, you need a GPS system. GPS systems will keep you on track and provide directions when you are lost. There are a lot of good GPS systems on the market.

Example of Showing: Don’t start your trip without a GPS. They are useful for staying on track and spotting nearby attractions. The following are three popular GPS models:

  • Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD (MSRP: $330.00): The elite of GSP systems, the Garmin Nuvi 3597 is as advanced as they come, featuring voice command and and natural spoken directions.
  • Tom Tom Via 1535 (MSRP: $169.99): Ditch the bulky body with the Tom Tom Via 1535 that features a sleek, slim body with a full 5-inch color screen.
  • Garmin Nuvi 50 (MSRP: $109.99): The best bang for your buck, Garmin Nuvi 50 has many of the same features of its counterparts (although missing some of the high-quality flash and pizzazz) and can get the job done at a reasonable cost.

Visuals (Screenshots, Charts, Graphics, Images, Videos, Embedded Tweets)

Most people are visual learners, and online readers love to see mixed media in their content. So adding images when you can (as long as the images are strong, high-quality, and relevant) will enhance the content.

If you are writing about millennials going out to eat, don’t just tell the reader what the eating habits are. Show them.

Example of Telling: Millennials go out to eat a lot. Being a part of the technology age, it’s no wonder they use smartphones to help them make decisions about dining out.

Example of Showing: Millennials spend around 20 dollars more per month on going out to eat than non-millennials. A whopping 80 percent of millennials care about where their food is grown, which makes marketing key facts to this audience so important. Not only are healthy, natural, high-quality restaurants what millennials look for, but according to this infographic via Boston Food Truck Blog, 56 percent of millennial would switch brands for a small discount.

Other Valuable, Supporting Details that Show Instead of Tell

  • Quotes
  • Key Takeaways
  • Metaphors
  • Case Studies

You will need to do extra research to find these valuable, supporting details for you content. The Ideation Guide lists many resources for Finding Supporting Details.

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