The Anatomy of High Value Content

May 4, 2024
Assalamualaikum!

I have been writing newsletters for the last 5 years. 

It stayed a hobby for the first 2 years [2018 to 2020]. 

Since 2022, it has become the cornerstone activity of my week. The heart of my digital career and legacy. Everything I do comes from or ties back to the Big Win newsletter issue I write every week. 

In the first years, the newsletter had less than 1000 subscribers. Mostly, I was writing a newsletter once or twice a month. Some months I would write weekly.

As I started writing more consistently, the newsletter started getting 200-400 new monthly subscribers. By 2023, it had reached 10K subscribers organically without social media marketing, paid ads, or partnerships (I’ll share more on marketing in another newsletter). Along the way, I also deleted over 4000 inactive subscribers as part of list cleaning.

One of the reasons it has grown by getting shared organically is the value people have been getting from the newsletter each week, evidenced by the 2000+ reader emails I’ve received because of the newsletter. 💌

I honor the time and attention anyone would spend reading my newsletter and consider it a privilege to have the ability to write each week. I am grateful for the readership of the Big Win newsletter of spiritually conscious Muslim professionals.

But nothing usually starts great, does it? Good things always take time and effort to grow.

When I look at some of my early newsletters (e.g. this one, here’s another), I cringe and want to HIT DELETE 🔴 to get them out of the Muslim Empowerment blog.

But I keep them there as a reminder to myself and others of the growth curve.

Skills can be learned with time and practice. Writing is no different, it’s a skill that can be learned. 

Whether you’re a professional thinking of starting an online business with your job, or an online entrepreneur in the early years of growing your business…

…Writing online is one of the most powerful skills you can learn and will open the door to the opportunities you seek.

 

All great content can be traced back to great writing

 

If you dissect any content created on the internet, it can all be traced back to great writing. Persuasive writing. 

Persuasion is how people grow and find the strength to change their behavioral patterns. 

Persuasion towards good creates good

Persuasion towards evil creates evil

Persuasion is how Muslims strengthen their beliefs and actions. The Quran is a book of persuasion towards Islam, the Deen of Allah SWT. 

In short – persuasion is the conversion tool behind dawah, behavioral change, sales in business, relationships, etc. Persuasive writing is at the center of all great content.

Great speeches are written first.

Videos are scripted or outlined by the written word first. 

Writing is tied to writing articles and newsletters, authoring books, writing speeches, and scripting presentations, podcasts, and videos.

If you want to build a digital career, writing is the cornerstone skill you’ll want to build. Especially, if you want to leave a legacy. 

A legacy of “written words” lives on for centuries. History has always been recorded in words. Some history is recorded in pictures/ illustrations. (Since the advent of the camera lens, it’s also being recorded in video.) 

I wonder if that’s because of the simplicity of it. 

There’s no denying – the power of the written word is irreplaceable. The act of committing words to paper gives them permanence. [this line is conglomerated from a quote I heard somewhere]

The Quran is a living proof of it. 

The first divine command given to the Prophet SAW was – “Read“.

Read, ˹O Prophet,˺ in the Name of your Lord Who created— created humans from a clinging clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who taught by the pen—taught humanity what they knew not.” [Surah Al-Alaq 1-5

There is a lesson here for Muslims.

While most people from all around the world share their Islamically misaligned message freely, why is it that so many educated Muslims remain afraid of speaking about the message of Islam online?

If you have a message from your “niche/domain” of experience that aligns with our Deen, or even better – can bring your community closer to Deen… it needs to get created and shared online!

Invite ˹all˺ to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and kind advice, and only debate with them in the best manner. Surely your Lord ˹alone˺ knows best who has strayed from His Way and who is ˹rightly˺ guided.” [Quran 16:125]

Leveraging online tools will allow you to share your message and the work you’re passionate about with others globally.

The result?

  • You will build a community around your topics of interest and knowledge. Creating content online will help you build your online community. 
  • Your work and dawah will become more targeted and effective when it’s for a niche-specific community. 
  • With a community, you have people to reach out to and build lifelong relationships with.
  • Connections are made, a network is built, influence is shared, transactions are made, and the Ummah grows stronger by supporting each other with their money, time, and influence. 

 

Online Community is the New Currency

 

(Note: not all communities are the same, having a community can mean nothing if it’s made of people who are just looking for entertainment, are not your loyal audience, and are not connected under a banner of one important message)

If you have a Muslim following online, you can tap into that network to;

  • do dawah,
  • get work opportunities with Muslim companies,
  • build your own business and quit your job,
  • promote your digital products,
  • test business ideas,
  • host speaking events,
  • and much more. 

 

Your online community will help you explore new paths to monetize. If you do it right, you can become an online entrepreneur and exit your 9-5 career.

ALL of this happens when you share what’s in your brain with others. 

And the best way to share what you know with others is to leverage the power of writing. But there’s a fundamental truth I’ve learned…

 

Writing is not for everyone. But Anyone Can Create High-Value Content

 

I know a lot of Muslim professionals who love creating videos or recording podcasts but hate writing. 

So do that. Record your videos. Record your podcasts. The medium doesn’t matter!! 

If you love hoarding your knowledge and hate creating anything for others, Muslim Empowerment is not for you.

There is only ONE goal here: to articulate what’s in your brain and communicate that with other people.

To release the wealth of knowledge snoring inside the neurons of your brain for other people to benefit from! 

Now, the next question is how to get started with content creation.

In the rest of this newsletter, I will share a concise 7-part framework that I use to write most of my newsletters.

You can replicate this framework that I use for writing newsletters to create any content – this can be used for blogs, newsletters, videos, podcasts as well as social media content. 

Use this to grow your online community and readership – bismillah!

 

The Anatomy of High-Value Content

 

Great content begins with great outlines. Never start without an outline. That’s the recipe for writer’s block.

Here’s the framework I use for writing outlines:

  • Who are you writing for
  • What is the problem you are solving for the reader
  • What is the end goal/ outcome for this content
  • Grab attention in your Intro
  • Earn attention in the body with 1-3 critical points
  • Close content by reiterating the big idea [the main message]
  • What’s the Next Action Step?

 

1) Who are you writing for? 

 

You’ll notice that great writing is targeted towards a specific audience. 

If you try to write for everyone and anyone, you’re writing for no one. 

Get specific – who is your ideal audience? Those who have similar beliefs, interests, and experiences as you. 

E.g. If you’re a Muslim woman who is interested in health and fitness and Islam, your audience is Muslim women looking to develop a healthy sunnah lifestyle. 

 

2) What problem does this content solve for your readers?

 

Every piece of content you create has to solve a problem. A problem can be as small as a mindset shift, or as big as a complete framework for putting an idea into practice. 

E.g. Today’s issue of the Big Win newsletter solves the problem of how to write high value content online.

3) What is the goal of your content? 

 

In other words, what will happen (the outcome) once your readers have learned how to solve the problem above?

Another way to think about this is – what is the big outcome they are trying to achieve in their life right now and how will this content help them get closer to achieving it?

Get clear on what is the big mission of your brand. Tie every piece of content to that mission.

It can not be directionless. Talking about mugs today and rugs tomorrow, and occasionally sharing health tips in between won’t grow a community of Muslims interested in becoming healthy.

In my case, the Big Win newsletter is part of my mission to help Muslim professionals earn freedom from their 9-5, impact others with their potential, and design your dream balanced life.

I make every effort to align each newsletter issue to that mission.

E.g. The goal of today’s newsletter issue is to help Muslim professionals who are thinking of starting their online business start turning their knowledge into content online and building a community.

4) Grab attention in your Intro

 

Imagine you are sitting with a group of distracted people in a room, each on their phones scrolling through social media.

first thing you must do is grab their attention. 

You don’t have hours for this. You don’t even get minutes to grab somebody’s attention. You usually only have seconds.

So you must choose your opening line with some thought.

Here are a few proven ways to start the content that work well, I have used all of them at some point: (try to use no more than a few lines or a few paragraphs for your intro)

  • Share the big problem you’ll be solving
  • Share the big outcome they’ll achieve after consuming your content
  • Summarize the main message behind your content (the rest of the content will prove it with anecdotes, stories, facts, quotes, etc.)
  • Start with a story or personal experience that illustrates the problem you’re solving in that content

You can use any one or all of the above in your content. 

 

5) Earn attention in the body with 1-3 critical points 

 

Once you’ve grabbed their attention, do not doubt for a second that it will falter away… Unless you continue to earn it.

Attention is the currency that weighs heaviest in the digital world. It must be earned. 

Today, it’s not as simple as just creating content for people to consume it. People’s attention is being pulled in a hundred different directions, why should they spend 5-10 minutes listening to you? 

This is where you can leverage the power of lists or sub-headings to make your content easier to consume. 

E.g. As you can see, I have used a 7-step list today to illustrate the framework for writing high-value content.

6) Close content by reiterating the big idea [the main message] or summarizing key takeaways

 

Once you’ve taken your reader’s attention across an invisible bridge to the other side of growth, you must reiterate where they started to meet them at their current level.

A simple way of doing this is to tie the entire content nicely at the end by reminding the reader of the main message. You can find this in #3 of this framework.
Another way of closing your content is by summarizing the list in bullets.

As you’ll come to read in just a few minutes, I have closed this newsletter with the big message as well as summarizing all steps in this framework into a bulleted list.

 

7) What’s the Next Action Step?

 

Don’t forget to share ONE action step for your reader to take immediately after consuming your content.

The action steps could be downloading a free PDF, filling out a worksheet, sending you a DM on social media, writing in their journal, booking a call with you, asking you a question, responding to a question, filling out a form, signing up for an event, etc. Be playful with this. And try not to give your readers more than one action step at a time to increase follow-through.

Here’s the Big Idea

 

Get your message out there using the power of PEN. Start building a community of people like you by creating high-value content. Make creating content online/offline a part of your life-long mission.

It doesn’t matter which “niche” you are in a year from now, or what product you’re selling 5 years from now. That will change as you change. Your business will grow as you grow. 

I started in the productivity and time management niche and served as a productivity coach for nearly 2.5 years.

In 2022, I expanded my work to helping Muslim professionals start their digital career + legacy.

This is what led me to build Empowered Muslim Entrepreneur, my coaching program on turning your knowledge into an online program and getting booked with clients, without quitting your job or compromising Islamic values. 

A year from now, you will grow to the next level and as you grow, your previous position will free up. Someone else will come and fill that position, while you fill the next position. This is the story of professional growth, nothing else. 

As long as you continue to create content that is authentic to what you believe in and strive for your “media” (content) will forever be your biggest leverage. 

Why delay? Nobody is going to give you the validation or permission to start. That courage has to come from within you.

ALL my best,
Aimen

And when you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you:

1. Connect with me 1-1 on LinkedIn or Facebook 

2. Use my Free Trainings to get started
Whether you’re looking to find your online program idea, clarity on how to start an online coaching business, or set your annual and 90-day goals, I’ve got value-packed free training for you. 

3. Work with me 1:1 to start your online coaching business
If you’re a busy professional working full-time and need help in starting and growing your business to consistent client months without burnouts or compromising our Deen values…book a call with me here and I’ll get you all the details.

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