Are Most Blog Posts Just A Ton Of Junk? Here's What I've Figured Out Lately.
This is a re-issue of an article I posted over in the Lumpy Kingdom Of Microsoft Hamsters in the spring of last year. But most of the points made here could be easily applicable to what’s going on today, because the issues this post revolves around are still very much with us. If anything they are even more chronic.
I’ve been thinking a lot about blogs these days. This is mainly because I’ve been doing a lot of blogging myself. But also because I am a student of communication and interested in what makes a blog post worth reading.
I've been reading a lot of posts lately on Pulse, (now beBee) and other business blog sites, and have seen enough patterns to identify several areas of concern from a writer's point of view.
This Could Make Me Very Unpopular In The Blogosphere.
OK, first of all, let's discard all the so called Influencer crap on LinkedIn, because most of this is just book/self-promotion or HR jive. And let's also discard the so called 'reportage', because most of this is just PR, a lot of which is even paid for.
The rest falls into the category of honest attempts to create posts that actually try and get a point across.
What follows might sound a little harsh, but I have been a reviewer and critic in many areas and one of the things I have learned is to honestly tell people what I saw. Otherwise, what’s the point of doing this in the first place?
Ton Of Junk?…Not Ton Of Junk?…You Decide.
1. A lot of people really don’t know how to write very well. This means that their posts are awkward, lack confidence and communicate poorly, which, in turn, makes them boring and in some cases, maddening.
2. Most bloggers don’t really want to give away too many trade secrets. So they tell you one or two tempting things and then pad their posts with a lot of crap. This can be very frustrating for readers because what starts out interesting ends up boring.
3. There is very little strategic thinking applied to blog posts. No matter what you are writing about it’s very important that you create a premise and then resolve it. Readers aren’t stupid. They will notice when you start to ramble, stray from the point or are just trying to bullshit them, and they will leave.
4. Hardly anybody uses their post as an invitation to engage or get closer to their readers. This astonishes me. Every blog post you write is supposed to reinforce your expertise. Assuming that you at least have done that, you really need at least try and take it to the next level and encourage contact, or at the very least comments and sharing.
5. A lot of posts are just regurgitated iterations of other posts. This, I assume, is because most people have drunk the 'content is king' KoolAid, but are somehow incapable of sustaining the creation of original posts, so they borrow a bit from here, a bit from there and a bit from themselves. This practice is derivative by nature and tells you very little you might find useful and hardly anything about that person’s talents. Ergo, no interest.
6. A lot of marketing oriented posts are filled with marketingese or psychobabble. This is to say that they pretend to go deep into a subject, but because the writers obviously have no intrinsic understanding of what they are talking about, they got lost and end up, well nowhere.
7. Many posts were nothing more than (Your Business Sector) 101. Very few posts went deep into their subject matter, instead they floated around on the surface, oblivious to the fact that their readers, like all readers, were looking for some indication of depth. People read blogs to both learn things and to get to understand the skill sets of the author, telling them a lot of elementary stuff just makes these posts highly forgettable.
8. Very few posts challenge accepted norms. I think this is because people don’t like to rock the boat. They worry more about the people they could be alienating than those they could be converting. If people were more assertive in how they wrote, their posts would be more interesting and would most certainly get them closer to the business they are looking for.
9. Hardly any posts attempt to reinforce a core brand message. This is a serious flaw, because your blog is a part of your marketing program and as such, every post needs to support your core message, even if it’s just a brand oriented paragraph at the end, which almost none of the blogs I read bother to create. Duh.
10. A lot of bloggers want to have a top 10 list, (the irony is not lost on me here), even if they only have two or three things to say. This forces them to create a bunch of bullshit points that either stray from the main theme of the post or simply tell people stuff they already knew. This, of course, is boring too.
“Blogging is not easy. And any given post can make or break you.”
Most of the blogs floating around in the ether exhibit a blissful lack of awareness of how their authors are seriously inhibiting the progress of their brand through lack of consistency, shallowness, borrowed interest and poor writing skills.
So the advice here, and it’s free, is to work on improving these areas. Be more authentic. Be honest. Be original. Share good knowledge. And for God’s sake, promote yourself.
I know this is much easier said than done. And I also know that almost everyone has a good sense of where their own skills lie. So if you're not willing to make the effort to spend more time avoiding everything in the points I have just made or hire someone to help you, maybe you should consider tweaking your marketing plan to eliminate blogging altogether. Real bloggers would thank you for it.
Finally, I don’t want you to think that I’m attacking the whole blogging community. There are also some very good posts that I read. But honestly, they were in the minority.
This Is A Big Social Media Problem
What got me thinking about this in the first place was a very interesting online slide show on the content marketing deluge.
This is something everybody should be aware of, because if the opinions I have expressed here have any relevance at all, good bloggers are in as much danger as the poor ones.
Check this out. It is some serious food for thought.
Crap: The Content Marketing Deluge
If your business has reached the point where talking to a communication professional would be the preferred option to banging your head against the wall or whatever, lets talk.
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