Tag Archives: content

Talking Blog Content Strategies… Boring!

I really don’t mean to beat up on the post I’m about to link to. However, after reading this guest post on Marco Saric’s blog titled Why You Need A Content Strategy For Your Blog and having it be the 4th article I’d come upon on the night on the same topic, I decided I’d had enough and had to write something on it.


by Stefan Erschwendner
via Flickr

It’s not that the content I keep reading is bad. It’s that its, well, boring. Everyone pretty much keeps saying the same thing in the same way and the explanations seem to be the same and the output seems to be the same and there doesn’t seem to be any real passion or sense of any of it.

Yeah, I know, someone’s going to say “Hey, you wrote two posts on better blogging and probably touched upon the subject as well.” Okay, so I did; but there are some things I’m reading that I didn’t touch upon, or touched upon that I said in a much different way. Let’s look at some of these concepts.

1. The concept of blogging strategies; ugh! Every person who wrote about this said that you had to decide what your ultimate goal was for your blog and that you needed to think about it before you started.

I said think about what you want to write about before you start blogging because you want to make sure you’ll have a topic you can write on for a long time. In my mind, you’ve probable already thought about the reasons you want to have a blog; to show expertise, to make money, to communicate your thoughts, to rant, to pray, to be a jerk, etc.

Actually, I broke it into 3 concepts: what to write about; what’s your passion; niche or non-niche.

2. Publishing calendar; really? What is a publishing calendar anyway? It seems to depend on who you ask.

Some will say it’s a way of planning what types of posts you’re going to write and when you’re going to post them. Some will say that it’s a way of telling people what’s coming so they can look forward to the next post. Some people say it’s what’s necessary to make sure you keep writing and know what topic you want to address each time. They say you should have a schedule that goes out weekly, monthly, even yearly.

Posh! If you’re someone writing for yourself, I will say that I believe it’s important to be as consistent as you can with your posts so that if you find people that like to follow you, they get some kind of idea of what to expect from you. I’ve yet to meet the individual that can actually stick to some kind of schedule forever.

Heck, I’ve tried writing a post every single day and I find that every once in awhile I can’t do it; I might even be backing that up some. Yet I write about what I want to write about whenever I want to write about it.

I tend to believe it’s much more important to get content out on your topic, whatever it might be, than to have to back yourself into a publishing corner to try to force yourself to do something. You’ll get bored, your writing will be boring, and people reading will get bored and leave.


by FindYourSearch via Flickr

3. Write good content, be precise, and always have a call to action; duh! When I wrote a post on high quality content, I stated that one of the problems with phrases like that was that very few people ever stated what it was supposed to be. Well, the same about good content and calls to action. I tried to address it in that post and on one of my Better Blogging posts, and yet while I was doing it I was thinking “do I really have to tell people what good content is?”

Call to action is something totally different, though. I tend to believe that not every post written has to have a call to action. Some internet marketers have exactly that in every post; how many people will continue to read something that’s selling to them every day?

However, writing thought provoking posts, or asking questions, is its own form of “call to action” writing, although its purpose wouldn’t fit a marketer. I like to think of a blog writer like my friend Charles, who used to write very entertaining posts that made us smile and laugh, but what couldn’t necessarily be categorized as “call to action” posts.

Is there such a thing as a blog content strategy? Yes and no.

For my finance blog, even post must be about finances in some fashion, otherwise it doesn’t get on there. But there’s no particular style for it; other than finance there’s no particular niche either. I sometimes have a post a day, and sometimes a post a week. So, it’s got a strategy of sorts, yet not a strategy that’s so finite that I’m compelled to try to make it more than it is.

Same with this blog. My only strategy is to keep new content on it; yup, that’s it. To a lesser degree that’s my strategy with my local blog; it’s not much of a strategy.

My business blog… well, I’ve been thinking about that one a lot lately, and I’m starting to realize that maybe the categories I’ve been using for all these years don’t always fit what I’m writing about. All posts are somewhat related to my business, but I’ve been wondering if I’m stifling myself by trying to fit within the categories I’ve established. If that’s the case then the strategy needs to be changed, but even so, it’s a fairly loose strategy. It has a goal of course, but that goal is more broad than what most people might think it should be.

So be it; I’ve stated a lot of stuff here so now it’s your turn. Hot air, boring, on point, what the hey? Your thoughts please (see, that’s “call to action lol).
 

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Even Top Bloggers Think It’s Mainly About Content

I was recently reading a post on a blog called Social Media Examiner called 17 Ways To Grow Your Blog From Top Bloggers. In essence the writer, named Cindy King (it’s one of those sites with multiple writers), asked 17 bloggers of some worth (the site had a contest to determine the top 10 social media blogs) their thoughts on growing their blog.


by Stepan Radibog

Setting up my own criteria in gauging their responses, I came up with 4 categories of responses. Yeah, they’re kind of sketchy, but that’s why we all get to create our own categories of stuff. Anyway, here they are:

Content – 12

Subscriptions – 2

Community – 1

Freebies – 1

As you can see, out of 17 respondents 12 of them, about 71%, believe that one’s content is what determines how much a blog has the opportunity to grow. I find it interesting, not only because I fully agree with that, but because it seems that none of the 17 mentioned marketing, which some bloggers have been writing about recently in saying that it’s more important than content. The one person who wrote about community, Mitch Joel of Twist Image, wrote that he believed it was in building the community, which I also agree a lot with, but overall it does all start with content.

It seems that I only have 6 posts using the tag “content”, but I’ve talked about blog content in around 390 posts. I have always believed that content is king and it drives everything else one might think about doing. With the best marketing in the world, if you get people to your blog and your content stinks you’re one and done and your credibility is gone. If you write things that get the attention of enough people that like to come back on a consistent basis, then everything else falls into place and, oddly enough, they’ll end up doing some of your marketing for you in ways you can’t imagine.

Of course, a few of those commenting about content wrote that thing you know I hate in general, talking about high quality content without defining what it is. At least one person totally got it right, a lady named Gini Dietrich, who writes a blog called Spin Sucks (hate the name but like some of the content) when she said:

“if people begin commenting to one another and you can be graceful about differing opinions, your subscriptions will increase because people will be coming to your blog for their daily brain food.”

Let’s face it; 71% is a pretty nice number if you need one to encourage you to think more about your content than anything else. At least think of it first, then go about the rest of your business.

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What Is “High Quality Content?”

On the heels of my little rant on writing a few days ago, I find myself reading a blog post talking about ways to reduce your bounce rate and find myself getting irritated once more. It’s a guest post, which I figured it had to be because I’ve never seen the author, Karen, write anything this, well, I said I would be nice. So, let’s just jump to what’s irking me, as if you hadn’t already figured out by my title and by checking out that blog post.

The first recommendation is to write “Fresh, High-Quality Content”. Frankly, I see this particular phrase often, and at this point it makes almost no real sense. Well, not that it doesn’t make sense; it makes no sense that no one ever tries to explain what they mean by it.

Let me ask you this in two parts. One, how many times have you seen that phrase in some incarnation? Two, how many times have you actually seen anyone describe what they mean by it? I’m betting the answers are “a lot” and “none”.

To me, unless people start backing it up, it’s a useless statement. Here’s the reality; everyone thinks they’re writing high quality content. That is, if they’re actually writing the content at all. Scrapers aren’t writing anything so we know they don’t care. And the people who pay a dollar a post don’t care either.

But those of us who do care, me and all of you who visit this blog (and I thank you for it), believe that we’re writing high quality content. But are we? Well, for the first time someone’s going to break down what is considered “high quality content”. Yeah, it’s going to be me. Of course this is my opinion, and you can debate me on it later on. But I have a feeling you won’t, and either you’ll learn something new here, or be able to finally say “hey, that describes me” and know that you can pass right by any other posts that talk about “high quality” content as the way to get more visitors or subscribers or backlinks or reduce bounce rate or… well, anything that’s not actually new, tangible, or a case study.

1. If you’re writing about something that’s supposed to teach someone something new, did you explain it well enough? Did you write something like “take this code and paste it into this file, upload it and it’ll work”? Or did you write something like “if you’re trying to fix something add this code to this file in this place so that it will do this; then upload it and look to see if it worked? To me, if you take the time to explain in some fashion why you’re asking people to do something, or giving step-by-step instructions, you’ve just written high quality content.

2. If you’re trying to tell a story and you don’t skip on details, such that people are left wondering “what the heck was that about”, then you’re creating high quality content. No one wants to read War and Peace every day, but no one wants to read Dick and Jane anymore either. If you believe you can tell good stories and you can do it verbally, then you should be able to do it by writing it. Don’t try to finish your story too soon, and don’t try to be funny if you’re not funny. Tell it like it is, and if it’s a funny story and you tell everything that happened then it’s high quality content.

3. Are you writing something about a particular belief or thought? Have you taken the time to explain why believe as you do, or are you just saying something and moving on? Saying “I don’t believe in same sex marriages because the Bible says so” is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen or heard. Saying it and then getting into a rational reason (because there’s no place in the Bible that even talks about same sex marriages; people “infer” it from a few places, but it’s not there specifically), even if I or anyone else disagrees with you, ends up being high quality content. The same would hold true with “I think Lady Antebellum stinks” and not following it up with something that you really don’t like that makes sense. If you said “I don’t like the way they look”, that looks and sounds idiotic; if you have constructive criticism about it, or want to say that you like someone else better for whatever reason, that’s high quality content.

4. Are you being true to yourself? This is the real truth. If you’re writing because you want to get ratings and you’re trying to write what you think people want to hear, you’re fooling yourself. You can’t ever write high quality content if you don’t believe what you’re writing. Trust me, with all the blogs I’ve written for other people, there are times when I’ve looked at the content and said “man, this stuff is garbage”, and I knew it was. The people I sold it to thought it was great because that’s what they wanted, but it was garbage all the same. Some of what wrote for Demand Studios way back when was junk because that’s what they wanted; that’s why Google’s going after those article farms.

If you’re writing what you know, what you feel, to the best of your ability, you’re writing high quality content. And you know what? Unless you’ve cracked the top 100 blogger list you’re going to have lots of bounces. Unless you have a sales page that draws in a lot of people who spend a lot of time looking around you’re going to have a lot of bounces. And the best high quality content isn’t going to reduce it one bit.

Think of it this way. What we strive for is to get people to subscribe to our blogs in some fashion. We want them coming back. That’s our first goal. Our secondary goal is to try to encourage people to look at some of our other content in some fashion. I link within posts to previous posts on this blog. On another blog I use the recent posts widget. My two main blogs are both under 200,000 per Alexa, and both have bounce rates of more than 70%. That’s just how it goes.

Overall, you want to do the best you can. People love that, and they’ll love you and keep coming back for more. High quality content; you do that with every post you write. Keep that in mind; y’all are great! 🙂

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The Debates About SEO

Search engine optimization is an interesting concept, one that I’ve been dealing with for almost 4 years now. It’s interesting because you never really know where discussions on the topic are going to take you, and often people love to disagree on things concerning different aspects of it.


Debating Creationists
by the mad LOLscientist

I recently wrote a guest post about this subject on another blog. My general premise is that people shouldn’t be stressing themselves out about using all sorts of SEO tactics when it comes to blogging because it’s better to make your content look smooth and sound seamless than it is to worry about too much of the SEO involved in trying to get people to your blog. In my view, you don’t totally throw out SEO, but don’t overly worry about it because, for blogs, it’s not as important as the breadth of your content if you’re a niche blogger.

Of course I encountered disagreements on the post, which I kind of expected, because there are many others who would say I was stark raving mad for saying that. However, I stood my ground. Based on research and real evidence, if you have at least 100 blog posts on a subject all the SEO sculpting in the world isn’t going to make a blog post stand out from any other in the search engines. Having a consistently good pattern of writing on your niche will work wonders, though.

An interesting way to show this is to look at this blog’s top 10 keywords from January of this year through August 31st for how people found this blog on search engines and see if the posts they might match up to were all that optimized. Here we go:

1. Cleavage – well, that’s still my most popular post for some reason, but in a post that was almost 1,350 words I used that one word less than .7%, even if it’s in the title.

2. Ultra Diamonds complaints – I wrote one post about this back in 2008 and I mentioned it twice, and not even in a row.

3. sensors quality management scam – I’ve never written a single post on this topic, and I have no idea what it even means. I wrote a post on secret shopper scams, and someone wrote that line in a comment.

4. forcefield.exe – mentioned once in a post I wrote about Zone Alarm.

5. do they still make zima – I wrote that comment once in a post on, well, Zima.

6. pdf my url – I wrote a post on this software, but I used the term “pdf” twice and “url” three times.

7. favorite classical pieces – I wrote a post on my favorite classical pieces, but I only used the phrase once, not including the title.

8. obsession with numbers – This is the first post where, as I look at it now, one could say I optimized it, although it certainly wasn’t intentional.

9. google desktop thunderbird – This one is also inadvertently optimized, and when I look at it, probably very well indeed.

10. mystery shoppers corp scam – once again this phrase doesn’t show up anywhere in the post I wrote on secret shoppers, and I have no idea where the word ‘corp’ comes from.

What’s my point? Out of my top 10 keywords, only two posts are actually optimized, and that occurred because of natural writing rather than any attempt to provide proper SEO to the posts. And the two posts that are optimized are #8 and #9 on my list; how do we explain the top 7?

As I said and will reiterate, I’m not saying that if you wish to take the time to do it that going through the process of optimizing your content might not be a worthy goal? What I’m saying is that, at least in my opinion, writing your content so that it makes sense to your readers, and eventually search engines, seems to work just as effectively if your topic in some way matches up to what people are looking for. At least for blogs; we can talk about websites another time, unless you read the article I just linked to. lol

Or I could be wrong… nah! 🙂

WWE Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 80’s








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Does Your Content Stink? Kind Of A Rebuttal

A couple of days ago I came across a post that kind of intrigued me and kind of bothered me at the same time. Actually, my mind said it was fulfilling one of the points of the author, and in that case it probably worked as he expected. In another, however, I’m in almost full rebuttal mode, hence I’m writing about it on my site instead of his.

Abandoned Kits
vladeb via Compfight

The post was titled 10 Signs That Says Your Content Sucks (updated 6/2015; the blog is gone now). Actually, though it said 10 signs, only 9 of them actually ask you a question for you to determine if your content stinks.

I have to say that I disagree that if these points apply in some fashion that it means your content stinks. I want you to read his post so I’m not going into full details with it, but I will at least mention what I’m countering. This means I won’t hit all his points; no need.

First point, journal entries. In essence, he says no one is interested in our lives. Actually, since I decided to be more personal on this blog, I’ve had way more traffic and received a heck of a lot more comments. Beforehand, I think many folks had no clue who I was or what I was about. You can play it too close to the vest in not divulging any personality sometimes. Remember what my most visited post is all about; it was personal and social commentary, and I doubt anyone learned much from it.

Second point, number of comments. The reality is that some of the best stuff written on the internet is not only never seen, but never commented on. Blogging turns out to be a community, and if you don’t give yourself to trying to reach out to others, unless you’re famous for some other reason, you’re going to get neither visitors or comments. Judging your content based on only comments is useless.

Third point, if time were the great predictor of how many comments people were going to get we’d all take a week putting together our posts. Every post isn’t a home run, just like every song on an album (or CD; I still like to refer to them as albums) isn’t a top 10 hit. If you’re looking for that kind of perfection you’re never going to attain it, and you risk alienating your audience because they have no idea when something new is coming.

Fourth point, fan mail. Yes, I get some fan mail. But I receive a heck of a lot more comments than fan mail. Truthfully, I didn’t start getting fan mail until probably the middle of last year; it threw me off initially. I tend to view it as some people wishing to express a point of view, but not wanting to be “outed” on the blog itself. On my business blog, I get a lot of email responses whenever I write on topics of racism and diversity instead of comments on the blog. Are those posts better, or are they scary enough for some folks to not want to put their name on it in the blogosphere?

Fifth point, hate mail. Why would I intentionally want to put out a post to receive hate mail? Who am I supposed to be, Rush Limbaugh? I don’t ever want hate mail; I’d rather be ignored if someone didn’t have the guts to post their rebuttal on my blog. However, I have received a version of hate mail twice ever; didn’t like it one bit, especially since one was on a tribute to my dad, thus it was way out of place.

Beautiful woman with grimace beacuse of bad smell. Isolated on white.
Aqua Mechanical via Compfight

Sixth point, is it my responsibility to educate or expect someone to learn something from every post? It’s an interesting point, and one that I believe is what finally makes some people give up blogging. If you don’t diversify, you’re going to stagnate and want to go away.

Did anyone learn anything from my cleavage post (which I had to take down because Google hated it & took my page rank away for a year…), easily the most popular post ever on this blog? What about my story about losing and finding my keys? Were people entertained? Yup! Is there anything wrong with entertaining? Nope. Charles Barkley once said “I am not a role model”; well, he got that one wrong, but what’s not wrong is that “I am not everyone’s educator”. I’ll educate when I want to, but otherwise, as Wanda Sykes like to say, “I’m a be me.”

I think that’s enough. Chris actually made me think, which is good, even if I disagree with his premise. Darren Rowse’s blog gets plenty of comments, but at least half of his posts these days are written by someone else. Are those posts all great content, or are those people who visit because he’s the Problogger? Sometimes, lousy content gets lots of comments, even more than good content; I see it all the time. It’s about connections and community as much as the content. Without content, nothing moves. With good content, you’re afforded one type of opportunity; with bad content, you’re actually afforded another type of opportunity.

But does your content stink based on the number of comments you get? There’s no real way to affirm that. What say you?
 

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