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Talking Blog Content Strategies… Boring!

Posted by on May 28, 2011

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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27 Comments »

Now that’s a blog Mitch!

I love your style of writing, because it keeps me engaged. I tend to agree with you that many blogs are full of good information….but, add some personality to it!!

Thanks, I REALLY needed that!

Kathy

May 28th, 2011 | 2:29 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks for your comment, Kathy. I glean lots of information from a lot of places, but when it’s the same thing being said over and over it just gets boring. If I start getting consistently boring, someone slap me. lol

May 28th, 2011 | 7:10 PM

Hey Mitch, working in the publishing industry for over 25 years, I’ve seen many times that the editorial calendar was “subject to change”. LOL! When it comes to my blog, developing a calendar doesn’t fit in with my format of having frequent guest bloggers either.
High quality content – is like beauty – it’s in the eyes of the beholder. For example, the other day I was reading a post about integrating Google Analytics with Excel and using pivot tables and all of that. In my eyes, it was boring as watching paint dry, but others were raving about the techniques presented by the author.
Thanks for the post Mitch and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

May 28th, 2011 | 3:00 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Ileane. That does sound like a fairly boring technique, yet the numbers guy in me is also somewhat intrigued. 😉 Same as you, I don’t know that I could stick to that type of publishing calendar myself; I like to be wherever I want to be.

May 28th, 2011 | 7:11 PM
Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing:

On the subject Mitch, how many blogger blog time and again about being fed up with all bloggers blogging the same stuff? 😉

May 28th, 2011 | 9:14 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I’m not sure, Dennis; I must miss all those posts. lol

May 28th, 2011 | 9:28 PM
Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing:

Hahahaha.

May 29th, 2011 | 2:42 PM

It is very interesting, that I was brainstorming same topic after I woke up this morning. I need to prepare a good plan for content publishing and writing for content website which will go live fairly soon. The problem is the topic and news are changing very frequently and I am wondering how exactly to execute the plan as everything need to be done on daily basis without knowing the topic and the category.

May 28th, 2011 | 11:52 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, the only way I could see it working is if you created a wealth of topics way in advance, then wrote on those specific topics, publishing them at the times you felt you wanted to do so. I actually did that when my newsletter was new; created lots of topics then wrote on them. The thing is after writing the first 5 or so I decided I didn’t like that idea, scrapped it, and now I write about whatever happens to be on my mind at the time. However, it can be a good strategy if you’re writing a series on something.

May 29th, 2011 | 10:23 AM

I also came up with something similar in my mind. It have been long since I was working in TV station, there the team was pretty big, but I am not sure I will be able to handle it with few people. I think general info and some basic guides will be the evergreen, latest had to be done on a daily basis.

May 29th, 2011 | 10:29 PM

Hey Mitch I have visited a few blogs and noticed some similar topics. I try to always write about things that inspire me but sometimes I am not very regular about posting.

May 30th, 2011 | 1:15 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Valerie, one can only do what one can do, but as long as there’s some kind of consistent content, at least you’ll stay relevant to a degree.

May 30th, 2011 | 11:53 AM
grace @ wedding favors:

Hey Mitch! Great post you’ve got here! 🙂 It’s really nice to write about what you want and what you prefer. Words will just keep on flowing when you’re thinking about a topic which interests you. 😀

May 30th, 2011 | 9:42 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

It’s what I do, Grace, and I can only hope that what interests me will interest others as well.

May 30th, 2011 | 11:58 AM
Jessica Sieghart:

I think it depends on what kind of a blog you have, I suppose. I’ve seen some blogs that go for that constant posting and some of the posts are pretty thoughtless, my opinion. I rarely read articles like that because I’m not trying to make any money on my blog. I am hoping to start writing more (anything would be nice! LOL). Big adjustment with the baby in the house!

May 31st, 2011 | 7:20 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Oh yeah, I forgot about the baby in the house “Grandma”. lol How’s that going? You know, I had planned a budgeting series on my finance blog, but found that people weren’t necessarily interested in it so I cut it short. We try to determine what’s important or what could help, but it’s the people reading & the numbers we get that helps us figure out what people can for and what they don’t.

May 31st, 2011 | 7:33 AM

Hi Mitch,
This one your second post I have read, commented and really liked. Many blogger consider talking about content strategies is boring, well talking about majority its far most right. But I consider it the best part of blogging. Its good to plan, talk about it and have some opinion about the content. I would allow not to write a good post but a great post.

June 1st, 2011 | 4:10 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

John, good or great depends on how the reader accepts it. For instance, as good as War and Peace is supposed to be, most people don’t want to read it. Writing has to have some kind of personality, a way to connect with others, and if that fails then even the best, most grammatically correct missive will fall on deaf ears. And it’ll do that whether a person has a strategy or not. I don’t hate the idea of strategy, but I just wanted more from the article than I got.

June 1st, 2011 | 4:20 PM

Hi, Mitch.

Should a blogger really have a content strategy? Should he or she stick to a posting schedule? What is the importance of a call to action?

When I started blogging, I had an idea of writing articles about 3D rendering and adding a little bit of my personality into my posts. Then, I learned from Bill Dorman that I need to build my online community.So, I did and so far, the journey has been good. Now, I hear about people writing about content strategy?

But, based on what you have written here, Mitch, maybe it is okay if I hold off on following any content strategy for a while. 🙂 I think finding my footing first in the blogosphere, finding my voice and connecting with wonderful people are more important than content strategy, right?

June 2nd, 2011 | 4:59 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Here’s the thing, Kim. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a strategy. There’s nothing wrong with setting up a posting schedule. What’s wrong is that, one, so many people are writing about it, being boring about it, and still not really saying anything about what it’s all about.

So here’s an example. Say you wanted to talk about all the different aspects of 3D rendering, more like an exposition. You could create an outline of all the steps, write all the articles, then plan on when to put each article out. That’s smart strategy. But what if you set up a strategy to do it, then when each time came around you weren’t in the mood to do it? Suddenly your strategy has gone out the window, you’re now upset to a degree, and you may never get back on schedule or even decide blogging isn’t for you.

Strategies are good for some people but not for everyone. My worry has always been to get people writing, to let them see how comfortable they are with it and whether they believe they have enough to say to sustain themselves. After that, if someone wants to have a full strategy then it’s all good.

June 2nd, 2011 | 7:51 AM

Loved this post Mitch… I heard the same things when I first started blogging but let’s be honest, things change over time. My blog has taken what, three different directions now? That’s mainly because I started writing to make money in a particular niche but as I continue to write I found myself teaching more than anything and my readers loved that.

I just think that people will continue to have different opinions on this same topic. I believe it’s what works for them. Just start is all I have to say and the rest will fall into place. You’ll see how much traffic you are getting and how many people comment on your posts and how many enjoy your content.

Personally, I enjoyed this rant. I do that quite often I find. So glad it’s not just me! 🙂

Thanks again Mitch.. Keep up the great work.

Adrienne

June 6th, 2011 | 2:07 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Adrienne. As you’ve seen in some of my comments to others, I’m not saying that people deciding to have a blog strategy is a bad thing. I’ve just said that for the overwhelming majority it’s more important to get them working, and if people are going to talk about it they need to spice it up some, come at it in a different way with a little bit of personality.

June 6th, 2011 | 4:25 PM

Bang! that’s the hammer hitting the nail on the head.
You might recall my ambitious 52 Ideas post. I, too, had decided to follow an editorial calendar. Had I not regained my focus, I might have stuck with it, too. LOL

The key takeaway in your post is that bloggers need to inject some personality into their expositions. There are always new people coming online. If they find your explanation of content strategy to be more engaging than those other four, then you both win 🙂

Cheers,

Mitch

June 7th, 2011 | 1:12 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Mitch. I think personality trumps almost anything else, although being accurate with instructions is a close second. And you were who I was thinking about with how you had set up your blogging plan. I always thought that would be hard to keep up with.

June 7th, 2011 | 11:51 AM
keisha@internet marketing newbie tips:

Oh well, maybe it’s not a question after all why we need a content strategy on our blog. The answer is always obvious and even for a newbie like me, it’s simple logic. We need to be unique and a bit different from the others.

June 19th, 2011 | 3:56 AM

I like blog that have an wonderful sense of humor that the too formal way of writing that I find boring and it makes me sleepy. That of course depends on the type of topic.

July 31st, 2011 | 5:42 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Kirsty, one would hope that people would show good judgment when deciding when to add humor and when it’s not appropriate. Then again this is 2011, so all bets are off.

July 31st, 2011 | 6:19 PM