5 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me About Blogging, Writing, and Content Marketing
By Guest Post
By Scott Beckman
Your content is terrible.
I don’t mean for that to be offensive. I actually don’t know anything about your content, but I’m just playing the odds. Millions of blog posts are published every day. Chances are good that yours aren’t the cream of the crop. I mean, if they were, would you be reading this article?
So we agree—your content needs help. It isn’t generating traffic or leads or conversions or revenue. People don’t seem to care. Yet other businesses are finding success with content. What are they doing that you’re not?
Here are a few pieces of advice that I wish someone had told me when I started out in marketing and, specifically, blogging.
1. Write what you know
Typically, this advice is given to writers who want to publish books, but it goes for blogging, too. Too many bloggers write content they think they should, rather than what they actually know or have strong opinions about.
Dentists post blogs on their websites with content like “9 Reasons to Brush Your Teeth.” Nobody wants to read that. You know that nobody does. The title alone tells you everything you need to know about it—it’s a list of obvious reasons to brush your teeth that you’ve heard a million times.
The same is true in your industry. Whatever the basic, obvious topic is, you’re tempted to write a post about it. Resist that temptation. Nobody cares. Your challenge is to find something about your industry that you have special insight on or, at least, you can spin in some way to make it legitimately interesting.
Instead of “9 Reasons to Brush Your Teeth,” maybe our dentist makes an infographic with actual patient photos (with their approval, of course) showing the degradation of teeth over time when you don’t brush. Here’s what your teeth look like at one week, three weeks, one month, three months… Who wouldn’t want to scroll through that, anticipating the inevitable, horrific wreck at the end?
Find that opportunity for your own content. Don’t waste your time with the crap everybody else is writing. Don’t write posts that are better answered on Wikipedia. Write your story.
2. Have an opinion
Remember in high school when you were learning how to write an essay? The first thing they taught you was how to craft a thesis statement—a simple, concise sentence that says what you’re going to be arguing throughout the rest of the paper.
The thesis is crucial in academic writing but it turns out it’s pretty important in blogging, too.
Don’t be afraid to present an argument and defend it. It makes for more engaging reading when the author has confidence in their convictions. Your writing is weakened every time you use the words “may,” “sometimes,” “often,” “potentially,” etc. Your readers understand that not every bit of advice is going to apply in every situation, but you should write like it does. If they do reach out to chastise or debate you, great! You’re participating in a conversation rather than writing vanilla copy that is immediately forgotten.
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