Also: are all the “stop making crap content” posts just adding to the pile of crap content? They’re not exactly actionable, yeah?
— Nicole Kohler (@nicoleckohler) June 24, 2014
Stop telling other bloggers to stop creating crap content. I get fired up about this one. One of the things that drives me insane is people saying that you shouldn’t create crap content. Imagine a boy asking his dad if he can join a Little League team and the dad tells him ‘Ok son, but you have to hit a home run every at bat, or you’re off the team!’ Insanity, and that’s the same thing we are telling new bloggers when we tell them that they can’t write a post that’s ‘crap’.
I agree with the sentiment, but there’s three huge problems with this idea:
1 – There is no agreed-upon definition of what ‘crap’ content is. The guy that’s looking for 301-level content may think a post that’s 101-level is ‘crap’, even though that same post could be insanely valuable to anyone looking for 101-level content.
2 – Everyone knows that you get better at writing and creating content by writing and creating content. You improve your craft, any craft, by practicing said craft. It is the same with blogging, writing and creating online content. You can read all the ‘How to Write Awesome Blog Posts‘ posts you want, but the only way YOU will ever write an awesome blog post, is to actually write an awesome blog post.
3 – Every ‘expert’ that says you shouldn’t create crap content is a hypocrite. Because they’ve created crap content. I’ve read it, you have too. They got better by continuing to create content. And for the ‘expert’ reading this post that is fuming thinking you do NOT create crap content, refer back to the first point. Yeah, like I said that’s the problem. When someone says ‘Stop creating crap content’ what they really mean is ‘Stop creating content that *I* think is crap!’
Like I said, I get the sentiment. We all want fellow bloggers, whether they work for a company or themselves, to create valuable content. The problem is, to the point of the tweet above, that most of the railing against crap content has become more about trying to win the soundbyte and get the RTs than it is about trying to help others. We’re also scaring the hell out of companies and even individual bloggers that are just starting out that are bombarded with DON’T WRITE THAT POST UNLESS IT’S AWESOME rants. To a new blogger that has no idea what she is doing, telling her that she shouldn’t write a post unless it’s awesome is the quickest way to scare her into dumping her blog before it starts.
So if you are confused by this advice, here’s mine:
1 – Ignore the ‘experts’ on this issue, simply do your best. Until said ‘expert’ starts signing your check, tell him to stick it. The only way you will learn how to write better blog posts is by writing more blog posts. Do it regularly and repeatedly.
2 – Write the content that you know to be valuable. An article that’s ‘crap’ to one person could be the article that changes another person’s life. If you have a blog post in you that you want to write because you believe others will find value in it, then write it. Then tomorrow do it again, and again, and again.
3 – If you are writing for a company, always consider your customer. No one knows your customers better than you do. What information are they looking for, how do they use your products, what questions can your content answer or what problems can you solve? Write from the customer’s point of view, not the company’s.
At the end of the day, you’ll see that there are a lot of people that will happily tell you what you are doing wrong, and not very many that can show you how to do it the right way. Critics vs experts. Soundbytes vs instruction.
Wasting time vs investing time. Here’s to making smarter investments in 2015.