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It’s time to write another post and things aren’t going well.

You’re struggling to create “Quality Content” and coming up empty. The blank page has wrapped its tentacles of failed expectations around your throat and threatens to choke off your oxygen.  You write a sentence. Stop. Backspace. Start again.  Still nothing.

You hear the blogging gods chanting the quality content mantra and realize that you are still unworthy.  Once again you berate yourself for being in this position.  Once again you ask the question – What the Hell is Great Content?

To be sure, this topic has been blogged to death. However, in spite of the liberal amount of pixels shed on this question, bloggers still wrestle with it.

Why?

For one, I think the vague bar for so-called quality content has been set too high.

Here are three of the most annoying myths that are holding bloggers hostage.  Free yourself and you’ll unleash your creativity.  I promise.

Let’s do this.

Shenanigan #1: The Thought Leader Myth

Are you staring at that blank screen trying to come up with your niche’s equivalent of the Theory of Relativity?  That’s exactly what the talking heads are telling you to do.  The refrain says that Quality Content = Thought Leadership.  Not so.

First, this is an unfair and unpractical expectation.  E=MC2 moments come after years of thought and ultra-refined expertise.  Strive for thought leadership but you don’t have to write a treatise everyday.

Instead, go for informative and thought-provoking.  This focus is easier, sustainable and much more relevant.

Shenanigan #2: The Genius Writer Illusion

Head on over to the top blogs and read their top 10 popular posts.  I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the posts weren’t revolutionary.  But they were well constructed stories, arguments, and points-of-view.  The key word in that last sentence is well-constructed.

You’ve got a quality post – If you have a excellent premise, can write a interesting lead, can marshal your evidence, and end with a thought-provoking bang. It’s really that simple.

Shenanigan #3: Post Length Debates

Some swear that short posts are inspired.  Others, insist that 1000+ word epics are hallmarks of serious thinkers.  I suspect that the truth is somewhere in between (as usual).

I prefer to rely on one of the best thinkers in western civilization – Goldilocks.  Sample each bowl, chair, and bed and find what’s best for you.  There’s nothing morally or ethically at stake.  Just write your post and stop after you’ve made your point.  Don’t jot one tittle more and don’t pull up short.

The only unpardonable sin is not writing anything at all.

Caveats and Other Nonsense

Posts like this one brings out the fangs.  Some feel that their method or perspective is worth fighting for.  So, hear me. This post isn’t for you.  It’s meant for those of us who have great things to say but are paralyzed by the  “debate”.

By the way, what do YOU think?  Have these myths been sapping your confidence?  Talk to me and I’ll talk right back!  3 Quality Content Shenanigans that Drive Bloggers Nuts : Blog Promotion

{Image Credit: reynolds.james.e}


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  • Grit08

    Publish, Publish, Publish, Craft, Craft Craft, Hard relentless work works. I am no where near what I aspire to be in terms of writing awesome epic content. Until then I will write from the heart. You made some excellent points Stanford sometimes we set standards we can never meet. Sometimes we just need to be. And let that do the talking.

    Respect.

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  • http://twitter.com/WeBlogBetter Kiesha E

    I definitely can relate to #1 – the pressure to be cutting edge and totally innovative. It causes me to bash my head trying to think of something new that hasn’t been said a thousand times before. I usually fail whenever I’m trying to do that. That’s why I prefer to relate my personal experience to blogging – since no one else has my experiences, I use it to my advantage for creating fresh content.

  • http://twitter.com/WeBlogBetter Kiesha E

    I definitely can relate to #1 – the pressure to be cutting edge and totally innovative. It causes me to bash my head trying to think of something new that hasn’t been said a thousand times before. I usually fail whenever I’m trying to do that. That’s why I prefer to relate my personal experience to blogging – since no one else has my experiences, I use it to my advantage for creating fresh content.

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  • http://www.empoweredpeace.org Chaplaindonna

    I feel that being true to yourself is the best way to post good content. This can feel pretty risky because you are afraid of how others will react, but chances are it is good because it is important to you. Good research and content are important but honoring your instinct and principles is the icing on the cake!

  • Anonymous

    Well said. These are all factors that get in the way of CONFIDENCE to push that “publish” button!

  • Anonymous

    I would agree about… ALL of it, actually. Sometimes the posts I connect with the most, as a reader, are not the most revolutionary or life altering, but rather, they are what I needed to hear. They are also ones where I connected to the story, or writing style. It doesn’t have to be radically new or different to get noticed.
    Regarding the length, I read blogs where the posts are just a few hundred words and ones with over 1,000. Again, you are correct, it’s what works for that writer. I personally have written 1,000+ posts and just 400 word posts. I stop when I’m done.
    Thanks! Sometimes it’s good for a reminder.

  • http://hilleriecamille.com Hillerie Camille

    OMG! I’ve been so paralyzed that sometimes I forget I’m a writer who blogs. I contstantly get so caught up in what I “should” doing (or not doing) that I often lose the joy of blogging. Having read your post, I’m beginning to feel a tingle in my big toe and hopefully, by the time I write my next post, I’ll be walking again. Hallaujah!!! You’re a healer.

  • Anonymous

    Stan

    You’ve made some great points here in this article so I’ll comment on each one separately.

    1) The Thought Leader Myth: The best advice I’ve received from other bloggers is to be yourself because everybody else is taken. What goes viral or becomes incredibly popular is somewhat unpredictable. After a certain point however people will start to identify your core strengths. Apparently mine is starting to be productivity and getting insane amounts of work done in really short amounts of time.

    2) The Genius Writer: I think even more important then checking out the top 10 most popular posts is to go look at the very first post of each of these bloggers. Most of those posts have no comments and are nothing epic. People evolve over time.

    3) Post-length: I don’t know why people spend so much time on this debate. If you have a lot to say, say it. If you can put you want to say in a 400 word post, do it. Nothing really else to say about that.

  • Anonymous

    Stanford, I find myself struggling with this all the time. It’s funny because I’ll start a post and get halfway through and think “this isn’t good enough, but it’s what I want to write about” and then I’m at a standstill. What usually ends up happening is I write what’s in my heart (no matter the length) and put it out there as a conversation. Usually I find the response is positive, but in times that it is not, I’ve still learned something about my community and about myself.

    I love these three tips, I would even go so far and be so brash as to add one, the “I Should Sound More Like __________” Shenanigan.

    Another awesome post. Keep up the good work!

  • http://mybrooklynreport.com Michael Corley

    Hi Stanford,

    I’m in agreement with you. I’ve been reading many posts by the standard bearers of the blogosphere and have concluded that one size does not fit all.

    I think where others get caught up in the quality content debate is what I’ve coined as the “Term Paper Freeze”. Many who blog have had to prepare a report at some point that was graded by a teacher or professor that was returned with lots of red marks and lower than expected grades.

    Too often, bloggers write with the need to be RIGHT, rather than writing to bring the topic for consumption by their audience.

    Quality Content is all perception…readers in an audience will decide if it’s reality.

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  • http://www.thechasescene.com Chase Adams

    Forget content…Goldilocks is king!What a great nugget of truth Stanford! So often we try to cater what we do to the greats like Seth Godin, Brian Clark, Sonia Simone…when really, maybe that big bowl is bigger than it we need…or the little bowl just doesn’t quite do it.Find what fits you, don’t worry about standards, and GO! That’s what Seth says…that’s what I say…and it’s the American way.

    • Stanford

      It IS the American way..LOL -> But if you look close you’ll find that the A-Listers recommend sustainable content development at a level of excellence YOU are comfortable with. They are actually on our side :)

  • http://ProductiveWriters.com John Soares

    Stanford, regarding the length debate, I think a post should be as long as it needs to be to clearly and concisely cover one topic. I think most bloggers would have more success if they looked for what they could cut out of their posts while still maintaining a conversational style.

    • Stanford

      I ABSOLUTELY agree

  • Anonymous

    Hey Stanford!
    I think you make such a valuable point here. Producing content consistently is both better for your blogging audience and for your blogging skill because then you are writing regularly. Plus, if you’re not careful the “I need quality content or else” mentality can become an excuse for not blogging. As always, thank you for the encouragement and motivation!

    • Stanford

      You’re right about – > “I need quality content or else” mentality can become an excuse for not blogging.” – this mental hiccup has killed many-a-blog

  • http://www.alexdumitru.com Alex Dumitru

    I don’t like huge posts very much, but neither the very short ones. Usually I keep them at about 1,000 words, though I don’t focus very much on the number of words :)