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Is It OK to Publish Good Posts That Aren’t Great?

There’s a lot of guilt about blogging. 

Many bloggers are nursing a guilty conscience about post frequency, post length, and social media involvement but the good vs. great post debate is a stickler.

The dilemma starts when a blogger reads a post from a successful blogger who says –

“Every post you publish should be great!”

The blogger then opens up Microsoft Word and starts writing. Two hours later they have a post but they hesitate to publish it because it’s good but not great. They decide to revise it the next day with a fresh perspective.

But the next day comes and goes without the post being published.

In the end, the blogger shuffles along with a blog they hate haunted by the “great post” boogieman.

Time to end the madness.

The Great Post Myth

The reality is that every post can’t be great.  You can probably manage to write a high percentage of great posts if you publish once a quarter but anyone writing more than a post a month will find it tough to hit a home run every time.

By the way…

The blogging demigods aren’t writing consistently great post either. Probably because they are confused by what a great post looks like.

For instance –

  • Some believe that long posts equal great posts.  Most times its rambling packaged as information.
  • Others believe in dense comprehensive posts.  I’ve bookmarked a fair amount of these posts and never took the time to read them.
  • Still others believe that posting once a month is the tonic for greatness.  Nope.  Bad posts are often published once a month.

Frankly the best bloggers manage to write a large number of consistently good posts.

From this pool of good posts, one or two may earn the “great” moniker.  But the blogger is often shocked by the post’s success often admitting they actually thought the post sucked!

The Great Post Reality

I’ve learned that one reader’s great post is another reader’s good post.

From coaching bloggers I’ve seen the bar for greatness move based on the culture of the reading community.

For example:

The Startup and Growth Hacking crowd love in-depth how-to posts that average 2,000+ words. Brian Dean has built Backlinko into a 50,000 reader/month powerhouse with these type of blogs. 

The pop culture celebrity niche puts a high premium on posts that are provocative and funny.

The fitness crowd wants new and unique information backed with a proof (i.e before and after photos).

There isn’t a common denominator for greatness. The accolade is given by readers if you happen to appeal to their specific need.

Write and Publish (many) Good Posts

I encourage my clients to hit the blogging equivalent of a baseball single. Get on base.  Write a solid post that follows a simple format.  Publish information that would satisfy your standard for a good, hard-working, 700 word, article.

Take a breather and write another.

Just today I told a new client that I anticipate that their next 50 posts would suck.  They would find their voice after about 100 posts.  Somewhere along the way to 200 posts they will get a couple of great pieces.

I also told them that they probably wouldn’t know they had written a great post until months after publishing them.

The point is publish the good ones.

The reality is that I can tell you who will write great posts…I look for people who publish like their life depended on it.  Nothing magical just mastery at work.

Quality vs. Quantity

I chuckle to myself when someone beats their chest and shouts “Quality always beats quantity!”

Everyone murmurs approval while dutifully clicking the retweet button.

The problem is that quality doesn’t always trump quantity.

As a history geek, I remember that the tanks, planes, and guns fielded by the Allies didn’t compare to the quality of Nazi tanks or Japanese planes.  Thankfully, the Arsenal of Democracy fielded over 40,000 Sherman tanks overwhelming the enemy’s “great” tanks.

Microsoft’s operating system fell short of Apple’s quality but Bill Gates was able to use sheer volume dominate Apple during the 80’s and early 90’s.

Google epitomizes the convergence of quality and quantity as it outflanks Apple in consumer devices and software.

I understand the moral of the “quality trumps quantity” proverb but be careful to weigh these proud pronouncements with real word evidence. 

One more point –

Consistently writing great posts requires skill. Skill comes from practice.  Writing good posts is great practice for writing great ones.  Go figure.

Is This a License to Publish Crap?

I hate crappy content more than most.  Crappy content sours the experience for readers, lowers readership, and craters sells.  Crappy content ranks up there with banner ads and hidden unsubscribe links.  So…don’t publish crap.

Find questions that intrigue, interest, excite, or irritate your readers and answer them

Be thorough. Be concise.  Keep it simple.  Be yourself.

That’s good enough.

About Stan

Stan Smith is the CEO of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

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