Content creation is tough stuff.
No matter how many “Content Creation Tip” articles I read (and write) I still finish with the unsettled feeling that the “tip” is easier said than done.
Things get worse when you get bad advice. I’ve written the wrong type of content more times than I care to admit. I’ve used content creation tactics that have nearly gotten me banned from Google. I’ve also lost thousands of dollars on content creation systems that worked in 2006 but suck now.
Let me spare you the pain and expose 10 dumb content creation ideas that are still getting air-time.
1. Inspiration-First Writing
“Write when you have something to say.” This advice sounds right, reasonable and even revolutionary. Many guru implore their skittish blogging audiences to take a breather and write when you the whimsy hits you. The problem is that inspiration is manufactured not discovered.
I suggest writing when your schedule says write. Write something bad, good, or insanely great. I don’t care but write like it’s a job. You’ll discover that most of the time inspiration comes after you start not before.
2. Go Great or Go Home
It takes years of deliberate process to be consistent great at anything. Frankly I don’t have that kind of time. I suspect you don’t have 10 years to log your 10,000 hours either. But the stage pacing thought leader implores us to be great. write great. publish great. But…
Good is good enough. My daddy always says that the best you can is the best you can do but the best you can do is good enough. That’s a poetic way of saying – “give it your best boy”
Good works. Good work published on regularly is even better. You do good long enough you’ll occasionally do something that is great.
3. Writing for Yourself
Bloggers who write for profit or donations have no business writing for themselves. If you want to write for yourself, start another blog. Your readers want you to write for them every darn day. Deliver or get ignored.
I don’t have a problem with writing for yourself. It feels great. I have a blog designed for that purpose. But don’t let anyone convince you that this is a good content creation strategy.
4. Content Factories
Content factories are businesses that purchase and publish generic content. They often employ decent writers on a per word basis. Their assumption is that some content is better than no content. They also believe that people actually find their milk toast posts interesting.
What do you think? Yep, you can’t manufacture on-point, honest, and authentic content. You can use good reasearch to jumpstart the ideation process. You can rely on content frameworks to speed up the writing process but that’s about all you can do.
5. Article marketing
I thought this tired technique died in 2009 but I actually had someone try to sell me this tactic the other day. It works like this, find an article directory, write an article, upload the article to the directory, rinse and repeat 100 more times. The goal is to trick Google into giving you some love or getting visitors from people who frequent the article directory.
This used to work. Google caught on to it and took article sites to the woodshed with recent algorithm updates. Everyone else that survived the purge abandoned article marketing just in case. I suggest safe content syndication through reputable niche content aggregators like Social Media Today or Social Media Informer in the social media space. There’s likely to be a similar site in your niche.
6. Straight to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
About a year ago, some folks got the thought that they could skip content creation and chat on Facebook or Twitter instead. The appeal was obvious, bypass 700-word posts and “engage” instead. This could work but…
You don’t own Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn content. They do. The Copyblogger kids calls this digital sharecropping and they make a terrific point. Chat isn’t content. Good content delivers interesting information in an engaging way. Social networks distributes that content. Don’t confuse the two.
7. Ghost Posting
I’ve tried to make “ghost posting” work, hiring good writers to stand-in for executives too busy to write their own content. It never really works. Don’t misunderstand me, the process works brilliantly. Writers love writing and they will happily pump out post after post. The problem is that readers can always smell a fake post. I don’t know how but the posts written by the real McCoy always do better than ghost writers.
I suspect that we are really good at matching a post’s voice to a person. The other problem is that C-Suite executives that are too busy to create content often withdraw their support before any content has the chance to work. It’s a vicious circle.
8. Monthly Publishing
I think most folks agree that publishing once a month is playing with fire. It’s like hoping that a 20-minute conversation with your spouse once a month is a good way to build a marriage.
I get to review a lot of blogs. The problem-blogs are the ones that publish less than 4x a month. Good content needs to be published on regular basis.
9. Post repurposing
I’ve mentioned that I receive a lot of boneheaded guest posting requests. The most popular dumb move is to ask me to publish a slightly revised post that exists elsewhere. The requester often “spins” the post changing nouns and adjectives to give the appearance of unique original content. Don’t laugh, I get about 12 of these pitches a month.
Just don’t do it. Please send me the name of the guy or gal pushing this moronic tactic, so I can pray for their content-hating soul.
10. The Micro Post
I’ve dumped on the whole Epic Post movement in a previous post. I want to be fair, however, and caution you too avoid the micro-post movement too. It’s usually corporate blogs who unwittingly fall into this trap.
The situation starts out innocently enough, the social media manager has to write a post. They have 30 minutes to write, proof, and publish post. They know that the topic will require at least 500 words but they don’t have the time.
Then…a thought scurries into their stressed out and overworked noggin. It says
“People don’t have time to read long posts!”
True enough. They don’t.
“So how about I write ‘test’ a shorter post format”
200 words are tapped out in in 15 minutes. It’s pure crap.
I’ve been in this spot. The best answer is to take the time to create something good. Send your boss here if you need someone to blame.
Day 6 of the 30 Day / 30 Blog Challenge
You can join and start your 30 Day / 30 Blog Post journey at any time – just count out 30 days, note the final day on your calendar and start writing!