I don't even need to read the article and I know I love it already...you had me at "Do the Work, or Quit Blogging Please".
FYI John - noticed a couple of broken links in the post: the two "source"'s and one to Distilled. I was considering writing a 500-700 word blog post letting you know, but y'know... ;-)
Haha got them fixed, thanks man.
Ah. You missed the opportunity. :)
Great points and suggestions, John. It highlights some of the factors that make this topic far less black and white than we may be comfortable with: 1) the best writing comes from passion in the topic and genuine interest in writing, and 2) writing requires work, which requires time, which eventually requires money.
"But if you're truly passionate about what you're doing, you'd do it for free." I've heard that one before, and that's BS. (I have professional artists and music friends who would line up to slap someone for saying that.) If you're good at something and have a marketable skill, do it, and get paid fairly for it - do it because you love it, and get paid so you can create a quality product without worrying about how to put food on the table.
Blogging is considered by many business owners / website managers to be a commodity. Chicken and egg problem: I'm not sure if it's because of all these problems Jon Colman, Barry, and John Doherty point out, the market demands have turned it into a commodity, or if bloggers let themselves become a commodity. And when something is treated like a commodity, you get the linkbait-y, 'writing for marketing's sake' blog content that John refers to at the top of his post. Just hiring people to churn out content without interest behind it beyond marketing motivation hurts the potential for the quality content we're craving.
But then again, like John mentioned, "you're not a good marketer or writer" if you don't consider the engagement of your content. The answer may be in finding a balance between being a good marketer and being an engaged writer.
I'm a content strategy consultant by trade and a marketer by history. I'm also a blogger-for-hire. A requirement I have when selecting blogging gigs is that I must be interested in the topic, where I'm genuinely excited to go out and research it and write about it. If not, I'll turn away the opportunity because it's not the right fit. I want both of us to win in the relationship.
Perhaps this is how we get away from treating blogging as a commodity. Continue to learn about the audience and how they react to content, get paid to do it if you have a passion and talent for it, but be choosy on what you're writing about. Only take the opportunities where you can let your passion and talents shine.
So my point wasn't "You should do it for free." My point was that payment should not stop you from doing it.
I think blogging has become something that it was never meant to be. Blogging has always been a place for people to get out their thoughts and show thought leadership, not to build an audience. It's a thought-first and audience-because-of-thoughts order, not "Ok how do I build an audience?" Churning out content puts an audience first (though the ironic thing is that this will not build you the best audience).
Thanks for your thoughts, Lauren!
Makes sense. Thanks for the clarification, John!
FWIW, I figured you didn't imply writing for free. I thought it was another interesting angle to the concept of blogging, and the implications of being paid vs. not being paid. (I was loosely quoting what I've heard in the past WRT writing/blogging.)
I'm still concerned about blogging being seen as a commodity. But I have a feeling that's tied to the "how do I build an audience / content churning" point you bring up.
Some good points in this piece, and I think it's hard to dispute the argument that the job of the SEO is moving to include some element of content creation. Given, that for most, the job description formerly involved activities like data analysis, relationship/link building etc like any paradigm shift the move to include content creation will not be as rapid as some suggest and will take some time to occur.
Or, you recognize that it's going to be more cost-effective, from a conversion standpoint, to hire a professional writer. I totally understand the desire to write to get noticed in the industry, so if you have a personal site and want to write, go for it. A company website is something completely different, though, and I think paying a subject matter expert to write a piece for you is the way to go.
John nailed it on the head. Well written.
yes, really but i am foccusing...
I wasn't sure where to put this but since Jonothon Colman's "We Can Do Better Than This" on Nov 26 and this related post Dec 11th, I have tried to focus on writing and being a lot better at blogging. The proof is in the analytics, right? http://highonseo.com/success/traffic.jpg This is my traffic showing my averages before Nov 26th and my details since.
*Clearly* you are right. *Clearly* my average traffic has TRIPLED since starting to write more than basic posts with basic info rehashing the same basics everyone has already written.
Today is my best day of the year and double my previous best. I just want to thank you both for pushing us.
After reading the post, I just couldn't help than to smile.
It was an interesting piece.
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