Every web guru out there (link to Seth & Tim) agrees on what makes a powerful blog and that is great content. However very few of them is able to define great content. Actually reading their blogs usually defines it plenty but what about those readers who want easy answers? Hopefully I’m here for them and I’ll start by stating what great content isn’t. What follow are examples of pretty void content and it comes to no surprise that the interweb is full of it. Give the power of expression to the masses and that’s what you’ll get. That and reality shows. So, in order of shamefulness, from less shameful to most.
1. Talk about yourself.
Blogs were once meant as logs of our daily lives and thoughts, kind of like open journals. And that’s usually as boring as a mundane Facebook status. No wonder neither of those lasted very long: no one cares if you had pasta for lunch or if you just got your electricity bill in the mail. It is however the less shameful because some individual lives are inspirational and entertaining. So long shot but might pay off. Someday. Maybe.
2. Recycling your own work
Let’s say you wrote a killing mid-term paper on a topic you want to blog about. Or you wrote an article that never got published (maybe because it sucked) and you use that as a blogpost. This is lazy and doesn’t make for good content. Not because your work isn’t interesting but because it wasn’t thought as web material. Chances are it will be too long or not visual enough. People will see the ability of it on the page, maybe scroll down the page and go back to YouTube. So even if your content is super relevant and thrilling, you’re basically killing it by boring your audience before they even begin reading (link to the computer guy).
3. Recycle old blog posts.
As a matter of fact I intend to do just that with this article once my new blog is up. This is even lazier than #2 and even more shameful. You do not create great content by copy-pasting already existing content. You just don’t. This is known in the seo business as spinning. This also stands for reusing content seen on other sites.
4. Hidden affiliate advertising
Yes I know, you want your amazon affiliation to earn you big bucks but just because you can doesn’t mean you should post affiliate links everytime you post something on the internet. If you want to create worthy content, use affiliation responsibly. Not only will this help build your reputation of respectability but you will also help the web be a better place by providing useful information to your peers. Read books then review them then link to them on amazon. That’s the way it should be, not the other way round.
5. Make lists
Making lists is the worst way not to create content for the web. Lists are where your work starts, not where it ends. They’re your posts’ structure at best. More likely they’re just examples ideas to illustrate your thoughts. Like they said in my philosophy classes: arguement comes first, examples are a free bonus. Lists are a way to let your readers do your work for you, by work of course I mean thinking… but that might be expecting too much from web content.
The receipe for worthy content that will bring readers to your door: thinking about your topic, your point of view and your media. The web is not a book even if more and more books are born from blogs. The web is an amazing place to formulate and test ideas. Use it for that. Greatness might then emerge from your online presence.
Oh, by the way, I DID have pasta for lunch.