Focus on the Outstanding: Write Less and Write Better

There is so much content being cranked out it is really impossible to read it all. I notice that much of the content appears to be calculated topics that I think are chosen strictly with the goal to bring in traffic. From what I see most of those articles have the same basic information I have seen several times before…essentially they offer me no value whatsoever.

I would really love it if the search and marketing community focused not just on content, but on creating outstanding content. This would most likely mean less content and better information for all of us. I don’t care if you publish just once a month; what I want is to be wowed.

#WriteLessAndWriteBetter

So How Does One Stand Out?

I could say “Be different!” or “Be unique!” (which is important), but what I really want to say is to draw off your experiences and offer advice and information you think would be helpful to multiple audiences. Show your personality and don’t try to be like everyone else, because when everyone is the same all you get is boring!

Examples of Awesomeness

Your experiences are ‘different’ and ‘unique’ and as a result they are useful. Let’s look at some articles that are relevant, different and extremely useful.

Sugarrae

Sugarrae’s article has over 1,000 shares on Facebook alone. She does SEO consulting and clearly this article is not about SEO, but because Instagram is a part of social it is relevant. She drew off of her experiences and her desire to help others and the result was a successful article. It was totally different, extremely useful and it worked.

IFTTT

The Buffer Blog cranks out a ton of articles and I know planning and strategy is involved, however the information they provide is often very unique and clearly the information comes from their experiences. The IFTTT post has almost 3,000 shares on Twitter and over a 1,000 on Google+. It was different than the typical SEO/social/content post, but as you can see from the shares different is great!

This is one blog that I personally check every single day because I look forward to getting something different and ‘outstanding’.

Ian-lurie

This piece, by the amazingly insightful Ian Lurie, immediately shows his personality in the title (unique so I am interested). The content itself is very detailed and completely based off his 20 years of experience. It isn’t like everyone else’s advice, it is personal and it is real. With over 1,000 tweets you can see that people like personal and real.

This took a lot of time to write, but it is what I said I was looking for above –> outstanding! It is not a quick read either and that is a good thing. Quality over quantity.

How to Not Suck

It is really important today to make sure you are not seen as someone that creates mediocre-crap content. Reputations are built through content everyday and you want a good rep. If I were asked to give advice to people wanting to create content it would be -> focus on creating something awesome once a month instead of writing 3 times a week.

The amazing content stands out and brings in traffic for the long term. Amazing content makes you memorable and outstanding content can make you a star.

Some tips for avoiding suckiness:

  • If your experiences are the same as everyone else’s don’t write about them.
  • If you don’t know how to write, please don’t write.
  • If you can’t back up what you say don’t give advice.
  • If you have tried a strategy once and it worked this does not mean it will work for everyone in every situation so please don’t claim that it will.
  • Don’t promise things, especially in SEO. Again, every situation is different.
  • Dig deeper – “optimize your title tags” is not deep.
  • Don’t try to be like everyone else, because 90% of what I see is boring and repetitive.
  • Provide resources and step-by-step information.
  • Always assume that the person reading has no idea what you are talking about and add in the details that will teach.
  • Focus on educating and helping.
  • Expand deeply on the basic advice – everyone has already seen the basic advice.

We Are at a Crossroads with Content

Right now it appears that the marketing industry is cranking out content like machines and the content reads like it was written by machines. I see a lot of ‘blah’ and very little value.  So, we can continue down this path of creating content to create it OR we could focus on what matters in everything, value.

Questions to consider:

  • Is there value in what we are writing?
  • Does it make people think?
  • Is it different than what everyone else is saying?
  • Is our content helpful to a large group of people?
  • Who does this content help?

It is time to stop the machine-like content and time to start focus on the outstanding.

About Melissa Fach

AuthorityLabs Community Jedi - Melissa Fach is the owner of SEOAware, LLC that specializes in consulting and training businesses. She is also the Community Jedi at AuthorityLabs, an associate on the Community Team at Moz, a past Editor of Search Engine Journal and a big cat volunteer. You can find her on Twitter @SEOAware.

Filed under: Featured, Tips

19 Comments

Bas van den Beld

Hi Melissa, I thoroughly agree with what you are saying. The one thing I find a bit of a contradiction is that you give some great examples, but then ‘proof’ it by likes numbers.

To be honest, I don’t trust like numbers anymore, they shouldn’t be a metric which decides on what is good or not, yet I do understand people look at it.

Good quality content (Like your article ;)) will stand out because it will be shared by the right people, not the most people.

I agree that there is too much copying of topics going on, it’s partly because people analyse what was popular and then go and write the same. That’s why I’ve chosen a different route: trying to find out what people want to read, before they read it. Find out the questions they have and write about that.

But what I wanted to say is that I agree with your article, good post!

Melissa Fach

Thanks for your comment, the only reason I included the share numbers is I thought some readers might need to see them as proof :) I agree with you though. Thanks for the very nice comment.

Brian Dean

AWESOME post, Melissa.

This is a discussion more people in the SEO/Content marketing/blogging world need to be having. More content is (usually) not the answer to a traffic problem. Better content is.

“I would really love it if the search and marketing community focused not just on content, but on creating outstanding content.” That makes two of us :D

Melissa Fach

Thanks so much, Brian :) and I agree with you completely. Everyone should be focused on what they are looking for in traffic and the right kind of content.

Lorraine Ball

We encourage clients to create content only they can write. Case studies, testimonials, sharing not the theory, but how they solve the problem.

Grant

“Your experiences are ‘different’ and ‘unique’ and as a result they are useful. Let’s look at some articles that are relevant, different and extremely useful.”

+1 on that.

Great post Melissa.

Sha Menz

Hi Melissa,

I couldn’t agree more!

There’s a reason why even outrageously successful movie franchises eventually offer little but
dissatisfaction and disappointment for even the most die-hard fans. From there it’s a very short road to an ignominious demise.

Tommy Landry

I absolutely love this post. Lately I find myself looking at most of what I find online and wondering whether I’m too critical or most of it is just the same stuff spun out in another version. It seems like content marketing has turned into an echo chamber, where people keep repackaging the same shtick into new wrapping paper.

Although I’m not perfect (who is, really), I work hard to find new angles or at least unique ways of presenting my ideas when blogging. As all writers know, that’s no easy task. But it doesn’t excuse one for checking out and just posting more drivel when they could be really engaging the reader or even possibly inspiring them.

This post both engaged and inspired me, and I thank you for it. Great work.

Melissa Fach

Tommy, I completely feel the same way in regards to what I find online :) And, I do the same thing, trying to find a unique view. You can talk about the same things, but a unique perspective with some helpful information will make you stand out amongst the rest.

Thank you so much for your kind words, they mean a lot to me.

James Davis

Hello Melissa,

I am pleased to read this and I hope more people are switching on to this way of thinking…. with the ever increasing mass of “BuzzFeed” style headlines and Top Ten (insert your subject here) posts it is refreshing to read content that does not leave me wishing I had not clicked the link!!

I am starting a new project and the company blog is going to be a central part of our marketing plan. However our metric of success is not by reaching the masses with our content and going “Viral” our aim is to produce well written and insightful content that resonates with our audience.

If we reach out to one person and make them re-act positively to our brand – we have succeeded.

Melissa Fach

James, I agree (although I admit I am a Buzzfeed reader – entertainment purposes only). I think your plan for your company blog is a fantastic one and I agree with the whole idea of gaining real brand fans, even if it is one at a time.

Tim

Coming from a screenwriting background writing less and saying more is something I know well.

Melissa, what do you think of programs that claim they can write content for you? Are they all crap? I’ve always been leery of them as I didn’t understand how a program can write an article for you, unless I’m not understanding how these programs work and they’re really just curating stuff already on the web. Great article BTW.

robert brownfarley

Melissa add my name to those whom thought your article was awesome. I am compelled to share this with my clientel as educational on content writing. Really believe it may help others change the way they write content and help those who may be just starting out.

Melissa Fach

Thank you so much, Robert! You have a great idea regarding sharing with clients, it is up to us to educate them.

Reuben Swartz

Great post. I deal with sales proposals, which is more one-to-one than online writing, but the same principles apply.

Daniel White

Hey Melissa,
Great article – it’s about more time people started getting round to this way of thinking. I think most websites adopt a keeping up with the Jones’ approach, and if they post poor quality content more frequently that’s the best thing to do because everyone else is doing it. Hopefully it will start moving the other way so that quality becomes the primary goal when creating content!

Comments are closed.