Blog writing; why listicles are like testicles and why red fast cars and blogs just don’t cut it anymore
I think I may have lost the plot. Or maybe I am in the process of rewriting this rather tired blog writing format. What am I talking about? Blog writing and content writing generally of course.
What’s my beef about blog writing, bearing in mind I earn a living by doing just that? Well, look at it this way, I am now in a position to speak knowledgeably about the subject. So today, feeling fired up and ready for an argument I am going to shoot from the hip.
Is your blog like a fast red car? Or is it a Ferrari? Does anyone really care about blog writing at all?
Once upon a time the internet was like the land beyond the seas
We didn’t know how far it stretched or in fact whether we would fall off the edge if we sailed too far. Internet mariners would return with tall tails of Geeks and algorithms, html and robots. Marauding dwarves with black hats would weave their spells and pages of spammy gobbledygook would be all Google’s search engines would ever turn up. White walkers would eat your soul and the Knights watch were not even a figment of George RR Martin’s imagination.
Too soon this new world’s arteries were furred up with nasty deposits of gobbledygook. Content spinners who were paid a pittance ruled the waves.
Google knew their reputation as a search engine was taking a hit
Don’t ever make your blog writing engaging whatever you do!Hence the Penguin algorithm. This sent the black hats scurrying in fright back to their caves. Content writing became a science. Creativity was still shunned and it was all H1, H2, meta tags and six keyword repetitions per 100 words. I worked for an SEO company and was spanked hard quite regularly for trying to stray outside the brave new world of content writing. It was communication, Jim, but not as we know it!
Having fun with language was out for blog writers and article scribes
Puns, quotations, lively and frenetic dollops of prose were slapped down. ‘10 ways SEO can drive more traffic’ was the order of the day. In fact listicles (that sounds far too like testicles for my liking – same thing, after all they both produce excess gunk that no one could possibly ever use!) were the favoured format –still are!
Then people got savvy
Yes we all need clarity. We realised the blog and excess content was something people got to way down the sales funnel so we went for brevity. In fact we still like our content in video format, preferably fewer than 90 seconds long if possible with ketchup and a dollop of mayo. We love sound bytes, takeaways and the equivalent of ‘chicken pings’ filled with mashed up unmentionables.
There did appear to be a place for long form content. People were prepared to download something that was worth taking time to read but 25 things you never knew about cupcakes? What do you think? I am not anti listicles, they have their place but used judiciously. Mind you if it’s informative and in short take aways we are all hooked. Why is the kebab so successful? Oh, that really IS another post!
So, where are we now with blog writing and content in general?
Well, everyone seems to think they need a blog. I have advised this on a number of occasions. But can I suggest ‘Blog’ on the menu bar is tantamount to saying: ‘this is boring, go away, don’t bother reading it!’
Why do I say this? Think about what your blog is doing for your product, brand or service.
What should it be called to reflect its role? If you don’t see where I am at think about cars. ‘red fast car’ doesn’t have quite the same cachet as ‘Ferrari’ does it? So name your blog something more exciting. Name it for your company. Give it a reason to live and give us a reason to read it.