One of the most annoying things to me is the way writing is devalued, both by those who can do it, and those who seek to purchase the fruits of a writer’s labor. Of course, that’s just the way of the marketplace, right?
Well, at this point, I’d say the “marketplace” is suffering a case of retardation. Most clients will still hugely devalue excellent content, while if you can write with the right business angle, you can clean up all on your own at this particular point in history.
It all goes back to something we started talking about last year—are you creating content to fill up space, or are you producing something that readers determine is a resource?
Aurora Brown wrote a great post last week about commoditized online content. “Content” has never been cheaper—even stuff that is pretty good by web standards. But it’s still largely worthless, especially to a new domain without existing authority.
You need to be producing resources that readers affirmatively love:
Thus, the key in producing effective content will depend on how many people like it and how quickly it spreads virally. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean grammatically perfect, incredible prose; it means meaty, focused writing with a point, opinion, purpose, and attitude that speaks to users and makes them ‘vote’ for or link to it. This also means the use of social media will become increasingly important to how well content does on the search engines.
Frankly, most bloggers are cranking out “commoditized content.” Even if beautifully written, it lacks an angle that engages the reader and provides something beyond the author’s opinion du jour.
Other bloggers have developed into link and Digg-baiting machines right before my eyes. And yet when I ask them what the business goal is, they draw a blank. How will that website make you money with all that newfound Google authority?
Andy Hagens is literally giving away the key to affiliate marketing via organic search over at his blog. I wonder if anyone is listening?
Some people have incredible business savvy, and are focused squarely on angles that make money. Other people are great at research and writing. If you’re one and not the other, find someone with the other skill set and partner up.
And if you’re both, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be building hugely-profitable affiliate websites, or building up a blog that promotes your small business. Who knows what things will look like next year in social media?
Don’t miss the boat.
Reader Comments (28)
“Other bloggers have developed into link and Digg-baiting machines right before my eyes.”
Absolutely. I got on my high horse about this the other day. It seems to me that there are some bloggers who focus all of their efforts on producing a killer title and description for Digg but then deliver crappy content for the article itself. Their whole purpose appears to be all about getting onto the front page of Digg rather than providing quality to their readers.
Then there are the others who write deliberately provocative posts which are inconsistent with the rest of their site but which are written purely to illicit links.
I could go on but I’ve got to finish my post “How Firefox Improved My Sex Life 300%”…
Aaron M. Potts says
HAHAHAHA! I have to laugh at Mike’s killer Firefox headline because I’ve (thankfully) resisted that urge myself.
Since my site is not about tech, sex, celebrities, or any of the other common mainstream Digg fodder, getting a plug in the standard social media circles is that much more difficult.
So, I fall back to the age old wisdom from ‘Field of Dreams’ as I continue to write content in my niche. “If you build it, they will come!”
John Doe says
Can anyone tell what opinion du jour means?
btw, nice article here. Going to write: “Why I loves Brian Clark evenly with Michel Fortin”. lol.
I don’t usually leave comments like that, people know me from AlleNation.com and as a commenter on Problogger, John Chow Dot Com and other high profile blogs…but I’ve got to say this:
I wish you lived next door. I’d love to learn something new from you everyday.
Mike, I’d like to read that post when you’re done. 😉
Aaron, did you know that Steve Pavlina rode Digg to $40k a month in the personal development niche? It’s true.
Allen thanks, but I rarely ever speak to my neighbors. You’re better off here. 😉
Aaron M. Potts says
I know some of the details of Steve’s success, but I did not know that he was a “Digger”.
I am still working that angle, having gotten the last dozen or so article and blog post titles directly from the inspiration here on CopyBlogger, so I haven’t lost hope on getting Dugg!
Simple Mike says
What if I’m not a good researcher and I have zero business savvy ?
Do I now need 2 partners ?
A prophet never gets his due in his own land, er …. or something like that.
I agree all the way Brian. There are way too many blogs out there saying absolutely nothing in their posts and there are others just echoing what every other blog is writing. I just wrote about the echo syndrome the other day on my site. Be original!
Keep dreaming Sigers…
Andrew Cavanagh says
“A prophet is without honor in his own home.”
I believe this is a quote from Jesus after the people of his home town planned to kill him by throwing him off a cliff.
The real secret to providing outstanding content is to have an overall strategy in your business – an end point you want to give to your clients.
The ulitmate outcome you’d like to help your clients achieve as a result of their interaction with you.
Then you just work back asking the question “What does my client need to know first to eventually get to this end point?”
Simple Mike says
Thanks Andrew !
I actually knew the quote, I just didn’t want to be too loud with a spiritual/religious quote on someone else’s blog.
Brent Hodgson says
@John – it’s french for “opinion of the day” (not sure if opinion is a french word though)
Jack Norell says
I’m finding that my personal site’s pages do attract a nice trickle of visitors each, each month, but getting linkage is incredibly difficult so far. Much easier on client sites as there’s a budget available.
Have noticed, and avoided, the “me too” blogs and if there was a way to do a ‘negative digg’, I often would.
Hohum, back to writing useful content as I come across things that wex me!
Thanks for the post, I’ve bookmarked it for the future.
Lisa Gates says
Allen: Brian does “live” next door. I visit him everyday. Hard to get a cup of coffee through the bandwidth, though.
Being totally transparent here, I am grateful that I don’t have killer traffic quite yet, as I decided to put the cart before the horse, and find my way by doing. And reading (especially everything on this site).
So far the most popular conversations have been excerpts of coaching conversations, and memes. I usually hate memes, so I turned one on it’s head the other day and stirred up some dust.
Perhaps when I start adding profile stories, things will click.
Brian, do you consult bloggers re content, seo copywriting, etc.? 🙂
Ben Miller says
“Well, at this point, I’d say the “marketplace” is suffering a case of retardation. Most clients will still hugely devalue excellent content…”
Yes, it’s amazing how many still want Flash animation and Muzak going in the background – whistles and bells syndrome. I had this very discussion, or a variation thereof, in regards to web 2.0 the other day. It’s like the initial fascination with any technology. Take, for instance this advertising agency (w/ whom I have absolutely zero affiliation):
It’s cool looking, nice artwork, a lot of effort went into making this. But WTF IS IT?!?!? I ran across the site when looking for an ad agency in my town – and got dizzy from negotiating that horror show! Anyway, well written, Brian.
Ashish Mohta says
If you want your blog to run you have to have the research and voice angle in your blog.You can still make money but it will be then just money making machine.Google search hits will give u money but your blog will be just among others witout making a difference.
Copyrighting will be difficult as bloggers might write the same things with a different angle.someone might have to setup a criteria “what copying is exactly”
Tom Chandler says
Not only does the marketplace devalue good content, but it hugely underestimates the engagement and loyalty created by great content.
To a majority of the market, that translates to revenues.
Some day, a lot of marketing directors in a lot of companies are going to smack themselves on the forehead and wonder what they were thinking…
Roberta Rosenberg says
Brian, you beat me to the punch! I had a post all planned about the commoditization of copywriting (print and web) … how we’re fast being seen not as marketing writers who bring experience and talent to the mix, but merely content generators. Smart clients get the joke and understand the value we bring. The rest? Hmmm, I dunno … (Tom, you’re absolutely spot-on as usual.)
I think I’ll still do that post :=)
Roberta, you should. I’m not sure why I think it’s important to educate people who need to hire out writing, since I’m squarely focused on building wealth with my own projects, but this is a crucial business topic largely lacking in anything resembling clarity.
Tom Chandler says
Roberta; Definitely do the post. I’ve been noodling around with something in a similar vein. Feels like a discussion’s waiting to happen here.
Brian: It’s becoming harder to “educate” prospective clients to the value of great copy when so many copywriters seem hell bent on convincing them of the opposite.
I’m starting to see the benefits of your approach.
Well you did ask…
How Firefox Improved My Sex Life 300%
teofilo Calle says
hello ,great article for writers and inspiration to make good content ,thank you for your information.
Bob Perry says
Andy Hagens’ site is being block for malicious software by Google. Not really blocked but you are seriously warned to stay away. I’ve never saw this by Google before. Pretty interesting
Theresa Kruger says
Brian, I couldn’t agree with you more on the “commoditized content” bit. I can’t believe how many blogs talk about absolutely nothing. Or else they seem to talk about everything under the sun and have no focus. Not saying I’m perfect or anything but it seems like a waste of time if no one’s going to read lousy blog content.
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