6 things lazy content marketers do that make me sad
We’ve all read them (and sadly I admit to writing one or two in the past) so I thought I’d make a pass at writing some important but all too easy mistakes that are made time and time again whilst writing blog posts. Because I’m being lazy…
1. Some sort of intro
“So I’m currently eating a Higgidy Pie: Spinach, Feta and Toasted Pine Nut – with a big juicy Tomato on the side – (Yum!) – and writing a blog (yeah I can multi task). Having just read one of the biggest bits of drivel to have unfortunately made its way to my Linkedin feed, I thought that (as I munch through my feastage of excellence) it would be good to reflect upon why the mentioned blog post was able to overpower my taste buds and leave such a bad taste in my mouth.”
Now that I’ve set up an expectation (for you the reader) I hope that I (the promise maker) can deliver on that expectation.
I do hate letting people down on promises – almost as much as I hate it when people let me down with their promises. And an ‘expectation’ that is set up (such as with the above paragraph) is, as far as I’m concerned, as good as that: a promise – and I don’t wanna let you down.
Intros are important. They need to be precise. They should set a scene. Tell us why we are to spend (as opposed to waste) our time reading this. Tell us*. Or at the very least give a very clear clue.
2. Accidental Contradictions
Contradiction can be a key indicator of B.S.
Contradictions, to me, give the feeling that a Blog was written for the sake of “I need to write my company post now.”
It’s so lazy and boy does it wind me up. Who is this blog post for anyway? If it’s a blog post for a business then I should hate to think it’s for my own vanity. Who wants to listen to that? Hey, perhaps your audience is another important thing to take into consideration? Surely it’s lazy not to think of them?
Where was I? Oh yeah – contradictions. They’re great!
Here’s an example I came across recently:
“Gosh – how I would have changed things had I a second chance.”
Cool, I may learn something here, something big from this blogger’s mistakes. That’s exciting!
“Blah blah bobbity blah, I did it right and I did it my way. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
Oh – the blogger was an Entrepreneur who got it right. That’s how I’ll learn from them. I’m glad the blogger showed some humble weakness like they got something wrong, only to conclude they didn’t get anything wrong. After all, I don’t wanna learn from someone who’s made mistakes – I only follow and learn from the strong. They don’t make mistakes. Surely that would be a contradiction – success from mistakes?
Yes, sadly I feel that vanity is also a big influencer of accidental contradictions. And perhaps that’s worse than the meandering ‘this is just a bit of general admin so I can’t be bothered as my hearts not in it’ reason of accidental contradiction?
3. What? What are you saying? What are you telling me? This doesn’t say anything!
So accidental contradictions are pretty naff – although purposeful contradiction can sometimes be good – if it makes a point.
Sadly this very often is not the case. Authors don’t want to admit they’re wrong in posts – it shows a weakness I guess. So it becomes hard to learn from them or their message.
I can already tell there’s quite a bit of waffling going on ‘ere, which is pretty contradictory –but I’m trying to make a point. Hopefully that brings some valued clarity. Some insight. Something meaningful and intelligent to say on the ‘same old, same old’ topic is just soooo… hard to come up with.
More waffle: or in more #slapdashexample terms “I told this Intern, ‘hey kid – try and do stuff to broaden your career prospects this would then help to broaden your career prospects.”
Why did I just waste my time reading that? You can’t really take ANYTHING away from statements like that (other than five minutes of someone’s time while they search for the point of what you’re trying to say). What was the point? What is the clear instruction? Why did I not get some cucumber to go with the tomato on the side of my Pie? As Hamlet said “Words. Words. Words.” That’s all there is and for no apparent reason – like some sort of personal diary leakage. (“Maybe this post is a mistake?”).
Anyway, I forget what I was saying here – but you get the point.
4. It tricked me!
The title of a blog piece is so very important. Look – I’m going to engage you with a snappy title so you read my piece – but does it really reflect in my piece? Or did I just trick you into clicking?
It can be a source of huge negativity from readers if their needs are not met – especially when the blogger advertised these needs were to be met in the title. We choose to read so and so’s blog because of the title – so don’t lie. Don’t lie to me and waste my time.
And I’ll tell you what – when you waste someones time, be prepared for a whole load of negative commentary. Or no interaction at all.
Clearly upon reading a recent article, I, and many members of the comments section, thought something would indeed happen, or (dare I say it and others think it) we may get something insightful as instructed in the title. But instead, nothing happened.
It’s a bit like those annoying facebook ads that say “I watched this and you’ll never guess what happened…” and then nothing really happens. “Most hilarious things I’ve seen” and then nothing more than a titter after you’ve watched the advert.
Not that we click on these anymore – and that’s a scary thought isn’t it? Words are written but nothing insightful is spoken of or seen. Another contradiction – and the biggest of all. Words and pictures denoting nothingness.
If you wanna get me real mad then couple this – you tricked me with your title – with – now you’re tricking me with authority.
What do I mean? Well, when blogger slaps on the title of “CEO” or words like “expert”, “leading” or “Advisor”. Because now I really want some insight. Some knowledge.
But if you just ain’t got anything to say, or forgot to take out the contradictions, or you hooked me with a snappy but unreliable title… You tricked me into reading your waffle… You fooled me and now I don’t know if I can bring myself to trust these sorts of short posts again. Which means, darn it, I don’t know if I can read the next post in my Linked in feed.
Is there really advice or are these just feel good words under a meaningless title…
Words words words. “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.”
Don’t tell me you’re going to give me something and then not give it to me. It’s sooooo dull! Which leads and links with the next point…
5. Don’t be dull.
Ok – I’ve yet to master this.
So… onto the next topic: Ending.
6. In conclusion
My pie is cold.
Also – tack on some sort of sign off. Link back and be thoughtful.
Sometimes things just end. I get that – but blog posts and articles shouldn’t. And they shouldn’t have some reference just to bookend.
There still needs to be a point. And if the point is a question – make it worth it. Make it truthful and not just some lazy way to end the article in the vague hope it will help to “wrap things up”. Did you not learn from LOST? If you cheat people right at the end – even if you took them all that way on a magical journey that they loved – if you dump them with some crap ending then they’ll never forgive you. No matter how good the content.
Something powerful yet wistful with a little bit of “I know IT and so can you” affirmative ‘actioning’.
People can be lazy and are writing appalling blogs/articles online. So please learn from this and:
- Don’t waste people’s time.
- Think before you write.
- Don’t contradict.
- People just don’t like waffle anymore.
- Contradiction can be great to use.
- Don’t lie. In the title. And tell people what you’re going to do in the first bit so it builds trust and stops you from lying. And remember that at the end.
- Write an actual conclusion.
- Remember your audience.
- Actually say something?
- Give them some extra info – maybe over deliver on your ‘promise’… but don’t waffle.
- Don’t repeat yourself (unless it’s to make a point).
- Don’t waffle.
- Don’t be lazy.
- Remember to think and spend time on the ending – don’t just end th