Sunday, June 16, 2019 07:38

My Blogging Performance

“The score never interested me…only the game.”  Mae West

At a social event last Pubcon, I was having a drink with two of my best friends in the SEO industry:  Mark Knowles and Adam Audette.  I can’t remember exactly how the conversation was going (and bear in mind that we were all a little buzzed), but somewhat out of the blue, Adam said of my writing:

“Nobody understands what the f*** you are writing about.” (though he subsequently admitted he got the gist of most of my posts).

He immediately apologized and the way the line reads makes his words sound much more harsh than they actually were.  However, what he didn’t know was that in a backhanded way, he actually had given me probably the greatest compliment anyone in our industry has given me.

Ultimately, while I appreciate my audience very much, I don’t write for them…I write what I feel I need to express at the time. I hope others get value from my words and ideas but that’s a secondary consideration.

There is kind of a blogging norm in search marketing (for non-news pieces) that works as follows:

  1.  Offer Information.
  2.  Offer Opinion (or slant the information to your opinion if that makes better sense).
  3.  Inject a bit of personality (some omit this step and some do this better than others).
  4.  Invite comment and discussion.

Nobody does this better than Lisa Barone…she has this formula down to a science and to churn out such consistent posts 3 times a week is pretty remarkable IMO.

Knowing that’s the tried & true way of blogging SEO, this is how I typically follow these mantras:

Totally lacking in any journalistic background (which I see as a blessing not a curse), I tend to use a fictional sensibility when I write.  I tell a story and within that story, I weave in the information, opinion, and the personality.  I’m glad when my stuff invokes comment and discussion but I don’t expect it and don’t write with that in mind. 

The challenge with writing thusly is the temporal nature of the topics that I cover.  I absolutely try to write posts that will make sense to people 3/5/10/20 years in the future.  Initially, I didn’t do that and old posts like this from 2006 very much embarrass me today.   I try to focus my writing on “classic” ideas that happen to touch upon Internet Marketing because while our industry will change and evolve rapidly, many ideas and precepts never will.  Sometimes I focus on topics that I don’t feel will evolve much and sometimes I let the tale take over while bringing in the online marketing for contextual relevance. Whichever way I push my writing, I always remain conscious that that every other consideration must be sacrificed to making the output read supreme as a standalone piece.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about…I once wrote a post detailing my agoraphobia and why it keeps me from speaking at Search Conferences.  Later at SMX Advanced, I met a woman who mentioned that post as being important to her and inspired her to write her own post about a different personal issue (which at the last minute she decided not to publish).  I thanked her for the compliment and told her the real reason for my writing the post (and she was definitely taken aback by what I told her). 

The point of the post wasn’t about me sharing something personal with the audience (though I certainly don’t object to the practice)…the post was exclusively about putting out the best damn output that I was capable of at the time (which happened to be personal).  Sure, the focus was on me and I admitted something that some might feel uncomfortable putting out to the community (though anyone who knows me well knows why I haven’t spoken at conferences).  However, getting a little nekkid online is a small price to pay for writing a quality piece and if it might feel a bit frosty for me momentarily, so be it.

However far I might stray from customary search marketing writing, people still seem to read my stuff and I will always grateful for that.  I hope to be able to continue to perform for you all well into the future.

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