Written to A Recipe or Written to Help?

Writing this blog has made me particularly susceptible to the many posts floating around social realms with advice on writing blogs. I love advice and I am always interested to learn from others. I have found some gems. I have found a lot of dross. 

Write to a Recipe

However, I am surprised how many recommend the same recipe in their advice:

  • choose one single narrow topic for the blog
  • intensively research the SEO keywords for that topic and similar blogs
  • write posts that heavily use the keywords and link to the other successful blogs, ideally with an arrangement for reciprocal links
  • when a post is successful write similar posts over and over again and promote them heavily
  • write headings that are catchy, use lots of images, use lists, numbers, write to an ideal word length, and a thousand other pieces of technical writing advice that are about as definitive as a horoscope
  • write a fixed number of posts per period (the numbers and periods always vary)
  • there is lots of advice on how to make the post a marketing piece but never any advice on how to have an insight worth sharing or how to make sure that your post is useful to anyone else.

These posts, which mostly follow their own advice, are often lightweight and usually impossible to finish. They may attract shares and organic attention but they are dull and they are all the same. I’ve never had any interest in their authors because the post may be good at creating an audience but they are a terrible for business.

Write to Share

I can make no claims to have special insights into what makes a successful blog. This isn’t a high traffic blog and the small growth in attention over time has been purely organic. The few posts that have been well shared are more accidents than outcomes of design. The only common elements of those accidental successes is that I had something I wanted to share, I spoke from the heart and I otherwise had little regard for the recipes.

The blog is achieving its goals because I am writing as a process of reflection and a way to share those reflections out loud. Importantly, my friends, colleagues and clients find it a great way to get to know me, how I work and how I think

Because I am focused on sharing my learning with others who it may help, this blog:

  • wanders across a diverse but related range of topics with a common focus on my work of making work more human
  • each post is based around an insight or a moment that I want to explore and to share. That also means I write when I have an insight to share.
  • Because I want to understand how new insights fit into my existing knowledge, many of the links are internal to this blog, to people whose ideas I respect or to the reference sources that triggered the insight
  • I seek to speak in my own voice and share my own views as plainly and as simply as I can
  • Because neither I nor you have a lot of time, I prefer to be concise.

Friday night, I ran into an acquaintance who told me he had shared a post that I wrote about my career transition with three friends going through similar experiences. The reason I wrote that post was to help others facing the same experience. That anyone thought the post would help others is more than enough reason to write & share it. Working out loud might be messy at times and it probably won’t meet any external criteria for success, but every story like that tells me that the blog is creating the kind of success that I want.

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