10 phrases that mean your blog post is worthless
Ian Lurie Feb 7 2011
I’m guilty of these myself. But I’m starting to see them show up more and more, on big sites (you know who you are) that are supposed to know better.
Inevitably, these phrases are followed by a stock photo and 250+ words that basically repeat the same phrase, again and again. Then the writer gets a nice bio block and the label expert. Everyone wins except the readers, who get served the same vomit-inducing crap day after day:
If you’re writing about internet marketing, it’s safe to assume we already know how to be authentic, for God’s sake. When we all started talking about authenticity, back in, I dunno, 2000, it was already old news. Now it’s just a sign that either:
- Your teeny little pinhead brain can’t handle talk about stuff like voice, tone and the importance of honesty; or
- You’re being paid by the word.
Get buy-in from your team
Really? I never thought of that! I figured if I hid out in a closet, working for months in secrecy, and then leapt out yelling “Surprise Motherf——rs I just launched a social media campaign HAHAHAHAH” I’d win praise from my boss.
Everyone knows you need buy in. Everyone also knows that, in the average big company, getting buy-in on things like social media or SEO is like removing a barbed hook from under your own toenail: Painful, lengthy, and sometimes requiring amputation.
Ian makes a strangled noise, choking on the obviousness of it all.
Listen to your audience
Did someone seriously get paid to say that?
“Listen” is something I tell clients who have never touched internet marketing before. I mean never. Otherwise, it’s safe to assume your readers understand the value of not ignoring their entire customer base.
Write great content
Sadly, I find myself having to tell this to people. So I guess I understand it.
But I would hope that we all understand, by now, that you shouldn’t write crappy content. Hiring 50 people who’ve been speaking English for 5 years to write articles for you at $1 a pop isn’t going to get you much.
Write with feeling
Oh, man, you mean I shouldn’t write like Mr. Spock? Do you have something against Vulcans? I’m filing suit.
No, I thought I’d slap people instead. Strictly speaking, that is relationship building.
But I think this one sends the obvious-o-meter off the scale, yes?
It’s true. Being personal when you write is always better than adopting the tone of a block of wood.
Instead of writing ‘Be Personal’, ‘Make it personal’ or ‘Write casual’ and following it with 4 sentences, consider writing an entire post about how to turn impersonal writing into a more personal style?
In fact. that’s my blog post for tomorrow. Wow. Sometimes ranting has its upside.
No kidding?! So using lots of really big words and being ambiguous isn’t the right way to go? Damn. I have to go back to marketing school. I’ll just make sure you’re not my professor, because if you are, I’m freaking doomed.
Focus on your niche
I don’t even know what the hell that means. Is a ‘core niche’ different from a ‘perimeter niche’? If How do I know if I’m writing outside my niche? For that matter, if I don’t write to my niche, what will happen?
Also, that painfully obvious thing again.
Write diverse content
Yeah, this is the opposite of the last bit of mealy-mouthed marketing stupidity. Sadly, I saw this line in the same article as the last one. Think about that. Someone told me to ‘focus on my niche’ but also told me to diversify as much as possible. My brain just split into two more hemispheres.
Instead of spouting the obvious…
…consider explaining it.
I’m making fun in this post. But the truth is I and all the marketers I learn from resort to these marketing bingo winners. We can all do a lot better.
Don’t list 10 different patently obvious suggestions. Write a post explaining how to successfully implement one of them. You’ll end up with more ideas, a better web site and readers who really learn from you.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint.He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More
- Google Custom Affinities Is Here: What You Should Do
- Announcing RainGage
- The Marketing Stack, aka: Why Do You Keep Getting Fired?
- Open Letter to CMOs: Confessions of a Digital Marketing Agency
- Why Brand Managers Must Sweat the Small Stuff… and it’s ALL Small Stuff
- The Humungous Guide to Content Strategy