There’s no worse feeling than pouring your heart, or money, into content for your blog and having it get 5 views.
The truth is, most people don’t know good content when they see it—let alone know how to write it themselves. When marketing people talk about “content,” they talk about it in a way that dilutes the entire art of it. Marketers and even entire digital advertising agencies say things like, “You have to write content,” as if the strategy for a compelling book is to “write lots of words.” But content for content’s sake doesn’t mean anything. Just because you wrote a blog post doesn’t mean it’s any good.
But the real reason most companies have vacant blogs that underperform is because they don’t understand the real purpose of a blog in the first place. They make one because someone told them it helps with SEO, or because they feel like, “Well, every other company has a blog, so we should have one too.”
The truth is, what you gain from blogging, you can much more easily obtain in other written content environments with millions of readers already there, looking for valuable things to read. Places like Quora, LinkedIn, and Medium.
But again, knowing where to write is only half the battle. The other half is, once you’re there, writing something worth reading in the first place. And do you want to know where the vast majority of companies fail?
They don’t let the people most knowledgable about the company and the business tell their story, their personal story, while at the same time educating consumers and readers in their space.
Take a CEO or Founder, for example. The person who starts a company probably had to take an interesting road in order to get to where they are today. Right? Every success story comes with trials and tribulations, lessons learned along the way, and a whole range of important pieces of wisdom worth sharing with others.
The problem is that the most knowledgable people, the ones who have been building a successful company for five, ten, twenty years, don’t have the time (or often, the writing chops) to take what they’ve learned and organize it in a compelling way. So what happens is, they pass their blog (or their content writing) off to an intern or entry-level copywriter, only to end up publishing the same surface level, sup-par content everyone else in the space is putting out (usually because every other company is faced with the same problem).
This is an issue I know all too well, and is the entire reason I founded a ghostwriting agency specifically for CEOs and serial entrepreneurs. I was that entry-level copywriter. But I honed my skills, I became a 3x Top Writer on Quora with over 20,000,000 views, I have had work republished in major publications such as TIME, Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, Entrepreneur, etc., and I have a daily column with Inc Magazine. And after having ghostwritten for a handful of executives and entrepreneurs, I started to realize that the smartest people in each industry were also the ones who didn’t have time to share their knowledge—because they’re too busy running their company. So what happens? People search for answers to their questions online, only to find surface-level articles written by people who are trying to fill the void.
There are very few companies out there who can execute on this well. Very few that know the value of telling the story of the founder, and letting the people be the ones to share their insight. Call it building a personal brand. Call it becoming a thought leader in your industry. Whatever name you want to give it, the function is the same: readers, consumers, and prospective clients want to read highly insightful, valuable information, and that tends to live in the brains of the most knowledgable (and also the most time constrained) individuals in every organization.
The reason people aren’t reading your blog is because you aren’t sharing what you know best. The Internet does not need another “5 Tips To Make Your Blog More Search Engine Friendly” unless you are willing to go research the top 100 blog posts with that exact same title, pick apart why they are performing well and what they’re delivering that’s valuable, and then push yourself to write something even better.
And furthermore, if you want your blog posts, or your content on Quora, for example, to perform extremely well (and maybe even go viral), you need to weave in your own personal story.
Because what’s more engaging? A blog post that starts with, “The definition of entrepreneurship is…” or “When I became an entrepreneur, I was 22 years old living on my friend’s couch.” The latter, every time. People want personal stories, as much as they want knowledge. They want to be entertained just as much as they want to learn.
The best companies, the best people, and the most recognized personal brands, see and deliver on this value. They take the time to teach, educate, and share their best insights, while also artfully weaving in their personal story.
If you want your written content to perform well, this is the winning recipe.
Answer people’s questions, and tell them what makes you, you.
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