Are you guilty of spamducation?
Spamducation is a white paper, special report, video, podcast or manifesto that claims to solve a pressing reader problem, but is in fact a thinly disguised ad. Jon Stribling describes them as “compelling headlines and disappointing content written by amateurs or second-rate copywriters.”
The content is too often a lame version of work done by a real expert. (You know, someone who cared enough about the topic to actually learn a lot about it.)
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of content marketing. Which means I’m a huge opponent of badly done content marketing.
Sloppy, junky, selfish content just gives the legitimate folks a bad name.
The first rule of Copyblogger is you do not publish content that sucks.
Why do we hammer you every week with techniques to make your writing sharper, crisper, more effective, and more magnetic?
To let you create content that’s as strong and alive as it can possibly be.
Sure there are tools that will let you hack, mash, smash, and mangle someone else’s content into a word soup that Google thinks is original.
Google won’t help you if no one wants to read what you’ve got to say.
The second rule of Copyblogger is you do NOT publish content that sucks.
There are plenty of “push-button” systems out there that claim to teach you how to succeed wildly with content marketing and social media.
How to build a six-figure business on Twitter without having anything to actually say.
How to spend 45 seconds a day on Facebook and churn out killer profits.
How to turn YouTube or Digg or Squidoo into an effortless cash machine.
And some of those systems probably work, at least to some degree.
If you have content that doesn’t suck.
So what makes for content that doesn’t suck?
Great content comes from craft, care, and attention, not talent.
It comes from obsessively focusing on what your reader wants. What’s bugging her? What problem is she having a hard time solving? What does she want more than anything? What’s she dreaming about? What wakes her up at 3 in the morning? What makes her feel like a beautiful and unique snowflake?
It comes from studying proven techniques, trying them out, and watching what works best for you and your readers.
Most people are afraid to improve their writing because it looks like work.
And I’ll tell you the secret the scam gurus never will. It is work.
It’s work the same way that sailing is work. Or learning to play a ruthlessly good game of poker. Or mountain biking. Or cooking your way through every recipe in Julia Child. Or beating your best score in Rock Band.
Good copy and content writers don’t pore over our favorite writing references just to gain an advantage in our marketing. (Although that’s nice.)
We do it because it’s fun. We do it because we’re obsessed. We do it because it’s a fantastic game. We do it because we love to watch the human mind at work. We do it because we can. We do it because it’s an awesome high when it works.
Don’t let learning copywriting intimidate you. And don’t create content that sucks because you think it’s too hard to make something worth reading.
Instead, get intimidatingly good. You can, you know.