Letters from Home

Problogger Content Madness!

ProBlogger Trick ChicksOK, STOP already. Darren Rowse, the true-to-his-title “ProBlogger,” has tweeted, digged and dumped into my reader the same post, under a dozen different titles, over and over again and I can’t take it anymore!

So, to you Bloggers with no audiences, the answer to the repeated and repeated question, “Is Writing Great Content Enough to Build a Successful Blog?”is YES. But you are still screwed if you are looking for a book deal.

Why? Because the answer is, also, NO.

Here’s why. Blogging is not ABOUT content. But you do have to have Great Content to keep people reading.

Great Content, ReDefined

1. Definition. You have to know WHAT great content is before you can answer Probloggers great question. Which is impossible. I agree with Problogger, that the answer, in part, is READERS, but that is an end, not the means.

Why?  Readers don’t know what great content is until they read it. Then they define. Once they spot it, they love it up. Trying to guess at great content is a vicious cycle of trying to please a reader that hasn’t even arrived to your site yet.  Come on. That’s like stroking an invisible cat.

2. Definition, 2nd definition. “Great content” has to have, according to Problogger, “mojo.” This is true. However, this is like telling Joe-Blow-Blogger to go out and buy a personality. Most bloggers are as dry as dust and as boring to watch. Or, they have something to say, but really they don’t necessarily need to say it to a paying audience.

As the Carrie Fisher said in “When Harry Met Sally,” “Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste.”

The great thing about dull and personal blogs is this: Someone needs to love the wagon wheel coffee table. Put it to the curb and you are bound to have a few Lookie Lou’s and blog collectors  to notice ’em. Blogs aren’t all for cash and ads: in fact, when they started out, they were for little or no audience. Friends and family are that blog’s perfect visitors.

That said, there are a few things that Great Content usually are not:

  • Content that is repeated over and over
  • content that has been copied from someone else. (example: “Hey, check out this cool link!” is not even content.)
  • content that is stuffed in just to fill space because someone said you should post regularly to get more readers.

3. Definition, 3rd defintion. Blog=composition. Like music, like poetry, great blog content still follows the fundamental rules of human interaction with writing: it’s original, meaningful, clearly written, succinct, and in a word, beautiful. It doesn’t have to look like Penelope Cruz, mind you: but it doesn’t hurt if it has her proportions– along with Eddie Izzard’s brilliant wit and timing.

Problogger can teach you, by example, how to bleed a niche successfully and with Herculean diligence. What he occasionally mentions but has a hard time expressing is that Mojo-rrific personality that makes a blog’s content sing. Problogger and his content are exceptionally useful, but then so was the Borg. Nobody wants to go swing dancing with the Borg.

Just Say “No” to Content Obsession

Giving up on the quest for great content, for the elusive readers, for “success” in the form of bling-bling stats and ad revenue might be your best option. Here’s a paradigm: Try just blogging for awhile.  Remember how blogs all started?  Not with some robotrons idea of “content” — but with the bloggers themselves, and their right brain madnesses, splayed out on the web for all to see.

After all, you can’t have  cross-mojulation without smoke from spewing from jomblies and a few exploding heads.

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