Thus far, Lorelle (of Lorelle on WordPress) has shared her views on how to stay motivated, and common mistakes bloggers make. We’re now moving onto a question that has often been controversial.
Let’s hear what Lorelle has to say on this one.
3) It’s written that content is King (or Queen) Do you think excellent content is still the determining factor for a great blog, or is content that’s just “good”, good enough?
One of the things that infuriates me about the United States election process is that mediocre is the best choice for candidates. Wouldn’t want to go for the best as they probably have a past. They are the best because of their past. They crashed and burned and walked out of the fire wiser. Unfortunately, we’ve become a nation of “good enough” and settlers – settling for half-assed, middle of the road, not-too-hot-not-too-cold Goldilocks mentality. And we settle for half-assed, middle of the road, boring blogging all the time.
If good enough is your best in blogging, and you can do no better, live with it. You are just another of the millions of bloggers babbling on, sharing your insights and opinions. If you can do better, ask yourself why you aren’t. Your answer might be that it is time to stop blogging. Or a kick in the blogging butt to do better.
If you are blogging your very best, celebrate. And let your readers and fans celebrate you, too. Content will always win, but the issue isn’t so much about good and bad writing. As to the real questions you are asking, if the best writers have the best blogs, the answer is no – and maybe.
First, you must define the difference between good writing and excellent writing, and then explore what that really means on the web.
I spent the past few years on a mission to read all the books by Terry Pratchett and Alan Dean Foster, along with a few of my favorite other writers. I was so lost within the magic of their turns of phrases, the worlds they created that are so lifelike and real – when I finally turned to other authors collecting dust on the shelves, I was disappointed. Are they bad writers? No. Are they magical writers? No. Were they interesting books to read? Sure, but they left me wanting more.
The difference between a good writer and an awesome writer is a fine line. Did I hate the books? No. They just didn’t swirl me away into my imagination, letting their stories dance in my head as I worked all day long, eager to rush pack to their pages for the next step in the adventure – adventures I’d read before but wanted to relive. There’s a fine line between the two levels of writing quality, and many settle for the average, but once you’ve tasted the best of the bread, it’s hard to go back to white bread.
I think that you can be a good enough writer and have a very successful blog. I wish that more brilliant writers had more success with their blogs, but they don’t. For a variety of reasons, none of which has to do with the quality of writing.
Content rules, there is no doubt, but content well-written for the web is different from other writing styles. It must have keyword-rich content stuffed with search terms. It must have short, snappy phrases and paragraphs, and make its point in the first 200 words or the reader bounces away. It takes a lot of skill to turn that writing style into excellent quality writing, while still keeping the reader coming back for more.
But this is also not the point of your question. Popular bloggers inspire conversation, not writing. It isn’t about what they write as much as how it makes the reader think – and respond. It’s a different way of thinking – and writing. The most successful bloggers understand that content rules, but the conversation rules more. That’s the real answer.
I’ve read this answer many times. Every time I read it, and then read Lorelle’s final words, I get the chills. To me, her answer is excellent content, and I’m wanting more.
What do you think? Is good, good enough?
Do we concentrate so much on the content, we’ve forgotten about the conversation?
Can we have both?
Photo Credit: Lorelle’s Logo