Monday, February 24, 2014

25 dumb but important content creation lessons you should probably know:

Content creation can be really dumb and boring but then we are in period of our history where information rules and that is probably why as a content creation stylist you just need to keep doing what you know best which is creating contents for a highly demanding, intelligent and sometimes foolish audience.

25 dumb content creation lessons

For this reason I’ve learnt some lessons writing, drafting, posting and observing content creation trends online and I’ll be summarizing these lessons in 25 points, some of the lessons you probably know, while some would be mind boggling but true, while the rest could sound really weird and even stupid depending on how rich your sense of humor is; so feel free to agree or disagree with me through your comments: join me:

 

  1. Quality content is not always “quality”: Forget about all this talk about what quality content is trust me I’ve seen so much crap contents with no obvious value to the searcher dominating the SERPs, Google is guilty of this, Bing too and most recently Yahoo has joined in the fray.My candid advise here is write with all you’ve got, just give it your best shot and leave the rest. I’ve done this a couple of times and I’ve seen most of my posts making number one, two and counting up to ten of the first page(s) of Google SEPR especially. So forget all those dumb stuff those naysayers and doomsday cyber prophets are preaching on writing quality content, the question here is do most of these people practice what they preach? well your guess is as good as mine.
  2. Knowing some SEO will not always get you ranked: When most people go about singing the SEO anthem to gullible ears I’m like what the hell??? I know some of the big guys in the game like Brian Clark, Jeff Bullas, Carol Tince and more have this personal formula they all apply to dominate their niche and not some old wives SEO tale or something, not forgetting the fact that these guys are more like institutions whose credibility and authority is almost sacrosanct. So Google and its dumb bots can’t help it but frequently serenade their respective sites for regular content updates to serve to the searchers. Though one cannot relegate this practice (SEO) to the background, but I’ll tell you authoritatively that it aint everything. Just get your acts right by crafting good headlines, using appropriate searchable keywords, social bookmark your contents, interlink your post and other content optimizing activity that’ll help those contents with quality traffic, but don’t just think that doing all that will make you stay at the top of the SERP. Remember you are not the only smart guy out there with the touch to turn things in your favor, and let me ask you one thing- haven't you heard of brands? well that’s another thing you’ve got to be conversant with, because with all the best SEO tips right in your palm you still need to compete with the big brands like the mashables, hongkiats, probloggers, shoemoneys of this cyber world and being SEO complaint does not in any way convey you the wherewithal to outwit these guys. Yes never think your cheap SEO knowledge can make you arm twist your seniors, just do that which you can do, stay consistent, write truthfully, present your contents coherently then leave it to flourish. I have seen many of my posts dethroning those of the so called big guys but then it just happened not because of my SEO prowess, but because I just did it right, don’t ask me how!
  3. Keyword research though important is not necessarily everything: Keywords are the building blocks used to create searchable contents, but the jargons associated with keywords research and activity is most of the time burdensome to say the least. From LSI (Latent Semantic Index), Long tail, to short tail and more making up the protocol. I’ve always made a case for keywords researching, but I’ve recently discovered that even if its importance can never be compromised, the overdependence on its usage can indeed hamper the growth and visibility of contents. I’ve written many posts that did not even involve any sort of keyword researching yet most of these posts travelled all the way to the top of Google, Yahoo and even Bing’s search result pages seamlessly with no kind of distraction from the contents of the top guns in the game. But even with this I get to hear and read a lot about how holier than thou this activity is and I wonder if content creation is only hinged on how many good keywords you use?.  But sadly many webmasters and content creators often misplace its priority in the scheme of things. Another reason why keyword research is never everything can be seen in cases where keyword spamming abound, a process whereby webmasters overstuff their contents with contextual keywords in the bid to rank very high at the SERPs. Many of these webmasters and co have been penalized by various algo-updates released. For this simple reason many sensible content creators only build contents by writing naturally without considering those relevant keyword, they’d rather spread out those keywords along the length and breath of the content, than get all them all cramped up in one place and risk getting a$$ whopped by the penguin. So my 2 cents advise here- just do your thing, lookup good and relevant keywords, use them naturally avoiding the temptation to stuff the content with these keywords because doing so will only get your contents penalized instead of getting it ranked, get a clue!
  4. Social media metrics are quite important for ranking well: With Google almost plusing all of its products with the Google+ button, we are steadily entering the slippery zone where contents will be ranked based on its strength in social media circles. In this regard, your content’s superiority at the SERPs will be determined based on the number of Facebook shares and Likes, Twitter re-tweets, Google Pluses, LinkedIn Shares, Pinterest Re-pins, number of Tumblr Re-blogs and so forth. This is why many of the big guys and savvy ones are constantly repositioning their content marketing plans to synchronize with the latest social media marketing trends that currently dominate the scenes. With this situation, it is now possible to see why building brands has become inevitable to a great extent. Social Media metrics have also evolved that staying behind the scenes is no longer an option but coming out of the open is becoming more of a norm than a choice. Lately I’ve seen many content creators/bloggers claiming their Google authorship for their various contents that I no longer distance myself from social media circles especially Google+ and Twitter because ignoring these two power tools would only be detrimental to my long term content promotion ideals, so don’t !
  5. Traffic can come from where you least expect: This is one thing that quite intrigues me because there’s this belief in internet marketing circles that search traffic is the only traffic that converts, though this assertion have been proven to be the case but I’ve seen lead conversion traffic coming from places you least expect. More so, other traditional traffic sources like Social Medias Networks, emails, guest posting and more might not even be where your most important traffic would be coming from. Cases of quality traffic coming from non-traditional sources like referrals, offline sources and just places where you might never dream of should in no way surprise you because it happens all the time. All you need to do is create quality and viral-bound contents, promote them via the many channels available and sit back and watch as the drama unfold. Don’t be surprised when you enter a drinking pub and hear some of ya pals telling others about how cool your site, blog or YouTube channel is, trust me I’ve gone down that road and I know what it is like!
  6. Being number one on Google’s SERP does not mean you’ll stay there forever, just enjoy it while it lasts: I had this blog post dominating the SERP at number one for weeks some time in June 013. I used to wake up every morning using various keywords to search for contents related to the topic. No matter how I coin the words, twist it, add more stuff as long as the main keyword is part of my primary search term, this blog post keeps popping up and sitting comfortably at number one. I was so elated that I felt like king of the SERPs till I woke up one morning to smile at my post in its traditional or so I thought number one position only to be greeted with the sad reality that the said post was not even relegated to number two, or three or even ten position, but has been completely removed from Google’s SERP. At first I thought it was some joke till I scrolled down to the last result page, then furiously went to the second SERP page, to the third, fourth and so on. Damn! what is happening? where’s my post? I was hysterical, sad, uncoordinated and mad till I realized my blog was “penguinized”, when this sad reality hit me, I realized that nothing good last forever rather make the most of it while it lasts. This a message to y’all- always remember you aint the real deal but just some lucky chap whose goods are currently the most prized, treat your content(s) like this, do all that is required as far as promotion goes, when in domination make sure you do all that is necessary with your hot number one post and never get surprised when it leaves that position to some unfavorable one. Even the best bloggers, SEO’s, writers and so on have seen their hot pieces been taken out times without number. Remember things like relevancy, trends and events has a way of impacting on the SERPs considering the fact that algorithm tweaks are necessary every now and then for them bots to be as contemporary as possible.
  7. Search bots though revered are as stupid as a dumb crying kid: I feel so stuffy all the time watching Google’s chief of web-spam Mr.Matt Cutts speaking on the many incessant changes made to make their bots more intelligent and suggestive, Bing on the other hand was at a time running some smear campaign on Google’s bots; something the latter termed as “getting scroogled” claiming that their bots where bringing better search results than Google’s, a position still riddled in controversy and obvious contradiction. Yahoo on the other hand has also been busy trying to add more complexity to make their own bots behave more like super bots. With all these modifications and upgrades one thing I can say here is- all, I mean all search bots are dumb and very stupid. They are more like crying little babies with a soaked diaper waiting for their mama to wipe them clean. I say this because in my many years of using Google, Yahoo and Bing as search engines; I’ve been served most of the time with really dumb, irrelevant and sad result pages unrelated to what I was actually searching for. So what’s it with the image makers of these search engines trying to sell us some snakes oil marketing muse of being the best, best at what? delivering pathetic search results? lets have some peace please!
  8. Google’s algorithm is dumb: I thought you just spoke on search bots now? Well I did technically but this time around I’m specifically speaking of Google’s myriad of algorithm changes that the search giant had initiated for some time now. Be it Panda, Penguin, Exact Match Algorithm, Hummingbird and other lesser known changes and tweaks to their original search algorithm. All I can say is everyone of them algo-change albeit pseudo-intelligent were actually dumb. I know many will disagree with me on this one but I daresay here which one of these algorithm tweaks has brought on the much talked about search satisfaction as being portrayed? None my dear as all has been saddled in one controversy or the other. Take the Panda for example, when it came on board many sites were penalized and termed “Link Farms” some like ehow.com recovered, hubpages is still struggling to get things back to pre-panda status while others have gone into oblivion. But did the panda succeed in ridding the web from duplicate contents? Well I can’t answer this question because I still see cases of the same type of content copied and pasted across many web platforms still making it to the very top of Google’s search pages without even breaking a sweat. What of the EMD algo? This particular change really made me term all these Google tweaks so dumb and utterly unfounded (wonder what those words mean???). Some cyber cynics termed the EMD a change targeted at the small mom-and pop online biz with no big Adwords budget, this might be true because only big brands with big money to spend on pay-per-click had Google to thank for, since this particular change did somehow help them dominate Google serps for some targeted and competitive keyword(s)  as a result of being big Brands which was never the case in the past when Google championed “online democracy”. The question on the lips of many even as I write this, is– how can Google who used to be a strong defender of the weak and small now change overnight to become a help to the big monsters sorry brands who are snuffing the life from the small ones? Tell me what can be dumber than this?
  9. Never disregard comments: Every person wants to get a comment or two on their posts as this shows some level of reader engagement and interaction. But I’ve noticed that some of the big guys in the game whose blogs and sites entertain a large pool of comments on virtually every post are most of the time lazy to respond or moderate their comments. One thing I truly love about Steve Haws of Nichepursuits is that Steve takes his time to respond to every little comment on every of his posts. No matter how big a person is I’ve learnt that disregarding comments even the disparaging ones can impact negatively on you since the readers who see you more like an authority will start questioning your ability and even credibility when the much needed response they’d love to see from you on a question or enquiry is left unanswered for days, weeks and even months. Comments are very powerful and engaging that relegating them to the background will stymie your progress as you race to becoming one of the big and trusted brands in your niche. So never disregard a comment rather treat it like you would treat any other.
  10. Twitter is to a writer what…: I don’t know what Twitter is to you but to every writer/blogger I know this social media platform is a powerful content marketing tool. I know Google is shoving its plus Social Network down our throats by coercing every Googler to use it for virtually everything Google. Twitter still remain the most potent content promotion tool for me and since I figured this out I’ve always stuck my all for Twitter and I bet you should too. Imagine getting a re-tweet of one of your posts from a top guy like Seth Godin, just imagine the possibility of such a content going viral in a matter of minutes because it Seth says its good, then Seth’s many followers (which I happen to one of them) has this belief that it is very good! That is the power of Twitter and I’d suggest you open up an account if you are yet to join the train. Get re-tweets, mentions, follow hot trends, fraternize with the stars and assert yourself as one of the big revelations. Twitter is really powerful and utilizing this tool to your own very advantage as a writer cum blogger can indeed accelerate your progress in the bid to dominate your niche.
  11. Contents that sound cynical are truly loved by people: the world’s history can never be replete of cynics because there’s actually something that kinda sounds attractive when something and in this context a content’s topic sound cynical. For example the title of this blog post- “25 dumb but important…” the words “dumb but important” sounds cynical and hence people will love to click through to see this contradicting title and what it has in stock. That’s the extent of how big a cynic many people can be, this is one lesson I’ve seriously learnt that I now implement some level of cynicism in my writings and arguments. However I’ll state here that I’m one big cynic (who isn't?), since it comes to me naturally, so using it becomes sort of rudimentary to me. People love contents criticizing the government and its many obnoxious policies, contents that throws some jabs at a self-conceited celeb, satirical writings  critiquing religion, sex, social beliefs and more. This is why many love Italy’s controversial journalist, social critic and the biggest known cynic Oriana Fallaci. She was declared a persona-non-grata in the Muslim world for her anti-Islamist views amongst other very cynical things about Late Miss Fallaci, but many especially women with feminist views love this delectable yet detestable lady for who she really is (was) – a cynic. This is a perfect example on how cynical contents are so loved and longed for, why not convert to cynicism and make your contents cynical, just kidding!
  12. Articles that are written as lists “Rock!” : 25 things, 10 reasons, 5 ways, 12 places, 15 best, 100 tools that… and so on; I don’t know why contents presented as a list has this way of swaying readers and content viewers to click on articles, podcasts, videos that are presented in list style. You most likely clicked on this post to see these 25 dumb lessons I was talking about. People love reading and viewing lists of people, things, places, items and so on. List are very important for various reasons, it could be for buyers to make informed decisions on what’s best to buy, tourists need destination and information regarding spots they are planning to visit before commencing on any travel can be quite golden, on the other hand it could be out of mere curiosity while at other times it could be just for plain entertainment. Whatever it is, doing contents that are presented as lists really rock, try this and you’ll agree with me!
  13. Every writer is dumb: whoa! that’s really excessive but sadly true and I don’t even have any clear cut reason for this allusion but I know this is the case. Yes every writer is truly dumb if not so why do we go all out writing whatever content we deem readable? go figure because that’s all I have to say as far as this point goes, if you feel as a writer you aint dumb then make a case for yourself by dropping a comment after this and lets see what makes you any different from the rest.
  14. Writer’s block is a virtue: Writer’s block is kinda like a blessing in disguise because without any form of check in place, then you’ll see so many insane people running all over the place as a result of going nuts after busting a few lines of words. With writer’s block every writer takes time to come up with good content coherent and brilliant enough for public consumption or better still we’ll have a situation where we read more crap than we are already reading. Even great content creators like Brian Clark of Coppyblogger has his own fair share of writer’s block (all the time) and he’ll agree with me that this big hole really helped make him a better and creative writer. One other thing that makes writer’s block a darling is that it tasks the creative genius and brings out the ingenuity embedded in every writer, it makes you scratch your brains deeper, network more, think differently from the bandwagon and even go the extra miles to come up writable ideas. I hear of people talking of fighting writer’s block all the time and I feel like laughing my heart’s content out because no matter how many good tips you read, if you cannot write at a given time and moment, nothing will make you write till when your creativity returns that is after scratching your brain cells till it bleeds. So next time you’re faced with writer’s block, just look at things from the bright side, read some tips that can help but always remember it is a natural phenomenon that’ll always reoccur no matter how great a writer you are Just look at it like a time to break away from your screen, pads and more, think of it as a virtue!
  15. Controversy could be that content elixir you seriously need: Every controversial piece sells like hot cakes and many top writers add a little of it here and there to spice up their writings. I see some writers/bloggers complaining of how difficult it is to get their contents read and shared the way they’ll love and I’m like hey! why not add a little controversy and sees how it goes? One thing that makes Danny Sullivan one go-to guy as far as search engine politics is concerned is that most of the time Danny spins some interesting conspiracy theories on varied search engine actions and people who read these things could get agitated and react to the news. Most of the time Danny is right and this is one thing that makes him thick and revered whenever issues relating to search comes up. Even Matt Cutts respects this guy a lot just because he is the search engines watchdog, the pulse of the people and above all the controversial guy whose controversy sells. I write an adult blog and this is where I actually display some level of controversy in my writings and I’ve had quite a plethora of interesting feedbacks via comments on some of the controversial issues I’ve raised on many topics and people; I find it thrilling most of the time and at other times I just feel indifferent but the main thing here is that my view(s) which I got from thinking out of the box did send the message. Looking at some of the points I raised here (this post precisely), you’ll rightly point out many controversial  points raised, if you can’t see one at least points 13 and 14 are perfect examples of controversy at work. Though I don’t purposely drop these controversial viewpoints just to indiscriminately elicit comments and reactions, no. This is just how I feel about an issue or situation so I can’t help expressing it in a way that might be shocking and disagreeing to you, if you don’t like it why not try out some and see that controversy truly sells!
  16. Never assume you are the best: I’ve seen, viewed and read so many contents that can last me a lifetime but I’m yet to see or read the best. But I see some people who come out here to assume they are the best at what they do can you imagine??! Even the very knowledgeable ones who are plain authorities in their chosen niche still assume they are still learning so what is it about you being the best? Well just forget about being the best and concentrate on building interesting and engaging contents for your readers, at least that’s what I do, that’s what Hongkiat Lim does, what about Carol Tince, Steve Haws, Jeff Bullas and all the top guys, they write, create, produce and write again. They don’t go about telling their readers how great a writer, blogger, SEO, Freelancer or guru they are, instead they help these readers and searchers with interesting tips on how to get things right going by their own individual experiences as regards the topic in focus.
  17. Content is not always king?: Content is always king???-says who? Bill Gates?? Well whatever you want to believe content is only king and not always king. Do you write articles and wait for those articles to promote themselves? I heard you wrote an ebook, will you wait for the ebook to crawl on its own into the inbox and shelves of your prospective readers? What of your podcast? videos? webinars? slides and pictograph? Are these contents fairing well from just being kings without subjects (readers/viewers)? Well its time you think again about this content being a king chant and start singing a new song because every good content needs all the embellishments for such a content to succeed. What I’m saying here is even if content is king it needs its queen which is distribution, it also require its butler (good site design) and of course it core subjects (the readers, searchers and every other person). With all these in place, then content can now be said to be king. So don’t go assuming that writing or creating a good content is enough, sorry because you need to promote and distribute the content to where it is required. So when next you hear or read about content being king, just walk up and get that content dethroned because it need its subjects to succeed.
  18. Writing for me is better than writing for you: That’s about the most cynical thing I’ve written so far but then I’ve always heard this – write for your readers and not for yourself. Though I agree with this but what about me writing the content, don’t I have a say too in what its best for me and not some reader millions of miles away from me? Yes most of the time I need to write and express myself just the exact way I feel. I don’t know who’s going to be reading my contents and I seldom worry about that. I just need to be happy and write and express myself with no fear of contradiction, I just need to do things the way I’ll feel better pleased and I feel my writings should somehow reflect or convey those feelings. Why should I always please some random searcher, reader or conspiracy theorists who’d disagree with me based on my point of view? I’ve seen that at the end of the day its about me. Look at the big guys who you’ll presume write for you, why is it we always talk about them? why do we always talk of Seth, Danny, Carol, Darren? Yet it is always assumed that these guys produce contents for us, but why do they always steal the show. This is why I’ve decided to be selfish even for once and applaud myself, write because I want to write, drop my point of views as raw and as unrefined as I deem fit with no care in the world or thought for some random unknown guy who might even flag my content for spam. You might not like this, but believe me it is not always about them, make it about you and you better not feel guilty but good about it, okay?
  19. Pictures don’t always tell the story, words do: Pictures add aesthetic value to your contents, they also make your contents a little more descriptive to your viewer. But I find it so unprofessional when some writers and bloggers now place pictures over content. No matter how pretty your pictures are what search engines are looking out for is text. Though it is always advisable to use the alt attribute for your image tag to help the foolish bots read and index your pictures contextually. Even at that, good pictures can never take the place of good and well written text, it’ll only add more beauty to your content but the text will add more brilliance to your content.
  20. A powerfully designed site does not guarantee a lesser bounce rate: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and every other big tech giant all have simple, clean and easily navigable sites. Their Page ranks hover between 9-10 even as simple as their designs are. But many inexperienced and uninformed audience have this believe that with the best site design their site’s bounce rate will reduce, well if you still think along this warped lines then you need to wake up from your slumber and get your acts right. What people need is information and not some flash images distorting their views, hiring the best developer, designer or even SEO can only make things a little better. its best you spend that money sourcing for contents at freelance sites. With a well written, researched and properly arranged content, your bounce rate is greatly reduced because people who read your stuff will also share it, plus, re-tweet it and even email it to their friends, family and colleagues (another opportunity for that content to go viral), All a good site design will do is make your visitors sigh and even hiss when you fail to deliver the information that first brought them to your site.
  21. Writing about your passion or hobbies might not be as easy as been preached: I wonder why many think this is easy, well I’ve heard this many times and its really unfortunate that some really dumb writers like me are quick to take this hook, line and sinker. Well I’ll tell you if push come to shove writing all about that passion or hobby of yours might make you contradict yourself if you don’t know what you are doing. I love birds a lot, yet finding the right words to write about these feathery creatures have not been so easy for me. Though it is much easier when you write about things you know so well, but remember it is never gonna be easy-peasy but one hell of an act that must be gotten right at all cost because so much is at stake here.
  22. Write what you know and not what you think you know- originality: When I first got onboard writing contents online, I had this strange belief that I need to write contents based on what other people were talking about. Then the really ubiquitous contents that made the rounds were solely based on the how to make money blogging online niche. I joined the train talking about what I know nothing of. I talked about making money when I was yet to make a dime from blogging, I spoke passionately about Adsense even when I was yet to get an approved account not to talk of getting my first Adsense check. I sounded really stupid at the time and thinking back now, it was really dumb and foolish to say the least. All I’m trying to say here is being original sets you aside from the rest, never write or state things you know so little or nothing about, the big guys who are currently making waves are as strong and incredible as they are simply because of their originality. If you are still confused on what to write about, just look inward and I bet you’ll find your niche right on time and with the snap of a finger that originality I’m talking about will be firmly established.
  23. Use a little humor to spice your articles: The world is currently enmeshed in so much worries ranging from economic recession to wars and hunger that so many readers and content viewers could use a little humor here and there to lessen the burden casts by these minions of problems, that is if you know how to apply it contextually to your contents. Blogging though serious business needs a little break which in this case can be made possible by introducing some humor to your writings. Adding some spicy and laughable words and twists can sure make it more enjoyable for your consumers reading your stuff because it’ll make you sound more like a next door neighbor in some pajamas sipping some wrongly brewed cup of coffee while exchanging some early morning gossips. If you are doing some DIY stuff, you need to get your readers in the mood by humoring them a little, you can tell them of the blunders and problems you faced while learning what you are teaching them. Being satirical can also be humorous, many political bloggers have made various parodies on things like Obama care, Rep Boehner's strong stance on capitalism and more. Number one celebrity blogger and entrepreneur Perez Hilton made millions all from humoring his readers while making celebs a butt of his jokes while reporting their blunders and idiosyncrasies, this made him the number one celeb enemy and earned him many law suits and litigations for various assaults like defamation of character, emotional and traumatic abuse, privacy violation and other law suits initiated against Perez by some of the angered celebs who felt insulted and humiliated by his humorous posts. But Perez kept at what he was doing and largely used humor to entertain and educate millions of his readers. So invent some humor in your writings and contents and I bet your writings and other humor filled contents will be so loved.
  24. writing is boring: I hear of people thrilling their gullible audience on how writing is so fulfilling and gets to their soul captivating their minds and body like making love to a loved one, seriously?. The truth here is no matter how deeply entrenched and passionate you are about the topic in focus, putting the words together is always boring. Ask all the top guys and they sure will agree with me on this one. Yes writing is not sometimes boring but always boring. Do you think I’m finding it easy and entertaining tasking my brains to write 25 points all in one swoop? If that is what you think, then sorry boss that’s being delusional (sorry no pun intended).
  25. Hey! look! there goes a panda! oh no it the Penguin! but it just hummed like a Hummingbird!: Who wants to get on the bad side of Google and its minions? No matter how hated and despised this search giant with a penchant for hammering and badgering ailing webmasters, being wary of its many checks and balances which it initiates through the many algorithm changes widely instituted in the past couple of years is at best what a sensible blogger, podcaster, video blogger and all round content creation hustler should do. Be it Panda, Penguin, EMD and most recently the humming bird each one of these changes came along with its attendant and unsavory change that completely changed the rules. It favored some and killed others, some of the aggrieved ones have even filed various suits against the search giant making some outrageous demands yet Google remains undeterred doing what it feels best is good for the Internet and indeed for themselves (how selfish!). 

This are some 25 basic lessons I was talking about and congrats for reading thus far, don’t fail to drop your comments and reactions, remember every writer is dumb so this could as well be the case here, feel free to say so. It’s a free world you know!

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