A Rant on Why I Disagree with so many Blogging and Content Marketing Experts

by Marcus Sheridan

Let me be clear, this is NOT a personal attack on anyone. In fact, if a person’s name is mentioned here  in this post, it means I respect them greatly. Frankly, I don’t spend time online dropping names of people I don’t like.

For some reason though, some folks in this industry feel it’s not kosher to openly disagree with other bloggers and experts —like it’s a sign of disrespect or something. To me, that’s just crapola. If we never disagree amongst ourselves how in the heck are we going to make progress?

So for those of you that appreciate diversity, read on…

Nodding and Cringing at Content Marketing Advice

Christopher Penn is smart. Really smart. I have followed him for a long time and very much enjoy his work. But I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever loved and hated a post as much as the one he recently wrote entitled: How to Fix the Sad State of Content Marketing

First, let’s talk about what I loved.

In the post, as Christopher was talking about how to produce more and better content, he offered up the following suggestion:

Get smarter. Get more creative. How? First and foremost, if you’re a content creator for business, you absolutely must be out in the world talking to customers on a regular, frequent basis. Your best ideas will almost always come from seeing people at work with your products or services and observing the challenges they face. You can do that by going to conferences, visiting customers, helping out with customer service, and being a customer yourself of your company.

Any of you that have ever read anything that I’ve written know how obsessed I am with the principle that great blogging comes down to the 4 essential words I feel are the golden rule of Content Marketing—They Ask, You Answer.

In other words, unless someone is listening to their customers, clients, and prospects—they’ll run out of content fast. But if they listen well, a constant flow of ideas will come their way—just waiting for someone to tackle the question or subject online in a way that’s easy to understand for consumers. This point, along with his suggestion to utilize the talents of more than one person in the organization to produce content, were GREAT in my opinion.

But this also brings me to the 3 elements of this post (and a few others I’ll mention here) that I feel are  potentially bad advice to the many businesses across the world that are simply trying to get their arms wrapped around this marketing “stuff” we all yap about day in and day out.

1. The “Sad State of Content Marketing”

Is it accurate to say content marketing is in a sad state? I’d venture to say content marketing is pretty much in the same state it has been since…well…papyrus and cave carvings.

Fact is, some people are good at communicating, and some stink.

Some people are great teachers, and others stink.

Some people (and companies) look for cheap shortcuts in everything they do, while others do not.

But this isn’t specific to content marketing. This is the case with every single industry in the history of the world. It’s Pareto’s Law.

So just because a few companies are a content marketing train wreck doesn’t mean we should let the bad eggs represent the efforts of the masses.

2. Looking down on the concept of editorial calendars and frequent blogging:

Citing the “garbage content” that we often see online, Penn stated in  his post:

…The aforementioned Tom Webster correctly cites the issue of content production schedules as being the primary cause for this – if you commit to blogging a certain number of times per week, personally or organizationally, then you have to find content to fill those commitments. The easiest choice, as Tom points out in a recent blog post, is to abolish the content production schedule entirely and only share content when you have really great ideas to share, but for many businesses, that’s not a step that’s viewed as realistic.

Again, I strongly agreed and disagreed with both Penn’s thoughts and those of my wonderfully insightful friend Tom Webster referencing the negatives of producing too much content and the necessity to only write GREAT stuff. But before I explain why, let me show one other email that really bothered me last week from another person who I respect and admire that has done amazing things online—Jon Morrow.

In an email he sent out to his list last week with the subject line, “Are You Listening to these Old Farts? Tell me it ain’t so” Morrow stated:

Despite their mantels of authority, the majority of popular bloggers are just old farts masquerading as experts. Most of them started blogging five years ago or more, which may not seem like a long, but on the Internet, that makes them freaking ancient…And it also means a lot of their advice is outdated…For example, writing daily blog posts might’ve been a smart move five years ago, but it’s an outright waste of time now. Just ask any up-and-coming blogger who’s experimented with it, and they’ll tell you it’s true. So why are a lot of popular bloggers still pushing the whole “publish daily” strategy? They didn’t see the shift. In some ways, their own success prevents them from seeing it, kind of like a grandparent who retired after 30 years working for a big company advising you to do the same thing.”


Although both of these aforementioned paragraphs have legitimate points and can be seen as great advice, I’d submit the following:

1. Your industry has never-ending content: Yep, it’s true, especially if it (your blog) is based on consumer questions and answers. I’ve written hundreds of blogs about swimming pools as well as social media and haven’t even covered 1% of the content I could potentially discuss.  In fact, I’d challenge anyone to show me any blog that is a true Wiki of that industry and covers more than even 50% of potential consumer questions regarding that product/service/field/etc.

2. If you’re answering questions (content marketing the right way), success will parallel frequency: Currently, I have clients that are lawyers, software developers, government contractors, manufacturers, consultants, etc., etc. The group is incredibly diverse, but one principle remains true for every single one of them—

The biggest factor that leads to blogging and content marketing success (leads, sales, brand awareness, blah, blah, and blah) is their ability to POST OFTEN.

But then again, I don’t talk to my clients about being “awesome” or “epic” with the content they produce. To me, those are relative terms that change with every brain determining their qualification.  Rather, my clients follow the golden rule approach and are simply looking to apply the kindergarten teacher methodology and distill basic truths in a very basic language. To me, this is the essence of the “awesome content” that should be the focus of blogging and social media experts within their teachings.

But for Morrow to say that writing every day is an “outright waste of time”—although possibly applicable to some people who write about social media (many of which attained success early on and now don’t need the frequency), it clearly doesn’t apply to the majority of industries in this world (outside the “blog-o-sphere”) that have way more demand (consumer questions) than supply (answers). And with the deep web analytics I have from clients, my studies show just the opposite is  true.

3. Like anything, blogging and content marketing are a discipline: Sure, one can easily argue that editorial calendars suck the life out of “epic content” and “pillar posts” but I can tell you that a huge majority of every small and large organization out there that has achieved content marketing success uses some type of calendaring and accountability system.

Without a calendaring system, especially at first, it’s EXTREMELY difficult to get better at this thing we call blogging and content marketing. Why? Because it never become a culture. Just as payroll is a culture in an organization that happens on a set schedule, so should blogging be for the majority of businesses looking to make a run at a successful digital marketing campaign.

Frankly, I really don’t think calendars are the problem at all when it comes to good or bad content. Rather, most companies still don’t understand what they should even be blogging, talking, and teaching about in the first place.

3. The Unrealistic Expectation of Great Content

My final disagreement, and the strongest one of the three, comes with the closing statement Penn made in his post. He says:

Like a restaurant, you only need to serve up one plate of garbage instead of a good meal to lose someone forever.

Do you know the biggest reason why companies large and small don’t embrace great content, communication, and teaching on their websites?

Because if they can’t do it GREAT, and be AWESOME, they elect not to do it at all.

In other words, FEAR wins.

Instead of Godin’s “Just Ship It,” it becomes a motto of “Just sit on it and over-analyze the stupid thing.”

Businesses are so scared to death of not doing everything just right that they never do anything at all.

This isn’t NASA folks. Content marketing is not a space shuttle. Perfect is not a requirement, nor is it even attainable.

Plus, we can’t be afraid to lose readers and turn people off. In fact, just the opposite is true.

And speaking of “serving garbage on a plate,” just look at the first blog articles on my swimming pool site—River Pools. Without question, I served up garbage almost 3 times a week for the first few months of blogging.

I was a bad writer.

I was a bad blogger.

I was a poor communicator.

And nothing was “epic.”

But somehow, some way, the “little website that could” is now the most trafficked website in the world for inground swimming pool construction.

The Sales Lion is no different. I cringe when I go back and read those initial posts on this blog. It’s almost like they were written by a different person.

But at the same time, each post was a victory. Each post was a learning experience. And each post was a small rung on the ladder that got me to where I am today (wherever that may be).

Write More Crap

So I say go write some crap. Seriously. Accept your imperfections while giving your best. Allow yourself to learn, screw up often and grow without comparing yourself to the content demands so many experts online are espousing.

Will there be bumps along the way?

Yep, absolutely, but assuming you have the right intentions, no word produced by your hand for the world to see will ever be a waste of your time. I sincerely mean that.

So that’s my take folks. That’s where I stand. And I welcome your diverse opinions below.

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{ 116 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken Mueller December 4, 2012 at

All I can say is Amen. I think you really nailed it on this, in finding the balance on things.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

Yep, balance is what this is all about Ken. Thanks so much for starting things off man. :-)

Marcus

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Colleen December 4, 2012 at

As a small business marketer in our 2nd year of implementing inbound and content marketing techniques, I thank you for this post! There are a lot of “experts” out there who want to share their do’s and don’t’s and while I think most have valuable bits to take away, there are a lot of scare tactics being presented. Thank you for standing up and disagreeing! If nothing else, it gives a different perspective on a set of advice for me to make my mind up on how I want to run our program. And thank you for embracing the editorial calendar…my type A personality is forever grateful! All joking aside, the editorial calendar and schedule of blogs has helped make our content development program part of the culture here. Without it, it would be pushed to the back-burner and done when people “had time” which is never in a small company. Having a calendar gives everyone a sense of accomplishment and compels them to strive to be better on the next post. Well done, as always, Marcus.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

What a smile this comment brought me Colleen. Sounds like you’re one heck of a content marketing leader!!

Smiles,

Marcus

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Jamie Alexander December 4, 2012 at

I can see this from two sides. I can completely understand where you’re coming from and can see why businesses might need more content.

But I try to get people to take action with my content about once per week. If I did that every day people wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it.

I guess it all depends on your industry, so people should test everything.

I also think people have a habit of thinking everyone thinks the same, as if epic content is better than just giving someone a simple answer. But again, it completely depends on which industry.

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Tea Silvestre, aka the Word Chef December 4, 2012 at

Jamie’s right. It all depends on the industry, size of the business, and what exists on the interwebz already. I’m a business of one, so I really don’t need to worry about my company culture (at least, right now). I also write/blog about marketing strategies and copy writing — which has been blogged to DEATH already. An editorial calendar gets in my way. I have to be on the lookout for cracks and holes and unanswered questions — and then address them before someone else does (or from a different angle) if I want to be successful. But a larger business in an industry without a lot of pre-existing content could certainly benefit from writing even poorly written answers to their audience’s questions.

My focus currently is on getting people to take action on content — not just read it. I think that for many of us in the echo chamber, it’s high time we focused on getting results vs. just writing more epic shit.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

The echo chamber is a whole blog rant within itself Tea ;-)

Personally, I don’t care if something has been written about a million times, there will always be plenty of people that don’t understand or know about what is being taught. Plus, I think individual takes and opinions on saturated subjects are still incredibly important to distill.

Thanks so much for dropping by Tea!

Marcus

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

You’re right Jaime, this is a subject that literally changes w every single industry.

And YES, epic is often found in the most simple of answers!

Marcus

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Mark Schaefer December 4, 2012 at

Indirectly, I think you are agreeing with a premise I put forth two weeks ago on my blog — the true key to content marketing success is to be first and to be overwhelming. Hurts to say that but it’s true. Quality does not necessarily matter. As you stated, your pool website won the Google battle because you were first and overwhelming, not necessarily any good. Furthermore, if a competitor came along that did provide better content, it probably wouldn;t matter because the game is already over due to sheer volume. So your directive to keep writing crap rings true. To that extent, I do agree with Christopher. That is a sad state.

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Russ Henneberry December 4, 2012 at

Mark — I don’t think Marcus is advocating “writing crap” as much as he is advocating pushing through the writing of the crap to get to the good stuff. His directive as I see it is to not let the fact that it is crap keep you from moving forward.

I think one of the issues here is the tremendous echo chamber that blogging, social media and content marketing experts live in. When I spoke at Blog World New York in the summer it was very apparent that many of the “experts” don’t work with traditional businesses.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I do think that traditional business owners (an accountant, a cleaning company, a swimming pool company) are taking advice from experts that are only experienced in teaching bloggers how to teach other bloggers how to teach bloggers to blog.

When blogging for a traditional business, what an expert may deem as crap could contain the exact information a prospect needed to move forward as a customer.

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Paige Holden December 4, 2012 at

Russ,

Great post. There is an enormous difference between blogging about blogging for other bloggers and then blogging for a business in an industry with people who are just starting to understand what a blog is. I blog for a moving company, one of the more archaic industries out there. What may be considered “crap” to a blogging expert might actually a decent read for the target audience.

Cheers,
Paige

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

That’s exactly why I think our vernacular is misleading Paige, because “blogging” has become way too broad and means way too many things to different people at this point.

Hope we can get this fixed ;-)

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Marcus

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Jenn Whinnem December 4, 2012 at

“are taking advice from experts that are only experienced in teaching bloggers how to teach other bloggers how to teach bloggers to blog.” It can feel like one giant pyramid scheme.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

True-dat Jen Whinnem ;-)

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Geoff Livingston December 5, 2012 at

And when you listen too much, you find yourself lagging behind those voices. Then you realize you’ve become a second tier version of them. And then you get really mad.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

Mark, easily this was one of the best comments I’ve read so far because in many ways you said what I was trying to say, but did it better ;-)

Yes, I’m not saying we fling terds on a page and laugh about it. Rather, this is a post about a willingness to grow, improve, learn, and make honest mistakes.

And yes, we can’t forget about the other 99%!

Great stuff my man!

Marcus

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

I have felt for quite some time Mark we are in the midst of a content marketing arms race, with mass and point of entry playing HUGE factors for the foreseeable future.

But honestly, that being said, I truly believe the search engines will eventually catch up and be the “content graders” we’d all hope to see.

Thanks for adding your thoughts bud,

Marcus

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Mark Schaefer December 4, 2012 at

Lets hope so. I’d like to think that great content will win out but time will tell. There are a lot of other factors at play.

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Bob Reed December 4, 2012 at

Clap. Clap. Clap.

No, I’m not borrowing Gini’s Facebook question of the week intro. You get a hearty round of applause for this post.

Ultimately, blogging is to acknowledge and recognize an audience and what they need. This not only applies to blogging, but every bit of content a company produces. I tell my clients that social media is a big version of show and tell. Prove your worth by demonstrating and sharing what you know, down to the most arcane and detailed elements of your business.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

Appreciate the kind words Bob, and I think your advice to clients encapsulates my thoughts perfectly.

Thanks my friend,

Marcus

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Bob Reed December 4, 2012 at

I always thought it was show and tell. The details? That’s all you.

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Ian Altman December 4, 2012 at

Marcus,

A good friend of mine says “Perfection is the enemy of done” (pretty sure he didn’t invent the saying. There have been three times in the past couple of years when I did not publish a regularly scheduled piece of content (feel free to replace th term content with your choice of blog/article/crap). In each case, I received numerous emails from people asking “what happened.” So, the idea of regularly writing is valuable. If that happens to be weekly, monthly, or daily, it should fit your audience and content.

When I wrote my first book, I was concerned it was not long enough, good enough, etc. When I finally allowed it to leave the nest, it did pretty darn well. The reviews were pretty good, too. The good news is that if you throw out complete garbage, people will not be shy to tell you so. And, most platforms (like WordPress) allow you to edit/delete/pretend it never happened.

If you have nothing interesting to share, then don’t share. But, that just means you haven’t thought enough about the questions your clients are asking.

If companies are really stuck, they can always sign up for your blogging service, which I know does it “the right way.”

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

Love the book Ian. This is a principle we are discussing here that is so much bigger than blogging, that’s for sure.

Thanks again and talk soon brother,

Marcus

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Lana December 4, 2012 at

Great advice Marcus. I agree with what you are saying. Blogging and learning along the way is a much better and smarter choice than not blogging at all, or waiting until you have something epic to write about. I know I Google everything especially when I am researching to purchase an item. The people with the information written in a conversationally way and not all corporate are the ones I pay most attention to. Posting regular content is something I struggle with and agree with the editorial calendar to make it happen. I recently heard a quote that said” Write it down to make it real” This is somewhere where I have been lacking and need to create a schedule.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

Great points Lana, let’s see if we can help this become a habit ;-)

Marcus

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David Frey - MarketingBlogger.com December 4, 2012 at

I think these experts are reading each others posts and have little insight outside their own blog-o-sphere.

In the small business sector such as…

1. Insurance Agents
2. Chiropractic
3. Mortgage profession
4. Financial services
5. Bicycle shop
6. Fitness center
etc. etc. etc.

There is an endless amount of desire to know more on the consumers part and they WANT to hear from you, “their” service/product provider.

In addition to that, just from an SEO standpoint, small businesses need to publish more content. Each piece of content is a piece of real estate that they have captured. Promoted correctly, that little piece of real estate can bring them many many leads over the coming years.

Blogging is just beginning.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

AMEN to that David. To tell you the truth, I chuckle at just how similar you and I think about this stuff man :-)

Thanks so much for dropping by,

Marcus

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Brendan Cournoyer December 4, 2012 at

Great post Marcus, and well said. I totally agree with your points about how “blogging daily is a waste of time.” The assumption is that if you stick to a schedule and blog too often, then you just end up putting out junk to fill a quota, which I agree is “crapola.”

COULD this happen? Sure. But I believe that all content should be strategic on some level. So if you’re a good content marketer, and everything you write has a goal — even if that goal is simply “to answer a question” — than everything you create will have value, no matter how often you post. Writing content without a purpose is the real waste of time.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

That’s exactly it Brendan. It all starts w strategy and goals. They may not be romantic subjects, but they’re the only thing that pays the bills.

Good seeing you my man,

Marcus

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Rebecca Livermore December 4, 2012 at

“Write crap” sounds familiar. It’s something I advise people to do when they’re trying to get into the blogging habit. The reason is that perfectionism often shuts people down and make it almost impossible for them to get content out there.

I’m also a big fan of editorial calendars because they do help people to stay on track. It’s like any other planning tool in that it can increase productivity, but can benefit people most when they also understand when not to follow it.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

You’re a big fan of calendars Rebecca??? ;-)

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Rebecca Livermore December 4, 2012 at

Yeah, especially when people actually use them. ;-)

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Ryan Hanley December 4, 2012 at

Amen… A-FREAKING-MEN dude…

I’m sick of the self-righteous, “Pulling the content marketing community out of the doldrums” BS.

If a company is creating content everyday (god bless them btw) and some of it is great and some of it is good and some it is OK and some of it sucks… Well the beauty of Google is that the great stuff will get found the most the good stuff a little less the OK stuff less than that and content that sucks will figuratively evaporate into cyber-space.

But you’ll have GREAT content on your website. Not all your content needs to be great in order to have great content on your website.

And furthermore if you’re not out there shipping content trying new things, finding out what works and what doesn’t, then who the hell knows what’s going to be great and what isn’t.

No one has the right answer to content marketing.

No one…

…because in every industry in every business in every community great content is going to be something different.

Let’s all agree that we don’t have Answers we have Ideas. Some ideas work for some businesses and some for others. That way we can all share our ideas without causing fear paralysis.

Great stuff Marcus.

Hanley

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

Hanley, thanks so much for the passionate words my friend.

The thing is, you and I get this because we’ve worked so hard with our own “run of the mill” businesses and then applied those same principles w others that our perspective is cut from that cloth.

And dude, your point about ideas vs answerable was a GREAT one…maybe even another post of yours down the road ;-)

Marcus

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Ryan Hanley December 4, 2012 at

Why is it that every time I post a comment here I end up creating a new blog post for myself…

I think I owe you a beer for all the great ideas.

Hanley

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Rob Skidmore December 4, 2012 at

Happens to me every time too. :)

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Joe Chernov December 4, 2012 at

Excellent post, Marcus. I am happy you wrote it. I agree with many of your points, none more so than the premise itself: “experts” aren’t always right, yet social media’s culture of deference would have one believe that they are. I’ve been on both sides of that culture — letting those with more “clout” than I skate when they shared poor counsel (e.g., I recall reading — and not replying to — something years ago from Seth Godin when he urged companies to click on PPC ads of competitors to cost them money), and I have also experienced people applauding my dopey comments when I had some measure of popularity in the content marketing industry. Thanks for shining a light on this weird phenomenon.

As far as the specifics are concerned, everyone wants a silver bullet. People what a formula. The 90/9/1 is a good example (http://www.wikipatterns.com/display/wikipatterns/90-9-1+Theory). And I think Brogan published some golden ratio of how frequently one should post original content vs. share others’ work. Fact is, there is no silver bullet. My view, which comes close to yours (“go write more crap”) is this: post as often as you have something to say. I think what you mean by “more crap” isn’t suggesting someone purposefully writes junk, but rather, that someone doesn’t let fear of junk get in their way. Said another way, if your favorite band waited until they had 10 hit songs before they released an album, you’d never have heard any of their hits because they’d never have published in the first place. If that’s your view, then I’m proud to say I’m on Team Sales Lion!

-Joe

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

That’s exactly write Joe. I’m not a “crap advocate” per se, but rather, ” willing to be crappy to become great advocate” :-)

Thanks for being such a leader in this industry my friend.

Marcus

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Joe Pulizzi December 4, 2012 at

Marcus…great stuff my man. I was going to leave an original comment, but here goes Chernov with the real answer – There is no silver bullet.

In the immortal words of Jay Baer, there is more right and less right in content marketing…but everyone has to find their own way.

JP out

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Marcus Sheridan December 6, 2012 at

I’m w you JP, good seeing you brother ;-)

Marcus

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Paige Holden December 4, 2012 at

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I saw you speak at Content Marketing World and have taken a lot of your advice to heart. This post is no different.

I handle the marketing for two companies, neither of which had a website when I started, much less a blog. It took a lot of time to convince people to get on board and change the culture here – about a year. I couldn’t have done it without mapping out a plan, which included an editorial calendar, and getting started with a few basic posts just to show my colleagues what it’s all about. In fact, the act of blowing out the editorial calendar (and going back to it every time I held a meeting) gave me an opportunity to get my team to think about things differently. For example, when they were able to see the big content picture, they felt more comfortable writing shorter posts on one topic (or one Q&A), because they could see that there would be opportunities to develop more content over time that tell the full story.

If we had pressured ourselves to be perfect from the beginning, then we would have never gotten started. If we didn’t start when we did to get the jump on our competition, we wouldn’t have one of the leading blogs in our industry.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

Paige, we need to chat sometime, it sounds like you’ve been up to some pretty amazing things.

Well done my friend :-)

Marcus

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Paige Holden December 4, 2012 at

Thank you, Marcus. I would welcome the opportunity to chat sometime! Your Q&A model is the cornerstone for my *gasp* 2013 editorial calendar for Holman (blog.holmanmoving.com). Not only does it make complete sense for the moving business, but the logic in the Q&A format made training my new blogger so much easier. She’s already got 20+ posts in the can. :-)

Cheers,
Paige

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Srinivas December 4, 2012 at

You have to be willing to suck in order to be awesome

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

Amen to that brother.

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Tom Reber December 4, 2012 at

Marcus-

I have 2 initial thoughts…

1. On the subject of a content schedule/calendar: When I went to Marine Corps Bootcamp many moons ago we were put onto a ‘calendar.’ We were expected to DO the THINGS that it takes to MAKE a MARINE. Day after day, we were made into Marines because we followed a schedule and implemented what we sometimes didn’t enjoy…it worked because our WHY was bigger than the pain & inconvenience. In order to become UNCOMMON in your marketing you must DO the things that will train you to get there. Each ‘rep’ you crank out will teach you something. We are all busy and easily distracted. A schedule will help keep us on track.

2. On the ‘plate of garbage’ thought & losing readers: I heard a rock star marketer share how he got so ‘good and fast’ at writing copy…he replied “I wrote a lot of bad and slow copy for many years.”

Thanks for the post!

MOTORhard,

Tom

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

LOVE the marine analogy Tom. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Blogging and content marketing are just like every other skill in the world— they take practice, time, and effort.

Cheers bud,

Marcus

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Owen Blevins December 4, 2012 at

A crappy post is better than the most prolific thought that is never posted. While my blog or video posts are sometimes less than stellar, they are a heck of a lot better than my competition who doesn’t blog at all…

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

That’s EXACTLY my point here Owen. You’re doing it. You’re learning as you go. And you’re getting better and better.

I respect the heck out of that. :-)

Marcus

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Shane December 4, 2012 at

Awesome post!

I think the key here is that you have a clear system in “They Ask, You Answer”. If you have a clear system like that and a clear purpose for your blog content, then a schedule won’t hurt, because you’ll never be in a situation where you don’t know what to write about. There are always more unanswered questions left.

The problem with posting schedules is if they are not accompanied by such a system and the blogger ends up posting some random thoughts or otherwise fluffy content.

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Marcus Sheridan December 4, 2012 at

No question Shane, having a clear plan and strategy is essential to all of this. This is exactly why are focus as teachers and leaders in this industry needs to be that of showing other businesses what and how to write and communicate instead of focusing on generic principles—ie “be awesome”..thanks for stopping by man!

Marcus

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Leon Noone December 4, 2012 at

Bloody hell Marcus!
Whatever happened to the quintessentially polite big hole digger? You sound like a budding Aussie curmudgeon!

I just love “write more crap.” Sadly mountains of bloggers are doing this already. Just wanted you to know that I’ll be doing my fair share in the best traditions of enlightened self-interest.

But you Marcus must keep up your end of the bargain by purchasing some of my crappy eBooks. It’s a two way street y’know.

One final thing. Now that you’ve plucked up the courage to write the word “crap”, when are you going to stop using that silly word “freaking?”

‘avahelluvegoodchristmas….and keep filling those holes with water!

Now that I’ve done my bit by adding a crappy comment to your crappy blog post, remember to reciprocate by buying a crappy eBook.

I’ve gotta say it; make sure you have fun1

Best Wishes
Leon

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Davina K. Brewer December 4, 2012 at

Hee, love it when you rant Marcus.. you’re never afraid to write what you feel. :-) To piggyback on what Mark wrote, I don’t think you and Chris and Tom are that far apart.. maybe semantics, maybe just different sides of same coin? IDK. I split the hair down the middle, because that’s how I roll, because it depends and because mileage will always, always vary.

One person’s ‘daily’ blog may really be twice a week and that could work like gangbusters; someone else may have to kick it in gear at least five times to make a dent with readers, with search, with their industry. Ditto the Great Quality Debate plaguing bloggers and no one else it seems; sometimes my ‘crap’ posts do get hits and RTs and comments, often more than the stuff I thought really, really good. Perfection is a flat-out myth and frankly, in the eye of the beholder. Hell maybe a little ‘crap’ – and I know you don’t mean garbage, just not holding on the publish button as if you’re trying to pen the Great Epic Interwebian Blog Post each and every time – would be just the thing to catch people’s eye, wake ‘em up, spark some debate.

Which brings me to Ken’s balance, back to my TEHO. We shouldn’t neglect the schedule, but can’t become slaves to it either. We can’t ignore what others are doing and writing, but can’t lose ourselves trying to emulate someone else’s ‘success.’ If only , if only I could convince that lawyer, that therapist to blog more or less, that content and web are gold; to Balance tradition with technology, quantity with quality, style with substance. Alas like Perfection, Balance is either myth – or subject to interpretation. FWIW.

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Rob Skidmore December 4, 2012 at

Yes write more crap!

Totally agree. In fact I wrote my most recent post on this topic.

http://lyricalcopy.com/why-you-should-never-write-a-perfect-blog-post/

I am a perfectionist. I will rewrite and rewrite and then rewrite again. I rewrite so much that nothing gets done.

I finally learned my lesson by accident.

Last month I published my first post but only so I would have a reference while I was tweaking the site design.

It was definitely not the epic, awesome content that I wanted my first visitors to see.

While the post was live Craig McBreen stopped by from a comment I had made on his blog.

He graciously left a comment on my post. At first I was embarrassed that he had seen it. I knew that I was capable of much better stuff.

But even though I thought my post was crap, I realized that it was okay. I had written a post that had been commented on by someone I admired and respected.

It gave me the courage to keep posting and stop obsessing about where my content falls on the awesome scale.

That is one of the things I love about your writing Marcus. It is raw and real. I can tell that you have conquered the fear of putting yourself out there and I admire you for it because it is something I struggle with.

I still have a long way to go – I won’t tell you how many times I’ve rewritten parts of this comment. But I am making progress.

Awesome post as always.

Rob

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Murray Lunn December 4, 2012 at

Marcus, no need to tell me to go with the crap because I know exactly how that feels on certain days. Yeah, a lot of people say that it’s better to say nothing than to push out something worthless but c’mon, we’re all human here, not everything we say is some kind of revelation. In fact, almost everything we say is just garbage until it hits the right ears.

I hate this notion that you have to be pristine in everything you do. Can’t swear on social media. Can’t be too negative on your posts. Can’t go off the rails from time to time. If I want to read some rigid piece than I’d just read Wikipedia but I want FLAVOR in the work I dig into (and this reflects on my own) – I want grit.

My only disagreement would be that certain publications benefit from not having a strict content schedule. There’s one client I write for that needs something out every day and that works for them. For other projects I personally work on, I refrain from frequency because I understand that the audience is trying to implement something I’ve covered and bombarding them with the next step overloads them (they bookmark it but never finish it – information overload). It all depends on the audience and industry, in my opinion.

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Walt Goshert December 4, 2012 at

Marcus… great rant and message.

The greatest enemy of “good” is doing nothing in an effort to be “great”.

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Bill Simmel December 4, 2012 at

EXCEPTIONAL article, it should be required reading by the plethora of self-proclaimed business “gurus” who preach under the guise of content marketing. Most of these “gurus” have little business/entrepreneurial experience on topics they regurgitate from others.
It never ceases to amaze me that the blog-sphere is littered with so many INexperienced “experts”. To which, they are considered “go-toos” by others even less informed seeking validation of their useless “content”.

Once again, Marcus a great RIGHT/write .

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Don Stanley December 4, 2012 at

This post has me shouting from the rooftops! Amen Brother!!!!!!!!!

Way too many people worry about being perfect, listening to all the experts and doing it just right (when even the experts can’t agree on what’s right). And you know where they are? In the same spot they were 2 years ago, stuck, not sharing their knowledge, because they’re suffering from paralysis from analysis.

Thankfully, I drank The Sales Lion kool-aid a while back and I’m so happy I did. I didn’t need perfection (though I strive hard to be useful). I needed to DO. I needed to be helpful and share my info and perspectives. And I really needed to commit to just pushing publish often to build the confidence to share what I feel is helpful information for my clients. Sure, my content might not change the world, but it might change one person’s world. And that’s what matters t o me.

“Done always trumps perfection” and “90% perfect and published always has more impact than 100% perfect info that’s stuck in your head” both come to mind when I read this. Sweet music to my ears ;-)

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Charlotte Duren December 4, 2012 at

I especially enjoyed the point about if there is any topic that is blogged out, it is the topic of blogging itself. I am very interested in social media as a tool. As a newbie to Twitter, however, I’ve been amazed to see how much of the content is about – Twitter and social media in general.

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Michael A. Stelzner December 4, 2012 at

Amen brother!

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Cheryl Pickett December 4, 2012 at

Had to pop in to say I love that line “everyone has to find their own way”. As has been mentioned earlier, most small businesses (the kind that used to advertise in the yellow pages) do not work the same way as one that is built around a more social blog/community atmosphere. Contractors and accountants probably aren’t worried about sharing and comments, they want people first and foremost to find them and then to pick up the phone to make an appointment. That is a different plan of attack, but many try to teach that a blog is a blog is a blog and that’s not true. People get stuck and frustrated because it can be hard to understand that difference because there is more of the other kind of teaching out there vs. what you and Joe P teach for example.
I think when people get clear about that, it is easier to figure out what business models and writing styles to follow.

Great conversation here. Thanks as always for not being afraid to start it Marcus.

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Ceridwyn December 4, 2012 at

LOVE this post, Marcus! “Write more crap” – as a perfectionist myself, this line rings SO true. In fact, I think I might just make this my mantra for 2013. Thanks so much for sharing it!!!Not everything that I write – for me, or for my clients – is going to be perfect. In fact, by definition, it *can’t* be! Not that I’m going to stop from doing my best, but I agree that fear is a big part of holding back, and “write more crap” sure is a good way to dispel that fear and let some reality shine in.
Thanks again, and have an amazing end of 2012!

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Kevinks December 4, 2012 at

Christopher is, of course, a brilliant guy. The problem as I see it is that he has over the years become more than just a “blogger.” He is now a “thought leader” and at that level, the rules are different. It is often hard to tell what audience he is addressing. Much of what he says applies across the board, but under certain circumstances it just isn’t clear if he’s speaking to YOUR situation. Sometimes it can make him seem myopic, but the truth is that occasionally he’s talking about something that just isn’t germane to what you are doing.

Don’t get me wrong, though… He’s brilliant and a great guy! I always listen to Marketing Over Coffee!

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Marcus Sheridan December 5, 2012 at

That’s a very, very keen observation Kevin. Appreciate the point!

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Krista Kotrla December 4, 2012 at

Hahaa… YES! Write crap. Address that fear head on and get crap done so that you can get better faster.

So many of us need this reminder when venturing into content marketing. It is a SCARY transition for companies to make but we’ve all got to start somewhere. Businesses need to let go of the fear, jump in and learn how to dominate the digital space and social media now. I absolutely loved Mark Schaefer’s own rant along these same lines the other day, “Your 2013 Social Media Strategy: Grow a Pair.” You guys must be drinking the same rant-juice! :-)

You would never tell a kid, “hey, don’t talk until you speak like a professional”… Businesses just venturing into content marketing are like that kid learning to talk. They aren’t going to sound perfect at first but at least they’re learning to communicate in a new way. And they need to practice in order to get better so, YES, you’re going to use a content calendar to keep you practicing regularly.

It is time for businesses to learn how to talk in the digital space and make the most of this wonderful frontier.

Great discussion, Marcus. Thanks!

–kk

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Don Stanley December 5, 2012 at

Hey Krista! Just had to tell you I love the line “You would never tell a kid, “hey, don’t talk until you speak like a professional”… ” So true.

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes … “You don’t have to be good to start, but you do have to start to be good.” Just start, adapt and improve ;-) I looking forward to chatting soon.

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Marcus Sheridan December 5, 2012 at

kK, oh how my marketing heart loveth thee ;-)

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David December 5, 2012 at

I like this. My take on it is that I’m probably not the best person to judge how good my stuff is. What I think is crap may be gold for someone. What I think is brilliant will be someone else’s pretentious drivel.

Keep writing, keep publishing, listen and figure out what your audience thinks is really good by how they respond and how many people find it. Your opinions of your own content are largely irrelevant, just do the best you can, and keep on at doing it.

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Marcus Sheridan December 5, 2012 at

LOVE it David!!!

Run w that! :-)

Marcus

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Tom Treanor December 5, 2012 at

I love the graphic. I’ve personally experienced where consultants will ask clients to follow such impossible standards – from zero to 50 mph in blogging and social media that it’s a joke. With anything there’s got to a little walking (and stumbling) before someone can run.

Keep telling it like it is!

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Marcus Sheridan December 5, 2012 at

Amen to walking bad stumbling Treanor! :-)

Marcus

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Sally December 5, 2012 at

Thank you, Marcus, for being one of the voices that actively encourages small biz owners. For a first time business owner, the marketing advice on the Internet can be overwhelming. The Sales Lion is one place where I find good solid advice that the small biz owner can apply. Overcoming FEAR is key and you help us do that!

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Marcus Sheridan December 5, 2012 at

Very kind of you to say that Sally. I try my best. :-)

Marcus

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Ameena Falchetto December 5, 2012 at

Write. Yes, write, but you don’t have to click publish.

Quality over quantity every time for me and for my clients; solo’s, small biz and larger companies.

Putting out crap, whatever that’s a metaphor for, is something I can’t agree too – sorry – read this post 5 times before I decided to comment. Yes – you need to break that seal and start somewhere but if you are a business run it by someone who can tell you it’s crap before you share it with the world first.

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Rebecca Livermore December 5, 2012 at

Ameena,

I agree with you here. I actually have a free 5-day eCourse on developing the blogging habit, and the first thing is “write crap.” But I state that writing crap and publishing crap are two different things. The “write crap” part is more to get people writing, and the crap they write is later refined into something publishable. This fits more with the different stages of the writing process, and is meant to unblock people.

However, some people keep editing and keep editing, trying to get something perfect. That needs to avoided, which may be what is meant in this post.

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Ameena Falchetto December 5, 2012 at

Yeah – the struggle perfection is definitely the other enemy – you have to start somewhere but since Marcus’ aim is to talk to larger companies – they surely have a budget to get someone in to make sure “crap” isn’t published.

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Marcus Sheridan December 5, 2012 at

This principle and article have nothing to do w company size. Besides, I’ve worked w both types of companies to get their content marketing going, and the ones that were willing to be imperfect and learn on the flight without too much red tape were the best every time.

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Marcus Sheridan December 5, 2012 at

Oh Ameena, this is a spirit of the law metaphor here. It’s not about crap advocacy, it’s about Red tape and perfectionism vs learning and growth.

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Christopher S. Penn December 6, 2012 at

I mostly agree with you except at the end, Marcus – I think what’s probably more realistic instead of “just be awesome all the time” or “Write more crap” is a proportional relationship between risk and crap. When you’re just getting started as a business in content marketing, you can afford to write crap because no one’s reading it anyway. The risk of writing crap to an audience of relatives at that point is very low. As you get better and attract more audience, your risk of turning away people with continued crap goes up.

The caveat on that is if you’re an established brand who’s expected to know your crap beforehand. A small business swimming pool site writing crap for months is one thing. I’d expect better out of the gate from someone like Arctic Spas or Endless Pools.

What do you think?

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Marcus Sheridan December 7, 2012 at

Appreciate you very much stopping by Chris. It’s funny you mention Arctic Spas. The Hot Tub industry has done soooooo very little with true education, and content marketing in that realm has been quite barren– sad to say.

As you might have already seen, this wasn’t so much about crap advocacy as it was about “do your best—even if it appears crappy to others” advocacy. Is there a fine line to walk here? Yes, no question. But the more and more I work with companies, regardless of size and prestige, the one common trait is the ones that are OK with “less than perfect” and “less than amazing” are the ones that end up do amazing things.

It saddens me to see the talents of so many potential “teachers” (company employees that have value to give the world) thwarted by bottlenecks and anal-retentive managers who only find fault and look for reasons as to why something will “hurt the brand” or “isn’t just right.”

But the ones that trust their employees, and simplify the process of checks and balances, sure seem to get wonderful results.

I clearly don’t have the answers to this Christopher,and I’m sure you and I are both “right” and “wrong”–depending on the person, company, etc.

Guess that’s the beauty of all this ;-)

Thanks again,

Marcus

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Tom Webster December 6, 2012 at

Love this post, Marcus–and thank you for a thoughtful and respectful debate. I think there is only one thing in this post that I would strongly disagree with, and that’s being positioned as a “blogging and content marketing expert.” Hardly–and that’s not false modesty. I do consider myself an expert in market research and consumer insights, and I’ve got two decades and some sheepskin to back that up. But I’m a mere dabbler in blogging at best, and I’ve always always said that my path won’t work for everyone.

But that’s the point, really–just as my path won’t work for everyone, the path you outline here might not work for me. I often see the Flaubert quote “perfection is the enemy of the good” used in various contexts to justify shipping imperfect goods early, publishing things before they are “perfect,” etc. That’s a valid path, and you certainly won’t hear me argue against trying–that’s a losers bet.

There’s a flip side to Flaubert’s quote, however, that should be considered in light of the fact that Flaubert himself was a noted perfectionist (always seeking “the right word.”): yes, perfect and good are enemies. But it’s a “perfectly” valid alternative to pick the other side of that battle. There is a place for the thoughtful tinkerer, just as there is a place for the “fail fast and often” approach. Is my stuff perfect? No. But I’ll admit to the fact that my desire to get there curtails my writing output, and probably affects my traffic/search/etc.

However, I don’t get paid on traffic.

Having said all of that, I learn more about blogging from you than the reverse, I suspect. There is no blog in my industry that I can think of which meets your “wiki for the industry” standard, and the reason there isn’t is because I and others don’t work hard enough at it. And maybe you’ve given me some ideas here.

Again, thanks for a very reasoned, respectful debate–and kudos on the great community you’ve built here who have continued the tone and quality of this debate. Clearly, I have much to learn.

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Marcus Sheridan December 7, 2012 at

Your humble nature is pretty astounding Tom, and thanks so much for adding your thoughts and words here–and being willing to discuss it like this.

But you’re so right–there are clearly two sides of all of these arguments. In one context, each one of us is “wrong” and in another,we’re “right.”

See you around my friend, hope we’ll have lots more discussions like this as we all continue to walk this new path.

Marcus

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Adam December 6, 2012 at

Hey Marcus,

Wow, I don’t get to say this often, but this is a post I wish I had written myself. I agree with pretty much all of it and think you did an excellent job outlining the other side of the coin. I don’t think I would go as far as to say write crap as much as just don’t expect every piece to be a home run… or even a single. Sometimes, we hit fouls, if I may belabor the baseball analogy, but the main thing is stepping up to the plate.

Ironically, your piece was not a rant at all. As T. Webster pointed out, it was the beginning of a thoughtful and respectful debate. Lots of wisdom in the comment section, and I think C. Penn makes a great point about considering risk.

Really good stuff Marcus! And a great discussion.

PS. You inspired me to write my own follow up, one a little less focused on pure content marketing. Would love your thoughts if you have the chance.

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Marcus Sheridan December 7, 2012 at

Loved the follow up post Adam, and thanks for the thoughts on the classy debate that has ensued here. It makes me proud to watch civility in action.

I appreciate all you do man,

Marcus

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Craig McBreen December 6, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

I thoroughly enjoy the great content that guys like Jon Morrow and Derek Halpern put out, but their message on posting frequency is not an answer for someone trying to gain traction here as we approach 2013. And it’s certainly not a methodology that is going to work for a small business.

To me, the practice of blogging is like a never-ending experiment. One iteration after another tied together by a cohesive theme or flavor that slowly, but surely evolves over time. Posting often is part of that.

Consistency is part of branding done right. You should produce the best content you can without obsessing, otherwise you’re permanently in “park.” Blogging is a forgiving platform too.

I really love what you wrote here:

“Instead of Godin’s “Just Ship It,” it becomes a motto of “Just sit on it and over-analyze the stupid thing.”

Businesses are so scared to death of not doing everything just right that they never do anything at all.”

Again, love many of the bloggers who write about blogging. I do! But, to a new blogger or a small business owner trying to gain some traction, well, that individual will soon be banging his or her head against the wall wondering why this stuff doesn’t work.

This was a killer, epic post, dude ;) … Just kidding. Loved it, but most of all this is NOT about writing crap. Oh, far from it … No … It is simply about “Doing the Work!” And part of that is experimenting and growing. It’s a slog and it’s not always pretty, but tenacity is a prime ingredient.

I agree with Adam … I often read a post like this and wish I had written it myself. And I love his title: “Suck It Up, Do the Work, Win” … Yep :)

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Marcus Sheridan December 7, 2012 at

Powerful perspective Craig, and you know I agree all the way around. This was great.

Keep shipping it brother ;-)

Marcus

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Lee Odden December 6, 2012 at

As a long time blogger and content marketing advocate, I thought I would hate this post.

I love it.

There’s a lot of me too pontification out there, so this kind of advice that is practical and derived from first-hand experience is priceless.

After 9 years, 1.2 million words and a LOT of new business, our blog has followed a lot of the same guidelines regarding frequency and writing with a genuine voice.

We use an editorial plan based on customer needs and interests aligned with our expertise as a solution. We post daily because there’s never a vacuum for topics. 16% of the daily queries on Google have never been seen before, so anyone that thinks they’ve covered a topic in the voice of the customer in one blog post is just making it easier for the competition.

Companies that fear running out of interesting things to say have bigger problems to solve than what to blog about.

Thanks for the awesome Marcus.

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Marcus Sheridan December 7, 2012 at

1.2 million words—-freaking LOVE that Lee! :-)

Wise thoughts indeed my friend.

Stay well,

Marcus

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Josh December 6, 2012 at

I hate the term content marketing with a passion because it is marketing gibberish, but we’ll set that aside.

Publish or perish is a big part of how this business works. You don’t want to pump out crap but you don’t want to not publish because you are afraid it might be a “bad” post either.

If you give into the siren song of the quest for perfection you might as well go home because your content will never be seen. Publish, publish, publish and do it again.

Do your very best to put out quality work that adds value and demonstrates expertise, passion and personality because good things come from that.

You are never going to please everyone. Some people will hate your best work because they think your writing is abominable. They won’t like your style and will hate your voice.

So what.

Just write because if you want to gain traction and build readership you must provide them with material and there is a never ending supply of it. If you can’t figure out what to write about you aren’t looking hard enough.

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Marcus Sheridan December 7, 2012 at

Josh, thanks so much for adding your thoughts man,I do appreciate it. I think the key point you made here was about “doing your best to put out quality work that adds value…because good things come from that”….that’s what this is all about my friend.

Continued success with your business sir,

Marcus

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Doug Rekenthaler Jr. December 7, 2012 at

Could not agree with you more. Well said.

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Felicity Fields December 7, 2012 at

I was on Jon’s The Blog Launch Formula webinar last night, and it got me thinking.

Is there a difference between being a popular blogger (which is what Jon is, and teaches) and having a business with a popular blog? (like you and Marie Forleo, among others)

And if there is a difference between blogging as your business, and blogging as an inbound marketing tool for your business, are the blogging strategies and advice different?

Would love to hear your thoughts. :)

Felicity

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2012 at

Yes, yes, and yes Felicity. That’s why the eBook I offer here isn’t about “How to blog and make money online”, but rather “How business blogging and content marketing can build your brand and increase traffic, leads, and sales.”

See the difference.

Obviously, there is a major vernacular problem in this industry, and this will cause confusion until it’s sorted out.

Marcus

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Ramin December 7, 2012 at

So glad to read that! I had this thought on my mind of quality vs quantity, and I considered the option of writing 1 blog post per week, but making that a REALLY EPIC one. But I can’t force epic, and if I ever want to get there it’ll take probably another million or so keystrokes. There’s so much to share and I’m in love with what we do (providing great travel experiences in Thailand)
My next question then would be: is there a process to get better a creating great content? For example, after every post, I write, do I get back to it the next day and do a kind of “analysis” and think about how I could have done it better?Some kind of “checklist of ingredients of a good blog post”? How did you get so good at writing? (other than just doing the actual writing).

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2012 at

I just write like I talk Ramin. You may say I write well. Others may say the style stinks. Very relative indeed…

But the 500,000 words I’ve done in the past 4 years doesn’t hurt either ;-)

Marcus

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Carl Quartermain December 8, 2012 at

Let’s face it, a lot of bloggers are just content filling for SEO and regurgitating what the last person said. Even on this post. I’ve been critical of the contradictions for some time now.

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2012 at

If it’s just filler, it’s out choice not to read it Carl. But what may sound like “filler” to you may have taken someone 3 hours of diligent thought and effort.

Thus, I’ll just keep asking people to give their best and let that be the guiding light.

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Carl Quartermain December 14, 2012 at

If it takes 3 hours to “fill” they need to choose a different career. What is really needed is unique, current and thought provoking content not scraping. Seriously rewriting the same articles to fit your own business model is distracting.

Where I stated contradiction within the ‘advisory’ posts, it’s as bad as calling night as day. So called copywriters and SEO experts talk absolute twaddle. Too many commentators are banging out garbage just to be heard and to copy the lead of the likes of SEOMOZ and Copyblogger et al.

And by the way, much of their stuff is purely filling and regurg. That’s not to say they don’t have something to say. There are many articles out there worth saving because they are thoughtfully created, innovative and smart and an ideal referral source. However much of the main players content is also repetition in one form or another. (Google has some responsibility here from 2008 onwards)

Unfortunately there is much that is borrowed and stolen and plenty of tools out there to prove just that. 

I would therefore stand at the polar opposite from what you are saying in your article. 

To make the point clear, if writers haven’t got anything to say then don’t say it. If you want to make a point add references to your sources. If you’re in agreement of what you just read, give credit to where you got it from. 

Writing crappy copies and knocking out articles daily for the sake of SEO and the fear of losing your audience, makes finding the real talent that much harder.

It wouldn’t surprise me that in a week or two somebody knocks out a post based on my stance and pass it off as their own thoughts with no reference back here. So much for writing for the sake of it.

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Barry December 8, 2012 at

Clearly, this “used to be a bad writer” problem of yours is history. Brilliant buddy. You are just plain old dang you. That’s writing.

“Write more crap” has to be one of 2012′s best lines and I don’t even say that because I agree with you. I say it because the function of a great line is to get people to say, “I better read the next line.”

Funny timing here too. In a post of mine,
“Alternative Power Sources for Out-of-Gas Content Marketers,” take Marcus’s advice and disagree with other advisors. Hard not to agree with that strategy.

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2012 at

You’re a good man Barry. :-)

And great talking to you the other day bud. LOVE how far you’ve come and where you’re going.

Marcus

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Jon Loomer December 10, 2012 at

Aw, crap…

It’s 10:30 Sunday night. I haven’t written my blog post for Monday morning yet. But I thought I’d do some quick, light reading before getting going in case there was any news or inspiration that may help.

Then I started listening to your podcast. I’m not going to get into your stuff about Facebook contests. That’s for another day. But your podcast led me to another blog post I somehow missed (this one).

Oh boy…

Look, Marcus. If anyone wants an example of how writing every day is beneficial, send those punks to my blog.

When I started my blog, I wrote when I was inspired. That was often sometimes, not at others. But my traffic was inconsistent to crap, and my blogging was largely unfulfilling.

Then I set some goals for 2012 and everything changed.

I started blogging every weekday, Monday through Friday. Then I started a podcast (inspired by you).

We’re now into December. I continue to post every weekday, Monday through Friday. I published my 26th podcast today.

The results? The results are pretty freaking awesome. I won’t get into the traffic numbers. They are great. But the main thing is the direct revenue, both through AdSense and website sponsors.

This doesn’t even get into the website sales I’ve started making. I would not be getting these sales without regular traffic.

I have plenty to write about. I don’t run out of ideas. It’s important to plan and be strategic — as well as listen to your customers and readers — but I’m not just writing to write.

And this commitment also has made me more focused in my approach. I know that every night, I’m writing a blog post. I don’t let myself off the hook. And when I do, it results in more traffic, more subscribers, more ad revenue and more sales.

And regarding not writing crap: Crap is in the eye of the beholder. I would never publish anything I thought was crap. But I’ve written stuff I thought was freaking Biblical, but no one read it. I’ve written stuff that I didn’t feel great about, and people went nuts.

Sure, have standards. Edit your stuff. But absolutely write, write often and fail. You’ll be amazed by what comes of it.

Thanks, my man!

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Marcus Sheridan December 13, 2012 at

Dude, this was like an amazing Part II to my post. You seriously need to put this up at your place as well!! :-)

Appreciate the heck out of you and the way you’re wired Loomer,

Marcus

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Jon Loomer December 13, 2012 at

This is why I love commenting on your stuff, Marcus. You have a way of making us all feel like rock stars. It’s a gift, my friend.

Stay awesome…

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Dale Lovell December 11, 2012 at

A great post that I think highlights the difference that are continually taking place in content marketing. As a Publishing Director of a content agency in the UK – http://www.searchnewsmedia.co.uk – we are often faced with the challenges of explaining to clients the benefits of creating content. The more content you create, the better; but the content needs to be good and always have the customer and reader at it’s core. We’ve found from writing daily content for clients as diverse as B2B to consumer tech, that it is often surprising about what type of content generates the best results. Experimentation is important – and most of us wouldn’t write anything without a content calendar!

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Marcus Sheridan December 12, 2012 at

Sounds advice indeed Dale, and you seem to have a wealth of experience in this arena my friend.

Continued success sir!

Marcus

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Dale Lovell December 13, 2012 at

If you fancy doing some mutual guest posting let me know Marcus? Happy to write on any sort of topic related to content marketing you are interested in.

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Matt December 12, 2012 at

Lol dude, your candidness is a delight. I will take your advice and write some crap, I would very much like to get it out of my repertoire as early as possible.

‘Great content’ can be a very subjective thing as well.

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Marcus Sheridan December 12, 2012 at

Thrilled you enjoyed it Matt :-)

Come back and see us sometime,

Marcus

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Kumar Gauraw December 14, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

This is my first visit on your blog and I must say, I am already loving your writing. The way you said, “Write some crap”, is absolutely phenomenal.

I can definitely roger what you said about writing. Every post is a victory, every article is a learning experience and the more we write, the better we get. I’ve seen that happening in my own personal experience and I know I am improving every single day.

Very inspirational post and thank you for writing to inspire!

Regards,
Kumar

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Philip Lowe December 18, 2012 at

I think that garbage content is the main reason while Google released a new algorithm updates and it’s why most webmasters got penalized by Google Penguin. Personally I take a lot of time researching and coming up with new ideas to put on my blog and I’m really getting the results I want. One word of advice to any new blogger is that they should really care about the visitors and actually read this post. Great post by the way, thanks.

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Scott January 2, 2013 at

Dang, Marcus. This is quality content that is certainly inspiring me to stop over-analyzing and WRITE! I just downloaded your eBook, and I’m intrigued by what else you have to say.

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Marcus Sheridan January 2, 2013 at

Anyone that uses “Dang” in a comment gets my respect Scott!! :-)

Appreciate the words sir,

Marcus

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Rick Clark June 3, 2013 at

I cringe at the use of the term “content marketing” as if it were the epiphany of the century. I see it as little more than relabeling what preceding generations of serious professional marketeers have been doing for several decades, albeit designed for other media (tv, radio, print, etc.).

First one must know what their selling and to whom. Then a determination is made identifying the most expedient and economical means of reaching the target. Considering whatever limitations the selected media might impose, a single powerful message is created to predispose the viewer/reader towards one’s client’s service/product with a call to action that initiates the optimum conversion to sale.

Use of the term “content marketing” may be nothing more than the internet generation’s attempt to suggest they’re doing something new… when they’re not. Their greatest contribution is the mastery of a new, highly volatile media, the internet.

Understanding the market, creating the right message for the moment and adjusting the program in order to always be doing a better job is no different than when David Ogilvy (Ogilvy & Mather – London) introduced the world to Commander Edward Whitehead, Helmut Krone (Doyle Dane Bernbach) introduced post-WWII America to Volkswagon with the “Think Small” campaign, Jerry Della Femina (Della Femina Travisano & Partners) took on the New York Mets, Lee Clow (Chiat Day) produced the famous “1984″ Apple commercial for the Super Bowl.

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Joe Pulizzi June 3, 2013 at

Hi Rick…I’d be interested in what your take is on this post. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/05/whats-new-about-content-marketing/

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Rick Clark June 4, 2013 at

Sent via email.

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DynaCom Center October 9, 2013 at

Blog posts show some relevance and if they are unique are something for consumers to follow; although it does take persistence and consistency. I like your position though.

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