<< by on July 27th, 2009
Mike Moran’s article about the risks of social media brings up a great point that I’ve struggled with for some time now. How to get things done for our company-without giving away how we actually do things.
Over the course of my time at Search Mojo, we’ve established processes, just like any other company, that makes us who we are and makes us better than our competition. There are a myriad of reasons behind why we’re good at what we do. Educating ourselves on the ever-changing world of SEO and wading through the colossal amounts of chatter is at the top of the list. Figuring out how to blog about it is also at the top.
Find Your Voice without Giving Away the Store
How does one utilize all the information they’ve gained and write effective posts? Many of us have been beaten over the head about not giving up company information. For example, I’m in charge of link building here at Search Mojo and though our processes aren’t necessarily “secret” as to mean they’re “Black Hat,” they’re certainly not everyone’s business to know. After all, when you’re good, you don’t want people to know all of the reasons behind why. I think many people find it difficult to maintain the balance of writing valuable blog posts while protecting what is considered proprietary information.
So how does one break through such a programmed block? Read until your brains blow up. Then determine what you can safely write about. In that same effort, you must try and find your voice. Where is your voice? What angle could you take on a tired topic? Only you can figure that out.
Right now, there are millions of people writing something and they all want attention. Truly, your only competition is within your niche. So don’t freak out and think that you have to wade through all those writers.
OK, so the programmed block is understandable-to a point. What if you just aren’t sure of your place in your industry? You know what you’re talking about but you’re concerned with how to communicate it effectively.
Jonathan Morrow of Copyblogger just released a great article called 7 Types of People Everyone Would Just Shut the **** Up. He lists out the type of writers we all fear we’ll be. Mostly it’s based out of the fear of not sounding like an expert in the sea of those who supposedly are experts. It’s about the constant struggle to know when you’re pushing the limits of one’s own expertise and subsequently falling off the edge into “wow, she has no idea” ‘ville. It’s about knowing your limits but pushing the boundaries in a manner that still maintains your currently good or establishing reputation.
Morrow brings up the great point of how to balance writing about your topic but also knowing when it’s time to shut up. We’ve all read things, arrogant things, from people who are really just begging for link bait. They want to be controversial. I’m not so sure that experienced SEO people are so prone to falling for link bait these days. I refuse to give in to it unless it’s really creative and funny-and doesn’t hurt anyone.
While there is a lot of great information in the SEO world, there is also a lot of the same. Some new, a lot just recycled.
Link building is not necessarily a section of the industry that is, say, hard. I think this is what makes it hard to write about and be original. It does tend to be somewhat mysterious to beginners. There are reasons behind why it tends to be a mystery such as: Where do I get good links? Do I build in directories only? What directories are good directories? What about paid linking? The list goes on. These questions really never change. It really is about finding your own program-much like writing. It takes time and effort to figure out what works but I digress.
I would have to say that the biggest topic is the constant discussion on where Google’s “head” may be at any given moment. Again, this does tend to suck some of the originality from the list of available topics.
This is where Brian Clark’s article over at CopyBlogger Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking? comes in.
Many… mental blocks can be turned around to reveal ways to find more than one answer to any given problem. Try reframing the issue in several different ways in order to prompt different answers, and embrace answering inherently ambiguous questions in several different ways.
Conundrum: How do I honestly portray what is going on in my industry without giving up what works for our company, all while maintaining creativity and giving great advice? Are there new things to report? Sometimes it’s just the same information, delivered in a different way. That gets old. I want to be original. I don’t want people feeling like I need to shut the **** up but as Morrow says, I shouldn’t be focused on worrying about it either.
Morrow has great insight on where bloggers tend to fail:
· Write as if they’re smarter than they really are.
· While pretending to know stuff, being snotty about it.
· Writing lacks personality.
· Those who do not practice what they preach.
· Lack of focus in writing thus causing article to drag on, torturously.
· Fabricated knowledge.
So with that, this gasbag will pipe down.