Creating amazing content sounds so simple if you listen to all of the experts. “Quality over quantity,” they say. “Create value,” they say. And the don’t forget the always-popular “Content is king!”
Here at Wikimotive, we’ve been guilty of giving this broad advice on occasion. It’s easy for us to say that as an automotive SEO company, but what about the small businesses and fledgling marketers just beginning to wrap their head around the concept of SEO and content marketing?
I know you’re out there, and this is for you!
To help ease the tension that’s likely building in your mind, just relax for a second and realize one thing: your content will probably suck for a while. I don’t say that to be mean, or to belittle your efforts. I say that because my content sucked for a while too.
Ignorance is Bliss When You’re Not Very Good at What You Do
I began blogging about internet marketing in 2007, when I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. All I knew was, people were making money doing it, and that’s where I wanted to be. (Blogging about blogging was, and still is, totally cool and meta.)
I scraped ideas together from popular blogs, created snarky opinion pieces about industry news, and basically faked it until I landed my first real content job with Village Voice Media two years later.
During those initial two years (2007-2009), though, I absorbed information from all of the experts, spent sleepless nights writing and becoming a power user on multiple social media sites, and started making connections that still get me gigs to this day.
Upon “making it,” I was a teenager working alongside journalists and marketers with experience that dated back to my elementary school days. My work still wasn’t that great, but I was confident and worked harder to compensate for my lack of experience.
You’re probably wondering what the moral of the story is, right?
The moral isn’t to fake it until you make it. The moral is that you have to be willing to suck, be told you suck, and still have the drive to improve so people will tell you that your work is good.
There’s No Secret Formula for Creating Successful Content
You can’t skip over the hard work it takes to go from really bad to really good in any field, especially not in blogging, content marketing, and SEO.
It’s a grind of learning from mistakes, taking stock of what works, creating processes, and always improving over your previous work. That’s one of the reasons I love it so much. I can wake up tomorrow and do the best work I’ve ever done without worrying that I’ve reached the pinnacle of my potential.
How many people can say that about their jobs? A lot, sure. But how many actually put that mindset into practice?
Constantly Challenge Yourself to Achieve More and You Will Succeed
Despite writing a lot about productivity and self-improvement, I’m not too keen on motivational advice. I’m more into real strategies I can apply more than talking heads attempting to “pump me up.”
An event that sticks out in my mind everyday is when I was told I would never be a professional writer by my high school guidance counselor. She wasn’t telling me that to motivate me; her tone was serious.
Since then, I’ve used that flashback to push myself to improve more and more. Like everyone, I’ve hit plenty of roadblocks and been burnt out, but the goal of challenging myself to grow, learn new things, and produce better work to prove that guidance counselor wrong has always helped me when I need help the most.
It helps to love what you do, but this can be applied to a lot of other aspects of life as well.
Conclusion: Practical Application
You thought I was just going to end it on that note, right? I wanted to, but I know that in order to make this post great, I need to tell you how to practically apply this advice to help you create better content.
It’s going to sound simple, but this is how I look at my own work to spark creativity and improvement:
Step 1. Examine old content.
Step 2. Point out flaws in content using an unbiased point of view.
Step 3. Fix flaws and apply similar actions to new content in real time.
Using these steps you’ll soon become more aware of what it takes to create higher quality content. This doesn’t necessarily mean long or in-depth content either, as long content doesn’t always translate to higher quality.
Instead, use these steps to better present content for reader consumption: formatting, links, witty titles and compelling introductions and conclusions included. Because at the end of the day, that is the goal.