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Quality > Quantity – Being OK with Going Back to the Drawing Board

If you’re not happy with your content, why would anyone else be?

I recently read an article by Kiesha Easley on the Social Media Today site entitled “7 Ways to Lose 10 Blog Readers a Day”. In it she discusses a series of ‘what not to do’ tips that are so common on blogs today that they’ve become almost cliche.

While all 7 tips are solid, the last one really stood out for me as the tip that should be repeated again and again: Don’t Write Filler. This isn’t to say that everything you write needs to be so mind-blowing to your readers that it gets spread around to every corner of the Internet within an hour of publishing it, but it should always impress YOU.

This probably needs further clarification, since it’s a very grey area. For example, when I talk about not posting ‘filler’, I don’t mean:

  • Content that makes you uneasy because it might be controversial.
    This usually means you’ve hit on something important.
  • Content that strays from your usual topic of choice.
    There’s nothing wrong with expanding your horizons with new topics.
  • Content that discusses other people’s content.
    This post is a prime example of inspiration coming directly from someone else’s content.
  • Content that you write quickly.
    You must be inspired if your mind puts out the material faster than you can type.

What I mean by ‘filler’ is content that makes YOU, the creator, go ‘meh’ when you read it. If you sit down to write a piece simply because you need to post something, or just because it’s the hot topic of the week, chances are pretty good it’s not going to reflect your best work. You should write because you’re inspired, fired up, excited, angered, or just emotional about whatever the subject is.

At this point I must quote the always fascinating Henry Rollins: “If you’re going to love someone, LOVE ‘EM. If you’re going to hate someone, HATE ‘EM.  But don’t be like ‘Oh, I don’t know how I feel about it.’  Well, have an opinion about something, otherwise don’t show up at my dinner table, because it’s going to be boring conversation.” Very potent thoughts from a guy who’s, in his words, “Never halfway about anything.”

Which brings me back to the topic of ‘filler’. I had an experience not that long ago writing a blog post. I started out on a Sunday afternoon, writing on a topic that I had read about earlier that day. Felt like an ok idea, but I really just felt like I had to post something that day because it had been a while since the last update. I ended up writing about 1000 words, went back, read the whole thing, and said to myself ‘There’s no way I’m posting this. It sucks.’. It just ended up being a jumble of thoughts without a coherent theme or ultimate point of contention.

I promptly deleted this ‘meh’ post and wen’t back to the drawing board on a completely new topic that I had a definite opinion on. Although it took me another couple of days to completely get it together, I felt far better about posting content that I was happy with than simply posting something for the sake of just adding a new entry.

By placing regular content posting as a higher priority than content quality you’re doing your readers a disservice by not showing up with your ‘A-game’ each and every time. I guarantee that if you polled each and every one of your readers, they’d rather wait a day or so and read something that YOU feel is your best work than a daily stream of mediocrity punctuated by moments of brilliance.

In spite of all the advice out there telling you that you need to post all the time lest you lose some of your ‘Klout’, I think we’d all agree that it’s ok to go back to the drawing board sometimes. The content that has the greatest power is the quality stuff, not the filler.

What do you think? Have you ever had any instances where you’ve started writing something and then completely junked it because it just wasn’t up to your standards?