I read and share a lot of articles about writing, blogging and content marketing.
One school of better blogging thought centers on simply writing without worrying about what you’re actually producing and, ultimately, publishing. It’s the “just do it” mantra for content marketing.
We’re told to ignore that little voice inside, our inner critic, and just blog away.
As you can probably guess, given my penchant for the devil’s advocate point of view, that just doesn’t sit well with me.
Just Write Doesn’t Mean Just Publish
As previously stated, a lot of blogging advice centers around just sitting down and writing. This is great for those that have a hard time getting words on the screen or page.
It is true that the only way to make writing easier is to get into the habit of writing.
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Sitting down to write isn’t enough to create a read that will really resonate. Getting into the habit of writing isn’t going to help you if you settle into poor writing habits.
Balanced Blogging Requires Quality & Quantity
We’re told that consistency is key when it comes to blogging that builds an audience.
Unfortunately, too many bloggers tie consistency to frequency alone. Consistency, in blogging, must also be tied to the publishing of quality content. The kind of content that doesn’t make readers cringe.
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On the road to quality content and the best blogging, there are many steps between writing and publishing. Steps that can’t be ignored.
It’s during these “middle” steps that our inner critic can do us all kinds of good. Our inner critic deserves a HUGE high five when he/she notices:
- Poor grammar and/or spelling
- Incomplete thoughts
- Facts and figures that aren’t backed up with attributions and sources
- Poor word choice
- Improper sentence structure
- Ideas that don’t ignite
Read Aloud And Listen To Your Inner Critic!
When I ran the Social Solutions Collective, I spent a lot of time proofing and editing articles before they were ready for publish.
Sometimes, when you’re editing by eye, you just know that something’s a little bit off, but can’t quite suss out exactly what’s wrong. When your eye fails you, let your voice and ears tackle the task.
Reading your article aloud is one of the best ways to ensure it’s error free. When you sound out your contractions, you’ll catch many of those “its vs. it’s” mistakes, as well as many more.
Reading aloud also helps you see if you’ve failed to prove your point.
Is there really any point in publishing an article that doesn’t actually prove the point you’re trying to make?
Don’t Diminish Your Content With Duds!
Duds happen. To everyone! You never know when that great idea will make the slow slide into seriously less than stellar content.
When we interviewed Mike Allton on Ready, Set … Podcast, he told us about his “dud” folder. That’s not what he calls it, but he does have an Evernote folder where he stores the blogging beginnings that just didn’t pass muster.
Sometimes, when you sit down to write, all you’re going to produce is schlock. And that’s A-OK … as long as you don’t publish it.
Hold onto the duds for a little while. You might be able to turn it into something worthy and worthwhile. Or you may decide to delete it after a few re-reads, when you realize you’re never going to be able to turn it into quality content.
Just don’t publish it. Don’t publish for the sake of publishing. Consider the quality, every time.
Celebrate Your Inner Critic!
Your inner critic often gets an undeserved bad rap.
Sure, he/she needs to get slapped down if his/her voice keeps you from EVER moving forward with your ideas. But, your inner critic often has your back. Listen to that niggling voice when it asks whether or not that blog post is worthy. Take the time to further investigate before you decide to ignore it. It just might keep you from publishing a real dud!