This blog is a continuation of the last one – sort of my own personal rant on quality content because, no matter what trends the winds blow in, quality content is what they’ll remember. If the SEO lands your blog article in the hands of anyone whose opinion you respect (and everyone else, for that matter) do yourself a huge favor and make absolutely sure they walk away pleased to have read it – or at least not pissed off that you wasted their time.
Build your writing career on quality content first. Make sure your SEO is spot on too if you really want to compete, but never sacrifice quality for keywords.
I wrote a blog on noise pollution regularly for almost three years, so I fancy myself to be a bit of an expert on the subject. Noise pollution is a hot, hot topic right now, in case you aren’t aware. A month or two ago, a Huff Post blogger wrote a piece on noise pollution that was so inadequate, every single reader comment criticized her. Most of them left feeling she had made up the problem! Her blog had no meat whatsoever. She mentioned study results without naming the studies or hyper-linking to them. It couldn’t have been lazier, and it was discouraging to those of us who care about this subject and recognized the plundered opportunity.
Noise pollution is actually a serious problem – it has exceeded mold and air pollution to become the leading health risk to humans and animals, both on land and in the sea. The studies are vast and varied, and the findings are jaw-dropping – for instance, we’re all developing tinnitus, and many of us are going deaf and having heart attacks because of all the noise in our environment. Fact.
Certain species of birds are losing their ability to sing in the right tone, and they can’t mate as a result. Ancient trees are dropping dead because of noise pollution! Fact.
That Huff Post disaster of a blog on noise pollution mentioned none of this – or if it did, I don’t remember it, I was too busy trying to read it without my eyes bleeding. Had the blogger spent just a little time finding new, relevant information – of which there is a ton out there on this incredibly important topic – she could have delivered a worthwhile piece. Instead, just like Fox News, she succeeded in giving her audience the impression that she had nothing better to do one afternoon than make up a story about noisy airplanes and things that go vroooooomm. So I wonder what her point was in writing the blog at all; she didn’t appear to have a message that she felt urgently needed telling. It was more like someone held a gun to her head and said “Noise Pollution – you have 10 minutes – write!” (which actually would have been a blog worth reading).
But it’s her byline on that blog, her reputation as a writer and researcher, which should mean something to her. Maybe she is very young and very new at this, in which case I would like to cut her some slack – but the best way to get through the growing pains that go with being a new writer is to do whatever it takes to make sure your copy is worth someone’s precious reading time. You can ask a few trusted friends or colleagues to read your copy before you post it, but beware – they might be tempted to rewrite it “their way,” or their criticisms may tell you they completely missed your point (and consider this a perfect opportunity to reflect – are you being too obtuse, or is the critique-giver just stupid?)
Fine tune your own instincts as a writer as quickly as possible – you are never a truly free writer until you are confident that you can handle criticism, and be prepared to either stand by your copy or admit to your mistakes – and learn from them.
Readers remember you if your blogs are very, very good or very, very bad. Decide early how you envision your reputation as a blogger a year from now, and five years from now. Do your research, and learn the art of self-editing. Read as many blogs as you have time for, and emulate those that captivate you.
The hardest part about blogging? Doing it.