In your quest for creating excellent content, you may have come across the following dilemma: I would love to create something important for my blog, but how do I, as a “mere” blogger contribute to that conversation at large? If I don’t create something de novo, will it be worth posting?
To answer that question, let me tell you about the 1 / 9 / 90 rule — and, in my humble opinion, its a rule that every blogger ought to live (and subsequently), die by.
A few months ago when I started blogging, I came across the transcripts of an SEO conference, where someone was overheard to have described how individuals (read: bloggers) create and interact with content.
1% create content
9% enrich content
90% consume content
I don’t know how much of this is true, but I take the spirit of it to BE true. Namely, that only a tiny fraction of us will actually create novel, ground breaking stuff, whether its reporting on new news that nobody else has found, or publishing research that no one else has done for example.
And I touched upon this in a prior post last week, but because only a tiny percentage of bloggers will create novel content, we ought to console ourselves with the knowledge that yes — it is “ok” to not be in that “1%” all the time.
Because we don’t all have the time, energy, contacts, or resources, to create that kind of novel content. And in the day-to-day swing of things, with the usual challenges of regular and daily postings, I would even suggest that you NOT let those kinds of posts interrupt your usual blogging activities.
While quality should never be sacrificed by quantity, keeping up a certain regular posting frequency is crucial to your blog’s success. Having said that, its clear where you OUGHT to be, if you can’t be in that 1% all the time — and that’s in the 9% … enriching existing content.
Its sort of like how the game of basketball has been described to me: talent might get you baskets, but defence is all about the hustle. Similarly, I view creating novel content the “talent”, and enriching the content, the “hustle”. So, what do I mean, by “enriching the content”? Its only the recognition that MOST of the time, novel content is created by others — but that you, as a blogger, have something worthwhile contributing to the conversation.
At its most literal level, its the permission to, heck yes, report on other content. But, keeping the spirit of “enrichment” alive, it also doesn’t mean mindlessly contributing to the echochamber.
How can you do this?
Its real simple.
Whenever you find something noteworthy someone else has already written about, whether its news,tips, or what have you, do NOT simply regurgitate what they’re saying in your own words, or, God forbid, simply “quote” them and leave a “for more information, go here” type of link with a one liner on your opinion.
(and yes, you should ALWAYS attribute your sources).
If you do, you’re not enriching content at all … merely parroting what someone else has done. This creates Bad Content, and demonstrates nothing about your knowledge, and perpetuates the stereotype that bloggers know nothing, contribute nothing, and merely quote other sources.
So, what can you do?
Use that original source as a springboard to your own thoughts, ideas, and commentary. So, specifically, what does this mean? Here are some suggestions:
If its news:
1. Comment on your own experience with the ideas on the source material
2. Put the news into historical context
3. Discuss how the source material might affect the rest of the industry at large
4. Connect how seemingly unrelated news might affect an industry
5. Summarize the prevailing news related to the source (with links)
6. Explore reasons why the news is good / bad above and beyond the scope of the article
If they’re tips/how’to/lists:
1. Add your own suggestions (i.e. give another 5 items for a list):
2. Discuss how some tips aren’t actually worthy of the list — and give reasons
3. Review your own history with these tips
4. Comment on if these tips are actually useful
5. Implement these tips, and report on your results
6. Create a related list on an issue that you think is even more important (that the authored missed)
If its a review:
1. Describe your own exeriences with the product — agree, disagree, with original review
2. Do your own review, with the original review as a springboard
3. Comment on what you would have liked to have seen reviewed
4. Put the review in an industry context; what were people expecting? Did it meet expectations?
5. Compare it to an existing line of products
6. Explore where the product or service might lead to developments in the future
So, what am I advocating here? That to produce good content, yes, of course you cannot rehash stuff that is everywhere else. On the other hand, its unrealistic to believe that you’re going to create new stuff out of thin air — all the time. You can’t let that desire consume you, or stall your blogging efforts.
Rather, a regular part of blogging will require you to take the time to create content by enriching others content. There’s a way to do it and to do it intelligently. And yes … it *does* sound like I’m suggesting that perhaps there was some use for that critical writing class back in high school.
Because that’s all that “enriching content” means … providing a critical perspective and commentary to existing content.
And if you do that, you’ll be on your way to hustling your way to the top, rather than languishing your way to the bottom.
*Tony Hung guest blogs every thursday. He usually blogs at Deep Jive Interests