You sit down at the computer –(Am I the only human left that misses his old typewriter?!? Dam you millennials !!!) it could be a laptop, tablet, or even a clunky old desktop that you dug out of the rubble of your overburdened storage unit- and feel the familiar texture of a keyboard at your fingertips (and possibly a light layer of dust you can’t seem to scrape off). The word processing program is open, a blank white screen staring at you, the little cursor blinking expectantly.
You’re set to write. You’re set to put your thoughts and ideas onto ‘paper’ (I say ‘paper’ because that’s the old expression, though your words might never actually see paper thanks to the digital age). Yet the moment you press your fingers down harder to type, and a few black letters begin appearing on the page, you quickly find the delete key.
Okay … blank page again. Try once more.
And once more you notice the same trend. Finding the delete key becomes much quicker now and you’re starting to get a bit frustrated because of this. You know there are so many things you could (and should) write about. You have content for your website that must be filled out … and soon.
You keep hearing about this thing called ‘blogging’ (said with a bit of a ‘turn and cough’ sputter).
Blog this, blog that … why don’t you have a blog yet? You might be hearing this from friends, a mentor, colleagues. It’s frustrating but you begin to truly realize (and understand) that the Internet is driven by content.
You can click twice surfing the Internet and not come across written content. Sure, there are videos and images, logos and cartoon figures, but nothing gets more results than written content.
So there you are with your old trusted friend. The fan inside humming at overdrive because there’s about ten pounds of dust piled along the motherboard from all that time sitting in storage, but it’s still working, pumping out that cursor. Blinking.
Finally you begin stringing a few words together. Hey, that’s not too bad, you think. Maybe you did pay attention in your high school English classes. You remember how to put together a few words and make them work out in a form of article.
You’re writing about the product you’re carrying, how it can benefit the average consumer, and since you know a great deal about it, this part is actually easy. You start typing and the words begin flowing. After an hour or two you’re finally done.
Maybe you’re pleased with yourself. Maybe you’re completely thrilled with the way things worked out.
Hire a professional writer, they said. Don’t go doing something you’re not skilled at.
What do they know? Those four years of high school English really did pay off. Still, you need to get this published on your new … (say it, be proud …) blog.
After tinkering with it, you finally get your first blog post published. Now you’re confident you can keep on doing this and even write the main content for your website. After all, every single business in the world today should have a web presence and you’ve just proven to yourself this writing thing isn’t all that difficult.
So you write that down as a project to get done tomorrow. Then you look at the time. You knew it took you a while to write this blog, but maybe not just how much time. It’s closing in on lunchtime and you haven’t even started with anything for your actual business venture. Yet.
Oh boy, this is going to be tough. Still, you saved money. People told you that you could find writers across a wide range of prices and skills, but you proved that you can do this. Even if it took you many hours.
For one post.
You click ‘publish’ and relax for a moment. So what if it cost you valuable time that you could have been devoting to other, more important endeavors associated with your business.
Now you’re going to sit back and enjoy the comments people leave, the numbers of unique visitors who flock to your website and blog, and the thousands upon thousands of people who actually read your masterpiece. You’ve got all the tracking programs so you’ll know exactly what’s going on with the site as soon as it all happens.
You check in the next morning, knowing there were several people who read your blog post, and a lot of them would be contacting you because they just have to purchase your products.
You sign in and check those stats.
You had 1 new visitor yesterday. Probably your mother after you proudly told her about your work. You check to see if that 1 unique visitor read your entire post, but you can’t tell. There are no comments.
No pingbacks (whatever that means, you think to yourself).
No other views.
Okay, that’s just because it was the first day, you justify and decide to give it some more time. You make a vow not to check back on your post for a week. By then, certainly there will be many, many more people reading and commenting on it.
A week passes. A week of investing in your business through other actions. A week of seeing your numbers not even move the slightest. You finally get back to checking on that blog.
The total readership remains at one. What could you possibly be doing wrong? Wouldn’t people just want to come check out your blog once you published it? After all, you were writing about the products you sell and you know there are millions of people all around the world who purchase things just like this, but your product is so much better!
You’re getting frustrated now. You decide to (finally) read the post you wrote.
Because it’s been a week (because there’s been separation between the creation of the post and the actual reading of it), you see it from a different perspective. You’re reading it almost like somebody who never saw this particular post before.
And you can’t believe what you’re reading.
“Who wrote this garbage?” you want to say, but you know the answer. You realize in that moment it’s not only poorly written, you rambled, misspelled half the words, and didn’t really make a point.
You honestly assess your own writing and think, ‘If I came across this post someone else wrote, I would have clicked away after the first paragraph and never come back.’
Probably true. However, that’s not the greatest of your concerns, either. You need to think about marketing.
Why was there only one unique visitor to your blog in that first week? To be honest, there might be a number of reasons.
It could be that you didn’t let anyone know about it. Connecting your website and blog presence through social media is essential. Building a network is also tantamount to success for any platform. You also didn’t even give any consideration to keywords and search engines.
On top of that, there are also numerous article marketing sites that help businesses become authorities on a wide range of topics and that helps to boost their overall presence online.
You didn’t think about any of that; you were completely focused on actually writing something, and you were initially proud of your work. Now reality begins to sink in and you see it for what it truly is … ineffective.
What’s the solution?
Many entrepreneurs will come to a crossroads in their journey (many of them, actually) and at those moments there will be questions that have to be answered. Choices that need to be made.
One of the most significant for those wanting to make their web presence known is whether or not they should even bother trying to create the written content themselves. The answer is not always cut and dried, but in most cases it’s simple: you should always make sure you rely on quality written content.
There are billions of words out there already. Search engines use advanced algorithms to try and rank web pages, but they don’t always find the best quality content.
I know there are a lot of people who will spend the least amount they can for writers, and they may very think they’re getting some good content (after all, it looks better than anything they could do), but in truth they’ll face the same exact situation as the story in this article.
They’ll expect results and be a bit surprised when that doesn’t come.
The solution is simple: if you’re serious about your business, if you take your entrepreneurial drive seriously, then you need to make the right type of investment in the content on which you rely.
Will it convince people? Will it share information? Will it connect to them?
In order to accomplish the most important goals of any written content, nothing (and I mean nothing) beats experience. Sure, you can rely on someone else’s high school English education, but you will likely face the same problems our hero did in this example, but you’re realization timeframe will be much slower.
If you’re asking yourself whether you should or shouldn’t write your own content, it comes down to this: would you perform surgery on yourself or a loved one just because you took a biology class?
I didn’t think so. Why do you believe words are that much less valuable?