Bloggers love playing buzzword bingo, don’t they? They’ve got their sweaty fingers on the pulse of their social media timelines and are quick to scramble to their keyboards at the first mention of any noteworthy event. Ambulance chasers who don’t have to leave their seats.
They begin their “writing” (and I use the term loosely) by dusting off the usual blog title template, “What [insert noteworthy event] can teach us about [social media/marketing/public relations]” and produce a handful of anemic references to the aforementioned noteworthy event in a shameful effort to justify the blog title (all the while featuring several additional links to other blog posts they’ve written).
I’m not the only one who notices this, right? Hello?
This past week, amidst a plethora of similar posts, I came across a real doozy, What Michael Phelps’ 19th Olympic Medal can Teach You About Smarter Online Marketing (think the author got enough keywords in there?). Allow me to apologize in advance if you head over to read it but if you decide not to, the author of the post makes a quick reference to Phelps’ “rivalry” with fellow Team USA swimmer Ryan Lochte before going into the bloodied and beaten “the audience comes first” blogging sermon. Oy vey.
Along the way, she features several additional links (6 in total) to other posts she’s written that further elaborate on the points she just recycled in her present post as well as links to sign up for additional services offered by the site. Linkbait, plain and simple.
Her post was far from the only offender:
What can the Olympics opening ceremony teach us about Social Media?
3 Things the Olympics Can Teach Us About Social Media
What the Olympic Games Can Teach You About Marketing Your Business
It really isn’t that surprising considering that you can unearth similar posts from the BP oil spill to the killing of Osama Bin Laden. This type of blog post has become rather predictable, yes? Moreover, it’s what the “blogging experts” teach us you have to do to attract eyeballs (and google) to your site. Content is king? Whatever.
Yeah, I get that there are people that “have to” blog daily or who get paid to blog or whose livelihood depends on their blog traffic. I get that. But what these types of blog posts really do is lower the bar on what is considered quality content and raise the flag of mediocrity in the blogosphere. Fortunately for these bloggers, there are enough people out there willing to leave a “Great post!” comment on even these types of lame blog posts just to increase their own SEO. Yay.
So what can the rest of us do? Take our eyes elsewhere, that’s what. First, let these bloggers know (via SEO-boosting comments on their site) that you’re wise to their tired game, then pop a red pill and journey down the rabbit hole to discover new and exciting bloggers (and even more bloggers!) who can actually write a creative post. Stop listening to the “blogging experts” and JUST SAY NO! to cookie-cutter bloggers simply looking to boost their own SEO, sign you up for their $47 webinars or get you to buy their equally lame social media books.
Then, and only then, will content truly be king…
(See what I just did there? Yeah, that.)
Subscribe in a reader and never miss a new post. You won’t be sorry…promise.
What I love about you DP in your innocence and sense of wonder…LOL…you are a cynic, my friend as am I at times. Oddly though, you’re a great artist and you “see” beauty in so much. Ahh, but isn’t that life and art – great contrasts?
I agree, and in fact for the most part titles like the one you suggest/talk about keep me walking on by. I think that the advantage in all of this is that as wih anything there will always be mediocre and that gives the outstanding a place to shine. It’s also – like with anything else- perhaps an attempt for these starting bloggers to gain their experience – try through these opportunities of trending topics- to get their writing experience. It takes years to develop this skill. To each his own, but anyone who just jumps on a post to read it because it has a trendy topic certainly isn’t that discriminating. We all have limited time – you can’t blame people for trying – everyone has their levels and circles of appeal. Writing is a skill – whether it’s blogging or journalism or poetry – writing is an art. The ability for a person to use their skill combined with knowledge is what’s really going to make things stand out. Can they keep them coming back for more? That’s the real question. After the title draws them in, are you givin them value? That’s where it really lies 🙂 thanks for the usual food for thought Dan 🙂
By the way that was giving them value 🙂 my iPhone kind of made me slang there 🙂
The mediocre also causes people to skip over posts that actually have some substance to them. All these types of bloggers want is eyeballs – it’s just a numbers game. That this type of fluff comes from a “respectable” site like Copyblogger is even more shameful.
Nice to see you here 🙂
I’m not trying to sound humble or uppity, but I really have no clue about SEO and kind of think it’s bull crap. Although I understand that some people make a living blogging and that extensive “expert” studies have been done, I have to think that you can use all the buzz words you want. That doesn’t mean your blog still isn’t shit. People might stop by once, call you on your bull crap and never return. (Again, if you get paid by the page view, buzz your little heart out, but quality over quantity people.)
But I am but a peon and if I knew anything out SEO, that might not be the case. You summed it up here brilliantly though:
“But what these types of blog posts really do is lower the bar on
what is considered quality content and raise the flag of mediocrity in
the blogosphere. Fortunately for these bloggers, there are enough people
out there willing to leave a “Great post!” comment on even these types
of lame blog posts just to increase their own SEO. Yay.”
*more slow clapping*
You’ve already got the type of “audience” that most bloggers would sell their souls for – all based on your creative writing. A lesson for the SEO whores out there, yes?
Always nice to see you here 🙂
*slow clap* back atcha…well said!
I don’t think it’s limited to those who ‘must’ blog daily, who’s blogs are their biz (and therefore, revenue). Plenty of others do so too – ala the webinar-promoting, book-selling pundits on the lecture circuit. I’ve fallen for it, embarrassed I didn’t even think about why.
I’m not as quick on the draw to the SEO-loving buzzwords of the moment to write posts that fast; not a fan of the wordy headline either. FWIW I’m tempted – see if maybe I’ve got the skill to b.s. it into a readable post, connect the dots from the linkbait juicy keywords to something of substance. We’ll see.
It’s not all that hard, considering how little substance these posts usually have. If you do, send me the link 🙂
FYI ran the post last week. 🙂
Interesting post. I write post headlines like the one you are discussing in your post, but I don’t do it for SEO reasons. I do it to get people to STOP and [hopefully] take a look. And it works.
Writing descriptive headlines is just smart business for those of us that make a living by drawing in more sales, leads and referrals from an increasingly noisy web.
For example, If I saw the four post titles on Facebook, Twitter, etc that are in your “Related Posts” section I would really only understand what one of them is about from the snippet I would see.
The post “The 10 Greatest Classic Heavy Metal Albums of All Time” is the one of the four that would get my attention. And this is nothing but a tired old list post headline.
Your point is very well taken though. Headlines like these, particularly the piggyback headlines that you reference in this post are becoming more and more prevalent. My Google Reader is full of the same headline formulas over and over again.
Sometimes it makes me ill. 🙂 I wonder, are the rest of the folks (the non marketers) catching on?
Personally, I love tricked-up headlines because they let me know right away that the post is definitely not worth reading.
On the SEO front, there’s reason for hope. Google is cracking down hard on practices that attempt to make crap content outrank good content.
SEO issues aside, I can see the merit in using dramatic, provocative and topical titles if your audience wants a “National Enquirer” experience. But for business oriented blogs, those titles are likely to backfire.