This blog post is an experiment in a new way of creating content, so if parts of this post seem unfinished, I made it so on purpose. Continue reading and you'll find a way to make your blogging easy, effortless and of higher quality than before.
We must create content if we want to build our internet marketing platform
But there's a problem:
- Creating content continuously is hard.
- Creating quality content continuously is even harder.
Content marketing is hard because we make it too hard. I decided I won't put up with this anymore and that I need to change my attitude towards publishing.
For me, the choice of publishing platform complicates publishing because it dictates the number of words I want to write well.
So, as an experiment, I was watching how my feelings change as I said the following two sentences to myself:
"I will sit down now and write a tweet."
"I will sit down now and write a book."
The first thought results in "Sure, why not".
The second thought results in "I'd rather have my nails pulled."
There's a scale of rising complexity to every piece of content
- Tweeting is super-easy. I'm usually done in 10-60 seconds.
- Google+ is easy. The post that got me the most shares, took me 20 minutes to craft.
- Blogging is hard. The best blog post I ever wrote, took me a few hours up to a day to write.
- Writing an essay is much harder than writing a blog post. I've never wrote a real essay, but I estimate it would take me a few days to write a 5000 word essay.
- Writing a book is the hardest thing on the planet. Don't let 1+ million published Kindle ebooks fool you: there's still 7 billion people on this planet, and there are more people who do not write books, than those who do.
The most important part of this scale is the difference between posting on Google+ and posting on my blog. Why must Google+ be almost easy, and why does writing a blog post must be hard? What's the difference, when Google+ lets me write blog-length posts?
I noticed I never complicate things for myself when I start writing on Google+. A post on Google+ is fleeting, while a blog post is something set in stone, immutable, unchangeable. But does it have to be?
The best way for me to make publishing content easy is to change my attitude towards various pieces of content I create.
So, I decided to make blogging as ephemeral as a Google+ post. I decided to publish early and treat all my blog posts as content in perpetual beta.
My content creation rules
1. Publish as soon as I think my idea is worth spreading. (This blog post is an example of such an idea, and I hit publish before I was satisfied with its quality.)
2. Publish first with minimum editing, heavy-edit and upgrade later.
3. Every content piece can stay in perpetual beta.
A blog post does not have to be finished once I write it. I want to write a blog post and come back to edit it. That way, every blog post I write will become better with time. Every time I come back to revisit a blog post, I will have the chance to reference new content sources, enrich the blog post with news and fresher content.
Numerous advantages to treating blog posts as perpetual betas
- Existing readers will have an incentive to return to the blog post and see what's new (my publishing platform will give them a clue about what's new in this particular piece of content since their last visit).
- New visitors will stumble upon a version 1.x of my blog post and witness epicness under construction.
- Google now rewards fresh content, and Google also rewards content sources who publish more quality stuff (Google calls this algorithm "Panda" - here's an easy-to-understand infographic about Panda)
There is one major disadvantage to my approach: my content won't be as good as if I sat with it for hours and edited it till perfection. But guess what? We all have "perfect" pieces of content sitting idly somewhere on our hard disk. "I'll get to it later, when I have time - I can't publish it yet, it's crap".
Well, an old Chinese proverb about software development says: "If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late." If I publish a piece of content I am at least a little embarrassed by, I have an incentive to return to it and make it better. But at least I shipped! I hit "Publish"!
What I expect will happen
Let's be frank: most blog posts are crap. Mine are too. But publishing anything is the first step towards content marketing success. Publishing quality content is the next.
So, by treating blog posts as ever-changing, flexible, variable and upgradeable, I expect the following benefits:
- It will be faster and easier for me to publish a blog post. If I wait until I have enough time to write an epic post, it will never be published.
- With time and continuous editing, I can upgrade my every blog post to epicness. I am willing to expose my editing process to the public. I've seen Leo Babauta do this: while he was writing one of his ebooks, he was publishing every new chapter of it, every day, for everybody to see it, for free. When his book was finished, he let it be free on his website, and offered to sell it for money on Amazon.com.
- This is the best way for me to begin my journey towards gathering my 1000 true fans. This might not be the best choice for everyone, but it is for me - because I let too many good ideas in draft on my hard disk. Fuck perfection, real artists ship.
- Crowdsourced content debugging. My readers will let me know if I made a mistake, a typo or a logical error. I can't control who reads my public posts: haters gonna hate, and most people will always be nice and friendly. Either way, others will debug my content, and this way I can be grateful even for trolls.