03 December 2018

Seth Godin: A lesson in good content creation

When I first started writing posts for my blog, I struggled. I didn’t have any writing experience and found it hard to articulate my thoughts in a way that made them clear for the reader. Adding to the challenge, there was also a conception at the time that a blog post should be between 700 and 1000 words for “optimal SEO effect”. I simply accepted that as a fact and made it my mission to write posts that were between 700 and 1000 words. The problem here of course as I’m sure you can tell is that some topics require more than 1000 words to make sense and others require far less. Thankfully, just adding words for the sake of SEO is something almost everyone now sees as unnecessary.

Do you know what actually makes sense in terms of SEO? Creating content that people like. Content that people like gets shared and shared content is good for SEO. That is, if SEO is your primary goal. I believe having readers, and ultimately customers, enjoy your work should probably be goal number one.

A great example

For years, I’ve followed the work of Seth Godin. If you’re unaware of his work, I highly recommend looking into any of the books he’s written or simply start reading his blog. Seth’s blog is a perfect example of something that’s not optimized for SEO. In fact, some of his posts are not even a 100 words! He posts something every day and that kind of consistency is underrated.

I find his advice directly applicable both to the work I (and likely you) do, but also my (and likely yours) personal life. Like this one:

Just because you don’t understand it
…doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
…doesn’t mean it isn’t important.

If we spend our days ignoring the things we don’t understand (because they must not be true and they must not be important) all we’re left with is explored territory with little chance of improvement.

Working on a large (and by large I mean IKEA globally-large) business to business project makes me realize how little I know about how many users think. What I think is a poor user experience may be great to others. What I think looks like a bad user interface may look great to them because they are currently using a native Windows 95 application. It’s all relative.

So instead, focus on surrounding yourself with great people:

The problem with people is that they outnumber you
It doesn’t make any sense to spend your life proving them wrong, it’s a losing battle. Far more effective is the endless work of building connection, forming alliances and finding the very best you can in those you engage with.

Great advice. Thanks Seth!