Five Pieces of Blogging Advice I Wish You’d Stop Giving

I don’t know why I bother sometimes.

(“I don’t know why you bother ever.”)

Whenever someone writes a “five blogging secrets” post, I keep thinking, “maybe this is it. Maybe this is the one. Maybe this blog post will have at least one useful blogging tip that I can use.”

But it didn’t. It doesn’t. It never did. It was written, just like every other post on blogging, for the absolute beginner, who, given the constant bombardment of amateur advice, no longer exists in this world. We’ve polluted the Internet so much with useless, remedial blogging advice that it’s gotten into the water, and our children are born knowing the five most important steps to successful blogging.

I’ll admit, I’ve given this advice. Hell, I still give it in talks, depending on my audience and who I’m writing for. But everyone is giving it. I’m seeing it all over the goddamn place, and if I see much more of it, I’m going to scream at someone.

So, please, if not for me, then for the good of the country: stop it. Just stop it. Stop giving the same damn advice over and over and over again. Stop copying and pasting each other’s “five blogging secrets” posts.

These are the five pieces of blogging advice I want you to stop giving.

  1. Write good content: Blah, blah, blah! People say this like it’s The Most Important Advice Ever. It’s stupid, vile, and utterly useless, because everyone a) knows it, and b) thinks they do it. “I think I’ll write completely utter crap,” said no one ever. The problem is, everyone already thinks they write well, and that their work is just as good as everyone else’s. Even the conspiracy theorists who write 10,000 word treatises in a single day think what they’re producing is gold, and they’re surprised the world isn’t beating a path to their door. Telling people to write good content is like telling people to breathe or chew their food when they eat. It may be important to hear for anyone who’s brand new to blogging, but the people who know enough about the Internet to find the blog post where you shared this little piece of dreariness have already seen this more than once.
  2. Grow your social network: Really? I thought having my brother and a couple friends from work following me on a Twitter account I rarely use was a guaranteed step toward social media rock stardom. So you’re saying that the more people who read my stuff, the more success I’ll have? BRILLIANT! Give that man a Pulitzer prize for extreme cleverness! Next week, check out my new wealth creating blog post, “buy low, sell high.”
  3. Find your niche/passion: Okay, this one might not be such a Duh! piece of advice, but I’m tired of it. Anyone who has a barely detectable pulse has heard this one before, so it’s nothing new. Combine this with item #1 — write passionately about your content — and Tony Robbins will personally punch you in the nose.
  4. Erik's Tumblr Feed

    Alright, alright, fine! I have a Tumblr feed. But I have it ironically.

  5. Create value: Value is in the eyes of the beholder. And if you’re giving advice like this, there’s a whooole lot of beholders who are more than a little annoyed with you right now. Everyone perceives value in their own way. While I might think your literary comparison between Dr. Who and Mr. Ferrars from Sense and Sensibility is completely useless, there are plenty of Dr. Who/Jane Austen fans who would disagree with me loudly. No matter what you create, there will always be someone who finds some value in it, somewhere. So as a piece of advice, this is value-less.
  6. Blogging is Dead: Muh-huh. And what are you reading right now? That’s right, a blog. And what’s that place where you share all your photos and pithy little comments about your friends and their quirky hats and ironic bow ties? That’s right, your blog. What’s that? You have a Tumblog, and that’s not a blog? The hell it’s not. That’s exactly what Tumblr is, a blog for people who can’t read more than three sentences without their lips getting tired. One day, when you grow up and move out of your mom’s basement, you’ll start writing longer pieces of content, like a job application at a coffee shop. Until then, stop telling people blogging is dead. If your world view can be summed up in 140 characters and a retro photo filter, that tells me it’s not a world view worth listening to. Stick to bumper stickers on your fixed gear bike.

Just once, I would love to see someone share some useful blogging advice that did not include any variations of these five completely useless tips. While I know many people are still new to blogging, I don’t think anyone would ever knowingly violate these little “gems.” You can stop sharing them, and move on to the next lesson.

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    About Erik Deckers

    is the President of Professional Blog Service, a ghost blogging and social media marketing agency in Indianapolis, IN. He has been blogging since 1997, and has been a published writer for more than 26 years. He is a newspaper humor columnist, appearing in 10 papers around Indiana, and in The American Reporter. Erik co-authored No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (2nd ed., 2012; Que Biz-Tech). His latest co-authored effort, The Owned Media Doctrine, was released in 2013.

    Comments

    1. It’s nice to meet a fellow ranter Erik. I haven’t got 5 reasons why I do anything, or 5 reasons how I do it. As a Boomer Ranter, I just write it and hope they will come.

    2. Hahahaha love it, very good post Erik, thank you.

      I’m new to blogging so this post really hits out to me, as I have Googled for blogging advice and it really is just as you say. It’s the same, boring, generic, overly-obvious advice over and over again.

      Write good content. Well, duh – I didn’t decide to start a blog so I could type “ggioewngiwnen” and press submit.

      Find a niche/passion – if I didn’t have one I wouldn’t start a blog in the first place, I have one, hence why I’m looking for advice.

      Grow my social network – Well I wasn’t writing a blog just for me to read.

      You get the point. All the information out there really is totally useless. I’m sure, that somewhere, there’s some decent advice but you hit the nail on the head – the internet is so polluted with utter crud.

      While I’m commenting I may as well ask if you could point me in the direction of a good advice post or two for me to take a look at? I’d love to take a look at your recommendations.

    3. Erik, I love it!

      I have to admit, some days I think it’s important to follow allegedly “expert” advice on blogging and increasing followers, and other days I don’t care and just do whatever I like (which includes making snarky comments and drifting off topic).

      The same trend occurs in “job hunting advice” articles. You’ll click on an article such as “Top 5 Mistakes of Job Applicants,” only to read, “They don’t proofread their resume,” “They use an inappropriate email address” and the like.

    4. Donna Anderson says:

      I don’t know what made me click on the Twitter link that led to this article but I’m glad I did. Finally! A blogger after my own heart! I think I’m in love :)

      THIS —> ““Maybe this is it. Maybe this is the one. Maybe this blog post will have at least one useful blogging tip that I can use.”

      That’s exactly how I feel and it’s probably why I clicked on that Twitter link. I’ve been reading the same crap for so long now and I know exactly how you feel. Nobody ever says anything new anymore. And really, you didn’t either in this post. But you put a nice, sarcastic little spin on it.

      And I especially liked THIS —> “everyone a) knows it, and b) thinks they do it” and THIS —> “Even the conspiracy theorists who write 10,000 word treatises in a single day think what they’re producing is gold, and they’re surprised the world isn’t beating a path to their door.” I wish I could get these two points across to a couple of blogging friends of mine.

      What a refreshing article! I’m bookmarking your blog so I can take it for a spin for a while and I’ll definitely RT the tweet that led me here. :)

    5. Great BLOG post, Erik! This is actually one of the few I have bothered to read from beginning to end this week! Here’s a few pieces of annoying advice you can add to the list, mate: “Be Different” and “Define Your Goals”. Aaargh!

      As you requested someone to share useful advice outside the obvious, here’s one written by Brad Shorr who is Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North in Chicago: http://socialmediarevolver.com/50-golden-blogging-tips-for-business/

      Cheers,
      Kris

    6. Love the post Erik. Now, of course, we wait on a follow up with 5 true gems about writing a good blog :)