First of all, Corona beer isn’t contagious.
Secondly, I feel somewhat responsible for this coronavirus outbreak. I started writing a blog about a mass disease, and then one appears. Coincidence?
On to my disease now.
I’m really lucky to work at a really cool content writing agency where we don’t sacrifice quality, but on the contrary, we make sacrifices FOR quality. It’s sleepless nights and ruthless fact-checking, and the reason my eyes have grown bigger. Anyway, my point is, we know the industry pretty well. So well, we sometimes get sick of it. Ergo, I’ll be talking about the disease of the masses today.
A Quick Reminder to All Content Writers out There
Value is not in the eyes of the reader
It seems to me that as writers, we have this constant inclination to reach ever more readers. It’s like the value of our work comes from the masses.
Value comes from us, the writers. The research we have made, the ideas we have developed, the angle we’re writing from, the message we’re sharing with the world.
Effect and influence, on the other hand, come from the readers. How they interpret and resonate with what you have written. How they envision an image you have created.
It’s not the other way around. Both sides have their role in this, and you shouldn’t forget which one is yours.
That said, it bugs me how, many times, we associate authority and credibility with the reach that an author or a blog has.
Yes, search engines may work this way, but people shouldn’t.
And I think Instagram is catching up on my vibe. They are currently testing to remove likes worldwide. I can’t help but smile at the impending downfall of many influencers and like-beggers who’d do anything for a tap (get it?). Conformity is the reason many widely popular profiles with mediocre content continue to exist, while there are barely known profiles with actually good content that continue to struggle.
Divorce Likes, Marry Comments
Us content writers, we love comments
I personally prefer comments. Anyone can hit “Like” or fill a heart with a tap. It can be because they liked the title or maybe they accidentally tapped ‘Like’ as they were scrolling down their feed. So many reasons to like, and only one to comment. People comment because they were actually engaged with what you wrote in one way or another.
So, who cares if you had 100 likes but only 2 of those people actually read your work? Does it make it more valuable? And, if it does, to whom?
As writers, our egos often push us to write things we don’t like for the sake of getting a “like.” To draw attention, we make statements we don’t support in real life. But hey, it will get us those likes, right?
Imagine how much better it would be if we all wrote about what we care about and what we believe in. It would make for a much more diverse landscape for readers.
One of My Favorite Antidote Examples
It’s a guy
I think working for a content writing agency kind of means you read a lot. At least I do. One of my favorite books of all time is the perfect example of what we can achieve when we run away from the masses and the disease of conformity — The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
The book follows the story of Howard Roark, an aspiring architect back in the 1920s and 30s who refused to succumb to the then reigning status quo where every building was a replica of the one before. He is the extreme embodiment of individualism and, yes, that made him pretty unpopular in the architects’ sandbox, but he persevered and left an invaluable legacy to those after (no spoilers here).
The point is, Howard was true to himself and, to speak in modern terms, he didn’t click “Like” or “conform,” and it paid off, just not immediately.
I guess, what I’m trying to say is, walk the road less traveled by. In this case, dare to read the article less viewed. Dare to click on the third and fourth pages of Google search results (unless that result is 411Writers, then always click on us). It doesn’t mean the quality drops as the page number increases. It sometimes also means content writers choose to do things white hat and not cheat the system to get to the front page.
Explore the truly wide digital web. You never know what gems you will find if you keep going to the same sources over and over again. Be the antidote to this social disease because you have the power to do it.
Dear content writers, our common nemesis (and frenemy) is and always will be Judge Reader — the one who stands on the other side of what you’ve written and decides your worth in less than a title-while. If a title is all they are going to read, then make sure you’re proud of what you’ve put together. It’s the best you can do.
Be well now.
Till next time,