It’s easy to adopt bad habits with your blog. We start off not knowing how to blog, or blog for our business, and reproduce blog styles we’ve seen. One bad habit is uninspired top tip or top idea lists.
Writing Blog Posts of List of Tips
You don’t need to look very far to find one of the biggest crutches in blogging – Top Tips Lists. You’ve seen them, Top 10 Tips to Get More Followers on Twitter, 7 Tips for Your Business Blog, 7 and a Half Ideas for Facebook Business Pages … etc.
That’s not to say we haven’t done them. Sometimes life and business gets in the way and we’ve been in a crunch to get an article up. We’ve tapped out and created top tip lists, basically, as filler – in the past.
That’s exactly what they are – filler. Which means they have a use. The problem is they are over-used and can appear, well, hacky. They should not be your main content on your blog.
Common & Low Quality Blog Posts
The basic problem with this type of writing is the reader never remembers the author or blog which published the article. These are low quality posts you can read anywhere and everywhere.
These posts generally all say the same thing. You’re not adding anything new and you are not distinguishing yourself as a thought leader.
Multiple Blog Posts Means More Quality Content
List posts can be broken up into their smallest components and made into multiple blog posts. Why ruin 5, 7, or 10 blog ideas in one shot?
Make a blog post from each of the items on the list. Because these are about one particular subject, you’ll probably come up with a few more blog ideas from your opinions on the subject.
Single ideas or individual tips are actionable by your reader. The problem with 5, 10, and 20 tips is your reader will end up doing none of them. People can act when they’re told to do a single thing or focus on a single idea.
Say Something in Your Blog – Think Quality Blogging
Top tips list blog posts skim a subject and don’t drill into any particular point very deep. This means you’re not increasing anyones understanding or communicating a point of view.
Readers come back to quality bloggers who write from a point of view and deliver useful content. If you’re not doing that then you are not delivering value.
Writing mostly tip lists will prevent you from having a style. Not necessarily a writing style, but a communication style. The best bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters have their “thing” that their audience appreciates about them. It could be a point of view or the way the communicate, maybe, through humor or they may be philosophical.
None of which can be developed through multiple uninspired lists!
Don’t Limit Your Blogging
Once you’re in the habit of littering your blog with junk lists, it’s hard to be inspired by your own blogging efforts. One of the most difficult parts of creating regular content is talking about interesting things in interesting ways, which is why top tips lists are over used in the first place – they’re easy.
When you have to take risks and talk about new things, in new ways, you open up doors for yourself. You find new paths to go down, which you can only get to, by writing and exploring. You learn to look at things differently. You’re forced to communicate things differently. You grow as a writer, communicator, and as a person.
Bonus – When to Use Top Tip Blog Posts
Just to contradict myself – these posts are Google bait. If you are putting out a lot of quality content, certain filler vehicles are useful. Filler means, it’s used sparingly between the good stuff.
Top tips lists can be a good way to drive traffic to your website or blog where they are then exposed to your good stuff. The reward for putting out quality content, is you can then add a little more content for SEO.
Seth Goden, on his blog, could get away with using a list here and there to drive traffic (if he chose too) because he has a ton of great stuff on his blog. He didn’t become a thought leader through creating lists that are the same as what everyone else publishes.
Think of it as a loss leader in retail – use it a little to get them in the door, but then you need something there to hold them and keep them coming back.
If you are generating enough content to make use of top tips list blog posts as filler, or Google bait, choose your keywords wisely. If your website or blog doesn’t rank high in search relevance, don’t target highly competitive keywords – go for the “long tail” and target keywords or phrases less competitive, in an attempt, to get at least some traffic to your website. Local targetable keywords for businesses are always the best place to start.
If you’re like most small businesses and solo-preneurs you’re likely not generating enough content to use list blog posts in a productive way. A blog being updated once or twice a week should really stay away from filler posts.
You Can Do More With Your Blog
Blogging is one of the best personal development tools that exists – don’t waste it by just “phoning it in.” The one thing I know – you can do better!