Friday, July 13, 2007

Are Your Blog Posts A Commodity?

A commodity is a product that is essentially undifferentiated. In other words, regardless of which company you buy from you get basically the same thing. It is an item usually traded on price alone and not on quality or features in that there is really no difference between producers or sellers. Blogs posts are a dime-a-dozen commodity, quality blog Articles on the other hand are not. Don't get me wrong I believe a mix of shorter commentary style blog posts are a necessary part of blogging, but a blog strictly of these types of posts will be hard pressed to build a successful blog with a large loyal readership.

Jakob Nielsen Ph.D. "one of the world's foremost experts in Web usability," according to Business Week, says
Blog postings will always be commodity content: there’s a limit to the value you can provide with a short comment on somebody else’s work. Such postings are good for generating controversy and short-term traffic, and they’re definitely easy to write. But they don’t build sustainable value. Think of how disappointing it feels when you’re searching for something and get directed to short postings in the middle of a debate that occurred years before, and is thus irrelevant.
In his article Write Articles, Not Blog Postings Nielsen argues the focus should be on writing in-depth value-added content.
It might take you only an hour to write a blog posting on some current controversy, but a thousand other people can do that as well (in fact, they'll sometimes do it better, as shown above). And customers don't want to pay for such a tiny increment of knowledge....

In contrast, in-depth content that takes much longer to create is beyond the abilities of the lesser experts. A thousand monkeys writing for 1,000 hours doesn't add up to Shakespeare. They'll actually create a thousand low-to-medium-quality postings that aren't integrated and that don't give readers a comprehensive understanding of the topic -- even if those readers suffer through all 1,000 blogs.

Thorough content's added value can rise above the threshold where customers become willing to be separated from their money. This is the true measure of a sustainable business.
Blogs from Problogger to Daily Blogging Tips cover the topic of building a base of "pillar" articles. I agree with Daniel at Daily Blogging Tips that the concept of writing "pillar" posts or articles is certainly not a novel concept in the blogging community but the "way Nielsen[sic] handles the matter is quite interesting." I certainly don't agree with everything in his article he does make some very interesting and valid observations.

There has been a cardinal rule in blogging that in my opinion plays right into the commoditization of posts. The rule is post every day. I recently wrote an article about building a a good relationship with your readers that addresses this from the quality vs. quantity angle. The pressure of posting something leads to superficial posts that really do not differentiate themselves from the myriad of posts out there. I believe that if you take the time to really get into an article, really put yourself into it, and add value to your blog and to your readers through it, that it will go 100x farther than tons of superficial "commodity" posts.

In this journey we are on together to build a profitable productive blogs that add value to those who read them, I encourage everyone, myself included, to take the time to post thoughtful, personal, and well researched articles. Articles that go beyond the buzz topic of the moment. Will, and even more importantly does, every article need to be an epiphany? No, not even the best among us could pull that off, instead as I stated earlier strive for a well rounded mix which to me follows the rule I try to live by - moderation in all things.

Has pressure to post something ever lead you to simply put something full of nothing up? I know there have been times when I posted to post due to the "rule" and really had nothing unique to say. Let me know your feelings on this matter.

later all and have a profitable and productive blogging day

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Anonymous said...

just stopping by to say what's up again. thanks for your help and advice on starting up my blog.

Proletariatof1 said...

no problem. when you finally get your blog up stop by and leave your url.

any other questions feel free to stop by and ask. also if you haven't already subscribe to my feed and newsletter.