Here’s a novel content strategy for you. Make some awful content. And when you’re done with that, make some more bad content.
How is that “content strategy,” you ask? Good question.
This year I published a book called “Creating Comics from Start to Finish.” It’s a book for people who aspire to create comic books. I included a section for writers where I offered the concept of the “Rule of 10.”
I won’t go into the whole thing (buy the book), but the Rule of 10 is all about practice. Specifically, if you are a writer, you need to create 10 stories before you even dare to pitch your stuff to an editor. By writing these 10 stories, you will write through your clichés and stiff storytelling. You will write through your amateurish experimentation, which nobody should have to pay for.
Your first 10 stories are probably pretty awful. And if you do manage to get an editor who doesn’t know better, you may even see that awful story published. That may seem like progress, but it’s more of a Pyrrhic victory. The people who buy your lame, unpolished work are actually less likely to buy something from you later (when you’re better). They’re not going to stick around to be burned by you twice. You’ve essentially destroyed your audience. Yay for you and your shortcuts.
So let’s get back to you. You’re thinking about your content strategy, right? Maybe you have a website or a blog and you need to populate it with content. Don’t just write and click publish.
Let me recommend the Rule of 10. As part of your content strategy, start writing content for your website. Just write it. Let it out. Then take it, store it in a folder, and write some more. Write until you’ve literally written 10 posts. Do not publish any of them.
Then, take a deep breath and start with #11. This is your new #1. Now you can start creating content.
Online publishing has made it deceptively easy to become a publisher. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Back when editors and publishers were gatekeepers, there was someone who was reviewing your writing. They weren’t doing it for you. They had a responsibility to their readers to ensure the best quality content they could manage, which sometimes meant asking you for a rewrite.
Content creation, like any other art form, generally improves with practice. If you haven’t ever written for the web or you’re just a bit rusty, you should consider practicing more in private. Working out your routine in private is far less damaging to your brand than producing sub par content.
If you are the content strategist for a website, be sure your writers are well practiced. Don’t be afraid to push for some writing samples, just to make sure the tone, voice, and style is to your standards. Without great content, your content strategy is going to be ineffective.
So go ahead and start making your 10 samples of awful content. It’s the best thing you can do for your writing.