There’s a sneaky little bloggers trap that I like to call “generic content”. Basically it’s content that can be found a million times over on a million different blogs. If anyones ever tried to look up how to grow a following on social media then you’ve probably found a tonne of sites that all offer the same information. That’s generic content. It offers nothing new or interesting to the subject, it’s just parroting what every other blogger has to say on the matter.
Chances are, any readers that land on that page (unless it happens to be the first they stumble across) are going to click away pretty fast because they’ve read it all before. If you’d put together a post that offered up something unique and interesting then it’s possible that reader might have stuck around, or maybe even subscribed to your newsletter.
In us bloggers defence, it’s hard coming up with new, original, exciting content on a regular basis. Especially with so much advise floating around telling us that we need to be posting every single day if we want our blogs to be successful. But like a million other blogs have probably already told you, it’s about quality, not quantity. If you don’t have time to write anything other than a rehash of what already exists out there then it may be better to not post anything that day and instead invest time in getting started on a new post that isn’t generic. Sure you might not get a post out every single day, but the ones you do get out will be worth far more to your readers than a generic post.
There is an exception to this rule. When you have a large audience there are times where that audience will want you to talk about a topic that’s already been talked about a million times over. You’ve got a loyal following who trust what you say, so they want to know what your thoughts are on a subject. Even though you might think that it’s going to result in a generic post, try and think of ways that you can make it more interesting for your readers rather than just spouting what’s already out there.
The real issue is when it becomes the norm, when it’s something that is happening more than once in a blue moon. We’re all guilty of it, I’m sure if you hunt around on this blog you’ll find the odd post that could definitely fit into the generic category, but I strive to try and offer up unique ideas and information on my blog as much as I can. If you’re not offering up anything new and interesting then why should readers stick around? There’s plenty of blogs where they can get that same information.
Your blog can also end up getting penalised by search engines for having thin content. Basically, content that offers no value and has no unique qualities about it. While originally thin content focused more on directly flouting the rules like duplicate posts, copy paste posts, scraped articles, or doorway pages, nowadays it’s more advanced. While your blog probably won’t get penalised for the odd Top Ten Tips for *something or other* just because it’s been written about multiple times on other blogs, if that’s the only content you’re putting out you could find your blog suffering because search engines regards your blog of having little value to searchers.
Whenever I sit down to write a new blog post, I try and think about whether what I want to blog about is generic content. Whether or not my readers will be interested to read what I’ve written or whether they’re just going to skim through it because they’ve already read the information on a tonne of other blogs.