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Not Every Piece of Web Content Is a Masterpiece—Nor Should It Be

There are two types of writers:

  1. Those who write and produce masterpieces
  2. Those who write to produce masterpieces

The difference between the two is that the first one is a better writer than the second.

Writing to Produce a Masterpiece

Book with Flying PagesThe writer who writes to produce masterpieces probably writes a lot less, and a lot less likely to be happy with the content they produce. There is always a flaw, always something to be edited, tweaked or fixed. Writing to produce masterpieces is paralyzing!

George Lucas is a great example. Most would agree that Star Wars was a masterpiece. But 20 years after the original move was released, George Lucas decided to do some more tweaking and changing to his original classic, producing the crapfest Special Editions, complete with more critters, creatures and unneeded comic relief.

But even that wasn’t enough. In virtually every subsuquent release (theatrical, DVD, Blu-ray) Lucas continues to tinker with his “masterpiece.” And I’m sure more are to come as they re-release the original trilogy in 3D!

Note to Lucas: Han shot first!

While some of the enhancements in the special edition release(s) are great visual enhancements, most fans of the movies would argue that Lucas’ continued tinkering made things worse rather than better. This is what happens when you only want to produce masterpieces. You keep tweaking until it’s “perfect.” Unfortunately, perfect is always just one more tweak away. Kind of like Michael Jackson’s face.

If you’re trying to produce masterpieces, take a step back, stop tweaking and improving. Just hit publish. [tweet]

Why? Because when you do, you can enjoy the writing process more, and perhaps have more unintended masterpieces than you thought possible.

Writing and Producing a Masterpiece

The writer who writes and produces masterpieces writes more and has more fans and is generally probably more content with what they produce.

Take John Grisham. Clearly this guy can write. Heck, I bet he could make a phone book interesting. But few would argue that most of the books he’s written in the past ten years come even close to the brilliant A Time to Kill. Yet, Grisham is one of the top 50 best selling fiction authors of all time, and if you look strictly on earnings per book, Grisham is in the top 20 or so.

Grisham is an occasional masterpiece writer, and he’s probably better for it. On the other hand, Tom Wolfe, who many believe writes nothing but masterpieces, is nowhere to be found on that list.

That’s because those who write, not trying to score a masterpiece every time, find writing far more enjoyable and they produce content they—and others—like. That’s the point. Not everyone has to love everything you write, they just need to like it enough to find it valuable. [tweet] And even of those, you might be surprised at how many people love something you only thought was just OK.

All Content Is Your Masterpiece on the Web

What’s all this have to do with writing web content? A lot.

Writing for websites is very different from any other medium. The web is more than a publishing platform. It’s an interactive medium. People do more than read your content, they read, interact, follow and share.

It’s true, the greater the “masterpiece,” the greater the chance that the content will be shared and the more followers you’ll get as a result. But waiting for the masterpiece to come before hitting the publish button creates a lot of dead space in between content. It’s in that dead space that you lose followers, the interaction dies and nobody is sharing anything of yours.

However, when you write and publish good content, not everything has to be a masterpiece in order to get more followers, more shares, more interaction. [tweet] In fact, the less-than-phenomenal stuff can still be interesting and valuable to your audience, can still help you build engagement, still drive traffic and, ultimately, give you a bigger audience for the next masterpiece that you actually produce.

Don’t Wait for Inspiration, Just Write

Content creation and interaction is important to a solid web marketing and SEO campaign and an increasingly important factor in SEO. It doesn’t have to be great, but it does need to be good. But writing good content ensures that you’ll still get out a few masterpieces here and there that garner you even more attention.

Those that produce more good to great content are doing themselves a favor over those that wait for inspiration to strike. One of my college professors told us, don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Just write and let inspiration come. On the web, a similar principle applies. Don’t wait for your masterpiece to come to you, just write good content. [tweet]

So when your web marketing firm tells you to put yourself on a rigid blogging schedule, you can understand why. Better to get out there and write something good, rather than writing, tweaking, adjusting and never publishing something fantastic. In all of his post-original-trilogy faults, at least Lucas released his “unfinished” version of Star Wars for us to enjoy over the past 30 years.

Tagged As: Content

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