Thursday 20 February 2014

Your Blog Posts Should Provide Services

I recently realized that most of my blog posts aren't very valuable. My process for creating a post has typically been something like: [Think of an interesting thought] --> [Share interesting thought] --> [Wait around for people to congratulate me on how interesting my thoughts are].

Sharing interesting thoughts is kind of cool, I guess, but it doesn't accomplish much. Lots of people have interesting thoughts (and even more people think they have interesting thoughts).

What I look for in blogs now is that they provide services with their posts. They should fill a gap in the literature or create a new resource that didn't exist before.

Some examples of posts I feel provide a service:

On my own blog, I would include:

All these posts create a new resource, something that didn't exist before. They either compile information from various sources, make a useful list, summarize something that would be harder and take longer to read, or just do Work. Good blog posts resemble school and job assignments because they are Work. They require you to actually research or get something done that takes time and that nobody else was going to do because they wouldn't want to take all that time or put all that work in.

I don't think 100% of my posts need to provide services but I definitely want to change up the ratio. I want my posts to inspire the reaction, "Wow, I couldn't have written this." People rarely get that reaction from reading an interesting thought.

[Note: This post is arguably contradictory because it is more of an Interesting Thought than it is a Service but I think this is a valuable exception because it introduces new terminology for me to use in future posts. The same idea was behind Seeming to Care and Playing a Long Term Game.]


  1. This is called inbound marketing:
    «Inbound marketing is promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, (...), and other forms of content marketing which serve to bring customers in closer to the brand, where they want to be. In contrast, buying attention, cold-calling, direct paper mail, radio, TV advertisements, sales flyers, spam, telemarketing and traditional advertising are considered "outbound marketing". Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.»

    Simply put:
    Inbound = offer content (cost: creating content)
    Outbound = advertise (cost: ads)

    An example: charity: water.
    Another (meta) example:

    «inbound marketing is especially effective for small businesses that deal with high dollar values, long research cycles and knowledge-based products»

    Which essentially means it could be worthwhile for effective altruist projects.

    Cheers, Jonas

    1. thanks, I wasn't familiar with the term.

      I wouldn't really call what I'm talking about "inbound marketing" because I'm not affiliated with any particular organization or action. I'm writing more from the perspective of: if I'm going to be churning out content on this blog, I might as well make the more useful kind of content rather than the less useful kind of content.