Let's All Agree to Kill Off These 5 Kinds of Blog Topics

This morning, I came across a tweet linking to an article titled, “Twitter vs. Facebook: Which Is Better?” And while this question might have commanded a lot of relevance in 2008, thanks to exponential rate at which new social tools are being developed–and especially with the new roll-out of Google+, it’s a question that just seems so dismally lacking context. But maybe it’s part of a broader shift in blogging–whether it’s B2B or B2C, there has been an explosion in the number of blogs camping out on the internet. In fact, there are actually more companies blogging right now than companies not. This is great because it means that many businesses have come to embrace that the blog can serve as the central hub for all brand development initiatives. But this is horrible too because it means there’s a lot of junk that’s being written. Despite some of our best efforts to stem this junk flood, more junk will just accumulate on the web. It’s like stray cats in NYC–even though you can find homes for a lot of them, a lot more somehow turn up anyway. More importantly, not all of us are wise to the sting of the Panda-slap, after all. But let’s all pinky-swear to abstain from writing posts on the following topics, OK? It’s going to save us time and besides, someone else has already done all of these. And better.

X vs. Y
We all love a good C&C (compare-and-contrast). It tells the reader, “Hey you! I’m going to be rambling on for about 700-1000 words about these two things that you kind of care about and one of them maaaaay end up superior to the other!” Yawn. Another approach would be to give that reveal away in the headline and nitpick what functionality might make X better than Y.

Y Is the New X
While the concept was fun and fresh at some point long, long ago, proclaiming something to be a new version of something older is redundant. In the tech world, that goes without saying. Of course, Facebook is the New MySpace, Google+ is the New Facebook, and so on. In each conceit, Y just isn’t possible without X; obviously it’s the New X. A better blog post? How has it improved on a concept rolled out by X?

10 Ways to Get Better at X
A huge problem with listicles like this is that if the target audience reads this, they realise what they should be doing, but they don’t have any idea how to improve. Follow our lead: We told you how to annihilate your corporate blog and how to alienate your email subscribers. The poetry of pointing out what makes something bad is that readers can feasibly identify shortcomings–and take their own steps to improve–rather than gloss over a post that is abstract and aspirational at best.

Provocative Question?
This needs further elaboration. Look, we’ve all come across questions that pose controversial questions or fauxntroversial questions like this. The thing is that these posts try to grab the user by declaring a bold question at the headline and spend the post talking in circles, ultimately offering no major epiphany. For readers, this is a raw deal. They just expended time and energy into reading a post that had no pay-off. The author, the brand, is now tarnished.

Why I’m Not Doing X
This one might be in the eye of the beholder. But mostly, unless you’re writing only for followers of your blog–and few of us can really afford to do that–a post that focuses on the importance of you, the blogger, not doing something will have very little traction outside the purview of your immediate readership. If that’s your goal fine. But for most brands and companies, that might be counterintuitive.

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