The digital space is tough. I’m a person who prefers quality over quantity. However, with the (for a lack of a better term) “greed” of the Internet and its users, content should, nay, needs to be groundbreaking and churned out regularly. As someone who has other commitments including school, work, extra-curriculars and leisure time (not to mention someone who also contributes articles and posts to other websites), providing great content for this blog has proven to be very difficult.
So far, my audience is limited to a few friends and family (with the occasional random visitor), but my goal has always been to grow a sizeable audience of young professionals. I recently celebrated my one year anniversary of this website and I’m quite proud of the posts I’ve written. Despite all this, I can’t help but feel that four posts in one year, no matter how hard I worked on each one, is exceptionally lacklustre.
If you can see the number of drafts I have, you can see the many attempts that didn’t make it past quality control. In the beginning, I really struggled with deciding on a purpose for the blog, finding the right voice and, in general, thinking of interesting things to write about. It comes at no surprise that content marketing has become such an in-demand field.
Strangely, it was my work with graphic design that made me realize something that will hopefully make me a better blogger: approach art the way you want.
My very first foray into graphic design was making posters and other promotional material for the iBBA Committee at school. Still a novice at the craft, I would do extensive research on posters and steal other designs in the hopes of attracting as many people as possible. As a result, it took me days to produce some very unattractive work.
As I did more graphic design work, I was continuously creating more and more things but as opposed to making increasingly worse designs, they became better. Working at the Cannes Film Festival with ÉCU where I had to produce multiple designs daily was especially helpful. Every time I had to make something new, it became a lot easier. Inspiration for (and not outright theft of) new designs came from everywhere. I was more aware of interesting typography, colours and design elements in the world. With that mental bank of design, I learned that I should be making things that would be exciting to me. In the case of ÉCU, I made designs that were attractive to the film buff inside of me. To make the connection to the business world, you can say that I moved on from push marketing to pull marketing – essentially, content marketing!
If you look at my first post, you can see that I tried to stick to the formula I was familiar with: picture (which I’ve since removed since it added no value), titles, lists, etc. By my second post, I scaled back to a more comfortable format: no unnecessary picture, no titles that broke the flow and no extensive lists that seem to be all the rage nowadays. This method helped me write posts faster because there was no need for numerous edits for SEO purposes. Although SEO is always on my mind, I favour a more organic approach than awkwardly stuffing buzzwords that scream, “Young professionals, come here!” I want to give off a voice that is a lot more casual than the professional-casual mix I usually give when writing articles for other websites. With a stripped down post, all that’s left is simple prose – a story and message worth sharing with my peers.
With that being said, another lesson that I learned from graphic design is not to forget your audience. I still made designs that, although I liked, when viewed through someone else’s eyes, didn’t deliver the intended message. I’ve been asked multiple times to change elements of my design because it didn’t make sense. Feedback is important!
I researched how to write better blog posts during my time with The City Scavenger and I came across some very peculiar blogs. I stumbled on one blog with very long, essay-like posts and stumbled on another that had posts written in three sentences or less (I can’t seem to find these blogs right now but if I do, I’ll be sure to link them). Neither blog is better than the other. Each blogger chose to approach their art the way they want. The main difference is that each one had a different audience to think about.