27 June 2017

The Worst Blogging Mistakes: A Musical Lesson

 

The 15 Worst Songs … About Blogging

Sometimes I wonder about how to make blogging more fun and personal. I look for blogging tips and tricks from the professionals. What do they write? How can I use them for inspiration? Typically, I do this with the Spotify on in the background, the Storm playlist sometimes inspiring me, but sometimes polluting my ears. Sometimes the radio is my muse. Sometimes the radio might just be my worst blogging mistake.

But ignore their unforgettable melodies, their impact on popular culture or their inspiring musicianship: I’m taking a tongue-in-cheek look at why these 15 songs are the worst ever written… well, about blogging, at least. No so much crimes against musical taste, more like crimes against WordPress!

What are the worst blogging mistakes you could ever make?

Look no further! We all like a good old memory aid to help us remember essential details, so we thought it’d be a handy move to provide you with 15 songs you can use as mantras to remind you of what not to do when writing blog posts. Does David Bowie offer good blogging advice for Absolute Beginners? Who knows? But let’s look at what these songs can tell us!

‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ by Britney Spears

“My loneliness is killing me (and I), I must confess, I still believe (still believe), When I’m not with you I lose my mind, Give me a sign, Hit me, baby, one more time.”

While admirably expressing a Call to Action, Ms. Spears has not made this CTA clear enough, nor provided any guidance to the reader about how to follow through and take the necessary action. She might have an army of people willing to help her out, but if they’re confused about how to go about it, it will not help her one bit.

‘You Can Call Me Al’ by Paul Simon

“If you’ll be my bodyguard, I can be your long lost pal, I can call you Betty, And Betty when you call me, You can call me Al”

Yes, it’s a sweet song, but… “Al? Really? Not the most convincing moniker for a romantic hero, you have to admit. Paul Simon needs to review his use of headlines, making them more evocative and intriguing to readers.

‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin

“There’s a sign on the wall, But she wants to be sure, ‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings. In a tree by the brook, There’s a songbird who sings, Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.”

Didn’t anybody ever tell Led Zeppelin that readers crave clarity? Mixed metaphors and ambiguity won’t do in the blogosphere – they need to get their point of view across clearly and consistently.

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‘Ironic’ by Alanis Morrisette

“An old man turned ninety-eight, He won the lottery and died the next day, It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay, It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late, Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”

None of these examples are ironic, Alanis – they range from minor irritations to fatal bad luck. Don’t advertise falsely: ensure that your blogs are trustworthy by closely matching their content to their headlines.

‘Under the Bridge’ by All Saints

“Sometimes I feel, Like I don’t have a partner, Sometimes I feel, Like my only friend, Is the city I live in, The city of angels, Lonely as I am, Together we cry”

Remember ground-breaking group All Saints? With their amazing original “Under The Bridge”? No, of course you don’t. All Saints were basically another Bananarama knock-off, whose best effort was a redundant version of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song. Don’t just copy content from other blogs: be original at any cost.

‘’Video Killed The Radio Star’ by Buggles

“I met your children, Oh a oh, What did you tell them? Video killed the radio star”

Firstly: the immense popularity of podcasts might beg to disagree there, Buggles. Secondly: why ‘kill off’ any form of media, when a mixed approach might be the best fit for your particular blog, offering video and audio content?

‘Girls Girls Girls’ by Motley Crue

“Girls, girls, girls, Long legs and burgundy lips, Girls, girls, girls, Dancin’ down on the Sunset Strip, Girls, girls, girls, Red lips, fingertips”

Look, everyone understands the value of productive keyword use, but overdoing it results in unnatural, ‘spammy’ language that just sounds automated and wrong… and, in Motley Crue’s case, even a little creepy.

‘Help’ by the Beatles

“Help me if you can, I’m feeling down, And I do appreciate you being ’round, Help me get my feet back on the ground, Won’t you please, please help me?”

A catchy and stirring cry for help it may be, but the lads have simply got this whole relationship the wrong way around… You don’t ask your readers for help; they come to your blog looking for it.

‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ by Bob Dylan

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”

This anthem of the counterculture movement commits the cardinal sin of complacency: of not relying on the expert analysis of traffic and conversion data to keep optimising the content of your blog. Besides, isn’t this the same guy who said that “the answer was blowing in the wind?” How can we trust anything he’s got to say about the weather.

‘Take on Me’ by A-ha

“Take on me (take on me), Take me on (take on me), I’ll be gone, In a day or two”

Okay, but then what are we going to do? Don’t follow trends so slavishly that the content you produce will be irrelevant in “a day or two”. You’ll see a much better ROI by publishing content that can stay useful for long periods of time.

‘19’ by Paul Hardcastle

“In World War II the average age of the combat soldier was twenty-six, In Vietnam he was nineteen, I i i i i i i i in Vietnam he was nineteen. N n n n nineteen.”

We’ll give it to Hardcastle: he knows how to use numbers to shock the audience into accepting his point of view. But he’s missed an opportunity to improve the effect with clear charts and helpful infographics.

‘Pass The Dutchie’ by Musical Youth

“Pass the dutchie on the left hand side, Pass the dutchie on the left hand side, It a gonna burn, give me music make me jump and prance, It a go done, give me the music make me rock in the dance”

Related to our earlier point about clarity, Musical Youth show a shocking disregard for logical structure, asking readers to perform multiple actions at once, while distracting them with all their jumping, prancing, rocking and dancing. These Youths need to stick the point and keep needless tangents to a minimum.

‘Fade to Grey’ by Visage

“Two eyes staring cold and silent, Show fear as he turns to hide, Aaah, we fade to grey (fade to grey)”

No one likes a braggart, who makes overly bombastic claims about how their blog will change the very fabric of the universe… But we want to see some ambition, don’t we? Some boldness, whether in the writing style or the point of view that’s being put across. There are a lot of things to read out there, and you will battle to make an impact when all you’re promising is a “fade to grey”.

‘Perfect’ by Fairground Attraction

It’s got to be perfect, it’s got to be worth it, yeah, Too many people take second best, Well I won’t take anything less, It’s got to be, yeah, perfect” 

This is a sweet sentiment by Fairground Attraction – but, alas, it is also naive and counterproductive if perfection is truly what they’re aiming for. Waiting until “everything is perfect” before you publish is an understandable impulse, but adopting a leaner methodology, where you publish quickly and iteratively improve as you go, will help you get better results more quickly.

‘Pump Up The Jam’ by Technotronic

“Pump up the jam, Pump it up, While you feet are stompin’, And the jam is pumpin’, Look at here the crowd is jumpin’, Pump it up a little more, Get the party going on the dance floor, Seek us that’s where the party’s at, And you’ll find out if you’re too bad”

This is definitely the closest to a good piece of blog writing on this list: it is, indeed, important to “pump up the jam” by promoting your content across social platforms; and there are various ways of paying for traffic to make your posts ‘explode’ online. However, in their exuberance, Technotronic have omitted a vital piece of information: that in order to maximise your promotional efforts, you need to get the timing of your posts just right.

Any Others You Can Think Of…?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our lighthearted look at best blogging practices, and we’re interested to see if you can think of any other musicians who, it turns out, make dreadful blog writers.

For more advice about blogging, download our “How to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign” checklist.

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