Everywhere you look, there’s another epic blog post about something.
100 Blog Topic Ideas
47 Feminine Stock Photo Sites
59 Things to Do to Grow Your Business
36 Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts
Epic lists of mom bloggers to follow. Epic lists of Pinterest group boards to join and Facebook groups where you need to be present and YouTubers you must be watching and Twitter feeds you have to consume.
Epic guides to growing your email list and upping your Instagram game and creating more content.
Epic is the new black.
I'm not buying it.
Let's take a look at why epic is… not so epic.
No One Reads Epic Blog Posts
Lots of people share epic blog posts, but how many people really read them?
Most of the time, the comments on these epic posts say things like, “OMG! This is AMAZING! I’m going to bookmark it so I can read it later!” or “Awesome post. I’m going to try some of these someday.”
I have never, ever read a comment on one of these posts that says, “I implemented all 59 strategies over the course of 8 months and here are my detailed results.”
Do you know WHY there are no comments like that? Because no one reads epic posts all the way through. No one implements all the advice.
Who has time to do all that stuff? Do YOU have time to read 59 strategies and implement them all? I’m betting you don’t. I KNOW I don’t. I’ve got client work to do, blog posts to write, videos to shoot, and more. I do NOT have time to read 59 strategies, and I definitely do not have time to implement them all.
I came across a epic list of 32 blogs that mompreneurs need to read. Moms. Who have businesses. THIRTY-TWO BLOGS.
Dude, I don’t even talk to 32 people in real life over the course of a WEEK. I’m definitely not reading 32 blogs. That’s just nuts.
How about an epic list of 50 places to promote your blog posts? That’s already intimidating — fifty places. And then when some of the “places” on the list are things like “Influencer Outreach” — meaning, you're going to write individual emails and send them out to maybe 20 people — well then, your list just got even
more epic longer.
Look, I'm not saying that promoting blog posts is effortless. I put a LOT of time into promoting the posts I write. But I don't want a list of 50 “places” to go. I want a list of the five most effective things you can do to promote blog your blog posts.
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Epic Blog Posts Usually Cut a Lot of Corners
Writing epic posts isn’t easy. It takes a fair amount of time to research those 47 ways or those 938 sites or whatever they are. It takes time to write up each entry in the epic list.
It’s not surprising that some of the entries aren’t exactly… epic.
Part of the problem is that “epic” doesn't really mean anything. It's like “natural” on a food label. Or as the lovely James Chartrand at Mens With Pens puts it, “Epic is a subjective word. What’s epic to you isn’t epic to me.”
Just the other day, I saw a list of 29 ways to promote and grow a small email list. Hey! I have a small email list, so this sounded like a great post for me to read. Five of the items on the list were to figure out why you wanted to have an email list, choose an email service provider, get a domain-based email address, write up emails, and get Google Analytics set up.
GUESS WHAT? Not a single one of those things is something that will help me promote and grow my small email list.
If I’m reading a post about how to promote and grow a small email list, I HAVE a small email list. So I already know why I want it, and I have an email service provider and an email address.
I agree that you need to figure out the WHY of your list, but COME ON. With the title used for this blog post, the writer is clearly trying to rope in small list owners, and we are looking for ACTIONABLE ITEMS. Things we can DO.
“Figure out your WHY” is absolutely important, but when I'm looking for how to grow and promote my small list, that's NOT what I'm looking for. That was like 12 steps earlier in the process. BEFORE I started paying for my email service provider.
Also, writing emails and setting up Google Analytics will NOT promote or grow my list.
So basically, this should have been a list of 24 things to do, but I guess 24 wasn’t an epic enough number.
(I'm being pretty generous here, because the other 24 items on the list were NOT epic.)
If you’re trying to figure out how to get more users to sign up for your service, you might think that an epic list of 74 referral programs is a good post to read.
Then again, If you’re just starting a business, you likely don’t have the financial power to give away money the way PayPal did. AirBnB used Craigslist to market themselves for free and get a whole bunch of users. Awesome.
And yes, Dropbox put themselves on the map by giving away free storage. But that was a decade ago and these examples have been played out.
Including them on a list in 2017 is lame.
Yep, those strategies were truly groundbreaking when they happened. They aren’t anymore. You can’t copy them and get the same results.
The ones I hate the most, though? The Epic List of 935 Places to Pitch Your Guest Post, The Epic List of 163 Pinterest Group Boards You Have to Join, and The 723 Things You Need to Do RIGHT NOW to Get More Traffic!
I hate these posts so, so much.
The content is completely outdated and irrelevant. How do I know? Because I'm the person who actually clicks in to each one of those group boards and reads the sentence that says, “This board is no longer accepting new contributors.” I have to click in to 163 boards, and 162 of them aren't accepting contributors. I am the person who goes to each blog and gets greeted with the message that they are no longer accepting guest posts. Over 800 times.
Despite the fact that the information is outdated and irrelevant, these posts still get thousands of shares. Literally. THOUSANDS. And I promise you that the vast majority of the people who are sharing are not even reading what they are sharing. They just share, because, hey, 8,364 people have already shared this post, so it must be epic!
There is no way an actual human can do all 723 things to promote traffic. And these posts don't provide context most of the time, so you're swinging in the dark, just trying whatever, and trying it for just a brief moment in time before you move on to the next thing, which is never going to give you results.
I much prefer a short and sweet post like this one from Lindsay Hazel, which offers ONE tip for getting more REAL engagement on your posts. ONE thing that you can TOTALLY do.
I also like this list of 10 places to promote blog posts from Rachel Lindteigen. The post is short and to the point and doesn't waste your time with long-drawn out explanations — it's a list. Ten places. Pick the ones that work for you, and promote. No need to let your eyes glaze over as you reach item 254 on the list and realize you've lost your place again.
Epic Blog Posts Are Not Written For You
Do you know who loves epic blog posts? Google. Seriously. Search engines LOVE those posts, with all their links and all the shares and the tweets and the pins and the backlinks.
But when you read an epic blog post, do you really come away with something actionable that you can DO, something that will move YOU closer to your business goals? Do you finish the post and think, “YES! I can do these 97 things and everything will be okay!”
Or do you feel more like, “HOLY CRAP I AM NEVER GOING TO GET THIS BUSINESS OFF THE GROUND.”
WHY do you have to feel this way? It's absolutely true that building a business takes time and effort, but YOU CAN DO THIS. You just need a little help. You need some step-by-step instructions and some REAL advice.
Instead of Epic Blog Posts, Write For Real People
I don’t want to create content for search engines. I don’t want to create beautiful pins with no real content behind them. I don’t want anyone to read my posts and say, “Wait, WHAT?”
I want to write REAL content that gives you real, actionable information you can actually use.
Instead of 32 blogs to read, I’ll give you three strategies for writing consistently when you’re at home with your kids.
Would you rather have a list of 573 sites that will pay for your writing, or a list of 15 magazines you can query?
I won’t tell you 92 things you need to have in order to start your business, but I’ll show you a simple 5-step process to get more freelance writing work on Upwork.
In the spirit of actionable advice you can actually use, come check out my station on Anchor — I'm sharing quick, actionable audio tips for building your freelance business while you're at home with kids. I'd especially love it if you'd leave me a question that I can answer for you on the air!