Business blogs vs a Grain of salt.
Who can be a blogger? The answer; anyone can be a blogger. However, the crazy part is you can be an expert about anything… or I should say you can appear to be an expert on anything, especially when it comes to business blogs. So, let me say up front this blog post is going to be about the “deceiving world” of business blogging and how a reader should be a little wary (or a lot) about what you’re reading and if the information is legit.
Many people think blogging has “jumped the shark” so-to-speak and “vlogging” is where you should be setting your sights in 2021 and while vlogging is certainly here to stay blogging isn’t going away anytime soon. At least for businesses and I’ll explain why and I’ll give you some facts about what I call “fake business blogging.”
First you must know I am self-proclaimed as the world’s worst blogger but, I still keep at it. My blog (and this post included) is about my photography and the peripheral world around my photography.
For me the virus crisis hit home on Friday March 13, 2020. Aside from my photography, I drive a school bus and I own a small seasonal catering business. On March 13th I was told by the school not to report for work until further notice and that was it. Everything monetary in my life shut down. I still got paid for the next few months from the school but, in Hunterdon County NJ a bus driver’s salary will by you smokes & beer and that’s about it. I rely on my catering first and my photography/videography brings decent side money and sometimes great side money, enough to rival the catering business.
After March 13th there was nothing, zip, zero, zilch, I mean nothing. I was not alone; many people were hurting. However, I’m not one for taking things “lying down” so-to-speak so, I started looking on line trying to scrape up work. I found this place called ‘UpWork.com” that was essentially an online agency for all genres of creative work. Being a photographer and being new to UpWork I found it extremely hard to secure any photography work. I might also add the people posting the jobs on UpWork are looking for creators to work for almost nothing. If you are already a freelance creator you already know what that is like however, UpWork posters drop that bar even lower lol. So, ultimately it is up to you as to how little you’re willing to whore yourself out for. Sometimes in the end you end up more like a cheap slut and just giving yourself away, sounds funny but it is not and I really do not know how else to put it. At one point I was punching models out of backgrounds and replacing with white backgrounds for 25 cents an image. It was for a client in India who was selling garments on Amazon & eBay. You have to be really fast in Photoshop to make any money at all for 25 cents a photo. However, there were times when I would get a $50 editing job here & there and a few video editing jobs that sometimes were over $100 but, not many. UpWork in my opinion is not a great place for finding a quick buck.
Blog Writing… The Great Farse:
After becoming extremely frustrated in not being able to secure photography related work listed on UpWork I started asking around among my friends and acquaintances that were in the same sinking boat that I was in. I have many photographer and creative related friends around the world whom I connect with on the various forms of social media. Most all of us were hurting monetarily and while some had turned to making masks and selling them on Etsy & eBay, it was in one of those conversations that somebody mentioned “blog writing” and I happily chimed in that “I’m the world’s worst blogger” and they all laughed and Chen said she had been getting small jobs writing blog posts for businesses. She said she found them on UpWork and she went on to say that she had just written a few blog posts for a website that makes mostly products for mothers of newborn babies. They made or sold lifestyle products everything from reusables diapers to harness pouches and other things.
Chen, being 19 years old and still in college said she really had no personal knowledge of any of the products she was writing about. Chen is a very smart young lady and is an artist by trade and creates and sells her work in Vancouver where she lives. She went on to tell me that she built a fake writing portfolio that was made up of a little bit of her own work from high school and the rest from writings she had… shall we say acquired (in times of need we all have to do what we have to do). Using that portfolio, she started acquiring jobs listed on UpWork. Now in all fairness the one thing she couldn’t fake was the understanding of writing something so it has SEO (search engine optimization). She had taken an online course last year and it was enough to get her to understand how to structure a blog post.
Most of us have noticed the “blog” button in the list of pages when we visit business websites. Sometimes we click on the page and we get that notice that says something to the effect of “no content” or the page is blank. However, most times we will find a page that has content about the product or services that the business provides and we just assume that the info that is written there for us to read was put there by someone who in fact has knowledge of the product or service. When in reality in today’s world that couldn’t be further from the truth. The information could have been written by anyone. It could have been written by a person who has no real-world knowledge of the topic and has spent a few minutes Googling the topic and power reading through Wikipedia and then writing a post that is SEO friendly and calling it a day.
The goal of a blog for most businesses is to have a blog page that will have great SEO just for the purpose of driving people there from a Google search. They don’t really care too much about how great the content is, just as long as there is content there and possibly a photo or two. For example, a company that makes mountain climbing gear may have some whimsical content about there products that was put there by someone who hardly ever leaves their computer and has never climbed anything more that the stairs in their house and they’ll include some photos from a stock photo service. How novel it would be if the company actually had blog posts written by someone who actually used the climbing gear and photos and video of them using it in the real-world.
So, the point I’m making here is the age-old thing that you want to be very wary of what you derive from reading blog posts on business websites. It is certainly no different than content found on medical websites. Having several friends who are doctors in various medical fields (I’m not a doctor at all lol) we have gotten many a good laugh at articles we have seen on legit medical information sites. Now of course this does not mean all blog posts are lacking in quality and not all health & wellness sites have bad information. What it does mean is you really have very little way of legitimizing who wrote the information and posted it there. So, for the past several months when I visit a website, I’ll take a minute and click the blog button just to see what is there and how it is written. If you are an expert on a particular product, topic or service you can often see through the veil. Just the other day I was talking with a mechanic friend of mine. I was at his shop and he running through some motorsport websites that deal with custom racing parts. Just for fun I would have him click on the blog button and sure enough the first site had an empty blog page. The next two sites had what appeared to be legit blogs linked to YouTube videos of their products in action on real race cars. Then there was the fourth site he clicked on that had everything written in general terminology a blog content service provider nd for all intent purposes appeared as if it was written by a “blog content service provider.” Yes, they are out there, for a nominal fee you can have content fabricated for your website or blog that is SEO in hopes of raising your site up that holy grail of Google search results.
As always thank you for reading and have a great day.