Julien Smith crossed my radar again this weekend. The smartest of his generation’s business gurus, Mr. Smith sent out a Tweet pointing to this article in The Atlantic Monthly, and besides confirming how smart he is just by referencing The Atlantic, Julien helped make a great point:
Writing isn’t done by formula.
The idea is both poignant, and in the face of “the great content farm debate” particularly timely. With more and more people spending more and more time reading more and more stuff on The Internet, it’s time we addressed what qualifies as read-worthy. It’s what Google is struggling with as the search giant tweaks its SEO rules, and with so much information available it’s what real people are fighting, too. What do you have the time to read?
The issue, aside from the overload of content vying for our attention, is the very idea that you can learn how to write by reading a book. I’m not trying to be anti-education or anti-self-improvement, by the way; it’s the idea that there’s a quick path to great writing that skews this conversation to something that just makes no sense at all.
Our Search Engine Optimization clients ask us to take short cuts all the time. We won’t do it. Remember The Old Adage About Good, Fast, and Cheap? It applies to SEO, just as with almost everything else. Writing that’s fast and cheap, just can’t be any good.
I’m guessing that Richard Bausch’ article in The Atlantic, clearly an example of “
good” great, was neither fast nor cheap. Thanks again to Julien Smith for pointing us at it.