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There is nothing new you can write, and why it doesn’t matter

Originality is simply a pair of fresh eyes

So there I was, staring off into the distance while the copy machine was cranking out 17 copies of class handouts when one of the recent grads working at the school asked me about blogging. Basically, he wanted to know

Why should I blog?

He has a brand new website and he wants people to see it when they search for massage in our little town. He explained that he understood the benefits of blogging: SEO, improved search ranking, fresh content, etc. What he didn’t understand is

What should I write about?

My advice to him:

  • Answer questions. Especially the questions that you know people want to ask and won’t because their either too embarrassed or afraid of what the answer might be. One question that we all get is “do I really have to fill out that intake form?” Another that question no one asks, but wants to, is “Are obese people harder to massage?” (If you found your way here because you googled that question, the answer is NO. Obese people are no more difficult to massage than anyone else.)
  • Keep people up to date on the latest research. You have access to this via industry websites and blogs, pass that along.
  • Talk about your specials and holiday offers. Talk about other things going on in your business, like road construction or new wallpaper. Oddly enough, people are interested in this stuff.

So he understood all of that, but his next comment is one I see all the time:

It’s already been written. Why would anyone read my post if there’s nothing new in it?

It’s true, someone has already written a blog post explaining what “undress to your level of comfort” means. You’re not going to blaze any trails in that subject matter. In fact, it’s unlikely that you are ever going to come up with something completely original, even if you think it is. Someone else has probably already beat you to the punch. And it doesn’t matter one tiny little bit.

Before I explain why, I’m going to give you the most basic of basic explanations of how Google/Bing/Yahoo (we’ll just call this Google to save time) work. Trust me, it won’t be too technical and it will make all of this make sense.

Google knows where you are

When you type a search into Google , Google knows where you are physically located. No, they don’t have some secret tracking hardware on your computer or phone, but they do know what computer network your are using. It’s like knowing your area code on your phone. 312 is Chicago. So Google knows that you are not only in Chicago, but you are downtown at a Starbucks next to the Art Institute.

Google wants to give you useful information so that you will continue to use Google and not another search engine. So knowing where you are at is a handy piece of information. If you type in “kosher bagel shop”, Google could show you any number of bagel shops in New York City, but that wouldn’t be useful to you. You’re hungry now and have a great parking space, so you want something within walking distance of the Art Institute. So, instead of showing you the listing for the top ranked bagel shop in Manhattan, Google will show you the top ranked bagel shops closest to where you are physically located.

Search results depend on where you are

For a brick and mortar business, like your massage therapy practice, this can work to your advantage. If you are working your website and blog posts so that you will rank well for your local market, when someone in your town googles “massage therapist”, you are going to be on the top of his search results, not a massage therapist across the country.

You are a smart blogger and can take advantage of this. If you are in Tacoma and another massage therapist in Boston write blog posts on the same subject, someone in Tacoma will see your post because Google knows you are closer to that person than the MT in Boston.

It doesn’t matter that you are writing about the same topic

Local people are more likely to see your posts. But only if you are writing them.

You don’t need to be original, you just need to be useful. Write about stuff that people are interested in so that when they find your blog post they decide to call and schedule an appointment.

I don’t want you plagiarizing someone else’s work. But if you read a blog post and get inspired to put your own spin on it, then write about that. Or explain it in a way that is important to your clients.

Did this help explain why you don’t need to come up with all original ideas? If not, let me know what questions you still have and I’ll do my best.

10 Responses to There is nothing new you can write, and why it doesn’t matter

  1. I needed this. I get so frustrated coming up with things to write about. I’ve been writing FOREVER and still have no audience. How do you get people to read? And on another topic, how do you get people to subscribe to your newsletter?

    • Maria – try promoting your blog posts on your business page on Facebook, twitter, and Google+. Add the title and the first paragraph to your email newsletters. If you do newsletters using the postal mail, write about the blog posts you have published. Mention your blog posts when you do your 60 second commercial at networking meetings. When someone asks you a question you’ve blogged about, send them to your blog to read. Keep on going. It takes time to build an audience. Be consistent.

      The newsletter signup is a completely different topic and I’ll have to blog about that very soon. Thanks for the idea!

  2. I’m really confused about blogging only business page.
    When you have written a blog WordPress tells you if you have included keywords… Are they I. Your URL etc?
    As far as I can tell I’m constantly having to include ‘massage Idaho Falls’ , ‘Idaho Falls massage therapy’ … You get the gist?
    I don’t understand how I can actually write a good blog, that will promote my business without including those keyboards that keep google and wordpress happy.

    • Rhonda – don’t take that keyword stuff too literally. What Google wants to see is good content that people will stick around to read. They change their methods of ranking all the time and if you stuff your blog posts full of your keyword phrases, Google will think you are a spammer. The main point is to write about what people are asking about. “how do I …” “when do I …. ” That sort of thing.

  3. Thanks for posting about the keyword business. I got tired of my posts sounding like recycled newsprint. It took away all my creative urges. I love having the focus on what people are asking about instead.

    I love doing the latest research. Unfortunately, no one is asking me questions directly, so I look 1. to see what searches people are using to find me and 2. Google Analytics to see what keyword searches have high numbers, and 3. what clients who have found my services are asking for. Is that as reasonable a way to answer people’s questions as any other? If not, could you do a blog post on how best to find “what people are asking about”?

    And it was a relief to know that Google knows where you are. It sounds obvious, once you wrote it, but I had been wondering where in internet land all this came from? And really wondered about distant topic competition.

    This was a really fun and encouraging post. Thank you so much.

    • Thank you Rosi. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      Your technique for finding topics using Google search data is spot on. By using your site’s analytics data to find out what brought people to your site, you are able to address them directly. This is gold! Using Google to find out what people are searching for, globally or locally, is a great way to see what people are looking for that your site doesn’t currently address.

      It sounds like you are on the right track. Keep an eye on your analytics from month to month and see if you don’t start capturing more and better readers based on what you are learning from Google.

"Dream large, laddie!" - Local Hero, 1983