The Nose Knows: Does Your Blog Pass The Stink Test?

Nothing smells as sweet as a flower in the desert.

(Image Credit: danykomio)

The phrase above might as well end with “…even if it smells like shit.”  If you are the only flower in the desert of course you smell good, if only because you are surrounded by decrepitude and death.  Unfortunately, we do not blog in a desert, or a bubble, or a box.  We blog on an internationally connected network of computers.  So yours better not stink.

So how do you tell if your blog stinks?  I’m sure that you don’t think it sucks the big crapoosky, but what if everyone you know is just being too nice?  (BTW, If you do think your own blog sucks and are still writing it the same way, we need to have another discussion.)

Here are some things to consider to see if your blog passes “The Stink Test”:

1) Would You Read It?

Who are you writing for?  If you are trying to fit into some arbitrary style that you think people want so you can get a guest post on Chris Brogan‘s blog, you’re in it for the wrong reasons.  I’m not saying that writing to the best of your ability and being asked to guest post for Mr. Brogan wouldn’t be exemplary, but don’t be someone who’s not you.  If you wouldn’t read your post, why should I?  Believe it or not, people can actually tell if you care about what you write.

2) Yeah, But What’s Your Answer

Okay, we know there are lots of issues out there: What’s the best SEO technique?  How can you get people to read and comment on your blog?  Why don’t I have followers on Twitter?  I don’t give two shakes of a zedonk‘s tail about your blog if you only list what I already know.  Even if they aren’t not perfect, give your solutions.  People want answers, not more problems.

3) Top [Insert Number Here] Lists Are Stupid

…except for this one and any others I might have posted.

I’m not saying don’t use them, but don’t make every post sound like Gary Vaynerchuk‘s impression of David Letterman.

4) Too Much Dick and Jane, Not Enough Tale of Two Cities

We all like pictures.  They are neat and can really get your point across.  Eventually it’s time to grow up and actually put down some content that is useful to the people that you are reaching out to.  I can use “tips to improve my online marketing strategy”, your video of a kitten riding a turtle….not so much.

The same is true of ads on your blog.  I LOVE making money, but when there are more ads on your page than copy something needs to change.

5) Spellcheck, MotherF*&#$r

Srue, its tru we all can figur out waht you maent to say, butt tak the tyme too cehck for grmamtical mitsakes.

We’d all appreciate it.  I’m not saying be perfect, but it eventually becomes evident and your trustworthiness wanes.

6) No Blog Is An Island

There’s this wonderful thing called the “Internet.”  It’s been around for a little while, you might have heard of it.  Connect to it.  Your ideas came from somewhere, so give credit where credit is due.  If you talk about someone or something on your blog, link to them.

Also, don’t filch content: 1) because people will figure it out and 2) because it’s a douchey thing to do.

Another component of this is self-promotion.  If you spend time and energy writing this blog and then do nothing to promote it, you have no one to blame for poor readership but yourself.  If you’re serious, get out there; if you’re not serious, get out of my way.

Okay, there’s your Stink Test.  I’d suggest running one every few months to see how you are doing.  If you notice, I didn’t mention anything about reader numbers and RT’s because building a readership takes time and effort and it’s easy to get distracted when numbers are your main focus.

You may never be a Chris Brogan or Seth Godin, but you can be you; and that’s all we can ask of you.

What would you add to the Stink Test?  What would you take off?  Why?  Let me hear your thoughts.

I’m all ears.

P.S. I found the video of the kitten riding the turtle AFTER I wrote this post and just typed in the most ridiculously cute thing I could think of.  Finding it was a fluke.  I love the Internet.

About Joey Strawn

Digital marketing sociologist and public relations specialist with experience on national and local campaigns with a love for film and the things it says about our culture and business. Joey is the Senior Social Media Strategist at ISM in Nashville, TN and is in the business of helping people and companies deal with the new universe of social media in their marketing and PR endeavors.
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8 Responses to The Nose Knows: Does Your Blog Pass The Stink Test?

  1. Sally G. says:

    I do believe I pass the Stink test. I can’t tell you what an incredible relief THAT is!

    Joey, I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am to have ‘found’ you at Mark W. Shaefer’s site (sorry it’s not linked – please Google him anyone who reads this, it’s worth your effort). Your posts are so original, refreshing, informative yet entertaining ~ you’re a treat I look forward to when I dedicate time to blog post reading.

    I connect to sites that are less ‘image’ and more ‘real’. It’s an intuitive thing, I guess. People leave clues all over the Internet though – via their own Comment sections, the Comment sections of others, Tweets, FB Fan Pages, etc. If there’s an underlying consistency that aligns with key values I hold in high esteem ~ I’m a fan.

    I just went on an Unsubscribe blitz on my Google Reader. So many sites I subscribed to because so many others do ~ and yet, I seldom read them because part of me simply does not connect to the owner.

    Anyway, I wanted you to know I was here ~ and also that I’m VERY appreciative of the heart, soul and information you share on such a frequent basis. Thank you.

    • Joey Strawn says:

      Sally, that might have been the nicest comment anyone has ever left. I’m very appreciative to have met you as well and not only because you say nice things about me on the Internet. I’m glad because, like you said, it’s refreshing when you talk to someone who is real and honest. And that’s what you are.

      I’ll make you a deal, if you promise not to stop reading and commenting, I’ll promise not to stop writing witty things for you to read and comment on.

  2. Lisa says:

    Awesome. Very helpful. I guess my problem is deciding between (1.) Is my blog just a creative outlet for me? or (2.) Do I actually want it to go somewhere/accomplish something? I definitely started out with number one, but if I want to go to number two, I have to remember to step it up.

    I especially like your tip number 5. THANK YOU for that!

    • Joey Strawn says:

      Lisa! I’m glad you stopped by. Thanks for commenting. It really all does depend on what you are hoping to get out of your blog posts. If they simply are creative outlets for yourself, there really are no rules or guidelines at all because it depends on what makes you happy. These really were more for your #2 option. Let me know if I can ever help!

  3. gracewillard says:

    I’m also a stand still with my blog – on one hand I want to use it to promote my artwork, openings/events, projects but on the other hand I want to share some of my inspiration.

    That means writing about other artists and sharing their artwork (which I could easily do everyday all day).

    It’s difficult to know where to strike a balance. My readership has been exponentially increasing and it seems that people search for the artists I’m featuring but then also look at the posts about my work too.

    • Joey Strawn says:

      Writing a blog is a great way to grow a following of people who can eventually become your customers. I’m glad that you have found the fun of figuring that out. It’s basically what I spend my time doing in my business, helping people come up with strategies to find and convert those people with their blogs and online activities.

      Thanks for reading and I hope this post was helpful to you!

  4. Renee-Ann says:

    This is the second of your posts that I’ve read (and hope to read several more). I’m really impressed with and thankful for the information you provide.

    I’m new at this and can use all the tips I can get. I believe I passed the stink test. I try to write about things I believe are interesting, though I might have to answer more questions, I do a spell check and give credit where it is due. (No top # lists for me, thanks)

    Now I need to do a little (okay, a lot) more advertising; and I’m willing to throw more water on the Mogwai. My next post will determine if I’ve learned anything from you 🙂

    As Sally G said above, I too, really appreciate the info you share.

    Thank you.

    • Joey Strawn says:

      Again, you are very, very welcome. I truly love to write and help and it’s always great to hear that the things I say are actually useful to others. Thanks for spending some of your time with me today and I hope to hear from you again.


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