Write About Stuff You Care About

I write a lot. Between Medium, Quora, The HelpDocs Blog and guest posts, I write enough words each week to fill a small novel.

And when you’re writing a lot, it’s very, very, hard to maintain quality.

But more so than that, it’s hard to maintain integrity.

Writing about stuff you actually care about is incredibly tough. More so than I’d have imagined.

You see, I’m used to writing for company blogs. I ran a content marketing startup, and wrote a ton of content for a really long time.

Except none of that content was really me.

I agonized over every word to make it just so. To make it read better, convert better, and even look better.

And by the time it had been edited to oblivion, there wasn’t much me left there at all. It was all us.

There’s a massive leap between writing as a brand and writing as yourself.

As a brand, you’re writing to get people to convert into customers. Sure, many marketers will romanticize it and dress it up as educating, teaching, improving the human race, something like that, but ultimately content marketing is a sales function. You’re trying to get people to buy stuff. And that’s OK.

So as a marketer for a brand there’s always that buffer between you and the content. The content represents the brand more than it represents you. If you write a bad article, it’s bad for the brand.

When you write for yourself, as yourself, all your content reflects on you. It’s not sales, it’s conversation.

There’s nowhere to hide. If someone doesn’t like your content, it feels very much like they don’t like you. And ultimately everyone wants to be liked.

The problem comes that if you’re worried about being judged for your content, you start to write content that’s less personal.

It becomes tough to write from the heart about topics you care about, because you’re putting yourself out there for the whole world to see.

I’ve written an eclectic collection of posts in the last couple weeks. Stuff about startups, psychology, politics, marketing, sales, geography. They’ve all been topics on my mind, but they’ve not always been the stories I really wanted to tell.

There’s some stories that’ve been on my mind that I haven’t told. Maybe because I’m afraid to. Afraid to offend people, because that might damage my personal brand, or damage my startup.

I find it hard to write about things that really matter to me. Because I find it hard to be judged.

But if you don’t put yourself out there, and don’t write about stuff you care about, you just end up with derivative content that nobody cares about.

So really there’s only one option.

It’s crappy, sure, but you need to write about things that’re important to you. Not all the time, but at least some of the time. And maybe, just maybe, your words will inspire others to do the same.

I’m just a guy from the UK that’s okay at writing, better at startups, awesome at making coffee.

This is day 17 in a 365 day writing experiment. You can check out why I’m writing every day here.

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