Authenticity, where art thou?

Is authenticity lost? Personal and company pages present only a sliver of their true selves, often only what they want their target audiences to see. While in the blogosphere and social media, we are bombarded with hundreds of formulaic blog posts and listicles. The “5 shocking social media statistics, you’ll never believe,”titles. 

“Oh, I have seen those stats, in about fifty other blog posts.” 

Granted, I’m guilty of formulaic writing. Look at my previous blog posts. In the quest for writing for a specific audience, I’ve tampered my own personality, to the point where I’ve stayed inside a comfort bubble, avoiding unique insights, while becoming vanilla flavored filler. 

Every week, “Write a blog post” shows up in blue ink, like a chore I purposely and subconsciously resist. Because, when you spend valuable writing time reading the formulas for how writers churn out blog content, it takes away time for crafting an engaging and unique story. It also sucks the fun out of the process.

Today, while sitting at my $5 plastic Walmart table/desk, coughing my lungs out (thanks winter!), I came to a realization. The majority of my blog posts on Walk Marketing are dog doo doo. 

Why? The material is bland and doesn’t reflect my own worldview and insights. I’ve just been repeating the “gurus,” (who seem to multiply like rabbits), and following their formulas for churning out content like a 19th-century factory worker without labor law protection.

My writing has been on auto-pilot. 

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Today’s marketers are focused on the short-term goal, create content that gets engagement. Unfortunately, this leads to emulating other blogs and encourages marketers to follow formulas, and stay within the confines of what's proven to work. It discourages them from using their natural voices while killing any sliver of authenticity.

“Keep, this blog post 400 words long for max engagement.”

“Make this paragraph three sentences long.”

“Make sure all the words match our SEO strategy.”

If we focused more on crafting compelling stories, which connect with readers on a personal level, instead of “how many times should I use a keyword,” maybe our society wouldn’t be flooded with worthless articles from marketers. 

Could you imagine if the Tolstoys or Dickens of the world were told “Yeah, Anna Karenina and A Tale of Two Cities are great, but let’s turn them into 2,500 word essays. The stories would lose the authentic, painting-esque details, which make the stories memorable. 

Simple Buzzfeed style listicles, grab readers' (short-term attention), but in a few years will you remember the details of the post? 

With automation on the rise, including services that find and post content for you. We’re on the verge of losing the core element that makes content special, the human experience. This Agora Pulse article illustrates my point. 

That’s why, for January 2018, my goal is to be more authentic and pay attention to my insights, while venturing outside of the comfort zone.