Well, it’s been a while. I won’t go on about the cobbler’s children, but for us, client work takes precedence: when things get busy, our own projects take a back seat. And it has been busy. Despite this, we’ve decided it’s time to resurrect the Cardwell agency blog—we’re anxious to share some things we’ve learned or observed, that we think will be helpful, whether you’re a small business owner, startup, marketing director or design enthusiast.

So, in the style of the web’s most popular blog and social posts, allow me to tell you what you won’t be seeing in our blog feed.

6 Things This Blog is Not…

1. Template-based

Ever since it became clear to marketers that “she who delivers the most online content wins,” content marketing became a thing. A big thing. In order to keep up with demand to produce new stuff, ready-made topical blog posts (sales pages, infographics, etc.) became available. Though search engines like Google want to discourage such un-original behavior, capitalizing on these “canned” posts can be part of a winning short-term strategy for improving ranking. Regardless, our content will be original. From blank page to final edit.

2. Gratuitously focused on improving SEO (without delivering value)

It’s important to put content where people will see it, we don’t argue with that. But here’s a flawed thought process: we want to sell more [stuff] > we need web traffic from people searching for things related to [stuff] > therefore, we need to post more/better content than our competitors on the topic of [stuff or related]. Ever and always, in business it should go like this: we provide something that fills a need for people (and/or helps them) > we’d like to find more people to help > let’s provide some content, in the same genre as our product, that serves people > if they find it useful, they’ll share it—and hopefully become devoted customers. If we find search terms that have logical overlap with the latter, we’ll use them. If not, we’ll just stay focused on providing value. Period.

3. Transparently “salesy”

A blog post can be many things, including short and informal, or long and dense (see below). But when a blog post is simply a mediocre sales pitch, I click away pretty fast. I want more authenticity than that. If you believe in your product or service, and want to help me understand why, then just tell me about it like you would on a street corner—not a car lot. We won’t be using this blog as a platform to ask, “what do we need to do to get you into a shiny new web app,” etc.

4. Boring

(Well, I guess now I’ve thrown down my own gauntlet.) One of my design mantras is “anything but boring.” Sure, we want to provide readers with something valuable that helps them do better business, improve their understanding of good design practices or think constructively about rapidly changing technology. But we want to be real and have some fun in the process—to make things that inspire people to feel,not just think. So, if a post draft inspires only yawns, we won’t click “Publish.”

5. Long, but not rewarding

Often the easiest thing for a writer is to keep stringing words together. As the phrases stack up, the sheer weight seems to suggest a greater sense of authority. You feel you’ve gone “deep,” but you’ve really just gone “wide,” covering the content at only a surface level. Sometimes length is needed, particularly when supporting ideas with data or articles. But when a post is long simply because the creator didn’t remove needless words, or cut low-value paragraphs, it feels like homework to read. We’ll try hard to keep the value-to-word ratio high.

6. Written by a single contributor

To be fair, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a single contributor on a blog; in fact, sometimes it makes the most sense. But when one person attempts to speak for a group of people with diverse skills and perspectives, it tends to get a little watered-down. You can end up with an equation that looks like this:

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So, for us—this time—everyone will contribute. Even at the expense of polish, we’ll have posts authored by each member of our team. This is meant to get readers a little closer to the “sawdust,” offering insights from people who actually wrestle with this stuff day in and day out. We also want to be transparent. This agency is about people and the work we do for clients. That’s where I think the real value is. [Note: as we’re just relaunching this blog, of course it’s going to appear as though there’s only one contributor. It’s an awkward irony we’re aware of. But it will be temporary. We have posts in the wings from other staff, to be published soon.]

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So there you go. In the posts to come, we’re looking forward to providing advice and resources, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at agency life—and inspiring a smile or two along the way. Drop us a note to give us feedback, and let us know what topics you’d like to see more of. It’s much appreciated.