Blogging Assumptions: Don’t Take These Things For Granted, Ever

Steven3 responsesBlogging

When you take something for granted that means it’s subconsciously assumed. In the movies, the husband doesn’t even think about what’s going to happen to his socks when he drops them on the floor. He takes his wife for granted and automatically assumes she’s going to pick them up. When she doesn’t, he’s eventually going to run out of clean socks and then he’ll have a problem.

What Are You Taking For Granted?

In my early days of blogging I bought quite a few of those Make Money Online guides and I used to get very upset because they never really revealed every “secret step.” It seemed like there was always some reason I’d have to go find another guide to fill in the blanks or do some searching on Google.

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But then it occurred to me, the bloggers who created these poor-quality guides weren’t purposely leaving out steps to protect their secrets. They were just taking for granted that I’d know what they were talking about.

Every blogger will write countless How-To posts during his blogging career. But here’s the problem… Most bloggers are not trained educators, and there’s a knack to teaching. If there weren’t, if anybody could be a teacher, then there’d be no need for a teaching degree.

Because we’re not trained as educators, it’s easy to take it for granted that our readers understand what we’re talking about. It’s easy to automatically assume they know they need to thread the needle before they take a stitch, or boil the potatoes before they put them in the salad, or get a Twitter account before they start posting links.

But you know what happens when you assume…

At the very least, when you take something or someone for granted you’re setting everybody up for potential problems:

  • Your reader won’t be able to follow your directions and, like me, he’ll think you deliberately left out a “secret” step.
  • You lose credibility because the reader doesn’t get the promised results when he does follow your directions
  • You miss the opportunity to make yourself look like an expert
  • You miss the opportunity to improve your SEO
  • You miss the opportunity to provide more value for your readers
  • You weaken your entire brand and online reputation
  • You damage your SEO with poor quality content

Don’t Take Anything For Granted

If you’re crafting a How-To post, don’t leave out a single step, no matter how trivial it seems to you. That’s not to say you have to include every single detail.

For example, if you would normally assume the reader knows he needs to create a Twitter account and not include that in your how-to post – don’t. But, don’t make your post too long or distracting by including the directions for setting up a Twitter account. Put those directions in another post and link to it. Like this:

Step #8: Now all you need to do is copy and paste your link in a Tweet. (For information on setting up a new Twitter account, read my post “How To Create A New Twitter Account.

Many of your readers are going to be beginners and they’re taking it for granted that you’re going to give them expert advice and guidance. Make your content more useful for your readers by not taking it for granted that they know what you’re talking about.

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Steven,

    I took writing comprehensive posts for granted. Like, I think 1 mistake I made as a blogger was that I was writing only for hurried busy bloggers. So I cut my post short.

    Then one day as I was researching for an article I thought how annoyed I get at seeing a 200 word post and how happy I get when I see a 2000 word post. I actually want longer posts because I want a resource, I never want to have to visit another page.

    As bloggers, we generally take this crowd for granted but the silly part is, if you google something, and want some in depth information, you will darn sure be happy when you see not a long post, but a complete, soup to nuts post.

    Again Google really digs resources. When people type in a search term Google wants to provide a comprehensive resource in your post, and when each post is a comprehensive resource, you will create a freakin’ amazing blog ;)

    I used to get bored, annoyed or agitated after reading in depth, detailed, long posts by guys like Neil Patel and Danny Inny. Then I realized, duh; if these guys are making so much dough, I am the idiot for resisting their advice. When I google, I want thorough information. So no more taking for granted, and if you visit any of my blogs, you will see thorough resources instead of bite-sized bits.

    Well, at least as of last week ;)

    Thanks for sharing Steven!

    Ryan

  2. Venkatesh Iyer

    Spot on. I have unsubscribed from a few bloggers precisely because they take you for granted. When you are not able to connect the dots, you are compelled to do spend some more time and/or money, and I am never sure what the motivation is: are you unwittingly being taken granted or are you being led up the garden path?

  3. Jennifer Jinright

    Hi, Steven.

    I’ve read several of your articles before. Each of them, including this one, have been well done.

    I know I have a bad habit of doing just what your post is talking about! I do it in real life communication too.

    I’ll be explaining to someone how to work with a computer application and use a term like left click or use your mouse to…. and get frustrated as all get out when they give me the blank “I don’t understand” face. LOL

    I try to make a mental note to self to not skip the little things that “everyone” knows. Now to add that to some sort of e-book/post writing check list :)

    Jennifer

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