How To Create Content When You’d Rather Be Doing Something Else

It’s summer. Do you really want to be reading 5 tips for barbecuing Pandas or an infographic on 7 ways to club a Penguin?

Wouldn’t you rather be drinking a glass of wine while nibbling on cured meats, local cheeses and a nice piece of fruit? Of course you would! Va bene.

But those damn SEO experts keep telling you that “Content Marketing” is the key to rankings. But what do you know about content?

You sell <insert your fine product/service here>. You ain’t got no time for creating no stinking content. And what the hell is “content” anyway?  Why can’t you just sell your damn <fine product/service> and take the wife and kids on a little vacation?

Unfortunately, you can’t. In the words of John Andrews: “Google SEO is no longer worth the effort for those who are not writers, artists, speakers, trainers, etc…”  

What John’s getting at is you need to do something creative to get attention (aka “links”) and keep doing it over and over again so that Google’s algorithms think you are worthy of those coveted search engine rankings.

Now don’t throw the iPad in the pool paisano. I don’t want to be writing this any more than you want to be “creating content”, but we’re going to get through this Content Marketing thing together. Because there’s lot’s of ways to create content, even when you’d rather be doing something else.

The Round-Up

The Round-Up is the first refuge of the lazy content creator. It’s so easy. Just read what the “experts” are talking about, link to their posts and add a smidgen of commentary. Like so:

Wow, Apple Maps are going to be big for local search. In order to get ready, you might want to check out Mike Blumenthal’s post on the subject. And definitely pay attention to Yelp, because according to Greg Sterling, they are a key component of Siri’s local results. According to Stephanie Hobbs, reviews are going to be important. And…you get the picture.


You’ve gotta love the FAQ. All day long, your prospects ask you questions and all day long you answer them. Now, just put each one on a page on your website and badabing!, next thing you know, you are ranking for exciting search queries like “what’s the average cost in Iowa for Turkey Neck Surgery?” (answer: $5,283!).

Everybody Hates A Tourist, Except You

Because if you’re targeting tourists, all you have to do is figure out what tourists are looking for and put it on your website. So think of stuff like “kids activities in <your city>” or “clean bathroom in <your city>” (and of course make sure you know where this magical loo is).

Bonus points for putting it in the native languages of said tourists (e.g. “dove è il bagno più pulito a Santa Vittoria?“). Remember that most people search in their native language, even if they’re in your country. #crazyfereners. Grazie Google Translate!

Dish The Dirt And/Or Rant & Rave

Talk about stuff that no one else will dare mention or emulate Perez Hilton On Tom & Katie (I knew it wouldn’t last).

Or maybe you are sick and tired of the amateurs spamming Yelp and want to show them how it’s done.

Just think of something that really drives you crazy and start typing. You’ll be amazed at the results. I sure am.

Video Killed The Radio Star

So get your kid to make a video (cause you don’t even know how the damn video camera works right?).

Maybe give the kid some instructions for making it relevant like “hey, I run a coffee shop, so make it about coffee”).

When the kid turns it in, post it on YouTube. Who knows? It might even go viral. (See: Coffee Quest - it’s pre-viral)


I know what you’re thinking – “Sure Andrew, this stuff works great for you because you’re an uber-blogger and you don’t have to worry about having to manage a <insert your fine  product/service here> business.”

To that, I say, at some point in your business career, you probably fancied yourself an artist in your own way. You found a way to create something that someone else wanted.

Creating content for SEO and for potential customers on your website is no different. And sometimes it even helps if you have a glass of wine or two beforehand. So stop reading and start creating.


Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Keywords & Content


About The Author: is the proprietor of Local SEO Guide, a local search engine optimization consulting company specializing in yellow pages seo and local directory search—the blog is pretty fabulous too.

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  • Chris Dugdale

    Hmm. Was that “The Roundup” or “Rant and Rave”? Seems to have qualities of both.

  • Jim Huinink

    What is with the Italian theme? Sounds (and looks) like you are in a ‘dolce vita’ state of mind, hence the call to idleness. Correct? 

  • Andrew Shotland

    Jim, was doing my part to help out with the Eurozone Crisis.  I found there was a lot of liquidity in the market, particularly the market the next town over.

  • Andy Kuiper – SEO Analyst

    After reading this article… new content doesn’t seem so difficult; thanks for putting a positive spin on things Andrew :-)

  • shira p. white

    Clearly, just back from Italia. Va bene! If you know anyone who can help me with content management for BN, let me know.

  • Jill Tooley

    Wow! Only $5,283 for turkey neck surgery in Iowa? Now that’s a deal!

    In all seriousness, though, I like the spin you’ve put on this. It’s tough to create content when all of the ideas seem to flee from my brain at the same time. I’ve written my share of rants and round ups, that’s for sure. It also helps to revisit older ideas I jotted down but never quite finished. Sometimes that content slush pile comes in handy!

  • Mandy Kilinskis

    Mi piace, creating content. Though that’s not to say it’s easy to do. Thanks for the reminders that it doesn’t always have to be an uphill battle – I’m off to do a roundup post!

  • Bobby Gaglini

    I love this post. I can totally relate, although you might be a little funnier than I am, especially since I had my comically stretchy turkey neck removed long ago.

    The bottom line is you have to keep the pen moving. No matter what, you have to keep coming up with ideas. And the way I think of it, the sucky ideas will always come to mind, but that means that the good ones are right around the corner. Trim the turkey neck fat to get to the good white meat.

  • Andrew Shotland

    As you can see Bobby, I am more of a dark meat guy

  • Mike Bayes

    OMG. I can’t just buy links and go to the pool?

    Good information. I like to use a question a client asks me that day or week, and just respond on my blog or create a new page.

    If I responded by email to the client the work is 50% completed any way!  Thanks again!

  • Boxcar Marketing

    Ha ha, fun post. Thanks Andrew. 

  • Chris Edwards

    Perfect post! I have found that just getting out there and creating can sometimes help out a ton. It’s funny you talked about knocking back a drink or two and just writing. I have found that a few of my more successful posts on a few of my blogs have been ones that I threw together in no time at all, after a beer or two. They were articles that I just threw up there to keep the site from getting too stale. 

    As a blog writer, I find my self reading article after article trying to figure out what my next perfect article will be. In the time to come up with that one perfect article, several articles could have been written. I deal with this with web design clients everyday. They spend months trying to get me the new revamped content because they want it perfect. I try to tell them, right now there is nothing on their site and anything is better than nothing. As you said, stop reading and start creating!

  • Dicebat

    Thanks for the advice, Andrew! You just cemented my “sit your ass down and speak your mind”  content strategy.

    It surely does go a long way in content creation made easier. Content is content and if you can link it up to something even more useful to back up your thoughts, it’s already SEO worthy!

  • Katie Sykes

    Off to drink wine before I write my next masterpiece – thanks for the advice Andrew

  • Cory Grassell

    I appreciated your post; however, I just want to make sure we’re not under-playing the value of “good” content (based on your definition of “good,” of course). Isn’t that the ongoing struggle with balancing usability/readability and SEO? Sure, content can be quick and easy, but if it doesn’t impact the lifetime value of the reader, then it’s a short-term strategy. As a writer, I appreciate good content that keeps me coming back for the long term.

  • Everett

    As a serial ranter, I really appreciate this post. All it takes is five too many cups of coffee late at night and you’re off to the races. It helps to have a dry sense of humor like Andrew. Did I ever tell you that you remind me of Louis CK?

  • Arsie

    Thanks Andrew for this post. You’ve given us hope.

  • Andrew Shotland

    Know hope. Yes we can.  We are the change we have been waiting for.

  • Andrew Shotland

    Everett, well content creation and masturbation are pretty similar, so I guess you might have something there.

  • Andrew Shotland

    BTW the original headline for this one was “How To Create Content When You Just Don’t Give a S%*#!”  Think it would have gone a bit more viral if we didn’t go for the PG-13 version.  Also they pulled the link to this vid in the Tom & Katie section

  • Dev Basu

    Just got back from a vacation in Italy so the tune of ‘va bene’ brings back memories. Time to start some rantin’ posts.


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