(F*ing = fluffing. No fluffing fluff. What did you think we meant?)
Imagine this scenario:
You’re skimming the web for an article that teaches you about how to create better calls-to-action (CTAs). Every single article you click on falls into one of the following categories:
- It isn’t helpful whatsoever.
- It gives you a rambling 1,400-word attempt at answering the question without providing a single, solid action step.
- It provides you with “inspiring” ideas for better CTAs without backing those ideas with any kind of data.
Now you’ve wasted part of your day parsing through useless content, and your CTAs are not going to benefit at all.
Well, I’ve been there. Actually, all of us at Nectafy have. (And frankly, we have some content on our blog right now that definitely falls into this category!) We call this content fluff.
What Is Fluff?
We think of fluff as mindless, silly, vague, or actionless content. When you read a fluffy article, you may walk away with some low-impact advice or knowledge, or you may feel like you’ve wasted five or 10 minutes of your time on lifeless filler words and lackluster advice. To clarify, not all fluffy blogs are bad blogs—they just don’t leave you with a roadmap of exactly what to do once you’re done reading.
Now, that’s not to say that every blog post needs to be 100% business all the time. But as inbound becomes more and more competitive, the quality of blog posts must match the competition, and continue to provide more help to readers. Simply put, if the majority of the content a blog offers feels like a big, steaming pile of jargon-laden crap, you can bet I won’t be returning to see what else they have planned (and I’ll bet you’re in the same boat).
Then What Defines A Great Blog?
Excellent articles should provide readers with primarily tangible, results-based, data-driven content. Regardless of whether or not I enjoy every topic discussed or agree with the final conclusions drawn, you can bet that I’ll return to these blogs simply because they educate and entertain simultaneously. Blog posts that contain step-by-step instructions, listed directions, people to follow, productivity hacks, etc., will always draw my attention and hold it through the end.
With all this being said, we understand that it’s hard to create incredible, actionable content over and over again—but that’s why we’re so amazed by these blogs. So without further adieu, here are our seven favorite marketing blogs without the fluffing fluff.
Marketing guru Neil Patel has called Backlinko founder Brian Dean “the best in the [link building] business”, and we agree with him. Take this article, for example: How To Get Backlinks With Guestographics. Brian walks you through the exact steps that he takes to get loads of backlinks by “bribing” interested websites into publishing your infographic. He is honest, candid, and he writes in a conversational tone that anyone can understand.
2. & 3. Neil Patel & QuickSprout
If you’re involved in the marketing world, chances are you’ve heard of Neil Patel. (And even if you haven’t, you just heard him mentioned in blog #1.) He is the founder of KISSmetrics analytics software, and a well-known marketer, consultant, and blogger. His blog posts have consistently actionable, regularly updated content.
If you haven’t visited his blog, start with How To Build 100 Quality Links Without Writing Fresh Content and How To Increase Your Websites Traffic Without Any Marketing. Both are superb examples of “fluff-less” content, and will probably leave you with quite a few ideas.
SEMRush is a marketing tool with a bookmark-worthy blog. Their articles are visually appealing and example-heavy, which makes them more interesting to read. Take this article, for example: 8 Google Analytics Reports To Boost Your SEO Performance. In it, author Paul Koks writes for an SEO-savvy crowd, but the annotated screenshots help a more novice reader make it through without too many questions.
Search engine optimization tool Moz has one of the best advance SEO blogs out there. They post regularly (sometimes several times a day), and their blog posts are clean and visually appealing.
Rand Fishkin—the Moz co-founder—leads a vlog series called “Whiteboard Friday’s.” They are exactly as they sound: Rand whiteboards about a particular topic, films it, and then publishes the video (and a transcript) on the website every Friday. Last week’s video is called Clean Your Site’s Cruft Before It Causes Ranking Problems, which provides practical tips for culling your website of low-ranking, lifeless web pages.
The CoSchedule blog is ideal for content creators and marketers alike. The content is almost always long—the example below is 4,000 words—and interactive. One of their recent articles that caught my attention was 21+ Ways To Build An Email List That Will Skyrocket By 552% In 1 Year. It offers catchy, tweetable drop quotes, video excerpts, and annotated images that draw you in and hold your interest from start to finish.
7. Dan Zarrella
Dan Zarrella is a former HubSpot employee and social media master statistician. Even though Dan no longer posts to his blog—the last post was on January 27th, 2015—it is still a valuable resource. Several of his posts from 2013 give great social media insight, like this infographic on How to Get More Likes, Comments and Shares on Facebook. If you run out of old blog posts to comb through, check out his book, The Science of Marketing: How to Tweet, What to Post, How to Blog, and Other Proven Strategies.
What’s your favorite results-driven, “fluff-less” blog? Comment below—we’d love to add another to our list!