How to Write a Great Round-Up Post

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Cowboy roping a calf Three times today, I’ve been asked by a “blogger” to contribute to their amazing “round-up” post, where they query experts for their opinions on some topic that they feel matters to the people they try to entertain with their “writing.” In the last of these posts, I was addressed by my very secret title of {First Name}, indicating a very personal touch in how the person was seeking out help.

How to Write a Great Round-Up Post

Don’t.

The idea almost makes sense. Hey, person who knows something: Come and give a sentence or two of your time about this topic. I’ll collect it all up and then publish it. People will love it!

It’s not true. Make yourself the reader, the consumer of that “content” for a moment. (I’m glad I don’t have to pay for quotation marks. If you and I were talking face to face about this, my fingers would be sore from “air” “quotes” by now.) There’s no reason anyone really wants to read the opinions of a dozen or so “experts” on anything in particular.

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What do we want? We want research boiled down into useful data. Far fewer people read the actual survey results that others spend a lot of time gathering and tabulating. Instead, we read the summaries.

But do we want a bunch of people’s random, spat out thoughts on a random topic hurled at us by some well-meaning low-end content producer? No. Never. I’m just going to say never.

Instead of Writing a Great Round-Up Post

Look. Roundup is a weed killer. It’s not a way to convey useful information to someone who might need it. Instead of writing that next great round-up post, do this instead:

  • Brainstorm a list of topics your reader might actually benefit from knowing more about.
  • Explain the problem the reader is facing from their side of the story.
  • Provide some information on potential solutions.
  • Offer actionable information on how to improve or correct the problem.
  • Offer a follow-on or next-action that relates to what you sell, where appropriate.
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That’s what people want. Much more than your lazy gathering of a bunch of people’s quickly-scribbled thoughts on a random topic.

Some extra reading on the topic of writing roundup posts from my esteemed colleague and friend, Christopher S. Penn.

And if you want to connect with your buyers? Stick with me. Get my newsletter, where I share ways to do better for the people you serve. And stop contributing to the round-up detritus that’s littering the Internet.

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