Content Marketing, Guest Posts, Blogging and Content Creation

Don’t Tell Me I’m Wasting My Time

Margie ClaymanGuest post by Marjorie Clayman, resident blogger at She works at Clayman Advertising, Inc., her family-owned full-service marketing firm.

I know that it is impossible to please everyone in any scenario, but most especially in the online world. Because of that, I most of the time let snide remarks roll off me like water off a duck’s back. However, there is one remark I’ve gotten a few times over the last few months that really frustrates me, not because I take it as a personal affront but rather because it shows a mark of selfishness that exists in the online world.

See, a lot of people have chided me for covering “the same ole stuff.” For covering the basics. For reviewing, again, some Twitter or blogging best practices. “We already know this!” they mutter. “You’re just creating an echo chamber of what has already been said,” others say.

With all due respect, these criticisms miss the mark entirely.

Not everyone is on your timetable

If you’ve been on Twitter since 2008, you are probably pretty proficient in the ups and downs of that world. If you’ve been blogging since 2007, you know how to do things like find your voice because you already have it. You’ve already been through that process.

However, not everyone is sharing your exact experience. Not everyone is on your timeline. I encounter people almost every day who are new to blogging, new to Facebook, new to Twitter, or new to the whole concept of social media in general. Do they not deserve the same kind of help you got when you were new? I think they deserve it more because there are so many obstacles in the way of their breaking through. Obstacles like people saying, “We don’t need this ‘how-to’ information anymore.”

You’re missing a chance to meet new people

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. Something you may not have considered. If you write posts offering help in the online world, you are more likely to meet people who are brand new to the online space. It’s like reaching a hand out through the depths of the ocean to a person who is floating along.

Sure, you can keep writing about new and more complex things for your existing community, but how will that grow your community? If you approach content on occasion from the perspective of someone who is brand spanking new to this space, you will get to meet people and help people whom you may not have met in any other way.

What can be more valuable than that?

Not all of my posts will resonate with you

I appreciate all of the people who take the time to read my posts, but I certainly do not expect that every single one will resonate with every single person. Far from it. If you find the how-to information beneath you or boring, hey, don’t read it! But if you comment about how any idiot knows that stuff, or how I’m wasting my time writing up this information, you’re not really offending me. Instead, you’re blockading the people who may have wanted to ask questions but now feel dumb.

Also, this notion that blog visitors have “all read this stuff before” doesn’t hold mathematical water. Jay says that here on Convince & Convert, approximately 65% of the visitors fall into the “new” category per Google Analytics, and that’s after 500 blogs posts across more than 3 years.

Everybody is a teacher in social media. And everybody is a student. We were all brand-new once, so don’t make yourself an obstacle to those that are just starting to embrace it.

  • MargieClayman

    @belllindsay thanks Ms. Lindsay :)

    • belllindsay

      @MargieClayman You’re most welcome! Loved it. :)

  • MargieClayman

    @CutlerDave thanks Dave!

    • CutlerDave

      @MargieClayman My pleasure. Enjoyed the post. Well done.

  • PJProductivity

    Well said @MargieClayman ! I can only add that even the most astute and experienced of us sometimes need to review the basics — at least from what I’ve observed. Ahem. :D

    • margieclayman

      @PJProductivity Hmm. I have NO idea what you could be talking about ;) Thank you!

  • RealChaseAdams

    Said like a true teacher…and I couldn’t have said it better myself. :)

    • margieclayman

      thanks @RealChaseAdams . You rock!

  • YourDentalEdge

    Hi Margie,

    Thank you for the strong post and positive points … Points that hold true well beyond social media, in regard to the importance reaching out to those who are new at something, and giving them an extra hand.

    -Matt Swenson

    • margieclayman

      @YourDentalEdge Thanks Matt. Yes, it holds equally true if you are training a new person on the job or teaching a child how to walk. Just cuz it’s easy for you doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy for me. And hey, something easy for me might be hard for you, so let’s help each other, eh? :)

      • YourDentalEdge

        @margieclayman Yes, I’m always willing to help, and always happy to know there are others willing to help! Thanks again!

  • pbehnia

    Right on, Margie! Let’s embrace the new people and share what we know. The newbies know they are late to the party which makes them a bit intimidated. Let’s show them some love, show them the ropes and take satisfaction when they shine. This is true regardless of platform. The other thing is… if you’ve nothing nice to say, say nothing and carry on. I don’t know why people like to expend negative energy.

    • margieclayman

      @pbehnia I’m not really sure either, Parissa, except that there’s this whole “If someone hates you you know you’ve made it.” I don’t get that at all.

      And yes, joining the online world was extremely intimidating for me (still is). I can’t imagine what it’s like with another year on top of those starting now. But yeah, I’m happy to reach out and help!

  • PegFitzpatrick

    As one of the many new people that you befriended and were so kind to in my very first chat in #Tweetdiner, I appreciate you and you have been a wonderful role model for me. It is my belief that the kindness that you show someone always comes back to you. People remember when you are nice to them or if you helped them. It can definitely be a life preserver in the ocean of social media for new folks.

    Thanks for being such a fabulous online friend Margie! I truly value you ~ as do so many others.



    • margieclayman

      @PegFitzpatrick What a sweet thing to say, Peggy! And you prove my point. If I turned my nose up at people newer than me, I’d have never met you. If Jay turned his nose up at people he’d have never met either of us. And so it goes :)

  • MargieClayman

    @parissab thanks lady!

    • parissab

      @MargieClayman anytime!

  • MargieClayman

    @PegFitzpatrick Thanks Peg-tastic :)

    • PegFitzpatrick

      @MargieClayman Loved your guest post for @jaybaer – love your stuff! #Always

      • MargieClayman

        @PegFitzpatrick thanks. *smush* :)

        • rj_c

          @MargieClayman @PegFitzpatrick Good Morning two both of you!

        • MargieClayman

          @rj_c morning sir!

  • tracyschutz

    @PegFitzpatrick@MargieClayman Thanks so much for this post! I whole-heartedly agree… I am a social media newbie and I am absorbing as much as I can. The “experts” can move along in the meantime and read something else! I believe what goes around, comes around and I find this especially true in the online world. So, you can welcome the pleasant return to you later for helping and sharing with others, or you can fear the vicious cycle you have created. The choice is always there. Choose wisely. {:>)

    • margieclayman

      Well said @lucyd2ed ! I am glad you feel comfortable enough to keep plowing ahead. Don’t give up. It gets easier before it gets harder again :)

  • Chris_Eh_Young

    I’ve heard this whole “new audience” angle before. :-)

    • margieclayman

      @Chris_Eh_Young Oh Chris. What am I gonna do with you??

  • katpinke

    Thank you @MargieClayman. I think those that have been “in” since 2007 or 2008 come across as elitest at times to those newbies. It’s overwhelmingly to engage when everyone around you seems proficient. I was new to really engaging in Twitter two years ago and it weren’t for people will to reach and teach me the ropes I would have quickly been turned off by it. I try to do the same now and reach new users, new audiences and ultimately build real relationships through engagement. My goal is for more to be empowered by social media and digital engagement to share their stories whether it be for personal or business. Thank you again for this fabulous post!

    • margieclayman

      @katpinke That’s the trick, right? Remember how it was when you first started. People certainly reached out to help me. And guess what? There was a wealth of blog posts to read to help me out. Now, with all of the changes both socially and technologically, new posts can and should be written.

      All we are saying is give newbies a chance! :)

  • JeffHarbert

    That attitude drives me nuts. In nearly every single vocation or hobby you can think of, from marketing to quilting to truck driving to blogging and everything in between, there’s an endless line of newbies lining up to try things out for the first time. They should be embraced and encouraged, not shunned and told to go elsewhere or, “Just Google it.”

    We were all newbies in our fields once, and we’re newbies again every time we decide to learn something new. Pay it forward, people.

    • margieclayman

      @JeffHarbert You said it, sir. And you said it well! Thank you!

  • RogerDooley

    As an online community builder, I’ve always felt that one critical attribute of healthy communities is that they welcome newbies. A commonly asked question should be an opportunity to help, not a trigger to flame. I’ve seen unfriendly communities where the first reply to a new arrival’s request for help was, “Asked and answered a million times… RTFF, n00b!” That kind of attitude means the community won’t renew itself, won’t stay fresh and vibrant, and likely won’t survive in the long haul.

    No need to apologize for being helpful to non-gurus, Marjorie!

    • margieclayman

      @RogerDooley Great point, Roger. While it can be frustrating to go over the same info again if you know it like the back of your hand already, it’s essential (or so I think) to give other people time and room to get to that same point. It seems kind of obvious, and yet…

  • Collectual

    There’s always something to learn or be reminded of when it comes to technology or writing or, really, anything. So, thanks for taking the time to organize, teach and remind us of best practices and tips!

    • margieclayman

      @Collectual Well said, and thank you! Glad I could help!

  • Neicolec

    Thanks for writing this @MargieClayman . Jay has been posting here for a while that we often lose perspective and forget that most people aren’t as immersed in social media and don’t know the basics that we old-timers take for granted. Aside from that, there’s always the question of who are you writing for. It sounds like part of your goal is to write for, and presumably attract, the audience of newcomers trying to learn. You’re going to write basic content for that audience then. Sounds fine by me!

    • margieclayman

      @Neicolec Hey Neicole, thank you! Yes, sometimes I will write content for that person who feels like they are the only person who doesn’t understand Twitter. Other times I will write posts that (I hope) will shine a new sort of light or perspective on things. Despite rumors to the contrary, not everything out there has been covered :)

  • Craig McBreen

    Hi Margie,

    Thanks for saying this. You know what is funny. I started blogging in September and I’m already starting to throw around certain terminology like I’m some kind of expert. Well, I spit said terminology out at home, and my poor wife is the victim of this barrage. She has to stop and tell me, “I don’t really understand what you’re talking about.”

    Anyway, really like this post:

    “If you write posts offering help in the online world, you are more likely to meet people who are brand new to the online space” … Exactly!

    “If you find the how-to information beneath you or boring, hey, don’t read it!” … Yep!

    I agree with you that everyone is a teacher and student in this realm. Right now, I’m a big-time student, absorbing all this info like a sponge, from people like you. Yes, I haven’t commented on your blog a lot, usually because I dive into the great information you offer. As I said, a treasure trove of goods at your place! I just can’t believe you have critics.

    I just need to keep the social media geek-speak down at home ;) Thanks, Margie

    • margieclayman

      @Craig McBreen Thanks, Craig. I think it’s good to have people around you who are not in this world. It keeps you grounded. The looks I get when I talk about retweets keep things in a very clear perspective :)

      • Craig McBreen

        Yeah, I try to cool it with the retweet talk when I’m around family. WTH they say :)

  • redslice

    Amen, Marjorie! I blog about branding and marketing and even wrote a book titled, appropriately, Branding Basics for Small Business. Branding and marketing concepts have been around for centuries, as far back as Veuve Clicquot in the 1700’s creating an internationally recognized champagne brand….and probably farther back if we talk about branding cattle from a specific ranch or traveling salesmen convicing people to buy “medical cures.” After that long of a time, should I assume people would “get” it by now? Well, they don’t. It’s not their world, not their expertise, not their passion. And that’s okay. YOU may undestand that brand is more than just a logo, but there are thousands of small business owners (and, in my experience, even CEO’s and executives of large companies) who have no clue. IF I’m truly an expert in my field, than it’s my job to educate others and bring them along. If you think everyone should “know what you know” then you can’t really call yourself an expert, can you?! To assume everyone has mastered something you mastered long ago is, like you said, incredibly selfish and ego-centric.

    Thanks Marjorie – great post.

    • margieclayman

      @redslice Wow, great comment. Yeah, it’s hard to remain an expert if you are talking to people who know the same exact stuff as you. Where you hone your ability to teach and your own expertise is in trying to pass on your ideas to other people. if those ideas translate, you’re probably in good shape. If they don’t, you may not be quite as much of a guru as you thought!

  • MargieClayman

    @DanielBurstein thanks so much, Daniel!

  • MargieClayman

    @SHIFTcomm thank you!

  • MargieClayman

    @SHIFTcomm thank you for the tweet :)

    • SHIFTcomm

      @MargieClayman Our pleasure. Really enjoyed the piece. Have a great day!

      • MargieClayman

        @SHIFTcomm thanks! Back at ya!

  • MargieClayman

    @sznq thanks Suzan!

  • MargieClayman

    @rogerdooley thanks Roger. So glad you liked it!

  • MargieClayman

    @jccarcamo blogger power, engage! Thanks Julia!

  • MargieClayman

    @jasonkonopinski thanks Jason! I appreciate it!

    • jasonkonopinski

      @MargieClayman I’m always amazed how quickly people forget basic civility. I believe @wilw said it best with “Don’t be a dick.” :)

      • MargieClayman

        @jasonkonopinski yeah, that works too :)

  • MargieClayman

    @CraigMcBreen hah. I hope so :)

    • CraigMcBreen

      @MargieClayman Your posts help … a ton!

  • MargieClayman

    @CaylieBBBL there there! Thanks :)

  • C_Pappas

    Someone needed to say it! I have to admit (while I wasn’t amongst those saying it outright) that I do question why posts are still written about ‘how to get started with Twitter’, or ‘how to build a Facebook page for your business’, but you are absolutely, dead-on right. WE don’t need these posts because we are already heavily integrated in these things. That is exactly why we lose sight of the slight possibility that there are marketers and brands in the world that are not.

    I was at an event last year on social media and mobile media. During the break, I spoke with a few marketing professionals. Now, these were not ‘fresh out of college’ marketers. They had been in their positions (very high-ranking in fact) for awhile and had established themselves. But – they were still not sure what to do with social media. In fact, one woman I spoke to was generating leads by hiring one of those appointment setting companies to do cold calls. She knew there were other ‘things’ to do, but had no idea where to start or what would work for her. She needs your posts and every other post in this style.

    Keep doing what you’re doing Margie! You are not wasting your time!

    • margieclayman

      @C_Pappas Thanks m’friend. Yes, we have to be willing to be okay with the fact that not everyone will read or appreciate every single one of my posts. A lot of my posts I write for everybody, but I try to reach out to those new folks on occasion too. It hasn’t let me down so far!

  • SpitToonsSaloon

    @MargieClayman A toast: When U Realty get down 2 it, success on the Scrabble board of life depends on location, location, location.

    • MargieClayman

      @SpitToonsSaloon now you’re just stretchin…or were you Russian? :)

      • SpitToonsSaloon

        @MargieClayman Both, LOL (;>))

  • newraycom

    @sophieschwartz Thanks very much for the RT’s, Sophie. Have a great day!

  • rdublife

    Thanks Marjorie. I really appreciate your insight and am so glad that someone finally said that. While I don’t consider myself a newbie, it is professionally smart to go back and review the basics from time to time. Gold glove baseball players don’t quick shagging flies for this very reason. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m also growing increasingly annoyed with “experts” who experience has turned to arrogance and don’t have time to deal with newbies. Thanks for sticking to your commitment.

  • Glennengler

    Love the post. Thank you. And thanks to @rdublife for surfacing the comments. A room of experts is wonderful — except that it misses the point. My digital agency has grown up with social media at the core, and our clients are CMOs. Guess what? While I would suggest they all get the need to “listen”, every single one has a landmine around activation, response, or employees. So, there’s confusion and a little bit of chaos. To some organizations, “social = Facebook”. To some, they believe it’s more for their kids than “their products and services.” To others, it’s an incredibly important part of the marketing mix. And then there’s always that “what would legal say?” thought that pokes them in the back.

    That’s exactly why we need some reminders. Of the basics that it’s all about the customer mindset and true insight. That it’s critical to innovate and experiment, and educate their own organization. And if it’s not helping with core brand and business metrics, it won’t truly be a core part of the organization. Last I checked, being in a service industry means servicing clients. They’re not bored of the core elements — in fact, I’d suggest they’re probably clamoring for them more than ever as new people engage and new technology emerges. I say “Bring it”.

  • CherylPickett

    There is also something to be said about how content filters and helps us determine who our “tribe” is. Those who are bored, think you’re wasting their time, probably aren’t your people in more ways than one. It’s not nice of them to try to make you feel bad that they’re not a good fit, but if they move on, overall, that’s probably a good thing. Keep up the good work :-)

  • Sydney @ Social Dynamics

    I concur. One of the things that vexes me, well, with people in general, is that they feel like they need to just vent on everything. It’s great and good to have an opinion, but sometimes it’s better to be wise about which to speak for and recognize which ones aren’t.

  • ShakirahDawud

    Thanks for bringing this point up. I’m constantly skirting basic issues because I’m afraid of being repetitive. But I’m not talking to the exact same people every single day, so why not review and rehash? Someone is bound to be grateful, and that’s worth plenty of jaded derision.

  • jonanscher

    I might even go a step farther to say that those who do ignore stuff they “already know” may be drowning out new realizations they can gain from old information. I think when we begin to get the attitude of “I already got that, I don’t need to be reminded” we have lost something. We’ve lost that connection to the time we didn’t know it and our process to get there (thereby losing the connection to those who don’t know it yet). We’ve also stopped listening to that conversation which means we can no longer question it to gain new insights. I can’t even count how many things I’ve “learned” and later discovered a deeper layer to it or changed my mind about it entirely. Nothing is as solid as we make it out to be.

  • robgranholm

    I agree, we very seldom are aware of everyone else’s timeline. I’m young, 27, and have a business helping new solo-preneurs and online businesses get their technology together. Many of those have happened to be coaches who have years of experience and see the potential but don’t know how to use the tools “digital natives” do. They are on a different timeline, and my business entirely. You are not wasting your time.

  • BLDRsWriter

    I agree and love the “timetable” analogy. I work in an industry where many are just now discovering (and properly utilizing) social media basics. It is always good to give basic “how to” for the many who are new.

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