Sign up right now for email updates and get two free ebooks:

Why it is Good to Repeat Yourself

In the previous post I recommended that you should find your own stories or develop a unique take on the news. Basically implying that repeating was bad. Here’s the funny thing … repeating yourself can be good …

Now don’t get me wrong, I do not for a minute suggest that you simply drone on each and every day about the same old tired topic. Repeating themes or revisiting advice though can be very effective.

As Sonia says in the post comments, there are many bloggers like Seth Godin and Brian Clark who repeat themes.

You will have picked up themes here I am sure:

  • Use standout content to attract an audience
  • Content alone does not work
  • Focus on people
  • Long term trust is more valuable than short term profit
  • You get what you give
  • Etc

Repetition is a powerful teaching tactic. If you want to spread your ideas then you have to repeat yourself occasionally while targeting different reading and processing styles.

The key is to present the information in a new way, come from a different angle, use different styles, for you to explain a different aspect of a lesson and to bring the story alive in new ways.

Providing your audience doesn’t get bored (and if they do then you need to try harder), repeating yourself can be a good thing.

Sign up right now for email updates and get these
two free ebooks

"Creating Killer
Flagship Content"

"Authority Alliances"

Just enter your primary email address in the form below and hit the button!

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!

Comments

  1. Thanks for the link, Chris! πŸ™‚

    Riffing on this theory, I would say that repeating someone else is not very useful, but repeating yourself (in new and fresh ways) is a good teaching tool. Remember that old chestnut from NLP, “repetition is the mother of skill”?

    Then again, I see my blog primarily as a teaching vehicle–a blog like Boing Boing has a different aim so that technique won’t be right for them. But I think most authority sites have that teaching aim, would you agree?

  2. Thanks for the link, Chris! πŸ™‚

    Riffing on this theory, I would say that repeating someone else is not very useful, but repeating yourself (in new and fresh ways) is a good teaching tool. Remember that old chestnut from NLP, “repetition is the mother of skill”?

    Then again, I see my blog primarily as a teaching vehicle–a blog like Boing Boing has a different aim so that technique won’t be right for them. But I think most authority sites have that teaching aim, would you agree?

  3. Yes I think most authority sites will teach or at least explain or impart information. If you can revisit something in a fresh way then it is still worthwhile. I can see reasons why Boing Boing even might repeat as they often riff on intellectual property, freedom, etc themes.

  4. Yes I think most authority sites will teach or at least explain or impart information. If you can revisit something in a fresh way then it is still worthwhile. I can see reasons why Boing Boing even might repeat as they often riff on intellectual property, freedom, etc themes.

  5. When writing I read somewhere that you should tell your readers what you are going to tell them, then tell your readers what you promised to tell them, then tell your readers what you just told them.
    Does this make sense?
    Regards.

  6. When writing I read somewhere that you should tell your readers what you are going to tell them, then tell your readers what you promised to tell them, then tell your readers what you just told them.
    Does this make sense?
    Regards.

  7. This tactic of getting a point across works well in speaking as well as writing. When trying to get a point across you have to present it in a few different ways. Everyone processes differently so what I typically do is make a direct statement then follow up with a real world scenario that the audience can identify with then I draw it out for them with a picture or a diagram.

    This is why I think that images in blog posts are so important. besides breaking up the wall of text it give a reader a visual reference to raw from.

  8. This tactic of getting a point across works well in speaking as well as writing. When trying to get a point across you have to present it in a few different ways. Everyone processes differently so what I typically do is make a direct statement then follow up with a real world scenario that the audience can identify with then I draw it out for them with a picture or a diagram.

    This is why I think that images in blog posts are so important. besides breaking up the wall of text it give a reader a visual reference to raw from.

  9. I often find myself repeating key points over at my blog, but that is mainly because (for some reason) many potential ‘community developers ‘fail to recognise the work that is needed to build a successful online community. Therefore I constantly need to remind them through repetition!

    – Martin Reed

  10. I often find myself repeating key points over at my blog, but that is mainly because (for some reason) many potential ‘community developers ‘fail to recognise the work that is needed to build a successful online community. Therefore I constantly need to remind them through repetition!

    – Martin Reed

  11. Sometimes I find myself writing a post very similar to one I’ve written before (maybe six months ago), but I’ll have a slightly different take on it. My opinions will evolve over time as I read more about a topic and think about it more.

    But repetition can be a very good thing, if done properly. There’s a fine line between repetition and beating a dead horse (pardon the cliche`).

  12. Sometimes I find myself writing a post very similar to one I’ve written before (maybe six months ago), but I’ll have a slightly different take on it. My opinions will evolve over time as I read more about a topic and think about it more.

    But repetition can be a very good thing, if done properly. There’s a fine line between repetition and beating a dead horse (pardon the cliche`).

  13. Hello Chris:

    I agree. I write most of my articles as series. The final article is a round up that summarises the previous examples. Here’s an example.

    This also enables me to link back to the rest of the articles in the series.
    I think the trick is to keep on focussing on what the reader needs. I’ll say it again, repetition is a necessity for the aspiring authority blogger πŸ˜‰

  14. Hello Chris:

    I agree. I write most of my articles as series. The final article is a round up that summarises the previous examples. Here’s an example.

    This also enables me to link back to the rest of the articles in the series.
    I think the trick is to keep on focussing on what the reader needs. I’ll say it again, repetition is a necessity for the aspiring authority blogger πŸ˜‰

  15. @jsanderz – Yes, particularly in presentations, videos, podcasts or any lengthy written material.

    @Koka – Exactly, people have different communication and learning styles. Some might learn better from practical exercises too so sometimes it is good to give something for them to do.

    @Martin – I think a lot of people have selective blindness to any advice that suggests something is hard work πŸ˜‰

    @Brad – It is very easy to slip over the line into tenderized equine but it is worth the risk I think πŸ™‚

    @Galba – Agreed! That’s the main point; are you providing value to the reader? If you are, good work, if not, why? See, another of my themes repeated πŸ™‚

  16. @jsanderz – Yes, particularly in presentations, videos, podcasts or any lengthy written material.

    @Koka – Exactly, people have different communication and learning styles. Some might learn better from practical exercises too so sometimes it is good to give something for them to do.

    @Martin – I think a lot of people have selective blindness to any advice that suggests something is hard work πŸ˜‰

    @Brad – It is very easy to slip over the line into tenderized equine but it is worth the risk I think πŸ™‚

    @Galba – Agreed! That’s the main point; are you providing value to the reader? If you are, good work, if not, why? See, another of my themes repeated πŸ™‚