There has been a huge shift in blogging, and blog promotion over the last few years, and that is in part due to the many great writers flooding the blogosphere with amazing content. See, quality doesn’t matter as much as it did two years ago, where if you wrote good content, you got traffic. Word of mouth about how great your articles were would spread across the net. Today, it isn’t like that.
Don’t get me wrong, content is still key, but if you write the best articles in the world, and no one reads them, will you still feel motivated to blog in the long term? I highly doubt it.
In today’s marketplace, if you don’t already have a huge readership, you need to promote your best articles to create that initial readership. I have met people that think they are “better” than social bookmarking and social news promotion, but most of them have been blogging for a long time, and built up their massive readership back when it was easier.
Competition for readers these days is fierce. I have watched bloggers who are experts in promotion gain traffic, readers, and money faster than those that only wrote good content, and it really got me confused. I come from a world where “content is king”, and so to see articles making the front page of popular sites, or getting linked to by everyone, it really made me wonder where the focus should be: marketing or writing?
People are starting to hit their saturation point when it comes to online content and the new “in” thing is not to tell the world that you have thousands of RSS feeds in your reader, but instead how much you have removed from your daily reading. It is all about finding the creme of the crop, and sites like Digg, Reddit, TechMeme and others allow us to easily do that. If you don’t syndicate your content to these popular sites, you are missing out on a large pool of potential visitors.
Add to that the shift away from users just looking for raw content, to what James Cogan and I recently talked about: content and context.
You realize this more and more when you are searching for information on the web these days, especially for blogging related news. It isn’t the post from two years ago that will help you, but instead the most current article on a given topic. Without the proper context, even the best articles become useless.
So while it may seem odd to be taking the time to update instructions on how to secure a WordPress blog against spam, the plugins, their settings, and even the download locations of these tools may have all changed, and without the proper promotion, the article won’t be found, and people might not get the answer they are seeking. Instead, they might find one from before Akismet was created, and follow the tips and instructions from back then. If you have used WordPress before Akismet, you will understand how ineffective this could be.
Again, I do want to stress that quality articles are important, because without a certain level of quality, you probably won’t be able to promote your article, post or idea very far, but quality in and of itself isn’t enough to grow a blog to a successful level in the current world of blogging. I think people that believe otherwise are not in touch with the current state of the blogosphere and probably have a little too much traffic already. Promote your articles well, and promote them often. The creme will rise to the top, and those that don’t use the systems put in place will be left behind.