When Content Is Not Enough
Ever wonder about why some bloggers are popular, with traffic (and maybe revenue) levels and community participation that many can only dream of? Well, for instance I’ve always thought which comes first: whether it’s the popularity of A-listers gets them lots of linklove, or whether they get to be popular in the first place bcause of tons of links from other bloggers. And I’ve always thought whether it’s in the content, the style of writing, the niche, or other factors.
Ahmed has some good arguments over at techsoapbox that having good, unique, content is usually not enough to ensure a good following for a blog (or any other online material, for that matter). It has to be backed by good marketing, too.
There is a lot of great content out there. People who spend hours writing one single article, re-writing it multiple times so that it is flows nicely, conveys its points across, and doesn’t bore the user. But that is far from enough. You write this great content – how does it get found? It isn’t that Google sends out some magical gnome to check on your content. No, you have to put your head down and promote your site non-stop.
And once you build up interest in your material, and once you get to start a community around your blog, then the following and the readership will be there. It could take a handful of emails to other bloggers and writers, or sometimes leaving comments on other blogs. The point is that along with writing the good stuff, you should also spread the word about your blog.
Now I do want to step back and say that unique content is important. High quality content is important. But without promoting it, you fantastic unique content will go no where. Unique content with no promotion vs so-so content with promotion results in the so-so content beating down the unique content.
Ahmed suggests that everytime you publish something you think is worth spreading the word about, do find several blogs whose owners might find your material interesting. Go write them an email–preferably personalized and individually written (no spam!). If you’re compelling enough, and if your content is considered a good read, then you’ve got yourself the makings of a good readership.
J. Angelo Racoma is a technology journalist for CMSWire and TFTS. A former editor at Splashpress Media, The Blog Herald and Performancing, he now does consultancy work through WorkSmartr.com. Follow him at racoma.net and on Twitter.
Oh so very true! :)
I think a lot of people forget about the actual blood sweat and tears that go into promoting/marketing. With the advent of services such as Technorati, a lot of bloggers think that these tools will suffice. Sure, it is an excellent supplement, but why not go out and get them the old fashion way. It puts a personality behind the ‘trademark’ and sets you aside from the mass-flux of the blogger bell-curve hump (the big mass at the bottom of the pile).
Even Johnny Depp was an unknown once upon a time
(He was in Nightmare on Elm Street a looooonnnngggg time ago)
Depending upon Technorati or Digg sings to the choir. Sometimes I think we rely too much upon only a few sources to spread our news. I think it’s a good idea to reach away from the normal resources and spread the word outside our field. This helps us connect with a wider audience and helps us, in turn, stand out in the crowd. It’s hard work, but every bit can count when your life depends upon your blog.
I agree with Lorelle. Getting known outside the sound box of the blog world is the only way to develop your image as a writer and author, not just another blogger — of whom there are now 200 million worldwide and rising.
If your material is good enough, it will take off. I’ve found articles about bloggers in the London Times, on the BBC and in lots of unexpected places. They’re usually very savvy characters, though, who would succeed in any genre or medium.
Jumping up and down in skimpy cheerleader outfit, blonde hair bouncing, waving pom poms wildly in the air, while shouting, “C-O-N-T-E-N-T! Come on over! Laughs are free!”
Another issue though with many of those bloggers who are getting mentioned is that they have walked circles prior to *being a blogger*. I think blogs are beginning to be blurred into the regular web. For example, I use wordpress for everything, but I do not call it a blog. Why? I don’t sit there and write about my family, friends etc. No, the blog is simply becoming another delivery method among a bunch of others. I prefer the format because it allows me to track everything. Try seeing who linked to an article of yours using a standard MS Frontpage Template. Won’t happen (unless you have some sort of plugin that allows you to do it).
I think another problem with the blogosphere is that we all know what is hot. We get on Technorati, Youtube etc and see what is going on, and we too write about it. Why? It’s natural. Why write about corn when the current topic is potatoes?