Sail the Seas of Your Site
“If you build it, they will come.” Damn straight. Sometimes, my client’s content would not go as far as I thought it would. The team would look at it and think, “that is a mighty fine piece of infographic, and it deserves all that it gets.” And there were times when that might have been the case. If planned correctly, we would already have target sites for submission and target people for sharing requests. Boom, great, everything is setup and good to go. Then, it just… does not… get there. All of the expected traffic and blowing up… it was MADE it to be viral, goddammit!
WTF, WORLD?! YOU ARE WRONG.
No, sadly, we cannot blame this one on the internet. Like in most instances, you try like hell not to blame your customers. In this case, we should not be blaming our content consumers. There are probably a few problems with whatever it is you made did not do its job, and that is okay. The first step is accepting that the content did not succeed at meeting the goals and to move on to figuring out why so that you can improve the what or how.
Entirely Wrong Ocean
Sure, there might be plenty of fish in the sea, but what are you doing in the wrong ocean? You could be in the entirely wrong community for all you know. This is one of the reasons why clients need to be a part of the content creation process. They know their industry better than us. They should also know where their traffic lives on the web. People use the web to talk, interact, get their licenses to become preachers, and bitch about each other anonymously. We need them to do that about our content. If you do not know where those people are talking and hanging out, you are probably wasting your time and money. Just because that dude over there says that forums are complete shit does not mean that the old fogies in your niche are not there ready to promote your content for you on some ragged-ass forum. Find them like you are an assassin. They are your targets, and your clients are paying you to be a bad ass outreach mercenary.
Well, It Ain’t the Illiad
Yeah, yeah, yeah, stats, dates, numbers, sizes, … data, data, data. We get it. Infographics have data on them. Come the hell on. You can do better than that! Create a whitepaper, a resource guide, a how-to, an original meme… something! I have faith in this interesting, and, if that last post is an indicator about how I feel about content, let me tell you: there is more bull shit being published than ever, and I think it is our duty to steer our clients away from it. Do something different. More importantly, take your awesome content and push it to a variety of communities. Be out there and test who the right users are for you. Your content might be highly complex, and it will be hard for that one blog to eat it up. They need to be able to chew and swallow the food you are giving them. If you are going around choking everybody, well, then you’re a Scranton strangler, and no one appreciates that.
I Have a Dream… of Clients Interacting with Their Community
Do not discount forums, blogs, social sites, or anything that allows you to interact with your community. You cannot let any potential group of customers go because, when marketing is done correctly, they will become your biggest advocates. Build the relationships up with the people who can help you out in the long run. When your brand is not huge enough to be easily recognized by a commonplace person, you are going to rely on the little guy. The internet might be full of douchebags, but they are your douchebags.
Wake Up Call at Stop Dicking Around o’ Clock, Please
My main motivation for writing this post is because I have fallen for most of these issues. Now I greatly enjoy seeing fresh content. Instead of trying to pump out a specific number of articles or infographic, I want to push for a specific quality of content. I want to make our clients linkable. That is what it comes down to for me. I love link building, and I love having something to reach out with to get links. I want the ammunition.
To date the most successful piece of content I have dealt with did not take weeks to create. It was not going back and forth with an agency trying to get some text fixed. It was five hours of my own time doing hilariously easy number tweaking. I published my content in the right places which, in this case, were Reddit and a video game forum. Now, it is not amazing, but for five hours it is cost effective:
In the first 24 hours of my forum post, I had over 16000 views on my forum thread and 50 comments. These people are engaged because my content was simple, digestible, and interesting. They were the right community.
Talking with people on the forum and Reddit threads was FUN and attracted a lot of attention. Be linkable. Find the right people. Tell them about your crappy product or service that they are going to love, but you do not stand out there like a bard telling tales of your greatness. No, you sit around a campfire telling your story to people who are wildly interested in you. Then, they take your story, and they tell it in their homes and around their own fires. Damn, that kicks ass.
Days of content are uploaded to YouTube in less than an hour. Blogs are published by the hundreds around the world in various niches. Infographics are plastered everywhere across the web every day. We live in an odd age. We have too much information. What is happening to the internet now is a dilemma in that we have an oversaturation of content. It is like a Christmas with divorced parents, and the children gave them the same list. They get double the presents but the same toys, and they are just stacking up on each other. That is one hell of a mess.
In the SEO world, we know that content is an extremely important facet of a website. It gives users a place to learn more about your business and its knowledge as well as provides a place for them to discuss it. Even though this is good, when we have thousands of companies who do know how to do it properly, you end up with the same or very similar content. This is a bad user experience. There are so many ways that you can screw in a light bulb, and writing different blog posts about it is not helping the user.
So, what is the solution to the internet plague of content oversaturation? Content innovation. What is going to happen is that users will gravitate towards platforms that are very simplistic and have the most diversity in content and social interaction. We already have content hubs where we recognize the thought leaders but even the content there will wax and wane. This is why Reddit is as successful as it is. Content is curated at a scalable rate, and the terrible content does not stay for long because of votes and moderators.
My argument is that content creation is good, but you are wasting your time and money if you are publishing content that you can easily find in other places on the web. You have to push your business to find new ways to market to your customers with different types of content. Don’t just do what all of the other cool kids are doing. Get your hands dirty, create some content that you are not sure will succeed in a new way, and let it fail or succeed. Properly market that content, test it out, and see if it is any good. Even if it fails, you will know something that other people do not, and you are ahead of the game. I would rather see a junky piece of content that is delivered in an interesting way than a blog post I can read elsewhere.
Social media, video, and infographics WERE great and still are very effective. But what is next? Whoever comes up with that answer is going to kick serious ass because some of us are tired of list blog posts and crappy infographics. Be that guy/gal.
I recommend at least listening to Distilled’s video on 2013 link building here.