A lot of people say great content is in sparse supply, but that may only be true by relativity. A fair number of good writers and content creators do exist now—certainly more than most people may be aware of. And awareness, really, is the problem.
A lot of great content ends up being relegated to obscurity for a lot of reasons, although it boils down to this: while a lot of people are already aware that content can be used for marketing, they all too often forget that it also needs marketing. Many good content creators, unfortunately, are not good marketers. Below are the top 4 reasons even the best content doesn’t make it.
1. You’re not promoting it. It’s true that some great content promotes itself, but by and large, great content needs someone else to get things started and even sometimes to keep things rolling. Don’t assume others will automatically do the work for you. Tweet, like, mention, and link to your own content at every chance you get—and most importantly, find ways to get others to do the same. Just don’t think that writing the content and publishing it is the end of your work.
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2. It’s not curated by the right people. These days, content curation may be even more important than content creation where marketing is concerned. Find the right curators—think of content aggregate sites that link to content on the web—to bring your content in front of a bigger audience by offering it to them or asking them to review it.
Some content creators even curate content themselves and build a following that way, so they know that the content they themselves create has a ready audience. Want examples of big and successful content curators? Try The Huffington Post, Reddit, and even Google News (although Google uses an aggregation model, so it’s a different kind of curator, in a way).
3. You’re showing it to the wrong audience. This actually happens pretty often: it could be anything from the language to the thesis behind the work, but sometimes, the content you put in front of a specific audience isn’t very relatable or comprehensible to them… even though it remains great content.
You have two choices here: either tweak it so that it becomes more intelligible to the audience you’re facing at the moment or create new content for this audience while moving the existing content to a new space where it can reach people more in tune with it—who knows, you might end up finding a new demographic niche in the process?
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to talk about the same topic from the same angle every time. You just have to develop a feeling for expanding topic range without falling off tangent. Find your niche, then see how much wiggle room you have in it. Want some examples of content writers who stick to what their audiences like yet manage to produce nicely diversified content topics? Try Fiskars’s, Wegman’s, or for something even more niche, the blog section of the Morbie site. The idea is to make sure content remains linked to the central topic of interest for you and your audience while not being afraid to venture around (not away) from it.
4. It’s not driving the right kind of conversations from readers. Unless your content provides badly needed information that many can use and were previously unable to access—not very easy to provide, as so many experts in various fields are already sharing their knowhow—it shall have to be content that is worthwhile by virtue of stimulating discussion. In fact, the best content goes beyond that: it doesn’t just engage people but actually drives them to an action.
That’s actually how a lot of advocacy sites work, as a matter of fact: content is used as a tool to get people to do something. Take a look at the Avaaz site, for example, and look at the content primers attached to each advocacy or poll. Granted, most of us aren’t writing stuff for political or environmental advocacy, but we have to remember that we’re often advocating something all the same… and the clarity of intent and call to action in many political petitions can teach a lot of us a thing or two about directing our words more effectively.