I’m an avid reader and I’m interested in a wide variety of topics so I follow links. If somebody tells my “You should click this link and read this” that’s exactly what I do. So trust me when I say that the idea that great content markets itself is a myth. I’ve seen countless blogs that have “great content” that will never amount to a hill of beans, and that’s really sad because these bloggers already have all the hard work done.
It’s All Relative
It’s important to remember that the definition of “Great Content” changes from blog to blog. Normally, I wouldn’t care what you were blogging about or how informative your post was, if it’s all in one, run-on paragraph with no punctuation I’d never read it. To me, that’s not great content at all because it’s too hard to read.
On the other hand, if the byline at the top of that post had the name Stephen King in it, I’d go find a magnifying glass and read it word-for-word.
Over the years I’ve found great content that’s:
- Poorly translated from another language
- Poorly formatted or had no formatting at all
- Expressed in just 17 words
- Housed on a poorly coded, poorly aligned free theme
- Written by a 10-year-old for other 10-year-olds
- Published on a free blogging platform
- Written on a Facebook Wall
- Expressed in 140 characters on Twitter
I’ve talked about great content before and I think I’ve even written a few posts that break it down into its basic components, but in the end, your definition of great content will always differ from mine because we are all unique individuals.
Why is ‘Great Content Markets Itself’ a Myth?
In all the cases above I thought I was reading great content. In most cases, I even shared this content because I though it was so great. Yet, none of these blogs has ever seen any measurable traffic and probably never will. Why? Because, because these bloggers never made an attempt to market their content.
To prove my point even further, take a look at some of your favorite A-list bloggers. Go way back in their archives, back to when they first started blogging, and take a look at their content. In the beginning their content didn’t even come close to greatness. In fact, were they to publish some of that content today they’d probably lose readers.
Yet these bloggers achieved A-list status, not on the strength of their content, but on the strength of their ability to market their blogs. They understood that there are plenty of people out there who will think your content is great, no matter how well it’s written or presented, but if they don’t know about your content, they’re not going to read it. And the only way to let them know about it is to get out there and do some marketing.
There are just too many blogs on the Internet these days, and too many other distractions. It’s ridiculous to assume that “If you build it they will come” because there are so many trees in this forest. Your content will only market itself after readers have already found your blog. Until then, you’re going to have to do the marketing yourself.