It just occurred to me that I seem to be spending much more time networking lately (I blame Wendy for finally convincing me to join MyBlogLog!) than I do creating content for FreshBlogger. I’m managing to write a post just about every day, but I don’t feel like I’ve written a really useful, in-depth article in a while.
Much of my time lately has also been taken up with updating the look here on FreshBlogger. The time I’ve spent on this and networking with other bloggers was, of course, productive and useful, but what exactly is the best way to divide your time? Should content creation really take up the most time?
I think this is a legitimate question to ask because we can create all the great content we want, but if there’s no one visiting and reading it, what’s the point? Sure, we may be blogging just for ourselves and, if so, we might not care at all if anyone else ever finds it. Why not just keep a journal in a notebook in our nightstand then? Most people are blogging because they want to share what they’re thinking with others.
Some may want to have a private blog that they share with only a few close friends. Again, I think this is probably a very small group of bloggers. Most of us would give our eye teeth to be getting a thousand uniques a day. In order to get to that level of traffic, though, lots of time needs to be spent on both content creation and networking.
It may seem controversial to say this, but content isn’t always the most important thing in becoming a successful blogger. I would maintain that the number of eyes that see that content is more important to your long term success. A certain baseline standard or at least some kind of base appeal has to be there, of course, but it’s the numbers that will in the end make the most difference.
Does anyone remember the struggle between the Beta and VHS standards for the video cassette market? The Beta standard developed by Sony was clearly better than VHS. It was a smaller physical format that also provided a better quality picture than it’s competing standard. In the end, though, VHS won out due to superior marketing. This superior marketing did nothing more than put VHS cassette recorders into more hands than Sony did with Beta.
The example comes from a completely different industry in a much different time than now, but I think it aptly fits the way the world of human interaction tends to work. Another example would be the hugely popular novels written by Anne Rice. I tried reading one once and couldn’t get past 50 pages because I found it to be the worst crap. It was full of flowery language and pointless descriptions and smug, cardboard cutout characters. I imaged every one of them with a sexy, in-on-the-joke, smirk.
Total crap, but it sold and continues to sell extremely well. Why did/does it sell so well? It’s the marketing, stupid (I can’t believe I wrote that, but I think I’ll keep it…). Simply put, this stuff was put in front of enough people’s faces that it couldn’t help but take off. Yes, the author was providing people with something they wanted, but at the same time I’m sure there were other writers who had written novels of much higher quality that never sold. Again, the difference was in the marketing.
How about another more apropos example? Take all the celebrity sites on the internet. I won’t bother linking to any of them, but these sites often post pictures of certain young ladies who habitually forget to put on their underwear. They include sarcastic commentary about the starlets misfortunes and latest stints in rehab. It’s hard to argue that the content is of high quality, yet these sites are extremely popular.
They have an already highly-developed market for their content, however. The celebrities’ names are already out there and well known. A great number of people know who they are and are at least passingly familiar with their lives and current activities through other media such as television and radio. The bloggers and webmasters who provide content based on these celebrities are tapping into a market that’s already booming.
All of these examples are meant to underscore the fact that marketing your content, putting yourself and your work in front of other people’s eyes, is extremely important. If you want your blog to be popular, you’ll have to work hard to get it out there so others will see it. Yes, your content is what will keep them coming back and also telling others about it. Always make time for writing articles that are articulate and insightful. Just don’t forget to spend a significant amount of time letting others know about it.