The internet is awash with tips and suggestions for SEO, but there aren’t many articles that clear up those pesky rumors and myths of the industries of optimization and blogging. So I’m here to help tear down those lies people hear and tell themselves about building an audience.
1) Making good content before you have an audience is a waste of good content – This is totally untrue. First impressions are all you get online, and if you are “reserving” all your good stuff for when you have a bunch of visitors, you will never get popular.
It is like selling a product before you’ve made the actual product. If you have just a few people coming to your site but they see good content, they will keep coming back as well as spreading the word. If you have a large amount of people visiting because you are advertising widely, but your content is worthless, they’re all going to leave and never look back.
Yeah, it isn’t fun to make great stuff that only a few are reading, but you have to keep an eye on the future. Great content attracts people eventually, as long as you put in the extra work to promote it. Plus, once you have an audience, they can always still find that great content no one was reading a month ago.
2) Great content will bring an audience – I emphasized that quality content will help attract an audience above and that still rings true, but there is other important work to be done before you’ll gain a crowd. You have to “pound the pavement” so to speak. Neglecting to actually promote the content can end up costing you links in the end.
Rae Hoffman at CopyPress has a full list of strategies for promoting great content, but the biggest emphasis is only push your awesome content. Spending energy on mediocre content won’t go anywhere, but if you can back up your promotion with quality content, you will get the launch you need.
3) Having a unique voice isn’t always possible – If you can’t find your specific voice, then you are doing the wrong type of work for you. Your site will never gain traction if you can’t have your own identity. You need a point of difference, or POD.
Finding your own POD can be as simple as combining seemingly seperate interests into your blogging, such as the girl who runs SkinnyTaste. She was just another amateur photographer who also loved making tasty low fat recipes. Both of those areas are flooded with contributors, but by combining the two into a blog with great recipes and enticing high quality pictures of the food, SkinnyTaste became a contender.
4) I’m not a great writer, so I’ll never be a great blogger – If you have found your own voice or POD, being a technically great writer is irrelevant. Many bloggers would have not gotten great grades in school if they turned in work in the style they blog in because they often make grammatical errors. Readers don’t care however, as long as the writer has a unique voice and interesting information.
5) Once I’ve got an audience, the rest will be easy – Rae Hoffman’s article earlier mentions Perez Hilton in this situation, and I can’t imagine a better blogger to express this point. Perez Hilton became a cultural figure for a short period because of his strong opinions and voice. So where is Perez Hilton now? Still blogging, but his television appearances have fizzled out, and you rarely hear his name brought up anymore. This is because Perez’s blogging became less celebrity journalism filtered through Perez’s voice, and more about why being Perez Hilton is wonderful. His focus left the gossip people were craving, and moved to the benign stories of a psuedo-celebrity.
The point of Perez’s story is once you gain popularity, you can’t rest or slack off. People are coming to you for whatever special information or content you are offering, and if you start slipping that audience will be gone faster than you could ever dream of.
Most of these myths are the type that people tell themselves when they are scared of making the leap into blogging, or the lies people give for why their site is floundering. Don’t let them keep you from getting started making a name for yourself, and if you are struggling, consider whether you’ve found your voice or POD or not.