Yesterday’s post on how Seth approaches blogging drew a big response from y’all. I got comments, emails, even phone calls about the post. Some people agreed with me, others disagreed, but a nice and robust conversation resulted, which is all I could hope for.
Part of the reason why I wanted to write that post was to address a long-held belief in the blogging community that ‘Content is King’, and that if you create good content, blogging fame, numbers and riches will eventually come your way. Just write good stuff, put it out there, and the blogging world is yours.
In my experience, this thinking is total bullshit.
Granted, creating valuable content is critical to your blogging strategy’s success. But creating great content alone is NOT enough. We have too many sources vying for our attention. If you want to get your blog noticed, you have to first create content that I find value in, but second you have to make sure I notice it.
This is the main reason why I say that community is more important than content when it comes to being a successful blogger. Simply writing amazing content isn’t enough for 99% of us. We still need to engage with others in order to not only help that content get noticed, but engaging with others also improves that quality of the content we DO create.
When I first started blogging in 2005, I literally had no idea what I was doing. So I started blogging, just writing posts every day. And honestly, I think some of those posts were my best work.
But the problem was, no one was noticing them. For weeks I wrote every day, and no one visited the blog. No traffic, no comments, nothing. I was beginning to think I wasn’t cut out for blogging.
At this same time, I was reading all the ‘top’ blogs. I wanted to see what the ‘best’ bloggers were doing, in the hope that I could learn from their success, and apply it to my own efforts. I didn’t really crack the blogging code, but along the way, I found a lot of interesting blogs, and began to comment on them every day.
So I kept blogging along, every day, creating (what I thought were) great blog posts, that got zero response. Then suddenly after a few weeks, I started getting comments. First a couple, then after a few days, every new post I would write would get comments! At the same time, traffic went up, and incoming links started pouring in! I loved the fact that I was suddenly getting comments and traffic, but had no idea where they were coming from.
Then one day a reader left a comment on a post and mentioned that they were commenting on my blog because they found my comment on their blog. I went back and checked, and almost all of the comments I was getting, as well as the links, were coming from bloggers and blogs that I had visited first, and commented on.
I learned a very valuable blogging lesson that day: All the great content in the world is meaningless if no one sees it.
By reading and participating on other blogs, I was giving those bloggers and their readers an incentive to come check out my content on my blog. And in doing so, I was getting comments on my content, as well as links.
And if you still want to say that you believe that Content IS King, that’s fine. Because while Content may be King, Community is the Queen and SHE runs the castle 😉
Craig Kilgore says
Mack — I have been blogging about social media + community building over the past couple of weeks more so than other topics because I agree 100% that having a community is key. I wouldn’t say that it is King or Queen, just key. However, as a fellow blogger, content still is and always will be King in my opinion (with context making a run for the throne). No doubt, having a community is important but you gain that audience through your content, your outreach, networking, etc.
On top of that, there are so many established, relevant communities nowadays that bloggers and content marketers can utilize (Reddit for example). Put GREAT content in front of that already existent community and you are well on your way to populating your community directly due to great content. I know this is just one tactic and there is much more involved in community building but great content is great content, regardless of your community.
With all of that being said, great post and I am with you on the importance of having a community backing your content, I just wouldn’t discredit content and its kingdom!
Mack Collier says
Craig I agree, you absolutely cannot discredit the value of good content. My point was that community not only helps that content get discovered, for me it also improves the quality of the content. They both work together to grow each other.
Craig Kilgore says
Can’t disagree with that at all! We both agree that there is an absolute need to develop and possess that community which many bloggers/marketers do not devote enough time to IMO. My last couple of blog posts, more geared around social media + community building stress the fact that building and engaging with your audience is far more important than self promotion so I’m with you there!
Craig Kilgore says
P.S. — I like that “What are you doing?” up in your header. Clever.
Karl Staib says
Too often people don’t think about their marketing before they create something. That’s the genius of great bloggers. They know right away who their blog post is meant to excite. They create a strategy around pillar based content and drive traffic to their blog through optimized posts, relationships and great content.
Can you give us insight into your marketing for a big blog posts that you want a lot of people to read?
Murray Lunn says
This has ALWAYS been the biggest trouble with blogging.
It’s not just a simple: create content and they will come.
The reality is that if you’re not networking and getting IN FRONT of the people that will read your content than no one will.
Marketing is equally, if not more, important than the content. It would probably be best to create just a few, great pieces and do your best to get people to read those vs. creating low-quality posts over and over again in hopes of snagging some search traffic.
I’ve seen way greater return on my time, when blogging, by reaching out to other bloggers than staying behind the blog and hoping for the best.
Jim Ducharme says
Content is king, but community drives the web and witout it, all we have is one big strip-mall with infinite parking.
Judy Bott says
PR people have always known that to be successful you have to create and present relevant content that is targeted at your audiences, or community. And building and nurturing our communities, is the most important thing you can to to ensure you will have listeners, or customers. A well-rounded marketing strategy, with many avenues, gets my vote every time.
Melissa Lande says
Mack- Agree with your points entirely. Often I write my best stuff and do not put it out there until the timing and community alignment are correct. Not everything should go out there- just for the sake of being out there.
The initial lesson most of us heard was to keep generating content. Remarkable, unbelievable, ecstatic, drop-dead, ah-ha moment content. God, I’m exhausted just talking about it, let alone doing it.
But content for the sake of content- eh. No kings, no queens. Your message is well taken– If content is king and community is queen, put them together, close the door and see what develops.
When you think about it- there’s a whole lot of extraordinary content out there already in great books- speeches – etc. I say go back to the trenches and comment on THAT as well because it means you’re learning, sharing and growing simultaneously. And you can stay true to your vision and save time.
As far as community- it’s people like you who have really paved the way. It didn’t just happen. Just commenting on other people’s content takes a lot of time — and nurturing relationships is the only way. Getting to the point where that happens (again) means the content has to align with the community at the right moment. THAT is the ah-ha moment. It becomes harder as more folks do more of it — wouldn’t you think?
Kudos to all of you guys who have nailed that – and keep nailing it.
Davina K. Brewer says
Bet I know what the ‘****’ means. ITA I know this, I’ve experienced it w/ my own blog that I want/need to get noticed more. Said it be before: if a blogger blogs the bestest blog in the woods but there’s no one there to hear/see/read it… FWIW.
Mary Hyneman says
Kidding, great advice and will start commenting more often on my favorite blogs..ahem, like yours!
Susie Erjavec Parker (@susie_parker) says
Coming from a traditional PR background I get how important content and publicity have to work together. I’m sure there is tons of great content out there but no one knows because the writers don’t participate in the community of bloggers. They blog in a silo. Fatal mistake if your goal is get your content read and shared. Thanks for a great post, Mack! 🙂
I get your point, and I totally agree … but I don’t think that’s what most people mean when they say “content is king.”
Mack Collier says
Eleanor thanks for commenting! I think when most people say ‘Content is King’, they mean that content it the most important aspect of publishing. This lends itself to the ‘if you build it, they will come’ mentality.
From my experience, community and connecting with others is more important than great content for two reasons:
1 – Interacting with others IMPROVES the quality of my content.
2 – Interacting with others IMPROVES the chance that my content WILL BE SEEN.
If I put more focus on great content over connecting with others, my efforts wouldn’t be as successful. Case in point, if I hadn’t mentioned this post on Twitter, would you have seen it? Maybe, maybe not, but I know that most of the comments on this post have come within minutes of my sharing it on Twitter.
I’m not discounting the importance of great content AT ALL, it’s vitally important. But for me, great content takes a backseat to a great community.
Hazel Jarrett says
Yay, I’ve just had that ‘ah-ha moment’, thanks Mack!
Kate Robins says
Content, frequency, reciprocation, relevance and all of the above. Put differently, saying something when you really have something to say and not blogging for the sake of blogging. No matter how great a writer you are and how much I may love you, there are only so many minutes for unrequired reading in the day. Bloggers really have to manage their own expectations with their readers’ time budgets. Clog up my in box with unnecessary rss pulses and I’m unsubscribed. PR 101, Q 1: So what, who cares?
I get very low traffic… I spend 0 time commenting, sourcing, advertising, commenting, etc. Traffic isnt a giant deal to me, its more creating and commiting to doing something but man it sure would be nice to have more than 14 readers.
this articl/post was good. Its maybe one of the missing links. Good content is important but if you dont engage with you audience, who is already online elsewhere, how in the heck are they going to find you? Google? ( google comic, or webcomic) I think not.
SEO in Orlando says
Of course, creating great contents alone is not enough, you need at least some keyword targeting to rank better. Eventually, your content will go viral if it’s really worthy to share. So, I will still say content is the king ;).
Vivek Bhatt says
i am just new into blogging and thank God i found this post since till yesterday i had decided to focus only on big informative posts with lots and lots of information. Will focus on both the King and the Queen! But how to know who loves me more?
Vivek Bhatt says
i have one more query to ask. Please provide inputs. If i change the domain name of blog to some other domain name that i will purchase..will all the SEO efforts go down the drain? The new domain will be treated like new ? Even though the blog is old one?