04 Jan Content Creation vs. Content Consumption: Separating the Men from the Boys
Lazy people watch TV. Productive people read. Successful people write.
When it comes to the web, there is really only one way to win, especially on a shoestring budget. The problem is that it requires a heckuva lot of work, time and mental exertion. It’s not for everyone. That’s why not everyone makes successful online businesses. It can take years of writing, tweaking, linking, emailing, cajoling and otherwise begging to get regular visitors to your website. It’s a very labor-intensive process and hitting the tipping point generally does not come until you’ve thousands of pages of indexed with relevant and engaging content. There is no such thing as a get-rich-quick schemes here.
I’ll give the growth freaks like Facebook et. al credit where credit is due, but most sites can’t make it out of the weeds, dying on the vine because they failed to following the cardinal rule of getting noticed without massive pay-per-click budgets and internal and external PPC management. Here are a few pointers to ease the burden that invariably rests on your shoulders.
User Generated Content Always Wins
Take a look at some of the most successful sites on the web. Why do people keep coming back, reading following and engaging? What is one way in which Amazon and Facebook win while yourmomma.blogspot.com trying to promote some etsy item fails to grab the attention of anyone?
User-generated content. Every product review, Facebook rant and “Pin” of some crazy craft done by a homemaker was not created by you or your small team. It was created by someone else. It just so happens that you profit from it. Have you ever thought that Google is using the title and links to your posts and pages (not created by them I might add, but by you) to sell ads next to it. It’s the same concept. Whether you’re a search engine or a social channel, user generated content fuels the revenue beasts of almost all the digital world.
Here are a few ideas on how to successfully solicit user generated content.
- Create and Invite. You must begin from somewhere. TheOatmeal didn’t become a success without first creating enticing stuff. Then they initially did a lot of inviting, emailing, tweeting an begging. One great aspect of the Oatmeal is the quizzes…
- Give people a reason to interact. TheOatmeal does quizzes like “How many Justin Beibers could you take in a fight.” DearBlankPleaseBlank allows for user-generated submisisons of brief notes. The content itself is engaging, witty and funny–bringing more people back to further contribute.
- Build a portal, forum or social network for a market niche. Be careful not to step on the toes of an existing market unless you feel you can do things different enough and better than existing options, because you will feel the wrath of the entrenched status-quo.
- Once you build the portal, it still takes work. Legal review site AVVO hired on 15 callers to solicit lawyers to visit the site and personally build their own profiles. Sometimes the user-generated content comes to you. Sometimes you have to build it before they will come.
- Let people submit and create content for you, but give them something in exchange: a backlink, a tweet, a badge or even a hug. Whatever floats your boat. You scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours.
Getting user-generated content is usually not as easy as we think. I’m sure even Zuckerberg had to send out some emails at the beginning. He certainly didn’t have the people skills to do direct sales:
Discipline and Determination
If your business model doesn’t include any of the aforementioned options, then the final option is to write, write and then write some more. And if you don’t write, you’ll be creating videos and graphics. When you get a budget to do something really interesting, let us know 🙂