There are still people who believe the “build it and they will come” idea. That all you need is great content.
Unfortunately it is not true.
Look at the examples they provide and you will see what I mean. I challenge anyone to come up with an example of content that required zero promotion.
There are rare examples though where the content is the promotion. Remember word of mouth is promotion, if the content is ripe for buzz in effect you have created an unpaid team of salespeople.
Here’s one example; Hotmail. Hotmail is inherently viral, every time you send an email it promotes the service.
Even the best, most viral, most compelling ideas need to be seeded.
There are only a few types of site that need little actual promotion.
Here is a list:
- Big name brands – I had the good fortune to work with some household names. Even though there were many who resisted even putting the URL in their television advertising the power of the brand name was enough to get a decent level of traffic with the bare minimum of promotion. Being the official site for a brand with the brand in the domain is sufficient to get a ton of type-in traffic.
- A site off a mass-media outlet – It’s obvious that if millions of people consume your television, radio, print media content that a percentage can move online. If you have a TV show then it’s doubtful you will have trouble getting your blog noticed.
- First-mover blogger – Just being a blogger and blogging decently was enough back in the day, especially if you moved in the right social circles. This makes people look at the A-List and get confused with what it takes to get there. The game has changed but many of the names from that era remain.
- Internet Marketer with an existing, huge list – Obviously to get that huge list takes promotion and viral effects but once you have a huge list and can maintain it you have a captive audience.
- Exclusive content – Ultimately someone is going to have to spread the word that you have this exclusive content but once the virus is seeded, depending on how exclusive and compelling the content is, you probably don’t have to work hard to help it spread. The latest Harry Potter plot, for example.
You will notice even all those examples above required some sort of promotion at some point. The big brand didn’t start out as a big brand. Mass-media has a steady stream of products that tank while few succeed. The first bloggers in any niche had to network. Internet Marketers have to create their lists. Exclusive content is no good if nobody knows you have it.
What can we learn from this?
The obvious answer is that you do need to promote, but after that the following tips make it easier:
- Cultivate your brand
- If you have access to an existing audience, use it. It doesn’t have to be your own, guest post, build a Squidoo lens, YouTube video … go where the traffic already is.
- Be the first in your niche
- Build a loyal audience – Build your RSS readership and an email list
- Create unique, exclusive, compelling content
Can you say you are doing all those things? If not, better get working 🙂