Being a relatively new needle in the blogosphere haystack, I often find myself up against a tremendous amount of pressure to publish something appealing to the masses. It seems as though the “best” way to stand out and receive attention/traffic is by creating provocative content, mastering SEO, and flooding social networking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon with propaganda. There are way to many posts IMHO that encourage this behavior. For example, how many times have you run across a post saying something like this: “How I made it to the front page of Digg”, or “10 effective link building techniques”. Attention grabbers? You bet, wouldn’t it be great if we could all just get the attention we deserve? But do we really deserve the attention?
When we put too much emphasis on these tools and strategies, we are not only assuming we deserve the attention of the masses but we are ignoring the power of the individual. The power to choose, the power to engage, and the power to influence others.
By creating and promoting content for the mass phenomena, we’re becoming more and more invisible to our primary readers. The fact of the matter is, not everyone is part of the “masses” category. Seth does an excellent job of explaining this here.
Attention and more importantly, interaction with your audience, isn’t established by making it to the front page of Digg or blending in with the masses. Building a permission based asset and developing a respect among your readers is a much more effective way of establishing a long-term conversation.
I don’t think we can, or should, totally ignore the advantages of using tools like social networks or link building techniques, but unless we have something of value to offer our readers, the traffic/attention goes to waste and the reader is left with an empty and false perception of what we have to offer. I think we need to reevaluate what our primary focus should be as publishers. Is it our goal to entice readers grouped in the “masses” category in order to receive lots of attention? Or should we be concentrated and focused on starting a conversation, with an individual, exchanging value and developing a relationship?
What are your thoughts?