When it Comes to Content, You Are the Rule Not the Exception!By
There is a line from the movie He’s Just Not That Into You (don’t ask, I was forced to watch it against my will, I felt so dirty that I had to watch the Dirty Dozen and 300 afterwards), that goes something like this; “You are the rule, not the exception.”
When it comes to content, unless you already have healthy traffic, if you write it, people won’t come out of thin air. The content you write must be accessible. It must be available through search engines, it must be a part of the community, and it needs to be in areas where it must be found. When it comes to your content, you need to plan as if you are the rule (cause you are) not the exception.
The worst thing you can do is to rely on the fact that if you write it, people will all of a sudden flock to you. So how do you go about getting the word out?
Become a part of your community: This is a lot of work. In fact, it is very time consuming. The good part is it should be fun. If you like what you are doing, becoming part of the community should be a piece of cake. For more information on this I have a quick example at Niche Markets: Not Just About Products and Features that discusses an example of both a real (Laughing Squid) and a fictional web host built around a community. Pretty much the same principles apply to any market or industry so whether you are a web host or not, you should still check it out.
Blow your own horn: This is probably going to put me in Exile Island, never to be heard from again, but please, market yourself. Go on forums and say look at what I wrote (only in far better verbiage then what I have done). Advance your articles, advance your writing, if you don’t want to do it why should anyone else? Some may see this as becoming a part of community, and that’s true, but this is also the next step in that. Now that you are a part of it, do things like answer questions with summations of articles you have written. Say things like, “if you want more details or a step-by-step approach to how this is done then go here.” If you have been working on your content and it’s good, then you owe it to yourself and to those you can potentially help by putting it out there.
RSS Feed or Feeds: Just having an RSS feed won’t cut it though. You need to get that feed into various feed directories. You have to promote your feed. You must offer readers a reason to subscribe. To help you in this venture I have found some good resources on the subject: 35 Guaranteed Ways To Increase Your RSS Subscribers, 10 Effective Ways to Get More Blog Subscribers, and 50 Simple Ways to Gain RSS Subscribers.
Make your site accessible: Now that you have people coming to the site, they need to find what they want. For instance, say you have 30 articles on game design. One of those articles was really popular and is being passed around forums and such and you have received a traffic spike from its success. That same article should also have a way for readers to navigate to like articles, it needs a way to search the site, and maybe you should even have links to other articles embedded in it so as a reader is reading it they can open in tab other similar articles. So instead of one article read by a thousand people, you have several articles read by a thousand people. The difference between the one article and the several articles is the difference between someone who just comes to browse one article and someone who favorites the web site. Some examples of this can be found on the press release pages of the dedicated server host Superb Internet.
Do your SEO homework: This topic alone could take up pages and pages of writing and in fact has a whole industry built around it with various top notch information sites already there. To work the entire subject in a nutshell, optimize your pages and get them ranked on Google (if you try for Google, you will get ranked in the other engines as well so don’t sweat it). You will not get traffic from search engines if your pages are on the 12th page. Chances are high your brand new articles will not hit the first page for new and exciting keywords if search engines don’t know you exist or do not think your site has the proper “authority.”
There are millions of web sites on the Net. Chances are high that yours will not all of a sudden reach #1 on Digg and become a success, without an active audience. Chances are higher that someone is not going to type in a search term, go to your site, and make it an instant celebrity without proper search engine techniques.
Content is king, there is no doubt about it, but if you cannot find that content, it might as well be king of nothing. Therefore it is imperative that you spend as much time on availability as you do on content. Remember, you are the rule not the exception.