I consider Jon Morrow to be one of the truly original thinkers on writing and social media. His posts are legendary. He has started many people on their journey to building a huge following on social media with his courses and advice on guest posting.
So, naturally, I was fascinated to read his post last week entitled Why Educating Readers Is No Longer Enough (and How to Really Build an Audience in 2014).
Great Content Isn’t Enough
Content is King! That’s what all the experts say, but they may be wrong. Jon asks a question that I’ve often asked myself: “How do you define great content?” Even he admits he doesn’t know what great content is. This, coming from someone who, in my view, writes some of the best content I’ve ever read about writing and social media.
He believes the educational post is dead. That’s because there are hordes of companies and individuals writing informational posts, list posts, and how-to posts so that it’s almost impossible to come up with something original that isn’t copied almost immediately.
When that happens you sink back into the crowd. Your educational posts will no longer build audiences, he says.
You can hop over to his blog post for more details, but here is a summary of his advice on how to stand out and build your audience. Read on and you’ll also see the comment I left him:
- Drama. Not only make your audience understand your information, but help them feel it with music, videos, and story telling that touches their emotions.
- Unique data. This can includes surveys, and crunching numbers from a bunch of data and analyzing it in a unique way.
- Depth. Pick a topic and write an enormous guide or infographic. Create a video course and give it away for free.
- Design. Hire a designer to create a snazzy design and enliven your website with screen cast videos, PowerPoint presentations, etc.
All sounds great, doesn’t it?
What About Us Mere Mortals?
I’m no Jon Morrow and most people I know aren’t in his league and that is meant as no offense to anyone. I was the second commenter and this is what I wrote:
Jon — you are such an original thinker, always ahead of the pack. And that’s an issue for the rest of us mortals. Even if most people put in the time they lack the creativity or the new ideas no one has thought of. Let’s back up and ask: why am I creating content? As you well know, very few people make money online. You need to build a huge audience and even your guest posting advice is not getting the results it used to what with Google’s new algorithms and the flood of poorly-written guest posts.
It’s time to stop thinking of social media and the web as the golden ring. Social media is but one funnel. Let’s rethink our strategy for making money. Maybe the old-fashioned methods of networking, advertising, creating events prospects will attend and knocking on doors are no longer retro but the “new” best strategies for achieving our goals.
I’ve written about this before, that social media is one funnel and not the whole story. People like Jon and other experts have assistants who can assemble all those numbers, and create all those videos, and come up with unique ideas.
But mere mortals like me rarely come up with that “Big Idea” that no one has thought of before. Here is my question again that you could ask yourself: “Why am I creating content?”
If you are writing content because you want to sell products from your website do you have the huge audience you need to make money? How will you attract that audience?
Are you writing content to build your authority and for what purpose? Are you writing content to demonstrate your writing skills?
These are not easy questions to answer. As much as I respect Jon Morrow – and I do – he makes it sound so easy to come up with these ideas, although even he says it can’t happen without working your tail off. That’s a given.
Why are you writing content? How do you find ideas for great content? Please share your ideas with us. I could use help.