A friend sent me a direct message on Twitter the other day asking if I’d perhaps share a link to one of his co-worker’s latest blog posts. Most people who know me know I’m happy to share good content, if it’s good content. So I take a look and if I like it, I share it.
I seldom think that they’re taking advantage of me. While yes, I do have a fair number of followers on Twitter. I also have a reputation of sharing good content. It is, after all my Twitter strategy. So asking me to share a link is a nice way of saying, “Please pimp my stuff and drive traffic to my site!” But I’m certainly capable of weeding out the beggars and leeches from the friends asking for a little boost for their already good content, so I don’t fret about it.
When I responded and said I’d be happy to share the link, my friend offered to help share links to my content in return. I didn’t think much about it at first, but then the notion kinda struck me: I don’t ask people to share my content.
Granted, when I was a new to the social media scene in 2007 (almost 10 years after I started blogging personally), I experimented with Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and the various submission sites. I joined a couple of voting circles and cross promoted and pimped with other good content providers (none of them were bad … I had some ethics). And, yes, I tried asking a few folks to pimp my wares from time to time. But those experiments were short-lived and, for the most part, I’ve never promoted my own content the way lots of others do.
The tried-and-true social media marketer would criticize me for not optimizing my traffic. The SEO types would shake their heads at me, disappointed that I didn’t take better advantage of the opportunity to game the algorithm a bit.
But I haven’t had to.
Until late last year, I didn’t even have a good URL structure at Social Media Explorer. I’ve never tried to win search. Sure, I copy write for SEO a bit, but the content here has always been optimized for people, not spiders.
I’ve also never tried to manufacture traffic. Yes, I Tweet links to my own content amidst my shares of other people’s, but beyond that, I typically produce the content and let it stand on its own.
While the conclusion I’m going to draw here may sound a bit pat-me-on-the-back-ish, it’s not intended that way. What I hope my history of blogging can teach you is that you don’t always need SEO and you don’t always need to be a link whore. But the only way you can avoid using those tactics to build your blog is to do one thing:
Write really compelling content.
Okay, even I have to come down from that cloud a moment. Not everything I write is compelling. But me and the other authors here at SME over the years have focused on questioning the status quo and pushing people’s thinking. We are consistent in serving up interesting topics that sometimes serve our own purposes, yet always seem to intrigue or engage you.
We work hard to make sure our content is strong. And then, we let you do the rest. Because if the content is good enough, you’ll be happy to do it.
With everything, there is a balance. If you don’t want to spend so much money on pay-per-click, then focus on winning some organic search. If you don’t want to spend so much time on analytics and reporting, better define your goals so the reports become streamlined with what you’re trying to accomplish. Similarly, if you don’t want to spend so much time promoting and optimizing your content for search, get better at writing really good content.
No, it’s not easy. But the alternative is a far less efficient system.
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