The internet may be an infinite mass of kilobytes, but we all have a finite amount of time to sort through it. Self-proclaimed social media experts, power promoters and search engine optimizers who prize followers, rankings and page views over the core value of the content they create are contributing to the e-waste that is transforming the web from an info-rich Wonka Land to a Wall-E waste heap filled with spam, keywords and auto-generated friend requests.
Skip the shortcuts.
Whether you want to develop a following, gain a network of trusted cohorts within your industry or promote a business, skipping the shortcuts and putting honest effort forth will always yield more substantial, positive results. Any way you slice it, 10 visitors that stop by every month are better than 100 visitors that never come back. What good are 5,000 Facebook friends or twitter followers if you condition them to ignore your endless stream of over-promotional updates? If you hope to see positive effects for your cause, whatever it may be, cultivate good Karma for it by producing quality content. Here are a few quick tips:
Make it good.
This is almost completely subjective. Though some my favorite sites are silly and completely ridiculous, there is no excuse for a poorly edited, copy & paste 500 word paragraph. Break things up and format your text. Add hyperlinks and pictures. As long as you are mindful of your audience / niche and write things you’d bother reading yourself, you’ll do fine.
Participate in the online dialogue.
Think of the web as a town hall meeting rather than a one way broadcast. Read blogs. Interact with friends on Facebook. Listen to what others have to say rather than expecting people to hang on your every word or tweet. Some of my best e-friends have come about very simply, when either party showed even a hint of interest in what the other was doing.
While developing quality content is important, over-producing or clinically editing can take your voice out of what you’re doing. With the variety of online outlets available, there seems to be an appropriate place for just about anything. Blog your big ideas and tweet about the fish tacos you had for dinner. Honest updates and low-fiber tweets keep things interesting.
Write your own stuff.
Twitter asks “What are you doing?” not “What does your secretary, ghostwriter, or manager say you’re doing?” for a reason. Sure, there are instances where bringing in help is completely necessary to keep content fresh, just be sure you’re not misleading us.
Try and stick to whatever pace you set for yourself whether it is daily, weekly or monthly. The greater online conversation is going to happen whether you’re there for it or not.
Take ‘er easy.
If all you post about is your next speaking engagement or how awesome you are, people are going to lose interest. Don’t try too hard. After all, it’s only the internet. If you find yourself wondering where all the traffic is. Take a second to focus on your cause or craft before buying up a ton of key words and blindly “friending” the entire planet on Facebook.