Rising Above the Noise Level of the Web
Now that everybody has to create “great content” to please Google and its share holders the noise level of the Web is overwhelming. Everybody is forced to publish
and of course more. So there is a huge amount of noise out there. How can we overcome it? How can we rise above the noise level?
Do we need to became robots like Daft Punk?
The sad thing about the noise is that in another context, just few years ago it would have been signal. By now authors are repeating themselves and parroting others. Headline formulas, recurring lists, the same memes (“SEO is dead” anyone?) are hitting the Web over and over until the last piece of originality is lost.
Some bloggers attempt to deal with that noise level by aggressively promoting their work, sending it to all their connections on Google+ for example.
I’ve stopped looking up those altogether. Especially as it’s always the same people sending me their content that way while rarely showing up on my profile. Others try to overwhelm with long-form content and ultimate guides. That may be a legit way but how many essays can you read per day on your PC, tablet or mobile? How many ultimate guides on any given topic can there be?
No, neither blatant self promotion nor excessive content size will really help the majority of writers out there.
The trick is actually writing less but better I have recently found out. Back in the days you needed to publish constantly to make your audience form and remember you. Now you need to excel each time to become a memorable and a sought-after source of updates. What does this mean in particular?
The latest trend of “the bigger the content the better” is pretty short-sighted. It works for the first few but then it starts to get annoying as you simply can’t cope with all those large pieces to digest. The secret to maintaining a high quality while not losing the attention of your readers is depth.
Depth also implies the right choices. A list of 100 SEO tools might be huge but the reader is left alone to decide which one of those really matter. Again, that’s overwhelming. A list of five high quality free tools that haven’t been around for long and people might have overlooked until now is better.
Curation is not about an even bigger onslaught of information, it’s about picking the few gems worth looking at.
Depth can also mean succinct articles that update old lines of thought. Why repeat everything each time going back to the basics when you can link to them and only refer to what’s new or changed? Digging deeper is best for intermediate and advanced users but can also help readers new to a subject by pointing them in the right direction.
Involvement is not the same as engagement but similar. When you engage your audience you obviously already have one. Who to engage when you haven’t an audience yet? You can engage in the conversation that is going on all over the place but that’s very generic advice without actionable steps. Involvement is the key to engage a future audience you try to get.
Your audience should be comprised of some peers of yours, those who are at the same level of expertise as you.
These like-minded individuals will help you share and review your work. They will comment when they agree, when you make a mistake or when they have something to add. How do you motivate them to share your articles? Involve them on post level. Simply feature them in your article. They will gladly show others how you appreciate them.
On social media it often might appear that these few people are your whole audience as the others are invisible until you actually deep dive in to your analytics data.
There you will find the silent users. These are even more important. These visitors are the ones to buy your products or services. They are below your level of expertise and exactly because of that they are following you, either to learn how to do it themselves or to buy it from you. You can’t reach them directly though at first. You get their attention by involving your peers.
Your peers are doing their own thing, publishing, selling stuff or consulting and trying to get clients too. Still, you can’t view them only as competition.
You can’t always write about things only you know, there are very few. Breaking news is the exception, not the rule for most of us. So how to achieve uniqueness? You have to provide a unique perspective on things. You need to find a unique angle to a popular story.
Remember that every person is different based on their
- cultural background
- social status
- geographical whereabouts
- personal experiences
- even religious or sexual identity.
Don’t be afraid to write a Post on “What Marketers Can Learn from Gay Pride”.
In the US most employees are forbidden to talk about politics, religion or sexuality while at work. In case you aren’t use your freedom to excel by being open minded.
There are two kinds of timing when writing and publishing on the Web. The timely response to a burning issue and the time and date you publish and share your article or content piece online. Make sure to react when a hot topic is still steaming. Don’t wait until your thorough analysis is ready when everybody else is talking about it right now. Add your unique angle (see above) and publish right away.
It’s pretty useless to post articles on SEO on Friday on during the weekend, nobody will see them as search engine optimization is considered work so people don’t read about in on the weekends.
Publishing about sports or entertainment is no problem on the weekend it might be even better than during the workweek.
Last but not least you want to make sure that everybody is awake when you publish something. For an English speaking audience that will be in the evening UK time and during midday and in the morning US time depending where your readers are at.
Are you a lucky person? What a question! There are theories that positive people have more luck than pessimists. Aside of that luck is with the industrious. Try, try and try again and one day you will be lucky. This is simple math.
Don’t assume that blogging doesn’t work for you just because the worlds has overlooked your posts until now. Apply the advice noted above and try again until it works.
One of my most popular articles this year with more than a hundred of shares was a quick and dirty post that helped me to deal with the sadness of a failing project. I posted it shortly after Christmas when everybody is still on vacation. It’s not always perfect planning and implementation that make you succeed.
* Creative Commons images by Harrison Krix.