People are always on the lookout for the next big thing in marketing. Everyone is guilty to some extent. We had all reshared that dress nobody could decide the color or some celebrity doing an ice bucket challenge when we were content starved or short on time. I have done it, you have done it. Its one of those dirty little secrets of quality digital marketers.
Or even still, there are others out there who do even worse. Some people will intentionally try to manipulate algorithms in social media like when people started turning still images into a video. Others are continually trying to optimize their SEO content by paying for backlinks or keyword stuffing their articles. I remember the wild west when I created my first web page I would add a photo then add 1000 meta tags to it filling the page with keywords because Google was ranking pages based on who mentioned the keyword most. Back then all you had to do was say the word photography one more time than the competition to be ranked number one when people searched photography.
But, times change. Staying ahead of the curve gets harder and harder. Dirty tricks work, but not for long. Now services like Google and Facebook are catching on to these ‘black hat’ techniques and punishing people for using them. So, while your little trick may be getting you more eyeballs today, be careful before you celebrate, an update tomorrow to algorithms can punish you for that trick for the next year or more.
The best solution to a great marketing game, even in the digital era is to do what has always worked:
Create great content that people like and want to share and engage.
Easier said than done, right?
You are probably thinking to yourself right now I sound like one of those people who demand you go viral and all your problems will be solved. Well, in a way, that is what I am saying. Of course, I am not telling you to create the cat playing a keyboard and rocket your way to millions of views, but I am saying if you focus your energy on giving people what they want, things they will enjoy, you won’t always have winners. You will spend some time creating content that nobody likes or even sees!
These days, not posting at the right time on social media can be as productive as a billboard in a dark alley behind a tree. Other time, the most straightforward offhand post can get you thousands of shares. There are always anomalies and often there is nothing you can do about it.
However, more often, there is something you can do about it. If you create content people want, people will want more. When you see people responding positively to a post or a blog post about bullying, you know people will want to see more information about bullying.
Also remember, there is a difference between helpful content and shameless promotion. If you can not authentically care about your audience and the audience needs, you may be in the wrong business. To succeed in today’s marketing world, you have to give people what they want. The days of telling people what they should do are gone. And while putting in the effort of quality content may be hard, I guarantee you: it is not as hard as getting your page or content banned for not playing by the rules.