Web content is becoming a commodity; the old “build it and they will come” strategy never did work and as more content is put online at a faster rate, it becomes less effective by the day.
I often see purist statements in forums and blogs that express the ideology that good content will win out over good marketing, but it simply isn’t true. Like the purists, I believe truly exceptional or remarkable content will spread without extensive marketing, but how many websites, how many articles, how many online businesses are remarkable? The answer is not very many; by definition the majority can only be good, fair, or at worst, below average. How many blogs are out there? How many get read? Do the ones being read have truly exceptional posts or are they just “good at being found” and delivering a specific message to their target audience.
I like to represent businesses in the good range (and potentially exceptional), which is a large percentage of the companies in the world. By definition not everyone can be remarkable unless you go SUPER niche.
With companies in the “good” range, I believe it’s going to be the marketing that makes the difference between their success or failure, not the copy, not the website (although you should start here) it’s the marketing! A good company, like most companies in the world, is faced with tons of other competition that is also good or fair. How do you differentiate? The differentiation comes in how the message is delivered and marketed online.
I know what some of you are saying, what about social media, what about the possibility of cutting through the marketing and getting right to the meat. While social media gives a user controlled experience, it’s still marketed, it’s still gamed; in essence, it’s still completely reliant on how the message is marketed.
For example, you can take 3 articles that contain the same content and put them on Digg or any of the other social media news sites. The article with the most sensational title and the first power user affirmation will make it to the top while the others are buried in obscurity. So what makes the one article better then the other two? That’s right, marketing.
Now the harder question is how to market your website’s content, but that’s a subject for another article.