Suppose you’re a writer who receives a visit from your fairy god-muse. Your fairy god-muse gives you a choice. Would you rather have:
(A) A fantastic cover, everything else just okay.
(B) A killer blurb, everything else just okay.
(C) 100 amazing reviews, everything else just okay.
(D) Incredible content, everything else just okay, and you have to start out with three horrible, gut-wrenching reviews.
I pick option (D). Nobody wants bad reviews, but content is king. If the content truly is incredible, I know all I need to do is get the book into the hands of the target audience and content will take care of everything else. Eventually, sales and good reviews will come.
The other options may do better short-term, but it won’t be lasting success. Option (D) will lead to long-term success and will help to sell other similar books.
There is only one thing that determines the value of a product to a customer: Content.
Amazing covers tend to attract readers, but they will be disappointed if the content doesn’t live up to their expectations. A killer blurb might help close the deal; good reviews may make you feel better; but if the content doesn’t please the reader, this improves the chances of receiving critical reviews and losing out on valuable word-of-mouth sales.
Suppose you see a new candy bar in the store with an eye-popping wrapper that totally appeals to you. So irresistible! You just have to try it.
Sure, those other candy bars aren’t selling this week because everybody is trying the new one.
But if that new candy bar isn’t better than the others, once this craze ends, everyone will go back to what they prefer.
Packaging can help you reach your target audience.
But only content can establish value.
Customers want quality content.
Pop quiz! Would you rather:
(A) Have pretty good sales right off the bat, then drop off and scarcely sell again.
(B) Have sales start out very slowly, but steadily grow and continue to sell for decades.
I’m going with (B) here as it has much more potential.
Not only will (B) bring lasting success, but:
- The continued success of this product will help you sell all your other products.
- The content must be better in (B), which will help garner valuable recommendations.
- It may help your taxes not to make all your wealth in the same year, but to spread it over decades.
- You feel better about producing a product that achieves long-term success.
Did you get caught up in the social media frenzy?
Are you keeping up with the latest changes in search engine optimization (SEO)?
Do you invest much time trying to stimulate reviews?
Maybe your time would be better spent creating valuable content:
- Once you have several quality products on the market, each product will help sell the others.
- As customers try your products out, word will spread and your brand will be associated with quality.
- Exceptional content, especially at a good value, is more likely to earn recommendations and reviews naturally.
Content-focused marketing can start out very slowly, but it has amazing potential. It may be worth the wait. It can outlast the current trends.
With quality and value, you just need to get your products into the hands of your target audience and good things will happen much on their own.
Packaging is important, as it helps you attract your target audience.
Marketing is important, as it helps to get your target audience to try your products out.
But content reigns supreme.
Search Engines, Too
A website rich in content geared toward the target audience is a content-oriented way to market your products.
The idea is for the content to attract your target audience. This is successful when much of your website traffic comes from search engines, and when the searches are a good fit for the products you offer.
It can take months for this to show results, but can be a highly effective marketing tool because it’s based on content.
Why are the SEO trends constantly changing? Because the purpose of search engines is to provide the most relevant content to the customer, while businesses with mediocre or lousy content are trying to abuse the search criteria to get their results to show up higher in the results. The search engine companies are wise to this game, and therefore update their criteria in an effort to minimize the abuse (or, in some cases, punish it by driving those sites way down in the search results).
The client using the search engine wants to find valuable, highly relevant content.
The search engines want their clients to be happy, otherwise they will quickly run out of clients. The search engines do want to make $$$ from advertising, too, but they won’t be around long if people aren’t satisfied with the service.
Entrepreneurs (including authorpreneurs) want their websites to show up higher in search results.
If mediocre and irrelevant websites show up high in search results, this is bad for the client and the search engine. So the search engine will make some changes to try to fix this.
Everything is geared toward content. Quality content relevant to the target audience makes the client and the search engine happy.
It used to be all about keywords and categories. Now it’s more about finding keywords in the content. But consider this:
Garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage KEYWORD garbage garbage garbage.
Search engines aim to filter out the garbage and find quality, relevant content. They continue to make great strides to improve this.
Content is king. If the content truly is valuable and relevant, it will thrive in the long run.
Garbage won’t survive. It might try to find the right way to sprinkle signs of content among the garbage to look like quality, but it won’t last.
Don’t worry about garbage. It will eventually take care of itself. Focus on quality content and relevance for your target audience, whether you’re developing a website, writing a series of books, or creating products or services.
I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:
Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers