The micro-gasps of “awesome content” or “exhaustive summary” that accompany every re-tweet suggest something big is going down. Sold! I click through with a tingle of anticipation.
And then it hits you, hard – the stench of a content piece so rotten you expect every reader’s nose to be thrust back inside a newspaper by the morning.
So why is this lacklustre piece doing the rounds when other things that I’ve written read seem so much better?
Content By Association
It’s simple: the quality of your content is only part of what makes your, only too human audience, pass it on with a slap on the back.
People share content that makes them look good; stuff that proves they’re up with the trends. In fact, they’ll do it (whisper this!) without even looking at it.
Yes, it’s a bit sad, but entirely true. You can make people endorse your content who know almost nothing about it, if they can bask in the association.
Let’s look what goes through the mind of your audience:
Does it sound great in a sentence? The video sounds fantastic but it could be longer than Ben Hur. But a clever 140 characters proves I’m focused squarely on the right stuff.
Is it endorsed by people I respect? I’ve not got time to read this but it comes with the authority of real content gurus. It’s a risk free bandwagon I can join.
Does it look fantastic? I’ve opened the document and it’s got the wow factor. Worth sharing on the production values alone.
Can I share it with a touch of a button? I’m due in a meeting but enjoyed page one. I’ll share it now because it’s easy and I might not get back to it when the real job takes over.
Is the author a name I can trust? This author’s got a great CV and is a veritable LinkedIn and Twitter rock-star. She’s got risk-shattering credentials – all these people can’t be wrong.
Is this a social media savvy company? This company is top of the social media pops and I’d like a piece of the action. Their reputation for social media success alone makes this piece a risk free forward.
Would I like this company’s patronage? This company is in a position of power and I’d like to get to know them better. I’m more likely to get on the inside if they know I love their stuff.
There’s an audience out there that’s ready to tap into your presentation, promotion and profile if you get it right.
But make sure it’s balanced by the best quality content or you’ll soon use up your hard earned goodwill. Let’s not disappoint the people they pass it to.