I recently heard a statement that made me cringe: “Great content without community and outreach equals failure”. This is some of the worst advice I have heard, akin to “go play in the street”. Anyone that tells you this has definitely never experienced the power of a website that is dominating in search.
Will creating great content lead to failure?
NO!!! Ok, so, here is an example:
You get rear ended by a drunk driver. Your arm gets amputated. The first thing you go looking for is a personal injury attorney. You pick up your phone and google it. Google returns some results. One of them reads “Personal Injury – Amputation and Compensation in Your City, ST”. You click through to their website. Their website works on mobile and comprehensively explains how the process works, how medical bills are covered, and shows previous cases with the amounts awarded, etc. You see some past settlements amounts and while it won’t bring your arm back you decide that this expert who specializes in this niche can at least help ease some of the medical bills and pain and suffering and most likely obtain a couple million dollars. You make the phone call and schedule a free consultation.
For professionals, the vast majority of the time, ranking in search and having great content that educates or informs is what is going to land them their next client. Ranking in search is about 90% of the battle and their SEO strategy. Ranking in search is done by a variety of factors, and a huge one is by having great content. Of course, there can be benefits to this, but ranking in search is priority #1. I have personal injury attorneys as clients and as long as the phone is ringing and someone injured is on the other end of the line they are going to stay in business. In fact, they’re not going to just survive, they’re going to thrive.
Do they need a “community” for this? No. Not unless that community is going to get onto a bus and drive all over Los Angeles until a tractor trailer hits them. This is the kind of garbage that social media gurus would want you to believe. Sure, “social signals” and links from social media websites are good to have, and they may even influence search more in the future. If you have the budget for it, there is a small chance you may eventually get a referral out of it. People who reshare your posts amplify your message, yes, but the last time I checked Facebook NONE of my friends were sharing anything related to amputations, broken transmissions, a great article about braces, etc. They might plug the local donut shop BOGO deal on occasion or tell everyone how much they dislike the oil company but that is about it.
It’s Lonely at the top
What most social media gurus fail to understand is business. Having been in business for over 15 years now, I understand that I have seen a world most people will never understand and that I have so much more to learn. I have seen people die in their own storefronts from stress induced heart attacks. I have seen people have panic attacks. I have personally been sued for no reason, been robbed, had my identity stolen, etc. Social media gurus think that all the real estate agents should sit around and talk to eachother online. First of all, time is money. Spending time online is not a priority for most professionals. I’ve never in my life seen a plastic surgeon online chatting away, have you? Also, it’s not like real estate agents are going to blast your content all over the web if you are more successful than they are. In fact just the opposite is usually going to happen. They’re going to take a jab at you every chance they get and tell potential clients why they can serve your needs better than so and so can.
Every niche is different
Of course, each niche is different. And sure, if you sell donuts, a loyal community of people who love your product can indeed help amplify your great content. Those donut eaters may even go nuts if you start selling éclairs, coffee, or those awesome half moon cookies.
So yes, every niche is different, but if someone tells you that creating great content will lead to failure, run!