Since the internet and age of information has begun, it seems that human-kinds ability to crank is moving faster and faster. For people looking to create a platform & capture an audience, for a while (a long while) the rule of the land was that, Content is King.
As long as your content was out there, it was consistently produced, and the quality didn’t waver too much, then you had what you needed to reach who you wanted. But the rules are changing, or already have. “If you build it, They will come” is dead.
The world now consists of content makers ranging from very young, very untrained adolescents to exacting marketers, plotting a social media program with great skill. The online frontier has more than enough, almost too much of the consistent, quality content to pick from. Take outdoor photography as an example… actually that’s too broad, take outdoor lifestyle photography, still too broad, take a niche, like Pacific NW-lifestyle photography, and look at the number of social media accounts, clubs, boutiques, magazines, and collectives, dedicated to one tiny slice of the collective online photography pie.
Content is king, but everyone has a king now.
So then, how do you stand out? How do you get your message out, build your audience, become an influencer in your field?
I don’t think that the Content is King rule has gone away, but I think it is helpful to recognize that you and a hundred other social media accounts, just like your’s are playing at the same game: crank enough content, and maybe you’ll get a bite. It’s certainly a game I’ve been playing for years, and I just don’t think it’s a play that works anymore.
Experts sell us on strategies and ways to make our content stick out, be more efficient, and reach more people; all for the low price of providing your email account. A lot of what they’re selling is fantastic, note-worthy, automate and really can help. But as there is no shortage of resources out there, just like you, everyone else is trying to learn how make their content fantastic, note-worthy, automate as well.
I think there are three key principles you can work into your content that actually will help. Three practical things that will help enrich your story, and make your audience intrigued with your brand.
Do what you love!
It may seem obvious, trite even, but sometimes you have to stop and look at your content, and ask yourself, “Is this really what I am all about? Are these really my passions and principles?” Sometimes we post content thinking about a single person or friend who will see it, sometimes we post only because we think it’ll get a lot of likes. Look at accounts like Devin Super Tramp, Zach King, and Jamie Ivey, they are prime examples of individuals who “stumbled” into success by sticking to what they love. That doesn’t mean they weren’t strategic, but the basis and (more importantly) continued motivation is that they are doing what they love, and would keep doing, whether they had 10 followers or 10,000 followers.
There’s no better way to grow yourself, and your brand, than by working with others. I’m not saying go find someone with 19k followers and ask them to work with you. But find someone who’s work you love, and ask them to partner. Lots of websites and accounts are already set up to share content, just awaiting more collaborators. Authors go on podcasts, designers and photographers create surreal landscapes, and retailers partner with influencers, all to help their respective brands pop and compel audiences. Your work will stand out as you diversify your network of collaborators.
Diversify your online portfolio.
Have you ever found someone online who you became instantly intrigued with, or maybe (if we’re honest) are obsessed with!? (<—my latest) How long does it take us to go from their website, on to their instagram, back over to their youtube account? Yeah, exactly. We comb through their life, because they’re telling a story, with compelling content. If they tell it well enough, we want more, it is completing the story we have of them our minds. Cast your net wide, if you want to just focus on an area, that’s great, but don’t give up on the other places you can attract audiences, you may be surprised where your content succeeds the most.
By diversifying your social media presence, collaborating with others, sticking with what your love, and consistently delivering your quality content, you’ll not only have the content your story, but now you’ll be adding in the movements that will pull in those who are willing to listen.
But seriously, at the end of the day, if what you are asking is “What can I do to get more followers?” I think you’re asking the wrong question. That is the role of a producer to obsess over numbers, but it’s directors (the storytellers) who have the audience’s attention. We all want our message to reach more people, to feel like our content is valid, resonates, even helps others, but that’s secondary to your story or your brand.
Go tell a great story first, and keep telling a great story. No one else will care about your content if you don’t first.