I have my content writing and marketing career, which I love of course. Of course, everyone has their careers, and they usually have side interests they engage in on their downtime. For some it’s shopping, or reading, or maybe traveling. For me, it’s doing more of what I love. For me, it’s more writing, more research, more social media ‘stuff.’
Years ago I started a pathetically modest, awful looking blog on reforming Islam. I had no idea what I was doing and absolutely no style. Yet I pressed on. Fast forward ten years, it’s developed a life of its own. I suppose I treated the project like a pair of training wheels for my content career. Since new media, social media, and even the whole content lifecycle were just seedling ideas, it makes complete sense to learn as you go along. I feel this is the nature of our world today; there’s so much developing and so rapidly that you can’t wait till it’s all magically sorted out. No, instead you just have to dig in, jump in, and figure it out while it evolves. The way things are going, you can bet that social media marketing won’t ever have a ‘set standard’ of how things are done; we don’t have the comfort of conformity and stability as we did in the last century. The balls rolling and we have to roll along with it.
So this is how I treated my blog and really it’s why I invested so much time in it. How else would I be able to apply tools and teach myself what I needed to learn. There’s no going to school for it and you certainly can’t offer it as a service to anyone let alone write about it unless you’ve lived it. So I lived it. I built a brand, learned about graphic design, blog platforms, all things social media, link building, content marketing, etc. So while other people spent the weekend going out and getting hammered or wasting their money at the mall, I read up and played with social media.
When it came to content, I quickly learned that I just don’t have the time to write fresh content myself. The nature of the blog is so meticulous that research has to be done – time consuming research and I just don’t have the time for it. I also heavily engaged readers on Facebook and came across so many people with challenging points of view, that I started offering guest contributor roles when I came across informed readers. To my surprise, people were humbled at the chance to get something published. You see, for me it was still my little measly blog. For others, it was a powerful brand and a strong publishing platform.
One of my guest contributor pieces, entitled “Israel, the Good Enemy,” was so provocative in both title and content that it generated over 3k hits the first week alone. The last time I checked (last year), it had gotten something like 27k hits. All this without me doing anything more than sharing it on social media and in a newsletter campaign. The viral success came from other people’s social shares. Not only did it generate the highest number of hits, it continues to generate record number of comments (86 to date). Keep in mind that I still treat the blog like a hobby that I invest in during my dwindling spare time. I’m not active on it nor do I post regularly; in fact, I do everything that you shouldn’t do to market content and yet this one golden post still continues to do the work for me. The post and its heralded success taught me a powerful lesson in content marketing. The key to content marketing is writing smashing content. That’s what ensures social media success. Content has to be so powerful, so challenging, that it does the work for you the minute you click share on Facebook.