Do People Hate What You Write or Create? How to Know
If you have low views or likes on your blog, videos, or social media, does that mean your content is bad? How about if your have low sales for your books? Classic marketing and sales philosophy would say that the market has spoken! But let’s break down what might be happening before you say your market hates what you create.
True, it’s easy to believe that you’re creating great content and say, “They just don't get it.” That’s creator hubris. I’m not saying you should preserve your ego by just saying that your content is great regardless of response. Rather, it’s time to dig in to figure out what’s happening.
You're Too Early
Is the content you create edgy and ahead of the acceptance curve? Looking at your work’s market acceptance as a bell curve, you’d fall somewhere on the left tail. Not a lot of action and audience there... yet. Maybe eventually, if you can over-deliver for your small core of like-minded followers, your followers will start to draw in their friends and followers.
How long does it take to achieve an acceptable level of critical mass for your leading edge work? That’s a gamble. It could be months or years. Are you willing to keep doing what you’re doing until that happens?
Your Niche is Too Small
Similar to the problem of being on the early cutting edge, your market niche may be extraordinarily small. Though there is the theory of “riches in the niches,” sometimes the niche is too small and it will remain that way forever.
Are you okay with serving a market that may have little or no growth? If you’re not, then don’t expend resources building a content empire for it.
Information overload is real! We can’t possibly or consciously consume even the most minute fraction of content that’s being generated every day. So we’re filtering our content feeds for just a portion of what’s available.
Unfortunately for content creators, including those that we might really like, much of their work will go unnoticed.
Too Much Competition
A related issue to information overload is the fact that the total volume of content continues to grow wildly. When new content is posted on the Internet, the old content doesn’t go away. This means that any piece of content is going to face greater competition than it did even just hours ago.
You could say that your content has to be better than the competition. But what shows up as popular in your niche may be popular for other reasons than quality. Top content providers may have some unique advantages, or may have done advertising, that helped them climb to the top.
Low, Slow Grow
Some content types take a long time to gain traffic. This is particularly the case with podcasts which, at this point in technological development, are difficult for listeners to interact with and are not SEO friendly. The only solid metrics for podcasts are downloads and subscribers. Podcasts are one type of content that could take months or years to develop even a small regular audience.
Recognize the limitations and nuances of each type of content you create.
How Do You Know If You're Fooling Yourself?
So how do you know if you’re fooling yourself in thinking you have great content when you don’t? How do you know if you should keep going with what you’re doing or quit? Here are some ways to start evaluating what’s going on with your content.
Research Internet Search Traffic
Type in your topic or area of interest into the Google search bar. I’d encourage you to be as specific as possible. For example, if you talk about nutrition, you don’t want to just type in “nutrition.” That will return mega-millions of results. Drill down and enter a specific type of nutrition issue. You’ll get better insight. Also know that if there are hundreds of millions of results (or more?), the competition for that topic will be fierce and you’ll struggle.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you only get in the low hundreds of thousands of results, you may be looking at a too small niche. Don’t be lured into thinking that since it’s a small pond, you can be a big fish! You could be a big catch. But if no one is fishing for you, you’ll be swimming around by yourself.
To get even more insight, use a keyword search tool to get search traffic for related terms. Google has a tool for their AdWords advertisers. But there are free keyword search tools, too. One that I’ve been liking a lot lately is Ubersuggest from online marketing expert, Neil Patel. And a lot of the features are free.
Use a keyword search tool that shows top content for various keyword terms. You can look at those blog posts, websites, videos, etc. to see what is popular in your niche.
There is a Goldilocks sweet spot where the interest and traffic is just right. Many years ago, when I was starting to learn more about SEO, that sweet spot was in the hundreds of thousands for search. But the Internet is additive, meaning that it will grow exponentially over time as it becomes the archive of our human history. So I don’t think there is a specific search number to shoot for since that will change as the Internet expands. Compare search result numbers for broader terms versus super narrow, then find something that’s between the two extremes.
This analysis can also help you determine if you’re creating content for a super small or declining niche. If the traffic for the top online content in your niche is very low, you probably have a small niche. If the top content in your topic is years old, and very little new content is showing up anywhere in search, it may be stagnant or even declining.
Watch Your Numbers, But Watch What You Watch
Your audience will often surprise you in terms of the content that gains traffic and engagement. That can help you develop new content that they’ll appreciate. But be careful! Watching only the numbers can be a trap.
For example, I use my Instagram and Twitter accounts for everything, both personal and professional. There are times where a random personal post (dog pictures, a restaurant I’m dining at, etc.) will generate a swell of likes or comments. Does that mean I should only do those types of posts? Absolutely not! Mix in some fun or personal posts to appear human, but don’t mix up your main messaging!
Only watch the metrics for your content that’s relevant for your primary goals.
Watch Your Numbers, But Watch How You Watch Them
There are limitations and nuances to each type of content. As mentioned earlier, podcasts can be a low, slow grind to acceptance. Blog posts still have SEO advantages and may achieve higher traffic numbers faster. Book sales might be counted on one hand in a week or month. Don't expect similar numbers from different content.
Give your online content time to gain traction, too. This is another area where your audience may surprise you. I’ve found that some content I created years ago still gets traffic, or may even have an unexpected bump in traffic, sometimes for completely unidentifiable reasons.
Track all stats over time for the relevant content you create. What you’re looking for are patterns that can help you determine what resonates with your audience.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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© 2019 Heidi Thorne