Promotion Is Secondary To Content

There’s a huge buzz out there about promoting your website or blog on the social web, building massive lists of friends in social networks, using Twitter/FriendFeed, and leveraging all the viral channels to push your site on the world.

That’s all well and good, but I think it’s worth taking a moment to reiterate something easily forgotten in all the excitement of social media: promotion needs to be secondary to where you spend a majority of your time – focusing on content. And the beautiful part about this is once your content clicks and starts spreading, your site will spread 100% on its own, organically. Your readers will submit their favorite posts to StumbleUpon and Digg, your RSS subscribers will grow at steady rates, and you’ll have comments by new users daily.

There are too many spam sites and sites that are pure clones of what you’re doing for your stuff to ever stand out…unless your content is absolutely fantastic, unique and useful. What spreads successfully through social media and viral channels is the creative and altogether special content. Anything bland falls flat.

I’ve previously written on how subscribers and heavy users are your vital visitors. You will only attract those ultra-important loyal fans with consistent refined, well-thought out content.

I know it’s easy (and fun) to spend hours lost in social media, but that time is far better spent working on your own site to make it something special enough to spread through that space. Things that spread easily online spread really easily. Things that are hard to spread are probably unspreadable (unless you buy enough ads, but even still it is cost-prohibitive to reach people in this manner).

The most memorable and spread-able sites (think sites like TechCrunch and Mashable) are so wildly popular and gain so many new users daily because the site owners are borderline obsessive (in a good way) about their sites having the absolute best content. It’s obvious when you read their sites that the people running them have passion and truly care about what they are doing.

So the next time you design a site, make a blog post, or create an online promotion – consider not how you’ll promote it or how many millions of eyeballs you think it might attract, but before anything else consider the content. In a world oversaturated with information, this is the most important element for long term, sustainable success. Be unique, get creative, and take a chance…you’d be surprised how often that is rewarded on the web vs. playing it safe.