If all you want is eyes on your content, that’s easy: Don’t be afraid to mislead people.
Youtube is full of videos with millions of views that never actually show you what was promised in the title and thumbnail. This approach will get you a lot of attention very quickly, but it will burn through trust like sun-dried newspaper. It may even get you branded a “fake news” site by the filters on Facebook.
Of course there are plenty of authentic, honest ways to build attention quickly without getting too skeezy about it, but the point is that keeping your audience is much trickier than winning them over with fast-click hustles. Attracting a group of people who are on-board to get where you’re going, who will read every new blog post, watch every new video, and making sure that they have a good reason to stick around. It’s tougher than winning easy clicks, but fast clicks don’t generate real leads and lifelong customers.
The Long Haul
There’s no magic formula for success in building an audience of people who are in it for the long haul, but when you look at the people who are doing it right, it’s easy to see what they have in common:
You probably can’t remember the last time the newspaper comics page made you laugh, but you can name a dozen characters off the top of your head. This is what keeps people coming back to Youtube and podcasts, the familiar faces and voices of trusted personalities. The information being communicated, the movie reviews or pop-history lessons or insightful interviews, are secondary to the audience’s relationship with the central personality or personalities of the brand.
Simply put: This is why movie studios bank on sequels. You can expect a couple Marvel movies a year, there’s a stream of content that’s regular enough to keep people from forgetting you exist, but not so constant that people get exhausted of it.
It’s not really “viral”
“Viral” success tends to be an overnight, easy-come, easy-go thing. The attention accrued by long-haul content is accumulative. If you’re building a long-haul brand, you’re going to have ups and downs, long periods where your numbers plateau. It’s not as immediately exciting as waking up one day to find that your blog post has hit half a million shares. But over the years, effective long-haul content will continue to gain attention long after the viral hit of the day has been completely forgotten.
Okay, but how about some actionable tips that we can put into practice? Here’s some simple ones…
Five Tactics to Keep Your Audience
1. Update once a day. Or once a week. But keep a consistent schedule.
2. Maintain a consistent, singular voice across all your marketing content.
3. Don’t forget the call to action. Youtubers close every video with “Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe” for a reason. It’s 2019 and we’re still not in the habit of hitting subscribe just because we like the content, we still need a reminder.
4. Multi-part videos and blog posts help to encourage subscribes and follows, since it’s a lot easier to get a notification than it is to just keep checking for an update every day.
5. Riding trends can help, but the bulk of what you produce should be evergreen content. Even when you’re riding a trend, spin that into something that will still be relevant a year from now. A long-haul audience is going to be digging into the archives, binging your content for hours at a time. That’s a lot easier when the content isn’t immediately dated by its focus on fleeting buzzwords and scandals of the day.
With all of this being said, there’s nothing inherently wrong with producing content that hits on the subjects of the day, that draws a lot of attention quickly and is swiftly forgotten. That’s what the news is for, after all. But if you’re constantly chasing this kind of attention, then you’re going to be constantly chasing this kind of attention. When you have an audience that is eager to see what you do next, you don’t need to chase them, they’ll come to you, and WriterAccess can keep them coming back.
Gilbert S. has an extensive history as a professional and personal blogger, having maintained a blog for Julie Ann Amos at Exquisite Writing in the past and currently writing his own horror-comics themed blog on Tumblr.