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I never used to be a believer in the adage that “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.” I graduated with a degree in education, after all, and now part of my job is conducting client training in digital best practices.

I have officially Changed My Mind, and it’s all the so-called “experts” that led me to do so.

Look, I get it: blog post titles are good linkbait. People like simple, short lists of things they can do immediately. But today I counted no fewer than 50 articles in my Google Reader with headlines beginning with phrases like “3 Easy Steps” or “5 Habits” or “10 Secrets,” all purporting to wield some great knowledge about social media in particular and online content in general.

While I’m sure the pagerank for these blogs is great, and they’re highly trafficked and highly commented leading to an enormous ego stroke for the authors, I’ll let you in on a little secret: They all said the same thing.

Actually, they didn’t, but they all blurred together in an acidic whirl of blah blah blah. My “Technology” folder in Google Reader is starting to look like a classic Ren and Stimpy background.

Because I’m a curmudgeon like that, I’m going to slash all their tires and let you in on the biggest secret of digital media; the secret none of these shaman will tell you, lest their careers, speaking engagements and book deals go the way of the dodo:

Be interesting, relevant, and valuable.

The end. Period. Insert fork.

Yes, you have to monitor and measure and all that jazz. Those are just the tools of the trade and we’ve all got the same bucket of Legos to play with. But if you’re interesting, relevant, and valuable, you’ll see return in spades.

If over time your interesting, relevant, valuable content about your product doesn’t lead to anything, your product probably sucked anyway. Or maybe someone else did it better. Whatever. The point is, a salient reason to keep coming back and keep buying, paired with quality offerings, is the whole shooting match.

Now stop reading so many blogs and start making things interesting (and relevant and valuable).

3 Responses

  1. This is the hard lesson that many companies face. Integrity is all you’ll ever need. Without it, content becomes meaningless. “Social” business equates into just another channel, another way to market-to. This is the huge opportunity that is out there; the opportunity to finally earn some trust.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Marty.

    It’s kind of like the old saw that if you don’t tell any lies, then you only have one story to remember: the truth.

    There’s no big secret, no magic trick, to a quality online presence. As my friend DJ Rusty Redenbacher said recently, “Just do you.”

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