If one person stands in the street looking up at a tall building, nobody really pays any attention. A few passing glances to see what you’re looking at. If two people do the same, or three people, nobody stops to see what’s happening.
However, research shows that as soon as there’s four people stood in a small crowd looking up at something, it doesn’t matter what they’re looking at, other people will stop and look too.
Before you know it, there’s a crowd.
I’ve heard rumours that three’s a crowd, but for the purpose of this idea we’ll assume the numbers are a little bigger.
The important thing is that crowds attract more attention. People stop and look because the other people who have stopped and looked must be looking at something interesting.
People like interesting things. It doesn’t have to be clever or sophisticated. Just interesting.
So work with the idea that if you invest in interesting content – content that people like – you’ll attract a crowd.
This brings up an important question: what does it mean to be interesting?
For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume that interesting means it’s purposeful, relevant and fulfills the needs of your target audience. Your content might be very likable if you spend all day posting videos of people falling off rope swings, but it won’t be particularly relevant to your business!
You’ve got to make you content interesting if you want your visitors to like your content. So you’ve got to be thinking about your content from the perspective of your visitors to understand what they want to read about, and what you can offer to them that will keep them coming back to your pages.
So why is it important that they like your content?
Aside from the fact that there’s no point creating content if you know nobody will like it, there’s a few really good reasons.
It’s good for search engine rankings
We all want our websites to feature at the top on Google. It’s like the gold standard of Search Engine Optimisation.
A recent survey said that No.1 on Google gets a third of all the traffic. A third! So we can’t deny that search engine rankings are hugely important!
Google wants to support those websites that have relevant and purposeful content. But there isn’t a team of Google Goblins that sit and judge every piece of content as it’s uploaded. Although it would be a pretty cool job title.
Instead, Google relies on certain indicators that suggest that your content is worth reading. One of which is how `likable` or `shareable` your content is. Google assumes that if people want to share your content, whether it’s videos, business blogs, or images, it must be good stuff.
So if people like your content, that is, if they find it relevant, purposeful and interesting, they’re more likely to click `like` or `share` or `tweet`.
And let’s not forget that as more people share it, more people click on those links and more people visit your website, which is another important indicator that your website is interesting and valuable.
As more people visit to your site, you start to get a crowd.
It’s shared by trusted peers
As I’ve just mentioned, people share content they like. But importantly, your content is now being shared by trusted peers.
If I see a trusted friend or colleague share a link to an article, I’m more likely to trust that the content is worth a look and click on it.
It’s what bugs me about people who share everything just so you constantly see their logo, or directly ask you to `like` something. Okay they may have 40k followers they’ve bought for a fiver, but there’s no value in the fact they’re sharing something. They’re not sharing it because they’ve found it interesting or beneficial.
People trust others who share content because it’s good. So if you create content that people will naturally share – that is, they share it because they want other people to benefit from it as they did – then you’ve got to write content that people will like.
If your content is likable, people are also more likely to create links to your pages in their own content. Again, another indicator use for search engine rankings.
You’ll develop a readership
Research has shown that every customer is worth, on average, 10 times more than the value of their first purchase. Plus it’s generally accepted that it’s easier and cheaper to retain a customer than find a new one.
If you can begin to build a readership, or attract visitors that come back every day, every week, or every month to read your blogs and watch your videos, you’re more likely to get some repeat custom.
Possibly your visitor isn’t ready to buy yet. But by creating content that they like and share, you’re bringing them back each time until they’re ready to get the wallet out.
Plus there’s a part in all of us that likes helping out people we like. So positive referrals are much more likely, even if you’ve never met your visitor, simply because they like you.
You can become an authority
The more people visit your site and like what you’ve got to say, the more likely they are to trust you.
If your content is relevant, purposeful and interesting, you’ll attract more visitors to your site, and as you establish a readership, you’ll become the expert that they turn to.
Remember that your content is an investment. You’re not just using it once, or deleting it after a month or so. It stays there as long as you want it to, so as you add more content about different topics, from different angles, you’re showing the world you know your stuff!
You’re showing your visitors that you’re an authority in your industry.
You’ll develop brand recognition
You want people to think of your company before your competitors, and one way to achieve that is to be visible all the time.
There’s a reason why people spend huge sums of money on sponsorship. It’s a simple concept. Get in front of people and they will know you’re there ready for when they need you.
So think of your content in the same way.
If you’re creating likable content, people will share it. You’ll become more visible because your new free work force of sharers and likers are keeping you alive and introducing you to more and more people.
You’re more visible.
But that visibility doesn’t fade away when the sponsorship contract runs out, or your advertising campaign comes to an end. You’ve invested in content that will stay there until you choose to get rid of it.
It might cost you money to get good quality content there in the first place, but once it’s there, it’s there for good!
Begin to look for the potential of your website as a meeting place for the crowds, a font of knowledge, a hive of activity.
But don’t just add one type of content. Create a mixture of different formats to make it fresh and interesting. Add good quality content, interesting content, content that your target audience like, and watch the crowds begin to gather.