Sorry, ‘Good Content’ Doesn’t Always Win

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Yesterday on LinkedIn I received a hailstorm of negativity.

All I did was post a video promoting my new LinkedIn group for creators — a paid group for those who want more exposure, feedback, and likes on their content.

Pretty basic stuff.

Oh Mary. I had no idea what I was in for.

About 30 minutes later I started receiving a lot of cutting remarks from people who said things like

“This is a POD!!! 😠”
“Whatever happened to just creating good content?
“This is only going to promote TRASH on the platform!”

I wonder why they were so mad, come to think of it.

I had no idea what a POD was and had never heard of such a thing in my life.

I got into some pretty interesting discussions with people who started mindlessly spouting off Gary Vee precepts like robots. Here’s a few I heard..

“Good content ALWAYS wins.”
“Patience wins in the long game.”
“This is only good for the short term.”

I definitely understood what they were saying, and they weren’t exactly wrong, but there’s something to be said about tactical advice, too.

The advice that actually gets someone with 0 followers their first follower. The advice that actually gets someone views who was practically invisible yesterday.

“Create great content!” is good advice, but I hate to break it to you.. that’s not going to get you your first view.

Facebook groups will, though. Search engine optimization will.

And, weirdly enough, this is the type of stuff that feels robotic. It feels disingenuous to stuff a post with keywords. It feels disingenuous to comment on someone’s post just so they can comment on yours.

But I got some more news for you.. you got to do some things you don’t feel like doing to get views. It sounds good (and it’s remarkably simple advice) to say “just create good stuff!”

But it’s half the battle. Tactics is what will build the bridge between your “great content” and the people who want to read it or watch it, make no mistake.

You need to look at this as a marketer, too.


Gary Vee’s Advice Is Useless Sometimes

I watch Gary Vee a lot. I look up to him a whole hell of a lot. I subscribe to basically everything he says..

But I also see in a lot of his videos people ask him for tactical advice, and many times he just gives them the generic “PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE” spiel.

Someone might ask him how to grow on Instagram, and he might just tell them to be patient.

Okay, cool, he’s not wrong, but that’s not helping that girl get more likes right now.

Gary loves to talk about how creators need to focus on both the “clouds and the dirt,” and many times he’s too much “clouds” and not enough “dirt.”

Here’s a major spoiler alert about Gary, too.. He doesn’t always create his content. He doesn’t write his blog posts. Hell, he’s not even writing his own books. He has a team of people editing his vlogs, designing his Instagram posts, and writing his Medium posts.

You could probably get better tactical advice from them about Instagram than Gary. Because while Gary’s off running his own company, his team is busy experimenting with hashtags and figuring out which video format does better on Instagram.

One cool thing his team does on Instagram is they put a little red bar at the bottom of his videos that starts at the left and slowly travels to the right. This signifies how much longer the video is while you watch.

It’s a brilliant tactical thing that likely keeps viewers engaged and drives more likes (because they’re now watching until the end instead of clicking away).

And that brings me to my next point.. What even IS good content?


The Problem With Defining ‘Good Content’

Everyone says “good content” will get you more followers eventually, but this is paradoxical to me.

Why? Because they probably mean content that’s good on its’ own merit. Like, the meat of a blog post that’s accurate, true, and engaging. But they’re also unwittingly saying it’s content that draws attention to itself.

Or else how could it gain any attention at all and help you get any freaking followers?

Content that will get you more followers needs to do two things..

  1. It must actually be good.
  2. It must draw attention to itself.

To do the second thing, you need to be clever. You need tactics. You need to do sh*t that’s outside the “just create!” bubble.

Here’s an example. Headlines in blogging are EXTREMELY important. Like, they’re crucial.

I guarantee you that if my best-performing blog post of all time “How To Become Ridiculously Self-Aware In 20 Minutes” was poorly titled, it would have 200 views instead of 200,000.

I would bet my entire life savings on that fact any day of the week.

It doesn’t matter how well I wrote the body of that post, if it wasn’t titled right, something that takes all of 5 minutes, I’d have about 10,000 less email subscribers right now.

And that’s all I’m saying. Creating something good takes time. It takes a lot of time. But in fact the things that will get you the views are the tasks that take up 5–10% of the job. Creating an interesting thumbnail. Writing a good headline. Sharing it in a group.

When people say “good content” what they ACTUALLY mean is content that does something to get views, too. They just don’t know that.

I honestly wish it were as easy as creating quality.. I wish we didn’t need to pique curiosity with headlines. I wish we didn’t need to use Facebook groups and stuff blog posts with keywords.

But the thing is, we all start at 0 followers.

We’re fighting against robots, here.


Algorithms Are Why We Need To Think Bigger

Social media platforms create algorithms to figure out what posts are actually good and what posts aren’t. The problem is, this is flawed, too.

Robotic algorithms reward content that’s getting views, which is unfair because the biggest creators with the most followers always get more views.

How can you compete right this second with 0 followers? You can’t. So you need to play in the dirt to get them.

Until the basic nature of algorithms change, you can’t win as a beginner in the first few months.

You can’t even get close to it. Doesn’t matter how good the content is.

And that’s literally all I am saying.

That’s why I love Medium because at least they have curators that try to look at every post published on the platform. They’re taking the robotic algorithm out of it, and that’s an enormous step in the right direction.

Now the playing field is more level, and I respect the hell out of Medium for that.

For some reason a video of mine on Youtube is blowing up right now. The problem is, I posted it like three months ago. For the longest time I thought it wasn’t up to snuff, but now all of a sudden it’s getting promoted.

So was it good or bad?

Well, it was good all along, I guess, which means it should’ve gotten a lot of views when I first posted it.

Except it didn’t.

And all over Youtube right now the same thing is happening except good videos aren’t getting discovered like mine. They’re just being left to rot.

And in my mind, that’s why good content is not enough.