Reverse Marketing, or: How the Heck Did You Find This?
So how did you find this article? For that matter, how do you find anything online? In the case of this particular piece, it was probably a long and winding path – there are few roads to take folks here. But in other situations, perhaps you used a search engine, got a recommendation from a friend or followed a link on a site to which you subscribe (or which, at least, you regularly visit in some form). Now the question is: how is someone going to find your article? There are many roads you can take – the trick is not to carve a fresh path, but reverse engineer an existing one.
I have talked to a lot of people who have tried publishing content on the web, and given up when their audience did not come to them. I actually have to dig deep in my memory for the time when for me, too, it made no sense why good (or action-packed, or whatever adjective you want to use) writing did not simply and miraculously rise to the surface of the digital sea.
The term ‘marketer’ leaves a bad taste in most of our mouths, but self-promotion is part and parcel of building a readership base, like it or not. The best way, in my opinion, to visualize this problem (and start to find solutions) is to use yourself as the example – and analyze the ways in which you (as well as your friends, family, coworkers and so forth) actually come across content online.
To be sure, content is king, but like the chess piece it is also slow-moving – the queen in this case would be the work you put into gaining exposure, a fast-moving piece that crosses a board many times during the game. Lose the king and you lose the game, but lose the queen and your mobility is crippled and winning becomes much more difficult. Now, not everyone writes to ‘win’ a ‘game’ per se, but for those who seek exposure (be it for fame, fortune or simply entertainment) you have to ask yourself: what road will someone take to locate your online opus, and how can you blaze more trails to it for them to follow?