One of the hardest things about creating content online is getting people to come back for more. Whether you do blogging, vlogging, podcasting, social media influencing, or some combination of any of these, there are many benefits of becoming an authority in your given field, favorite topics, or areas of expertise. You can build up a huge initial audience with a single piece of content that happens to trend. But, over time, even if you create content constantly, that doesn’t mean that people will come back and interact just because of what worked in the first place.
You can provide the greatest information in the world. It could even be exclusive. But, relying on strong content alone, alas, most of the time, isn’t the best strategy. Even if you do get lots of traffic, you’ll get an overwhelming majority of “hit-and-run” visitors. Yes, they may click on an ad or affiliate link, or may check out a product or service you’re promoting or selling. But, very rarely do you convert your traffic into actual revenue unless you have a strategy behind the content you are creating.
Curiosity is great, but it doesn’t make you a living as a content creator. In fact, big page view numbers can lead to little more than frustration when you’re not seeing any other real life returns from these raw numbers. There is hope, however, and it turns out, you don’t have to create all your content by yourself. One of the best ways to bring in a more relevant and engaged audience is to do something many successful content creators have been using for decades – if not centuries – content curation.
What content should you curate? To do so, just ask yourself a deceptively simple question.
What Do My Viewers Expect From My Content?
No matter what topics you know and love, you need to have a strategy of what your potential audience wants out of your content. Then, you need to have a plan of how to monetize that content in a way your audience will react to positively. Sure, you don’t need to monetize your content, but even then, if passive revenue isn’t your goal, there’s still plenty to be learned here. Plus, just because you’re not into content creation for the money, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set yourself up for the possibility.
And, yes, it is possible to start a blog or channel and go from zero to millions of dollars in just a year. However, don’t put all the pressure on yourself to create the required content, because there’s always content curation to the rescue. In fact, building around curated content is a proven way to build your content’s audience rather quickly. If you don’t believe me, check out this story:
Ryan Deiss of Digital Marketing once published an article about how he and his team built up a blog from zero to $6 million in sales in only a year. The website is called SurvivalLife.com, and it’s about survival and preparedness. It does promote products, but in a passive way. Considering that I originally wrote the first version of this post in 2015 and that site is still alive and well starting 2022, obviously it has staying power!
Survival Life has become a huge resource in the survival and preparedness market. It’s not just because they have a network of blog contributors and a team of blogger experts, plus a podcast. Each article and podcast offers something beyond just the article.
Having ad networks and even affiliate programs like Amazon Associates is nice, but they don’t work for everyone. But, having a mix of affiliate and in-house offers is better if they’re well-targeted, unlike a lot of those pay-per-click ads.
Ryan says that becoming an authority is so much better than being an “ordinary” blogger (or content creator) for a number of reasons. One of the reasons, he says, is this:
“You don’t need a product, sales copy or even an idea… you just need to have a passion in a market where great content and fascinating experts already exist.” – Ryan Deiss
Content creation is all about sharing your passion with others. There’s more to it than that, obviously, when it comes to turning your passion into disgusting amounts of money. You have to dedicate the time and energy to become the sort of “insider” that Deiss talks about. But, in fact, he says you don’t even have to be a writer, podcaster, or video creator to become an authority. How’s that possible?
Earlier on in that same article I linked to, Deiss mentions Oprah. Everyone knows who she is, but the key to her incredible success is simple: she has built an empire by simply associating with experts in multiple fields. Oprah makes big time revenues off of those affiliations. How’s that possible? It’s because those are real sales that she’s generating by the interest in those experts because of the trust that she has built over the years.
How do you learn from Oprah’s example? You must ask yourself one more question.
What Can You Offer Your Audience Better Than Anyone Else?
Sharing other content is great, especially when it’s by other experts that we trust. However, you don’t need to subscribe to Ryan’s idea of “The World Doesn’t Need More Information,” because you can’t ever have enough information if it’s useful and actionable. Then again, I do agree that if the information already exists, and is already well-written and presented, then you should share it with the world rather than simply parrot it yourself. You don’t even have to put it “in your own words” as they say. “Spinning” isn’t really necessary if the existing information is already worth promoting.
This doesn’t mean you can’t still be part of this content curation strategy. You can still share personal experience. Whether you decide to curate more than create your own content, you have to always bring it back to making it about what your audience is looking for when they come to you. Perhaps the best thing to fall back on is to offer up other authoritative content that you love, no matter where it comes from. This sounds counter-intuitive, but people will remember where they heard something from if it’s valuable enough.
Why do people go back to major media outlets or remain loyal to brands? It’s because people create emotional attachments to things that provide them with what they’re looking for if it delivers on a consistent basis. It doesn’t all have to come from your own mind or mouth. You just have to keep the good content coming, no matter what the source.
Sometimes, it turns out that the best approach really is to become an expert by showing how you learned to become an expert in that field. By doing so and showing the process, you teach others how to become an expert in their own field, niche, or area of expertise. The idea is to lead by example, even if you’re not the greatest writer in the world. Succeeding in the content world is about sharing and caring, as silly and cliché as that sounds.
As it has so often been said, it doesn’t matter so much what you give someone. Rather, it’s how you made them feel in doing so. Once you have the emotional connection and you continue to deliver on that connection, you’ve made a fan for life. It doesn’t matter how many of those you get as long as they’re genuine. They will be the ones that not only will grow your content empire, but also be friends for life.
Now, do I believe that focusing on curation over creation is the best way to go? In my personal experience, it all comes down to what works for you. Content curation is something I’ve personally shied away from, and I realize that was a mistake. Working with what already exists, giving others their deserved props, is usually a positive experience for all involved.
Deiss’s advice clearly still stands in 2022, and this is the year I finally realize that content curation needs to once again take a primary role on my website. So, if you’re ever stuck for your own content creation ideas, never feel wrong turning to those you admire and respect as your content curation go-to’s. Not every niche is going to go from zero to millions in a year, but just knowing that possibility exists should be enough to keep you excited about sharing your passion with others for years to come.