Yeah, I said that out loud.
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you might be surprised to hear me challenging the "just write good content" mantra. After all, I'm a writer. I believe in good content, I try to maintain high standards and I'm a very vocal proponent of the idea that artificially constructed obstacles should be roundly ignored.
I know where the "it's all about content" school of thought came from, and it was an honorable place. In the early days of search engine optimization (SEO)--or what once passed for it--there was a theory that things like writing meaningless strings of relevant key words would do the trick. Eventually, someone noticed that it didn't do a lot of good to bring people to your website if there wasn't anything there for them when they arrived, and search engine algorithms started to take that kind of thing into account, and the next thing we knew, you needed to actually have something to say if you wanted to run a successful website.
And then the pendulum shifted. Thousands of people came out of the woodwork to declare "content is king".
And it's still going on.
The problem is, something like realistic balance has come into the world and no one noticed.
There are still people devoting full-time hours to gaming the SEO system instead of producing content anyone wants to see. And on the other end of the spectrum there are people spouting platitudes about how "all you have to do" is write good content.
The fact that you need worthwhile content to keep bringing people back to your website is a no-brainer. It's not even worth talking about anymore. I don't use language like this lightly, but...well, duh.
Is that enough?
Well, let's look at some other scenarios. If you're a great mechanic, do you print up business cards and put an ad in the local newspaper and commission an attention-catching sign for your shop, or do you say, "All you have to do is do good work" and then sit around and wait for people to notice that you're there?
If you're a writer in a context besides blogging, do you produce good content and then save it to your hard drive and move on with your life, confident that since you're writing good content, agents and publishers will eventually find you?
The backlash against promotion without substance has gone too far, into a kind of "popular wisdom" that advocates substance without promotion. And that brings us back to my initial point, to the headline on this post: NONSENSE
You need good content. But the best content in the world won't do you a darned bit of good if you don't know how to--and don't make the effort to--get people to look at it.