While I was at Unleashed, I got the opportunity to sit in on Matt Bailey's Analytics presentation. If you haven't gotten the chance to see Matt speak, you should make it a point to do so in the near future. Matt has a passion for relating information to an audience in a very enthusiastic way.
During SES, I let Brian Cosgrove have the honors of blogging about his session at SES NYC. Brian's got a great summation about Matt's session at SES, which people were spilling out into the hallway to hear him speak.
Why I mention Matt's presentation, is because another post on Seth Godin's blog really got me to thinking. Add that together with all the furor over Jason Calacanis' reported comments at SMX Social, (by the way Danny has clarified and I also got some clarification on this direct from Jason and he has promised a video response). It really got me to thinking, seriously thinking.
Do you know, truly know who your audience is?
Are you creating content for your audience, or are you creating content for the search engines, or for the hopes of getting to the top of Digg, or maybe making it big at StumbleUpon? Sure, these sites (search engines included) bring in, as Matt stated in his presentation, "butt loads" of traffic an links, however, is this really who you want coming into your site?
Jason isn't far off the mark, and neither is Seth, and Matt's right on the money. Creating content for your audience is what website owners should be doing. Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm not in the slightest way saying "SEO is bullshit", you still need the SEO to have that content found. However, if all you are doing is constantly creating "Top Ten Lists" or insane videos, and these really don't reflect your brand, product or service - you are just going to get that spike in traffic and nothing more.
One hit wonders in viral marketing and linkbait tend to create nothing in the way of decent targeted audience members. While viral marketing can be great and wonderful for that bounce in traffic and maybe to get a new site discovered, can you sit down and analyze that segmented traffic and see if it was truly successful? Did these visitors just come and view one page (your linkbait or viral piece) and leave? Did they navigate any further in your site? Did they subscribe to your newsletter or blog? Did they read another article on you blog or even leave a comment? Did you even have a goal for that viral strategy to begin with, because honestly "just getting hits" really isn't enough these days.
If you can't see that your content isn't appealing to your true audience, and is only being a one hit wonder to sites like Digg and Stumbleupon, maybe you should be rethinking your online content strategy. Do you even have one to begin with or are you just hoping that with each launch of a viral campaign, this will be the "thing" that launches you into stardom on the internet?
Write content for your audience first, they are the ones that will buy what you are selling - not the "one hit wonders." If you don't believe me, take a look at your analytics and see how high your bounce rate is for that segmented traffic.