The Most Important Thing About Content

content locks impede sharingLots of people are going to tell you quality is the most important aspect of content. But let’s be honest, there is an audience for everything. Quality is in the eye of the consumer. It’s about what the people who follow you want to read about, not your personal preferences.

Helping Create Content Curators

The most important thing about your content — because I’m going to assume you know your audience and what they like to read (how would you write for them otherwise?) — shareability. This week I visited a popular blog. The content wasn’t my sort of thing — it was about Batman and his political persuasion. Even though it wasn’t my thing, it was clever and I have a very dear friend who loves the Bat. My friend and I, being on opposite ends of the political spectrum, love to debate politics with one another. The post was a very fitting share. Or at least it would’ve been, had the site allowed me to share it.

It looked like I could, with all of those colorful share buttons, but when I hit those nifty things I was prompted to join their community. My share was held hostage unless I joined. No join. No share. This is the wrong message.

Encourage Content Sharing

After all, sharing is caring. By blocking my ability to share, this blogger penalized herself. I already read the content by the time I wanted to share it. I wanted my friend to read it too. He would’ve liked it and shared it with his network. I would’ve looked like a superstar to him, which would’ve made me happy and would’ve made me come back to this blog in the future as I would associate it with good content. Instead, I remember it wouldn’t let me share. (Note: yes, I could’ve copied the hyperlink and shared via email or written him a hand-written letter about the appropriateness of this blog post but alas, I had other things to do.)

When Locking Content Works

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time to lock content, but only when your reader is vested in what the blog has to offer. When I’m only given a taste and I’m left wanting more, I’ll gladly give something for what is being offered. If I’ve received what I want from a content perspective, my personal needs are met. By barring me from sharing, the blog was keeping me from shining and cut itself off from receiving exposure to my network. I wasn’t emotionally invested or curious enough to be tempted to join the community. I didn’t see the value. If you’re going to lock content, give me a glimpse of what I could get or show me the value.

Have you come across a site that discourages sharing? Have you been back?

2 Replies to “The Most Important Thing About Content”

  1. Great post!

    I’m discouraged from sharing when I go to a site and I immediately see a pop-up about joining their email list. Let me decide if I like your content before I sign up to read it everyday! When I see this annoying inquiry, I’m less likely to share because a. I don’t want to burden my network with content from an over zealous marketer, or b. I shut down the message by navigating away from the page (and content).

    I rarely go back.

    1. Thanks. I agree.

      There are controls you can put in place to make pop-ups more fitting for your user experience. You can set it so that the pop-up appears only when someone has scrolled down to the end of a post or when they’ve been on your site for a certain duration. That’s a much less invasive way of encouraging people to connect with you. Thanks for your comment.

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