Tech companies and publishers are trying to crack the code of online success in a world where content is increasingly the primary way consumers discover content.
But how can you build a brand and become a success if you’re not the right person at the right time?
That’s the dilemma facing many writers today, as the digital publishing market shifts from an era of high-volume and high-quality books to one of less expensive, more personal publishing.
“The first thing you need to do is understand the market, and then you need a clear vision of your audience,” said Mark Wahlberg, a senior content writer at The New York Times.
“It’s not enough to just say, ‘I’ll do the best I can, and I’ll be the best,’ but you have to have a clear idea of what the audience is looking for, what their needs are, what they’re looking for in your content, and that’s a little bit like the beginning of a business plan.”
Wahlheim says many publishers have adopted a “tend to the people” approach, which means focusing on a handful of people and offering specific content that resonates with those people.
But for many writers, this strategy has been problematic.
“You can’t build a huge audience based on the size of your readership,” Wahlham said.
“You have to focus on people who want to read the same stuff, and who will pay attention to it.”
The problem is compounded by the fact that most writers don’t know the right people to talk to about what they need to write.
“Most of the time you don’t get the right audience,” Wachowiak said.
“I’ve heard stories from writers that were in that boat for a couple years and they started writing a book, and it’s like, ‘Oh, I just didn’t think about this, or I thought about that,’ ” Wahl said.
But even if the right content is targeted, it can still be hard to build a good social media presence.
“There’s a whole category of people who are going to be interested in your blog, but they don’t have the time to interact with you,” said Dan O’Connell, senior content editor at the Daily Beast.
“They’ll have Twitter and Facebook accounts, and they’ll be on your blog all the time, but what’s their connection to your brand and to your community?”
The Daily Beast, which is owned by BuzzFeed, is a digital news outlet with more than 1.4 million subscribers and nearly 700,000 unique visitors a day.
The blog has been a staple of many writers’ portfolios, even though many don’t use it much.
“I would say 90% of the people who have never written a book are not interested in my work, but it’s the ones who have done it and they want to talk about it, who are interested,” Wachi said.
And that’s not just for a blog post, Wachowsky said.
A Facebook or Twitter follower is also worth more than a blog, as you can gain new followers with each post.
But Wahl’s advice to writers: “Be prepared to take the risk.
Do it, and you’ll be fine.”
In fact, Wahl is already planning to go back to his old blog in the near future.
He said he has to get creative with his content strategy, since there’s a lot of new content out there.
“The more people who know your brand, the more they’re going to pay attention, the less likely they’re to read another blog,” Wagowiak explained.
“A lot of people say to me, ‘No, I don’t need another blog,’ but I don and I know I don.
That’s a great thing.”