Have you ever tried to create an interesting blog on a topic that people rarely interact with? Can you really build a thriving readership of loyal fans interested in a dry topic like root canals or debt consolidation? Most likely not.
It is far easier to go where the conversation is than it is to create demand from scratch. This is why so many forms of affiliate marketing (reviews, coupons, comparisons, etc.) thrive on arbitraging established brands. If part of your marketing strategy revolves around community, discussion, and citations (links) then it helps to build your business model around where the conversation already is and what is already interested in.
Topics like sports and baseball cards are easy to build communities around because there is a constant stream of new stats, lots of media coverage, and some billion-dollar brands people are interested in. The phrase armchair quarterback shows how much people love talking about football. And fantasy sports take it one step further by allowing people to compete against each other…further tying them into the game – often with some bets and/or pride on the line.
When I think of the other topics I read about a lot, they are also ones that are rapidly changing with lots of news and opinions and stats. DNJournal is a weekly score card for the domain industry. Every week, I look there and go “what was this person thinking?” and “wow they got a steal.” Domain names represent language, which is constantly changing. As the economy went to crap, bankruptcy.com increased in value.
The same patterns hold true for keyword rankings in SEO. There is always something new to talk about because the structure of the web keeps changing, and the search engines are forced to change along with it. With each algorithmic shift, the search engines make marketers look for more clever ways to exploit it for profit – looking for everything from how to rank for higher value keywords right on through to how to cheaply and reliably spam the longtail of search.
Stocks, finance, and macro-economics are the same way as well. Every day is a new set of stats, and media is skewed to represent the interests of existing business models. Most of the media is built off of constantly selling that now is the time to buy. If you are not that well known, are new to an industry, or have limited resources behind you, it is easy to view that as a disadvantage.
But sometimes those lack of ties give you the freedom to speak truth, which make you different and remarkable. Once markets become fairly established, many players become so conflicted that there is value in being different.
Wherever you see holes in competing models that represents an opportunity to be different. Niche contrarian investor blogs like The Big Picture, Market Ticker, and Zero Hedge have become so popular that they helped lead to the launch of the recently named SEO contrarian blog. So far it has been a great read, much like JohnOn.
Three thoughts from an SEO perspective:
- What keeps changing in your market that people love to talk about?
- What stats could you create that would be remarkable and mention-worthy?
- What prevents your competitors from being honest? What can’t they write about that you can?
And if you can’t answer those questions, then it’s worth subscribing to a few more feeds until you can.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.