The title of this post, an oft-quoted saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson, is not true in an off line world and is less true in an on line world. Just because you have the best mousetrap (substitute for mousetrap: app, blog content, seo service, back linking tool, etc.) does not mean anyone will find you. The rule, which I will support in just a minute, is that you can market junk and earn a lot and you could have diamonds on sale and still go broke.
Let’s take a few examples of junk. What percent of the content on social media has value? Do you really giving a flying leap if the friend of a friend went to the beach last weekend? Yet Facebook, a tool for useless blabbering of who did what has made a killing. What about the value of tweets? Just because a million morons hang on Kim Kardashian’s every opinion, does that make it have value? In other words, we can find endless examples on the web of content with no intrinsic value but huge commercial value. The value is in the marketing, not in the content.
What does this have to do with your efforts to prosper on the web? The idea that content is king is nonsense. Content will always be #2. Marketing is #1. If you have more back links than the next guy, back links from better sites, more tweets, more likes, more of the marketing metrics which Google interprets as indicating “value” of your content, you will win. The other guy might have the cure for cancer on his blog. But he has no friends, is a private sole, does not spend hours producing Youtube videos with talking animals, has no followers, does not know why he would have a Facebook account or what is Pinterest and no one knows he exists. But he has killer content.
Google anything you want and what you find on the first page of the search results will be a rehash of a rehash, totally lacking of any original value. As an example, I wrote an ebook about how to fix errors on your credit report when the credit bureaus refuses to fix them. If you Google this topic, “credit report errors,” you will find pages and pages of search results from blogs and news sites that repeat the FTC’s advice on how to fix credit report errors, tactics that do not work for many millions of Americans. My ebook is the only place that mentions the tactic of using small claims court to get the errors fixed (it works – I used it twice successfully). But it is unlikely I will ever see the first few pages of Google and beat out the New York Times, USA Today, FTC.gov and numerous other results that all say the same thing.
So many may wonder, as with the chicken and egg, does marketing precede great content or do you create great content that goes viral? On the web, content is not king. On line marketing (back links) is king. Having great content is important because once people find it, they may tell lots of others. But having them find it in the first place is the answer to the chicken and egg dilemma.