The Internet Is Not a Meritocracy
Maybe it’s because the global community at large has adopted the notion of the American dream. Anyone can do it, right? Put your mind to it, put in the long hours and hard work, be better than everyone else, and you’ll succeed. We’d like to think that the people who deserve success the most are the ones who will eventually achieve it. Good guys can finish first, right?
It’s a nice idea, but unfortunately, that’s not how the world in general and the Internet in particular work. We’d like to think that it’s a meritocracy. People with greater ability and skill do better and have greater influence… except they often don’t. There’s just so much more going on that affects the equation.
Long Live the King
They say that content is king. We’ve been saying this for years. This was true way back in the early days of Geocities and Angelfire (remember those?), just as much as it is true today with viral TikTok challenges and mastermind training courses. However, no king can rule without the support of his court and the rest of the people. Online content works in much the same way.
You want to produce and publish great content in whatever form the audience wants to consume it. More and more, you may have noticed that just blogging is not enough on its own. Even if you write terrific blog posts, they’re not enough. Not only do you need consistency, but you need to build the whole infrastructure around it.
Do you have a strong social media presence across multiple platforms where you can share your blog posts and extend your influence? Do you have an active YouTube channel where you’re able to engage with viewers in video form? What about your email newsletter? In terms of monetization, have you looked beyond the typical ad networks for more direct marketing opportunities? Affiliate marketing? Creating your own products?
The Cream Rises to the Top (Right?)
Again, as much as we would like to believe that we function in the environment of a meritocracy, there are far too many other factors involved for this to be true. You might be writing the best researched, most insightful, most eloquently stated blog posts, but if it doesn’t tick the right SEO boxes, it’s not going to get ranked in Google.
If you write a great blog post that answers everything a reader may want to know about that topic, but it’s formatted in such a way that not enough people are going to be interested in actually reading it, none of that is really going to matter. If your blog post doesn’t get read and shared on social media, your reach may not extend beyond a handful of people.
How many incredible blog posts, videos, podcasts, ebooks, online courses, and other online content remain in obscurity because no one notices? The truth of the matter is that you need to cut through all that noise and, above all else, you need to get noticed and you need to get people to engage with your content. That has to happen first. Without that, the best of content is just going to get buried under the literal billions of other bits being published each and every day.
That’s not rising to the top. If a tree falls in a forest…
The Best of the Best (Isn’t Good Enough)
I get it. It’s not an easy pill to swallow, but it’s the truth. Even if you are the very best at what you do, even if you write the absolute best blog posts in your subject of interest or you produce the most informative or most entertaining videos on YouTube for your niche, it’s not going to be enough. This is the nature of what happens when literally everyone has a voice on the Internet.
Everyone is vying for the same attention and we very much exist in an attention-based economy. It’s not even about being the best (or the first). It’s about being the one who gets noticed. Consistently. And is able to convert that attention into something more.
Are you up to the task?