In the world of social media and marketing, one can often hear talk of the phrase “Social Media Echo Chamber,” which essentially refers to the fact that many people are writing about the same things and many of their listeners are just nodding their heads and repeating what they’ve read—hence the “echo” factor here.
In fact, just last week my friend and ultra-talented writer Margie Clayman wrote an article entitled “Avoid the Temptation to Write Something Popular,” which discusses this issue of how so many people in this niche of social media keep writing about the same thing again and again and again—without demonstrating much originality in the process. Considering how much this particular post made me think, I decided this was a topic too important to simply let pass by without adding some further thoughts on the matter.
In a nutshell, here is my take:
It doesn’t matter if a subject has been talked about (in your niche) 1 million times in the past week. If you feel the need to address it, you should, without a second thought, “echo chamber” or not.
Why? Well here are 5 reasons to consider:
5 Reasons Why You Should Write Whatever the Heck You Want
1. All audiences are different: Have you ever watched the news at night and flipped around to different TV stations? Did you notice how most report on the same events and subjects? Yep, they sure do, but why? The answer is simple—They have different audiences. Now granted, some may crossover, but if someone is a loyal follower of Fox News it’s a good chance they’re also not a loyal follower of MSNBC, or visa-versa.
The same holds true with the social media industry (or any other for that matter). Yes, many of my fellow peers and bloggers cover the same subjects, but our audiences don’t cross over 100%, in fact, it’s not even close to that number.
In my studies over the past couple of years, I’ve found my audience here at TSL consists of these two groups:
1. Peers in my industry (Less than 5%)
2. Average Joe and Jane business owners, marketers, learners, etc. 95%
Of the second group, a very large percentage of the folks there don’t read more than one or two other blogs regularly in my niche. In other words, just because the folks at CMI (Content Marketing Institute) and Coppyblogger are always talking about content marketing doesn’t mean I shouldn’t as well. Although there may be some crossover with our audiences, every reader has their favorite writers and go-to sources. While many folks may prefer Copyblogger and never miss a single one of their articles, there is another group that feels the exact same way about the stuff I write—and the same is true here for you.
2. All personal experience is unique: Have you noticed there have been a couple articles written about Pinterest lately? Or what about the new Facebook timeline changes? If I haven’t seen 1000 of these articles come across my feed in the last month (heck, maybe the last day) I haven’t seen one—yet they keep on coming.
Looking at the new FB timeline, let’s say Social Media Examiner does their typical thing with an epic, 2500 word guest post from Kristi Hines or Amy Porterfield on the matter. Does such great content mark the case as “closed” for the rest of us? Does it also mean there is no other value to be derived from others? No, of course not.
For example, let’s say tonight I go and attempt to play with the new FB timeline features myself. I’m going to learn some things, make some mistakes, work through some problems, and gain valuable personal experience. This experience will then be unique to me and naturally be a perfect subject to share with my audience and readership.
Every blogger or writer must not forget this fact. All personal experience is original and unique, which is why some of the best writers, thinkers, and leaders on the web are the ones that speak from a position of personal experience.
3. Content is your greatest sales tool: I’ve talked about the power of content in the sales process many times here on TSL, but businesses need to understand the goal of their website really boils down to one thing:
Garner visitors, leads, and customers through the power of content.
This principle of “content tipping points” is applicable to any business, but in order to achieve it, you truly need to address all the concerns, issues, and questions a potential client might have. And the moment you don’t address an important subject (possibly because you were afraid of being too redundant and not being original) on your site you run the risk of a visitor going elsewhere to find the answers they’re looking for—thus leaving your sales funnel and entering someone else’s.
4. Personal Development: Right now, if you asked me to stand up and give a 3-hour impromptu speech about inbound and content marketing, do you think I could do it? Yes, of course I could, but it’s not because I’m bursting with intelligence (just ask my wife), but rather because I’ve been writing about this subject for almost 3 years now, for a total of 275,000 words—which equates to about 7 books on the subject if my name is Seth Godin.
But this is true for any of you out there that have been blogging about your industry and niche. Because you’ve spent so much time in “forced cognition” (as I like to call it) with respect to your products and services, your ability to speak and teach others about the subject has been enhanced drastically. (This is also why I strongly believe every sales person in your company should be blogging, but that’s another article. )
5. Never deny your gut : Each and every one of us has been given the gift of intuition. Whether it’s with our kids, our personal health, or with our work—we all get impressions and thoughts—with the question always boiling down to whether or not we’ll follow those impressions as they come.
If you feel prompted to write about a subject in your industry, then write about it. Don’t put off the prompting just because a bunch of other people may be talking about the same thing. You just need to worry about you, your readers, and your paying customers. The moment you allow others to dictate your content is the moment you start to lose your own identity, thus succumbing to the pressures of the outside world—something I think we’d all agree is a bad thing.
All this being said, of course I’m not a fan of cheaply choosing a topic to write about just because it appears to be the “cool” thing to do in the moment (one of Margie’s main points in her article). To me, “cool” is the willingness to follow your gut and produce content in your own special way—NOT the way of another person.
If you follow and remember these five points, it’s my experience that you’ll be blessed and the process of writing will become easier and more natural for you—without inhibitions. Furthermore, you’ll develop your own fans and followers and your brand and business will benefit right along with it.
What are your thoughts on the social media “echo chamber”? Do you feel we should worry about redundancy in content or just write what we feel prompted to? How much do you concern yourself with the other voices in your niche?