The dating game of web content

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Do you remember what it’s like to be mutually “in like” for the first time? You click with the person so well that you want to see and talk to each other all the time. The connection is so strong that you feel like you’ve found a kindred spirit, or maybe even THE ONE!

Fast forward a few months and things are still somewhat rosy, but you’re starting to see the not-so-perfect side of this human being, but it’s okay because they have so many positives you can overlook it. Besides, humans are imperfect.

Time moves on and things change. The tarnish really starts to show. Maybe they change. Maybe you change. Maybe you just get to know them better. Either way, you hit that stage where staying together becomes a conscious decision you have to make.

Content marketing tools evoke similar emotions in marketers and business owners who use them to grow their business. We’ve fallen for what they can do for us and somehow expect that the tools will never change. Then they do and we scream and cry and fight for things to go back to the way they were in the good ol’ days.

Raise your hand if this story sounds familiar: Facebook actually invited us to move in, gave us free room and board, and then cut us off when we they didn’t have the money to pay the rent and utilities. How dare they make us pay for the milk!? And after they gave it to us for free for so long – now what do we do?

This is where too many are getting it wrong. If your content isn’t reaching people anymore, there’s a good reason and it’s highly likely you won’t like the answer. (Your audience possibly just isn’t that into it.) Knowing this is the best possible thing that will happen to you, though. Because it will give you the freedom to experiment with new, different and better content thatwill reach your audience.

Break the co-dependency

Tools will come and go, but over-reliance on them is simply not healthy for your reach or your content. Focus on your content first and use the right tools for promotion and building relationships. The tools are where you make the pick-up. Now that your audience is interested, take them somewhere nice that has the right vibe they’re looking for - like your website.

Be realistic with your expectations

Not everyone’s going to see your “come hither” looks from across "The Twitter". Facebook probably feels like a meat market where no one is paying attention anymore. But if you don’t show up, you might miss your perfect match. Of course, you have to look your best once you’re there. Looking good online is about creating great content. When people see it and check you out even further, they’re going to be attracted to how useful your content is to them.

Content needs to be better than ever

If your content isn’t written for your audience, you won’t attract them. If the content isn’t valuable to your audience, you won’t engage them. Yes, they need to be able to see you, but first they have to want to. You’re competing with over a billion other people and many, many millions of pages on Facebook alone. The numbers across the social web are staggering. Why should anyone give their time and attention to you?

There are plenty of other networks in the sea

Some people like being in a crowded, noisy room filled with potential. Others like to go to a quiet café to find someone who likes obscure everything. It’s nice to be where everyone is, but sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name. That’s where smaller networks like Instagram or Pinterest may be more valuable. But don't let the bigness of Facebook and Twitter stop you from building a small, engaged community there. (Even big cities like Toronto have lovely small, tight-knit communities.)

Focus on quality, not quantity

Dating a bunch of different people at once is hard work. Eventually, it gets so overwhelming, you have to just break it off with most of them. Getting to know someone as friends makes it easier to know if you want to take that next step. By the same token, getting to know a network’s value through research first can keep you from getting spread too thin. That means you’ll have more time to create stellar content!

It’s time to let go of all the ways the tools are letting you down and focus on trying new ways to communicate and build content that will make the tools work for you.

Don’t be a complainer. Be creative. Be courageous. Be compelling. You can create brilliantly awesome content!

A version of this post originally appeared on Feedblitz.