King Of What? And Other Stuff…
Sunset on the Malecon, Havana, Cuba.
Hey, folks. Hope you’re having – or had – a great long-weekend. I’ve got a real grab-bag for you this morning before I fade off into a couple days of potentially inconsistent presence here again.
I had a nice exchange with one of my readers this past week about the Photographer and The Blog series I did a while back. She asked if content was still king in light of competing claims that relationships were king. Good question, indeed, and as I’m a fan of good questions, I took some time to let the whole issue percolate, and it raised a more fundamental question:
King of What? No doubt about it, the internet is full of some potentially powerful tools for the photographer – both to create an audience for our work and to find clients, build community and participate in a culture of learning. So, is content the king of the whole darn thing? Or just one piece of it? The more I thought about it the more sure I became that while – to really belabour the metaphor – there can only be one king per kingdom, there might be multiple kingdoms, and I think it looks like this:
Relevant Content is King of the Pull. Great content is still the king of the castle when it comes to pulling people to your blog. People that don’t know you and have no reason to come to you will come for great content. And great content will keep them there too – so long as it remains relevant. But is that all you want? You’ve attracted people but in order to engage them and build a community, you need something more.
Relationship is King of the Keep. Relationships and a growing community will keep people, and engage them on deeper levels in ways content alone can’t do. Pulling people in to your blog with content is fine, but connecting with them will turn them into fans, and a growing community to which they feel connected in some way will mobilize them become part of the effort to build and grow that community.
If you are looking to merely draw people in, content still works. But if you want to build something bigger (and, I would say, better) then you need to connect with people, engage them with your heart as well as your mind. Why does this matter? It might not, depends on your goals. But most people want to draw readers to a blog for a reason and more often than not I think that same reason might be better served by great content and a level of connection and relationship with the reader. Not unlike a great photograph, in fact.
In other news. By the time you read this I’ll be up and heading to the airport en route to Tampa to spend a couple days working and playing with Scott Kelby, RC Concepcion, Brad Moore, Scriv, and the rest of the gang down at the intergalactic HQ of NAPP. Very excited to be back down there among some of my all-time, no-holds-barred, favourite people. They have this great culture of creativity down there, one that just seems full of energy and laughter. And some great restaurants too. Sun. Food. Friends. Could you ask for more? I think not. So, things’ll be light around here.
The Within The Frame Podcast, Peachpit TV. I’m hoping the first of the Within The Frame Podcasts is out by then, and I can point you to that. The podcast is a critique-based opportunity for me to discuss some of the concepts in the book; if you want in on the action, join the Within The Frame group in Flickr HERE, and be sure you also go HERE to give us consent on your images.
Amazon.com Reviews. Hey, do me a favour? My book, Within The Frame, is really gaining momentum and I’m getting some truly gracious emails about it. If you’ve read it, please don’t stop sending the emails – they’re really encouraging – but if you could take a moment to post a comment or two on Amazon.com, I’d be super-grateful.
Within The Frame, Downloadable Bonus Chapter. Also, be sure not to miss the downloadable bonus chapter of Within The Frame. It’s called The Travel of Art, and it’s a gear-focused, geek-out-on-travel-stuff look at my process for traveling – everything from what I take, to how I take it and keep my gear and me safe and healthy. Read the last two pages of the book, the details are in there on how to access that bonus material..