Counterpoint: Why I Will Always Ask You To Share My Content

My good buddy Dan Shure wrote a piece today about how he won’t ever ask anyone to share his content. It’s pretty compelling, you can check it out here (and should, since you won’t have a sweet clue what I’m rambling on about if you don’t).

In summary, Dan makes the following points:

  1. That shares are the one true metric he has for gauging whether his content is really excellent or not. Why ask people to share  if they don’t actually find value in it? You’ll just dilute your perception of whether or not your content really is great.
  2. That great content will get shared because it’s so great. Well, actually, because so many people will find value in it that they’d like to share it of their own accord.
And those are nice points – you don’t want to feel like your content only got shared because you asked. Except that I vehemently disagree with his overarching point. I think asking people to share your content is a good thing, and here’s why:

1. Because getting the ball rolling and earning honest feedback are not mutually exclusive ideas.

Really, they’re not. Have you ever spent time on Reddit? There’s some amazing content that will never, ever see the light of day because a few key people decided to downvote or ignore it. Does that mean the content sucked? No, it just means there was nobody there to help out in the critical moment it needed a push start.

I am part of the “underground share asking” Dan talks about for the sole reason that having advocates for your content can help make great content visible. I know who pushed the car, but where it goes after that is entirely up to the community who comes into contact with it via my “first-sharers”.

I can still get that critical feedback Dan wants so badly!

In fact, I’ll probably get MORE of it, since MORE people will be exposed to my writing. The fact that a few friends shared it out on my behalf doesn’t taint the fact that people have brains. If my content stinks, sharing will begin and end with my friend circle.

2. Because good friends will tell you your content sucks.

The peer group that I vet my writing through has the ability to tell me something blows donkey chestnuts instead of sharing it out. For as much as it’s an amplifier, it’s also a sounding board. If I write a real stinker, these are the first people to tell me that it needs work.

In fact, I’ll often bounce my pieces off them before sharing to ensure my content WILL BE the best content I can possibly put out instead of hitting “publish” and just hoping somebody influencial stumbles across it and falls in love.

Not sharing out your content is like hiding in your basement and expecting Prince(ss) charming to come crashing through your window and propose.

It’s a bad idea.

So share your content. Build a peer group. Vet your pieces through them – and when they’re ready, share the crap out of them for each other and let the community at large decide.

Or, sit twiddling your thumbs and pray for greatness. The choice is yours.

5 Responses to “Counterpoint: Why I Will Always Ask You To Share My Content”

  1. ronell smith says:

    Joel,

    i can see both sides of this point.

    I hate asking for retweets, shares and the like. But when you look around, you see that some of the most successful people DO ask for shares.

    What opened my eyes was an “incident” that happened earlier this year–and has happened numerous times since: An article on content marketing received hundreds of shares and thousands of views, largely because the writer has some prominent friends in his circle and he asked for shares. I’d written a similar piece that basically sat rotting on my site.

    That’s when I decided modesty can lead to starvation, and I started asking for retweets.

    RS

    • Joel says:

      Hey Ronnell – I think it’s all about who and how you ask. It’s super tacky to just ask everyone on your list to “PLEASE RT!”, unless it’s urgent content or relevant to everyone. That said, I think asking a few key friends within your network to help get the ball rolling is anything but unethical. If they like your content and see value in it, they should want to share it out with their followers. If you ignore the power of your immediate community and instead hope people will just find and recognize your genius – dream on.

  2. Eric Kuhn says:

    I completely agree with your logic to, “get the ball rolling.” I personally have not started using this strategy yet, but the initial push will allow a proper sample size for viewers to rate your work. Enlisting your circle will also promote honest feedback from the beginning, and hopefully improve your future writing.

  3. [...] disagree more with called “Why I Will Never Ask You to Share My Content.” The reason I disagree is because content advocates and allies are among the strongest promoters you can [...]

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