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Broken: Five rules to succeed in the next era of content discovery

How to think about audience growth when traffic and AI search will make your work harder

Thanks to everyone who responded to our last episode on how search discovery is breaking. Here’s the results of the poll - it seems a lot of us are worried about how AI search is going to affect our traffic:

On LinkedIn, Ash Mann from Substrakt (who writes Ash Mann's Substack, a fantastic Substack newsletter) summed it up very well with this comment:“Given Google have already been trying to keep people on their products for longer,  I can't imagine introducing technology that can answer your queries without you having to go anywhere is going to do anything other than decimate search traffic.”

On Substack, Bolaji from B2B Creators (who also has a Substack you should subscribe to, ) asked “Will you be pivoting to viable solutions, for all the content creators and brands out there?” Well, funny you should ask - that was always our goal with this series.

To set expectations up front, there are no silver bullets here. Over this series, we’ve mapped out how the social and search boom of the last few decades is coming to an end, and we’re all having to prepare for the next era in content discovery. The only thing we know for sure is that building audiences is going to be harder.

But maybe that’s not a bad thing? We’ve been through an era in which ridiculously large numbers were expected for every message or campaign. A new era in which we have to work harder for those numbers, and really focus on understanding our audiences and what they want, might help us develop more sustainable content strategies that aren’t tied to the whims of online platforms.

To help you with this, we’ve written a list of five things to guide how you develop audiences in the next era of content discovery. These are based on our years of experience at Storythings, and we wanted them to be as evergreen as possible, as we’ve all spent the last few decades dancing to the tune of the social platforms. The tech world will continue to convulse and reshape in ways that none of us can control or influence, so we wanted to give you guides that can help you win regardless of what the platforms are doing.

For each of the five things, we’ve written a short description about why it’s important, a good tool to help you apply it, a good example of what it looks like in practise, and a bunch of links for future reading. By the time we’d downloaded all this into a Google doc, we realised we’d written well over 3000 words, which is a bit much for a single Substack newsletter. So to make it easier for you to read and use, we’ve decided to split the five things into a mini-series within this mini-series, and we’ll be dropping one each day starting Monday next week. As a teaser, here are the five things:

1 - Focus on audience, not platforms

2 - Focus on value propositions, not your brand

3 - Find your niches

4 - Build content formats that become habits

5 - Build your own archive

Sounds interesting? See you on Monday!

Catch up on Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this series.

Don’t forget to also subscribe to and !