Reach. Relevance. Design. Presentation.

Something incredibly serendipitous happened to me few days ago.

I’m slated to deliver talks at the #140Conf on August 23rd in Kingston, NY and unGeeked in Toronto and Boston (hope to see you there), but it occurred to me that my people, my origins, are in the pet-blogger world.

I’m a long-time dog blogger and my Social Media savvy is rooted in my blogging about my dog. So, why am I not presenting at BlogPaws? I asked myself.

On a lark, I decided to email BlogPaws and offer myself for a speaking engagement sometimes down the road, I figured.

Turns out, they have a scheduling conflict with another presenter and they had a spot for me wide open for the August 26th BlogPaws conference in Vienna, VA at high noon. Sweet.

But, what is it all about?

So, Caroline Golon, the Co-Founder of BlogPaws asked me what my session is going to be about? Oh crap!

The way things were going I had no time to even think about the actual framework for my session. Think, Dino. Think!

Luckily, being a dog blogger as well as something of a Social Media enthusiast, I understood the pain-points of both worlds. And there’s been few things I’ve been meaning to tell my fellow pet bloggers for years. So here goes…

On the fly, I sputtered 4 words who’s meaning wasn’t completely known to me until much later when I had a chance to reflect. These four words apply to every effort I can think of, and especially the online kind. It also applies to all bloggers and content creators.

I figured I’d hash out the particulars in this blog post and get some feedback from you guys about stuff I miss. Here goes…

Reach

SEO, Twitter follower count, Facebook fans/friends, RSS subscribers, email lists, etc. are all different version of the same thing. Reach.

We get too focused on technology and forget that in real life, it’s all about the Reach as well.

  • In Middle Ages, the Crusades and the en masse conversions to Catholicism were about extending the Reach of the Catholic church
  • If a newspaper wants to sell more daily editions it has to increase its circulation. They call it circulation, we call it Reach.
  • Why do companies pay a premium to advertise during Superbowl? Because they know they will have Reach.

Regardless of how bizarre, obscure, or mainstream your message might be, its success (however you define that) hinges upon your ability to Reach your audience.

Unfortunately, your ideal audience is not always crystal-clear to you, and it’s not like they all hang out at the same Quiznos. If they did, you’d be well advised to get a job as a cashier at Quiznos…but alas.

So, Reach is really fishing with dynamite. It’s hell-a effective in catching fish, but you make a lot of noise in the process.

The problem with Reach as it stand right now, is that rich keep getting richer.

You and I can’t buy a Superbowl time-slot to run our 30 seconds long ad. You and I can’t generate a ground swell the way superstar bloggers and major online hubs do, despite the mediocre content they produce on regular basis. The attention pools at the top.

For every Tom Cruz

For every Tom Cruz there are thousands of actors who are better looking and more talented, and yet…

There is nothing we can do to fix the movie industry or to make buying Superbowl ads more affordable. But there IS something we can do about it online. Triberr.

The way Internet has democratized information, our goal is to democratize attention. Sharing your audience with other bloggers has the compounding effect of extending everyone’s audience.

We do this every time we retweet someone’s blog post. We do it when we have someone write a guest post on our blog. We are sharing each others audience.

Triberr formalizes this relationship, automates the parts that make sense to automate and allows for a viral ground swell to take place, if there is to be a ground swell.

The strong feelings people display regarding Triberr are an indicator of how human Triberr really is. It’s both a curse and a boon for Dan and I.

No other social network allows its members to share each other’s audience.

The number of moving parts required to manage the relationships between tribesmates, across individual interests, and across a shared audience is NOT for the faint of heart. But I’ll tell you this…it’s one helluva training ground for acquiring the right kind of leadership skills. And the benefits of doing so are enormous.

Acquiring or paying for SEO, attracting Twitter and Facebook fans, RSS and email subscribers is really hard while no one is paying attention to what you’re doing, regardless of how great it might be. And they are not paying attention because attention is the one finite resource we all have. There is only so much of it anyone can give, and while they are giving it to superstar 1 percenters, they are NOT giving it to you.

Having a broad and deep Reach means that your content can get a fair shake at being noticed.

Relevance

If Reach is fishing with dynamite, Relevance is shooting with a laser.

Regardless of how bizarre, obscure, or mainstream your message might be, its success (however you define that) hinges upon your ability to move your target audience into action. And you have about a fraction of a second to do it.

Whether it’s a newspaper headline yelled-out on the street by the local paper boy of yore, or whether it’s a headline in your Twitter stream, we are all merely walking by, minding our own business, and getting on with our day.

If your message doesn’t speak to my state of mind at that moment, I ain’t hearing it.

An ideal message is:

  • Short – because I don’t have the time, patience or desire to hear a long one.
  • Speak to my emotional state – If I don’t feel compelled to do something you’ll have to force me to do it, and you can’t force me to do anything.
  • Understand me – who I am, where I’m from, what I think about, etc. Not only that, but understand my state of mind at that exact moment.
  • Make me a promise – that if I decide to listen/read/click, it will solve my pain point, make me feel good, satisfy my desires or cook me a dinner.

That’s a lot of work for a tiny little headline, but that’s what a good headline must do.

It would be bad form to think that your headline will speak to a certain type of person. It is good form to think that your headline will speak to the person’s state of mind.

Writing a headline is an art form only because it has too many variables to be scientific. It takes a lot of practice, great insight and many sleepless nights to get good at it, but it’s worth it.

How do you get better?

So, how DO you get better at writing headlines? Well, there are obvious ways…study your ass off, practice, practice, and…oh yeah…practice.

But you can also use Triberr for it.

About a month ago we rolled out Headline Testing Area and it was a huge success. So we took it down.

We took it down so we can work on the new, better, improved, version 2.0 of Headline Testing Area which would allow for:

  • Split A/B test headline, Hot or Not style.
  • Add a description defining who is the target audience for the headline and what emotion it’s trying to evoke.
  • Comment section where other community members can suggest alternatives and give feedback
Someone once said that 70% of your time spent on writing should be spent on writing a headline. It’s THAT important.

This is one way in which Triberr community is helping each other get better at their craft.

Design

This is the part that I’ve been waiting to yell at my fellow dog bloggers about, for years. Dog blog designs SUCK a giant monkey turd.

Regardless of how bizarre, obscure, or mainstream your message might be, its success (however you define that) hinges upon your ability to make your visitor feel comfortable, and NOT disoriented when they visit your site.

We have had our fair share of challenges with design aspects of Triberr. It’s been a HUGE challenge for Dan and I and we are currently working with real live designers to make things better, more intuitive, and comfortable.

Funny thing. I don’t think design bogs are all that greatly designed either. They lack utility, they are too design-y, and mostly confuse the visitor.

The blogs -that I think- lead the charge in terms of design are actually Social Media, blogging and marketing blogs.

These blogs are usually branded, perfectly utilitarian and intuitive, and follow lay out and design principles expected by most online dwellers.

Of course, your target audience must be considered in the blog-design decision process, and this will greatly affect the outcome.

The problem is that most dog bloggers -or, I should just say, most bloggers- are not designers and don’t want to pay to have their blog professionally designed, branded, made useful, etc.

To design a custom logo can cost anywhere from $5 to $500.00 bucks when done on the cheap. That’s a range from a Starbucks latte to a price of a Windows “powered” laptop.

Dan Cristo recently mused about our inability to truly grasp the value of intangible goods.

We have no problem tipping a waiter 20% for our meal, but we wouldn’t dream of paying a monthly fee for social networking. ~Dan Cristo

By the same token, we are unlikely to grasp the intrinsic value of a well designed blog, and assuming you’ve done everything right, if you miss this part, you’ve done it wrong.

One of the first bloggers to really emphasize the importance of design is Nicholas Cardot of the exemplary sitesketch101.com Go and take a look if you’re not familiar with his blog to truly get a sense of the difference between a slapped-together blog and a well-designed blog.

How does Triberr help with Design? It doesn’t…for now. But in my wildest dreams, we could facilitate connections between designers and bloggers within the community. Time will tell.

Logo Testing Area anyone?

Presentation

It is NOT enough to be a content creator. My mom creates content every time she posts on her Facebook wall.

Regardless of how bizarre, obscure, or mainstream your message might be, its success (however you define that) hinges upon your ability to Present the information in a unique, new, surprising, interesting, entertaining, compelling, way.

The Internet has made information cheap. Very cheap. Information used to be VERY expensive.

If Design is meant to give the visitor the sense of the overall atmosphere then the Presentation is meant to give the visitor the sense of your essence. Your character. Your zeitgeist if you will. (I always wanted to use “zeitgeist” in a sentence, so now I did…twice)

I would recommend to try different mediums (text, audio, video, graphics) until you find one that really works for you.

If text is going to be your expression of choice it would behoove you to start reading like a mad man and write like a mental institution escapee.

The goal is to master the medium, develop Presentation skills, and allow your inner-voice to shine through you.

How does Triberr help with this? It doesn’t.

But in my wildest dreams, Triberr could be a vehicle that enables its community members to offer workshops, seminars, conferences, etc.

And now imagine…

Reach. Imagine you had a Reach of millions of eye balls.

Relevance. Imagine you were a master-sharpshooter laser-targeting your market’s state of mind.

Design. Imagine when that state of mind is brought to your site, pulled-in by the power of your headline, they find a pleasing atmosphere.

Presentation. And Imagine if you had a killer Presentation about the topic they’ve been dying to read about exactly at that moment.

Imagine what THAT could do for your opt-ins. Whether email, RSS or otherwise.

  • Is there fundamental principle like the 4 above that I missed?
  • How strong would such a blog be?
  • Do you know of a blog like that?

Coming soon to a conference near you:

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi :-)

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  • Betsy Cross

    I love how you dream and create! I finally got myself a website. It is so fun figuring out who I am and how that shows up! Blog titles is a thing I want to master.It’s harder than writing a post!

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Hi Betsy,

      If you visit http://harrisonamy.com/5-reasons-why-dull-headlines-get-great-attention/ you will see Amy, myself and another copywriter get into a healthy debate over nuanced approach to writing a headline.

      I want to recreate that type of exchange inside Triberr’s Headline Testing Area…where on one hand, you get to hone your headline, and on other hand, you get to really see inside the heads of people as they are constructing a headline.

      I think it will be an amazing training ground for headline writers :-)  Are you on triberr yet?

  • http://www.sitesketch101.com Nicholas Z. Cardot

    Great stuff here, Dino, and thank you for the kind words. I think that far too often people focus a lot on either design, or marketing, or whatever but never really get them all working together. I have a principle that I talk a lot about at my site called the Total Package. 

    It’s not good enough to have an amazing design that makes viewing your content more appealing than eating chocolate cake.
    It’s not enough to be the friendliest person online.
    It’s not enough to be active on social media.
    It’s not enough to write great content.

    I think the real winners are the folks who are working to be the best in each of those areas. When all the cogs in the machine start working together, that’s when you start moving forward with some aggression. 

    What do you think?

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      I agree of course.

      I think this is all the case of the Bog Mo :-) The Momentum that is. The confluence of it all is what allows the ground swell, you miss one, and you’ve missed it all.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    It’s interesting that you say that for every Tom Cruz, there are a bunch of better looking, more talented chaps out there running around. Why? Because I agree and not to kiss your ass or anything Dino, especially because we think very differently, but this post was better than any post I could ever read on Problogger, or any other “big blog” for that matter. 

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the art of “pull” lately. Pull meaning, instead of pushing your message with the hopes of quick results, always being about strategy and lacking sensibility, having a long term perspective with what you’re growing, intentionally creating purposeful interactions with other people and creating content that naturally “pulls” people in. 

    Well, what does pull require? Answer? Skill. You have to be a good “community” person to pull. You have to create extremely exciting content to pull. You have to diversify the content you put out to pull. And the one thing that most strategy based marketers never really get, you actually have to look deeper into the way you feel about the people interacting with your stuff, whatever it is, and try to get past the surface “Hey’s!” and “Hi’s!” into the shit that really matters. 

    So.. yea, I’d add the art of pull. 

    But sweet post. And cool that you mentioned Cardot.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    It’s interesting that you say that for every Tom Cruz, there are a bunch of better looking, more talented chaps out there running around. Why? Because I agree and not to kiss your ass or anything Dino, especially because we think very differently, but this post was better than any post I could ever read on Problogger, or any other “big blog” for that matter. 

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the art of “pull” lately. Pull meaning, instead of pushing your message with the hopes of quick results, always being about strategy and lacking sensibility, having a long term perspective with what you’re growing, intentionally creating purposeful interactions with other people and creating content that naturally “pulls” people in. 

    Well, what does pull require? Answer? Skill. You have to be a good “community” person to pull. You have to create extremely exciting content to pull. You have to diversify the content you put out to pull. And the one thing that most strategy based marketers never really get, you actually have to look deeper into the way you feel about the people interacting with your stuff, whatever it is, and try to get past the surface “Hey’s!” and “Hi’s!” into the shit that really matters. 

    So.. yea, I’d add the art of pull. 

    But sweet post. And cool that you mentioned Cardot.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    It’s interesting that you say that for every Tom Cruz, there are a bunch of better looking, more talented chaps out there running around. Why? Because I agree and not to kiss your ass or anything Dino, especially because we think very differently, but this post was better than any post I could ever read on Problogger, or any other “big blog” for that matter. 

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the art of “pull” lately. Pull meaning, instead of pushing your message with the hopes of quick results, always being about strategy and lacking sensibility, having a long term perspective with what you’re growing, intentionally creating purposeful interactions with other people and creating content that naturally “pulls” people in. 

    Well, what does pull require? Answer? Skill. You have to be a good “community” person to pull. You have to create extremely exciting content to pull. You have to diversify the content you put out to pull. And the one thing that most strategy based marketers never really get, you actually have to look deeper into the way you feel about the people interacting with your stuff, whatever it is, and try to get past the surface “Hey’s!” and “Hi’s!” into the shit that really matters. 

    So.. yea, I’d add the art of pull. 

    But sweet post. And cool that you mentioned Cardot.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Thnx Ryan,

      The only disagreement I have is that I think we think much more closely than you might suspect :-)

      • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

        Definitely in terms of doing big things. Yes, we’re aligned in a freakishly similar way. I know you’re onto big things, and so am I.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      oh..but let’s take this post as an example….

      This post got over 500 visits via Triberr alone. Add to that Facebook, G+, stumbles, RSS, etc and probably about 1000+ people landed on this page in total.

      This is a relatively low number for posts on this blog. So, why such low numbers?

      In this case, the post had the same reach as all of my other posts. Design is the same and the Presentation is the same. So, what was missing?

      A snappy, catchy, emotionally grabbing, relevant and compelling headline.

      Reach. Relevance. Design. Presentation. is a terrible headline for a post. I couldnt -in my heart of hearts- call it anything else, but it goes to show….

      Reach. Relevance. Design. Presentation. didnt hold relevance for my target audience and it was meaningless to my non-target audience.

      You take the same Reach. Design. Presentation. into consideration and you add an emotionally grabbing headline ( like 5 Things You Should Do To Lose Your Blogging Virginity Like a Slut) or you add target-audience relevant headline (like 5 Ways to Improve Your Blog Today or How To Land A Guest Post On Any Blog GUARANTEED!) and you get posts with 5000+ visits and 100s of comments.

      All 4 are a must. And the art of pull I think is somewhere in the Relevance and the Presentation parts of the four factors…

      Thoughts?

      • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

        I think so to. There are many ways to look at pull. It’s included in those things for sure. As a standalone thing, I’m talking about pull more along the lines of attraction and purposeful connections with folks, beyond a headline that captures emotion. I’m talking about creating the feeling most people (kids, not parents) get when it’s Xmas morning, and there’s such a positive expectation and feeling of excitement to check out the presents under the tree. Like.. oh my God, when a new episode of Ancient Aliens comes on, it’s Christmas morning to me. I can’t wait to watch it!

        • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

          I think you’re talking about making a personal connection with your readers/viewers. If yes, then you will encounter a problem down the road….scalability.

          Your personal bandwidth will dwindle down (if you’re lucky) to nothing and making a personal connection with everyone will become impossible. Then what?

        • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

          I think you’re talking about making a personal connection with your readers/viewers. If yes, then you will encounter a problem down the road….scalability.

          Your personal bandwidth will dwindle down (if you’re lucky) to nothing and making a personal connection with everyone will become impossible. Then what?

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

    Regretsy.

    Helen’s blog does all of this. Of course it’s a purely comedy but she’s definitely laser focused in a group of fun loving people with an “advanced” sense of humor. I LOVE HER!!!

    I wish I could spend more time with her wonderfully displayed craptastic crafts because her comedy is a direct off-the-wall match with mine. The community around her is also nothing short of awesome!!!

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Hi Lewis,

      I wasnt aware of Regretsy..checked it out, love it. Tnx for the recommendation.

  • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

    Hey Dino,

    Too bad I’m not living close enough to attend the conferences you are speaking at. It would be awesome to watch you live. 

    I believe that the future of Triberr is bright, and that what you’re saying is what makes Triberr so important. Not only will it drive a lot of traffic to our blogs, but the community part of it needs to be stronger. As you’re saying, with testing headlines, design etc.. we will get better at creating stronger relationships, and that’s what it’s about for me. Reach is not just about how many you’ll be reaching, but how strong your relationships are. I believe that Triberr can help with this as well.

    To me, it’s all about the people behind the scenes :)

    Jens 

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Thnx Jens,

      The community aspect of Triberr has been surprising to me. Not the tribe-wide community, I expected that to happen, but the Triberr wide community is what surprised me.

      In retrospect, I guess it makes sense. We’re all bloggers, we have that in common, and for the most part, we understand each other…behind the scenes :-)

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Thnx Jens,

      The community aspect of Triberr has been surprising to me. Not the tribe-wide community, I expected that to happen, but the Triberr wide community is what surprised me.

      In retrospect, I guess it makes sense. We’re all bloggers, we have that in common, and for the most part, we understand each other…behind the scenes :-)

  • http://www.TrafficGenerationCafe.com/ Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

    Awesome post, Dino. You highlight some of the most important factors that many of us leave out when creating posts.

  • http://www.amberrisme.com Amberr Meadows

    I’m excited to be part of the entire Triberr platform and feel that it is an incredibly powerful tool for those who use it correctly. For the socially misinformed and misguided, however, I think it will isolate those unfortunate individuals who dare to think that reach alone is enough to yield a significant impact.

    I want to be “master-sharpshooter laser” targeting my market’s state of mind, too–as soon as I fully identify that market. I’m still on the learning curve (only actively blogging since May and hadn’t written a thing prior to that in more than a decade), but I’m getting there. Triberr is going to help to separate the ones who produce high-quality content from the ones who repeatedly procure steaming piles of disappointment for their readers’ viewing pleasure.

    Oh, and it sounds like YOU have some exciting things going on, so Yay!

    P.S. I love dogs, too. Mine is almost 1000 years old, and she is still my sweetie.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      1000 years old you say…what are you feeding this dog? Lets bottle it and sell it :-)

      • http://www.amberrisme.com Amberr Meadows

        She is seriously on the verge of natural fossilization–that Eukanuba is hardcore, I guess.

  • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

    I think it’s great that you’re using your blog to workshop your presentation! 

    I think these fundamentals make a lot of sense. I think the one that I would add would be Voice. To stand out in the blogosphere, you really need to determine your voice. Your voice is essentially the branding for your writing. It’s how people can recognize that the content belongs to you, even if you’re writing on someone else’s blog. Finding your voice can be a tricky thing, but I think the successful bloggers have this aspect of their blog nailed down.

    BTW – Thanks for the link love, Dino! I appreciate it. :)

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Thnx Laura :-)

      I absolutely agree. In writing we call it voice, but same applies regardless of the delivery mechanism. (video, infographics, podcast, etc)

      Information is plentiful, presenting that info in a unique way is definitely the thing to focus on. Thnx for your 2c :-)

  • http://www.balancedworklife.com/blog Bryce Christiansen

    Hi Dino,

    First time seeing your site, but I love it already.  I also find it amazing that you are a dog blogger with a name coinciding with one of the most popular dog bloggers known to television.

    Thanks for the excellent tips and resources.  I will have to explore them this week.

    Hope to be back often.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Hi Bryce,

      I was talking to @holas84:disqus the other day and he asked me if Dino was my real name… I lol-ed.

      He thought that since I was a dog blogger, DIno was my “stage name” that I took with me when I started blogging about…ahhh…blogging…or whatever this is lol

  • http://twitter.com/ginidietrich ginidietrich

    I have a question. Who would you be working with if they weren’t real, live designers?

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      well…it would be just Dan and I…and while we’re real and mostly live, we’re far from designers. And our design goals are often shattered by the cold brutality of the execution.

  • Anonymous

    Amen Dino! :D

  • Anonymous

    This is a good post