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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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
This is one way in which Triberr community is helping each other get better at their craft.
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.
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.
These blogs are usually branded, perfectly utilitarian and intuitive, and follow lay out and design principles expected by most online dwellers.
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.
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?
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:
- 140Conf on 08/23/2011 @ 3:45PM in Kingston, NY – Building a Community of Fanatics
- BlogPaws on August 25 – 27, 2011 in Vienna, VA – Reach. Relevance. Design. Presentation.
- unGeeked on October 27-29, 2011 in Toronto – Will Social Clout Replace Your FICA Score?
- unGeeked on November 10 – 12, 2011 in Boston – Applying Gaming Strategies to Content Marketing