The Take, Take, Take Boat That Sailed (Or Positioning To Create Patience)
What right do we have as businesses to claim our validity in someone else’s space?
Lets start by saying that I know that I am not entitled to anything.
This is one of the biggest problems businesses have with their content marketing efforts. It is the belief that just because a message is created and sent it merits an action. Just because a website went live, an email was sent, an app was launched, doesn’t mean that people will warm towards it and interact.
I received this text on Sunday morning that had all the slippery hallmarks of a 1998 ‘lets think that sending a text is the equivalent of being someone’s friend, when they have no idea who they are.’ This is much like the old tactics used for my first job after university for a media sales job (or continuous telephone calling) where to guarantee a call to be taken, if you said it was a good friend or better still, the doctor then you’ll be put straight through.
The text read like this…
If this was a couple of years ago, I would have replied with my email address, and then I read the ‘I wanted to send to you something over via email to have a look at that I think will benefit you.’ It was the same as every other unsolicited LinkedIn message that sounded all warm and cosy, but the underlying message was all about the ‘take’ there is absolutely nothing about the ‘give’.
Without being rude, I replied in the hope to open up a dialogue and more importantly to where we had previously met…
Lets just say that the conversation ended there and then. No call arrived during Monday (or Tuesday) for a chat. What was too hot to bottle up on Sunday and get in touch with me, had turned into a weak lemon drink by Monday.
Much like the initial enthusiasm from the message, the, ‘I’m going to sell to you by any means necessary’ approach, is finished.
So, What’s The Answer?
To pack a punch, a message has to draw an audience. To draw an audience, we need to make a case that we actually care.
The biggest difference with marketing today is everything is scrutinised in so much more detail. Every action is magnified. If we have a cause to give, rather than a belief to relentlessly take, the whole dynamic starts to change.
I am a huge fan for what Copyblogger stands for and their pursuit to educate and inform bloggers and marketers on best practices. What Brian Clark (Founder) has introduced with his current Further project is a perfect example of targeting an audience with a deeper cause. The reason for us all pursuing our goals is to live a better life. What the Further weekly email newsletter does is focus on articles related to ‘health, wealth and wisdom.’ It’s valuable and in a pretty unique style.
In my eyes, Further is a case of positioning to create patience. The content I read means something and I have passed on to others who would benefit (so contributing to a growing audience). Should there become a time to sell from Further, it becomes easier to make a decision. The whole site is built to drive email sign-up and the whole intention is to share.
This is something that Chris Brogan has also perfected with the art of patience. I subscribe to his Sunday emails and his honesty is similar to reading an email from a friend. His work is a fantastic example of authenticity, personality and humility. When Chris introduces his courses and webinars, he is already entitled to it. He has given so much away that can add value to others. I am an example of this. From subscribing to his weekly articles, I purchased his Write You Book Already course in January 2014. In turn, this helped me build the momentum and dogged persistence with my book The Content Revolution that is about to be published. Creating patience can become an asset.
Doing It First Hand
Utilising a new medium to build an audience is not easy. For anyone looking to build a presence on Twitter in 2015, the hardest place to start is with 0 (followers and following).
I am currently discovering this with the new Marketing Homebrew podcast with Ian Rhodes. One of the questions I have asked myself, on more than one occasion, is ‘what right do we have for people to listen (and hopefully subscribe)?’
The podcast renaissance is with us. The Guardian reported that in the US the number of unique podcast listeners has tripled to 75 million from 25 million five years ago. That’s a lot of listeners.
According to Social Media Examiner (May 2014) 28% of marketers want to learn more about the art of podcasting. It is certainly building a role as a key part of the communication armoury. But to two marketers looking to make a scratch on the podcast moon, isn’t the space already overpopulated with more recognised and longer running shows that have already cultivated audiences?
It comes back to that question of entitlement. To get, you have to give. To make this work, we know we have to be consistent with the podcast, every week. We can’t treat it like the tin of Roses where we have made our way enthusiastically through the tin only to be left with the coffee/orange creams. When we’re left with these the initial frenzy is replaced by an apathetic decision to dip in and out of the tin when we get a bit bored. We realise that there isn’t as much variety as there once was.
I believe we have to position ourselves (and our businesses) to create patience. To build an audience of people who will listen, we have to entertain. We have to say something interesting. We have to give value to others about the way that we see the world of marketing and we have to do this with no hardcore expectations of this resulting in x amount of traffic to Ian’s and my respective websites. I am sure there will be plugs in the coming months for projects we are both involved in, but the whole ethos has to be creating something that is interesting that people will want to come back to and more importantly relate to. Our primary goal is to build an audience asset and to connect with the right audience in the right way.
Our purpose has to be more than building listening figures that in turn direct traffic to our own spaces. To do that we have to create something that people trust, rather than creating a call to action at the end of each week so it turns into a glorified advertising space.
To become recognised and for others to warm to you with the end result of profitable action, stop the constant pushing of your product features into other peoples faces.
We have so many opportunities to do this by recognising the pain points of others and addressing via the channels we have total control of. To have entitlement, we have to earn it first.
Image at the top of the article courtesy of Michael Sprague