Buying Attention & Building Trust
With content that you freely distribute you are primarily trying to build relationships with people who don't know you and have never bought from you. Since attention is limited you have to make your content accessible to gain market attention.
Highbrow = Low Readership
Most potential buyers can not distinguish between great information and average information, but most people...
- can distinguish between well formatted information that is easy to read and information that appears too complexFormatting plays a big roll in selling content.
- follow the crowd and look for signs of trust from others (recommendations, on site comments, etc.)
- care about enthusiasm and topic selection (why read a site that is not unique and/or too negative?)
Some of My Errors
One of my biggest problems from a conversion standpoint is that I often write copy that does not sell...content that speaks well to some, but not to the buying market. Many posts exhibit the following traits:
- are focused on big picture ideas and broader market relationships
- are seen as being negative for being too blunt & honest
- offer too much information for people to get through
- try to convey too many different ideas
People want to feel the comfort and accessibility of reading a for dummies guide one page at a time while being told they are becoming gurus / experts in the process. Which creates an interesting problem for anyone trying to sell how to information. Do you aim to make it as accessible as possible? Or do you aim further along the learning cycle and write at a higher level?
Where to Aim if You Are Looking for Profit
There are more people at the bottom of the pyramid, and if you capture their attention that will likely make you considered an expert to most outsiders looking to your field. As the online experience improves hobbiests use the web much more frequently. Yahoo! and MediaVest have done research about hobbyists, calling them Passionistas:
Passionistas heavily engage with communities of like-minded consumers who use email, text messaging, and instant messaging significantly more than typical users, and are more likely to create and share user-generated content online such as photos, blog posts or videos about their passions.
Because of their intense engagement around sharing information, Passionistas are 52% more likely than typical users to recommend or influence others about brands aligning with them.
In the SEO market (and probably most business related markets) it seems passionate hobbyists new to a field are much more likely to exuberantly promote brands than those who have been in the field for a great deal of time. I am not sure how well that translates to other fields though.
How Can I Use This Post to Help Market My Site?
Become a Platform for Passion
Microsoft recently held a search event for SEOs to show they are serious about search. Google gives passionate charities free services to promote YouTube and Google Checkout. Cater to the passionate and create purpose driven media - use the same marketing techniques that Microsoft and Google use.
Make Your Site Look Alive
You can always add interactive features to build community interest. When you do so people are more likely to participate (fueling more people to participate) and they are more likely to market your site because they feel a sense of ownership.
My designer place the recent comments and this week top 5 sections on this site before I ever saw it. And I love it because it gives the sense that the site is dynamic, alive, and active. If you receive awards or have many feed subscribers publishing those signs of validation help improve your credibility and bring in new visitors.
Virtual Demand is Becoming Real Demand
Amazon tapped some of their top reviewers to review transcripts for a book publishing contest. How long until publishers are no longer required? You can look at the success of shows like American Idol to see how much people want to be engaged with what they consume. Also look to the stats about how often passionate hobbyists turn to the web to fulfill their wants. Deep profit margins exist in deep pools of passion.
Eventually consumers will go from hell to create the markets THEY want. The businesses with passionate communities will grow while the remaining businesses go to hell. Look for new ways to track demand and get feedback to create what people want. You don't even need a product off the start...just an audience willing to give you honest feedback.
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