Eye Contact

Capturing and Holding the Attention of Your Audience

 

In a recent blog post, Seth Godin talks about the value of subscribers and states that 1 subscriber = 1,000 surfers.

In the traditional sense, a subscriber is someone who pays to see your content, someone who is committed to interacting with you. In today’s world, with limitless information available at any given moment (and for free), that definition has grown to include anyone that commits any amount of time to your content. We live in a world of surfers, making the value of that committed viewer nearly priceless.

How this changes what we do

For anyone that publishes content, you understand that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been the go-to strategy for attracting new viewers and customers online. This approach is geared towards the reaching the masses. It’s an attempt to snag surfers anytime they’re looking for anything even remotely relevant to you. This is not a bad thing. But it’s not the best thing either.

The times are a changin’ and it is now imperative that we spend more of our time and energy investing in our “subscribers” than trying to preach to each and every surfer that comes our way. Making the effort to engage with and build relationships with those that already like what you do, publish, or sell will yield more fruit than just holding a sign by the side of the road. By the way, this whole relationship and interaction thing is made simple, efficient, and rewarding through social media. [Check out one of my posts on social media here]

These ideas are not just for those that have things to sell. I am talking about creating valuable content, building relationships, and telling stories which apply to everyone, whether you are a housewife, blogger, business owner, or college student.

Duck Hunting

When I was in college, I helped run a leadership development program on my campus. We brought in guest speakers, held conferences, and hosted retreats that taught leadership principles to students. One of those speakers, Dr. Tim Elmore, has written some great material on leadership and communication. One of his fundamental points was the idea of Duck Hunting.

In duck hunting you wait for a flock to approach, fire, and gather up the birds that fall. It’s impossible to gather up the ones that don’t fall; yet, every day we try to do this with the content that we publish and products that we sell. We become fixated on telling as many people as possible about everything we do. Instead, we should focus on those that respond, build relationships with them, and allow them to share our story with others. Because, when you think about it, who do we generally trust more, our friends or an advertisement? Unless you have terrible friends, I think we are all on the same page.

Am I suggesting we abandon all traditional advertisement and marketing strategies? By no means. What I am suggesting is that we put more effort into our subscribers than we do the surfers. If we commit to those that respond, we will see them sharing our story, products, and services with others. At that point, it becomes more about a story than a business. And, in case you can’t see it, that is a very good thing!

Whether you are an online retailer, a blogger, or a stay at home dad, think about who you are talking to, what you want to say to them, and spend time interacting with them. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always quick. But it’s always rewarding.

 

For more amazing info on communication, marketing, and leadership, check out the guys I referenced in this article.

Seth Godin

Dr. Tim Elmore

Know. Think. Post.

Or Why I Love Social Media.

This, unlike many articles on social media, isn’t some post about how terrible it is or how we are all turning into mush. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Because, although that mush theory may be true to some extent, there are so many awesome things happening right now that it seems foolish to only dwell on the downsides of this new social landscape. It’s a bit like complaining about the seats at a Beatles concert.

Social media has completely changed the way we interact with one another (this is not news) and has created an entirely new system by which to meet, date, and connect with others. The ability to talk to anyone at anytime creates equal potential for good as it does bad. I’m gonna focus on what is awesome about this.

Like any good thing, it’s only good if done properly (ever tried a Totino’s Pizza that’s been cooked in the microwave? Not good). Social media gives us the opportunity to connect with any number of people at any given time. This grants each and every one of us tremendous influence. Hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of people see every thing that we say, post, or like. Take a moment to think about that… It really is an awesome power we yield and one worth taking a moment to consider.

Social media has brought about dramatic cultural change, funded countless humanitarian efforts, and helped the dreams of small business owners come true. It’s tremendous when you think about how influential a simple video posted to Facebook can be.

So take it seriously…. kind of.

By take it seriously, I do not mean you should retweet CSPAN (please do not retweet CSPAN). I mean you should seriously think about what you want to get out of social media. For many, it is about keeping in touch with family. For others, it’s about sharing your lifestyle with others. For some, it’s just a nuisance. Whatever your opinion, you’re there so you might as well enjoy it.

Taking time to think about draws you to social media will help you decide what you should and should not post. Face it, we all know that one person that posts each and every thing they read, see, or hear about. No one wants to be that guy. Don’t be that guy.

I am not here to tell you what to post or or tell you what not to post. I just think we all need to take a big step back from the computer screen and maybe think twice about sharing that BuzzFeed quiz that told us which Disney Princess we are (I am Ariel).

All that said, don’t take it too seriously. After all, memes are what feed our souls and I can’t get enough of those Fast Company infographics (nerd alert).

Embrace it. Use it to build friendships. Use it to share ideas. Use it to influence. Use it to make connections.

Whatever your goal with social media, always remember that it’s not about you. It’s about community. It’s about starting a conversation that we all get to be a part of. It can be extremely valuable and it’s time we treated as such.

 

*stay tuned for a post about everything wrong with social media.