Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Investing on Your Readers

The Internet is a haven of trust, honesty, candor and truth.

Alright, let that sink in.

Be it on reddit, on a blog, Yahoo, Facebook, Google Plus or what not, we can trust people on the Internet simply because it's the Internet.

Where else would you see people who would promote books, products, themes, belief systems and advocacies wholeheartedly and commit to put everything about themselves online? 


"I wrote a book about trust therefore I am trustworthy." False.

But really, nowadays, this is exactly how it looks like:



Danny on Google+

Now, there's nothing wrong about being a banana. Bananas are high in Vitamin B6 and a whole lot of other nutrients. But the thing is, they may sound, look and even taste different, but in the end they're all the same. Bloggers are like bananas.

Trust and Investing on Your Readers
The topic of "trust" has been chomped, digested, chopped to little pieces and spread like pumpkin soup on a white table cloth ever since blogs were invented. Bloggers like me and most other Internet marketers want the reader to:

Trust Us  


But do we really deserve our reader's trust?
No, we have to earn it, prove it and satiate their cynical minds for it.

How? 
By giving them exactly what they want..

It's really a big question that's not so easily answered, but the first answer really should be: through words


Everything on the Internet is about words that describe the actions that underlie the phenomenon of gaining trust. 
More than that, we also need words to help you visualize the action or the results that you intend to see. Even podcasts and vodcasts need to be preceded by words too before you will even click and then listen to them.


How else could the blogger give value?
It begins with what the reader values. Why is the reader in your blog? What is he searching for? What does he intend to achieve in reading your work?

Most of the time, it has to do with happiness and fulfillment.

  • Reader wants a new gadget, he reads about it first before buying. [Gadget, Techbloggers]
  • Reader is sad and lonely, he looks for words that will entertain him or console him. [Inspirational and Self Help Bloggers]
  • Reader wants to eat something different, he has to read about food first and then look for it. [Food Bloggers]
  • Reader wants to travel someplace he has not visited, he has to read somebody else's experience with it.[Travel Bloggers]
  • She wants, he wants.....
Eventually, it all boils down to blogging as the satiation of the reader's desire and the blogger's passion for satiating it. Much of which is compensated for in the universally accepted mode of value:

Believe
The naysayers say that the content of the blog is good enough to satiate the reader's desire.

That's increasingly becoming false. Words have become cheaper and cheaper. Pictures are easily derived. Everybody knows that everybody else is looking for the thing above or looking for where to spend it.

If indeed the belief that content is sufficient to satiate the reader's desire is true, then show me a blog that is not promoting anything or anyone to which the blogger is affiliated with economically, directly or indirectly.

Simplified: bloggers give out 90% and then charge for 10% either directly or indirectly through endorsements, advertisements or affiliations. Even a mere mention of one word or phrase from an influential blogger could spark a whole tsunami of economic opportunities.

Don't believe me?

What's the first thing that you think about when I say "Trust Agents"
What's the first thing that you think about when I say "Steve Jobs"
What's the first thing that you think about when I say "Attention Economy" or "Tribes"

Indeed, I would dare say that the blogger who just writes without any ulterior motive for gain is a liar.

Changing This Mindset and System
Bloggers who have steadily gained more from their audiences, should give back to their readers - value that transcends words and other modes for expression. In fact, the best way to reward readers is to transform the value of these words into something that becomes tangible.

The easiest way of which is given through money. It need not be done in just a single way. It could be done through contests, giveaways or even through work.

How much do you earn from your blog?

Would you be willing to give 10% of that to your readers so that at the very least, you have given them a tangible object from you?

The Challenge to Other Bloggers
If you are earning 10 cents, 1 dollar, 100 dollars or even 1000 dollars on your blog monthly, the challenge is to give away some of that back to your readers. It's your call as a blogger. Make it 10% of your blog income. Make it 50%. As long as you give back.

It's not about charity or simply just giving money away for bragging rights.

It's about investing in your readers and growing them not only through your words and advice, but also in a way that genuinely helps them.

More Importantly
It doesn't necessarily mean just handing out money to random strangers, but a system of rewards in exchange for giving value that can also be synergistic. A good example would be to hire readers to write for you, or to hold contests just as this blog has been doing for the past weeks.

The limits are endless and the prospects infinite.

Through a system of such synergistic giving, taking and paying it forward, the community not only grows through intangible values, but in more concrete terms.

Just try it and tell me about the results.