Archive for April, 2011


When anyone puts anything out into the world wide web, there is always the question, “Who even reads this junk.”  This question has sparked an entire industry to come about.  All across of the internet, there has been a new profession of hunters.  They track down all kinds of data.  Some that is useful, lots that just seem like information for information sake, but every now and then, there is a tidbit that holds some value.  This bit of value is usually measured in dollars, as with all things of value.  So how does the internet provide dollars to the real world in the form of data?  It puts together the myriad of data into nice pie charts and the occasional bar graph.  These charts and graphs allow for the businessman to understand the statistician, thus giving birth to a new area of profit making.

You see how that works? Data can be put into graphs and boom, money, kind of.  In actuality, the information is sorted and measured to understand the people who read the aforementioned junk.  Everyone is putting things on the internet, but how do we figure out what the audience likes and dislikes.  True there is the thumbs up/down approach, which works when that option is available, but often that option is nowhere to be found.  So these statisticians found a way to track the workings of all the people out in the world.  Sounds expansive, but really they just figure out what the ones they care about are doing, which can lessen that stack dramatically.  So now you know that 10 people like an article you wrote.  Next step is to shake out the dollars and more likely cents from that bit of knowledge.

The cash value of it all is directly related to the way you can manage your audience.  That’s the ongoing part of anything.  If you can continue to get people who are willing to read what you have to say, then you’ll build a following.  If you can build a following, then you can manage a way to get their attention to make you money.  Data allows you know what gets the rest of the world’s attention or, less drastically, those willing to read your words.  Turns out people like the way you ramble on about nothing.  Guess that means you should produce more lines of ramblings.  It’s that simple, make your words work for others.  Creating art for yourself is rarely as profitable as creating entertain for others.  Though, if you’re lucky, your art is someone else’s entertainment.  But this works in other ways too.  If people trust your words and your opinions, then maybe they’ll trust your links too.  Then you become an opinion leader working not only for your own cause, but also for others.  And others like to pay for influencers to say a few nice things on their behalf.

The audience is in place.  Turns out people are actually willing to listen to you.  Data is in place. Now you know what they like more and what they like most. Money is in place.  Now you understand how to play to your crowd and how to get investors to pay for your crowd.  It seems like a simple process all brought to you by the middleman, the one that puts math into the entertainment and business.  Now if only there was a way to get people to buy into the rest of the crap you’re peddling.

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Whenever anyone is writing anything there is only one thing to remember, it’s always about the audience.  That is a simple concept with a simple reasoning.  Whenever you or I write, we do so in order to communicate something.  Communication only occurs if both the reader is able to clearly state what the message is, and if the reader is able to clearly interpret the intended message.  Many things can be lost in language.  People misinterpreted each other all the time.  A simple text message can be read utilizing a change in inflection, analysis, and tone.  So how do we convey the message as it was intended?

Remember it’s always about the audience.  How do we get an audience to constantly engage and return for more if they cannot understand the words being directed at them?  The words that you write aren’t meant for you.  Many times a writer can feel that his or her words are his or hers alone.  That’s great for your diary, but horrible for communication.  When you’re with a group of friends and you talk about that inside joke or personal event that only a few shared, you get outsiders.  Everyone has been on the inside and outside of those conversations.  Do not make your audience feel like outsiders, otherwise what is their incentive to come back?  When Hoffman talks about return on investment in “Can you measure the ROI of your social media marketing?” the message is all about the audience.  If the audience can find a return on their investment of time, then they’ll come back.  Produce the message that gets the most to come back, and as a producer you’ll find a return your investment.

Producing a message that keeps the general masses interested is a tricky idea but with a formulaic result.  There’s a reason why television and movies always seem to be hitting the same topics in the same methods.  The last time you were enjoying some entertainment, were you able to predict the next event or scene?  That’s the understanding the formula of how entertainment works.  Words are able to produce many effects, but they require the proper molding.  Within Jim Sterne’s “Social Media Metrics,” one is able to understand the basics of people.  That is their need to be engaged through emotions, reactions, and interactions.  Often an idea seems common once you hear it, but often it is forgotten when there is no one around to repeat it.  Jim Sterne reminds us of how to engage an audience.

Emotional writing holds a special connection.  It allows words to seem human.  If a reader can see themselves or at least relate on an empathetic level, then there is a higher level of interaction.  It provokes the reader in a stronger way and makes the message that much more relatable. If you can get someone to feel your message, then they’ll have no choice but to remember its cause.  Emotions are hard to convey through words, and the little techniques of nuance can easily be tangled.  Though once mastered, the world will listen to your passion, anger, and desperation as if it was their own.

Reactionary writing is an aggressive style of engagement.  Reactionary writing was once a method gained through threats and ultimatums.  Directly challenge the audience and they will respond with equal if not greater vehemence.  The new course of gaining a reaction is to rally people towards a cause.  Advocacy can be as strong a motivation as any threat.  People will rally behind a cause, whether it’s towards the same goal or against a common enemy.

Interaction is our final aim to gain the attention of our intended audience.  It tends to come after that initial reading.  It is to make sure the audience knows that the writer is listening and responding.  The two way conversation lets the other person know they’re opinion matters, and everyone wants to know they matter.  So we maintain that engagement with a simple response or one of more details if it suits.  Either way, the audience knows we’re there, listening and responding, and that makes them happy.

Everything we do to get an audience, we then have to put in as much effort to maintain that audience.  Building that relationship is an ongoing process.  People learn to trust the words they decide to read throughout their busy day.  Don’t offend them by ignoring or disregarding them.  Your words aren’t that special, and there are always other options.