Once upon a time, there was this big “Twitter guy” with a lot of followers there. This guy was actually in the conference business. But his world had moved over to Twitter and took him in tow.
His millions were on Twitter and he could always reach them. There. Easy. He would do everything on Twitter, make every major announcement there, and count on Twitter to help him get the word out.
He would also publicize his biggest conference on … you guess where. There.
He was in cyberspace but without a home base. That would be a blog. His wasn’t significant. Nor did a more direct and intimate connection with his audience matter. To him. That would be a mailing list.
He didn’t have one.
30 days before his biggest conference… he’d have to start making announcements on Twitter, right?
It wasn’t a happy ending. Phew.
Why’s something tell me you already know the end of this story?
Well, for reasons he still can’t comprehend to this day (or rather for no clearly explained reasons from his darling Twitter) his account got suspended.
Days to his biggest conference!
According to Michael Hyatt, who told this story of a friend, “when the rug was yanked out from under him, well, he didn’t sell the tickets and it was catastrophic to his business.” “He was essentially out of business.”
The email list (as well as how you build it) is the enemy of spread! Tweet this
I thought this story was familiar because content marketers tell a similar all the time. It is an undeniable reason to have a mailing list associated with a blog, which together are the holy grail of content marketing.
I’m all for that. The email list(s) is a brand’s most precious asset. For people on your list have directly indicated that they want you to talk to them at your chosen frequency. They live their schedules in expectation of you.
You can “generate” them as “leads,” “qualify” them, “develop” them, “nurture” them, and finally pass them on to sales.
Awesome, isn’t it?
But how about them? These people. On your lists? What’s in it for them?
In the prequel to this essay, I defined what “good content” is. In a very simple way. That is what should be in it for them that are on your list.
So, by all means have your blog and your list(s), but let your “subscriber” come on for what’s in it for her, not because you gated a piece of “asset.”
My aim with this sequel is to quote Jay Baer, an authority on business strategy, whose comments show how the pushy attitude of content marketers and their brands with email lists is inimical to what would delight them.
Yes, the email list (and how you build it) are the enemy of spread! You are just gating your own spread.
Now, Baer’s comments corroborate nicely with Robert Rose‘s rants against gating content.
Then you’ll see why I feel validated to have ranted “content marketers should stop gating content that is “free” (that wants to be free, that is meant to be free, that they intend to be free).”
Seriously, content marketers, let content that wants to be free free. People will subscribe to your lists voluntarily, willingly. Email is not currency.
The Enemy of Spread
Putting every stitch of decent content behind a registration form, even though forms are, by definition, the enemy of spread. — Jay Baer
How do you see that?
If, as a brand, you started a blog with all honesty to share content of value with an audience, but didn’t have a list your time online would be judged “shitty.” I hope no brand or marketer is wasting shitty time online.
But then the pressure comes from some folks in the organization who think, “look we need more leads! We aren’t just generating enough leads!” Which leads to…
More content, more ebooks, more whitepapers, more infographics, more, more, more…
And all that more are gated behind registration forms to extract people’s email. You are gating your own spread by gating your “decent content.” ‘You have created a transaction.’ Perhaps a couple transactions. But “you’ve not created a subscriber.” That’s Rose talking.
Could you create subscribers without having to “grab” them this way with your iron grip of forms?
Create Subscribers and Spread
“If we’re wondering whether to gate content,” ranted Robert Rose, “we don’t have a content marketing strategy!
“Look, if you’re creating a true content marketing strategy people will sign up for your content after they get it, right. In other words, they get that piece without registering, they’ll sign up. Why? Because they want the next one.
“And, so, the critical thing in that is that there is a next one, and that what you’re doing is that you’re creating that anticipatory delight, where people are signing up, not for the asset they get, but for the asset that they’re going to get, that they don’t know about yet.
“That’s a subscriber.
“When you extract a name or an address or a phone number or an email address from somebody in exchange for an asset, all you’ve done is created a transaction. You’ve not created a subscriber.
“When you create someone who wants to sign up for the thing they don’t even know what it is yet but they just know, ‘based on the value of this thing that I just got, the next one is going to be great,’ then you’ve created a subscriber.”
the key to keeping the subscriber, not just grabbing the subscriber, is consistency. – @robert_rose Tweet this
Now you have just initiated your spread.
Because, as Rose continued, “the key to keeping the subscriber, not just grabbing the subscriber, is consistency. Being able to deliver consistently on that anticipatory delight. So you never break the promise.”
‘You’re always there with the next one. And the people share that, they’re proclaiming, “I’m getting great content from this source, so I can’t wait for the next one, I’m gonna stick around, I’m gonna stay…’
And so continues your spread.
So, no, no, no, don’t bet on Twitter or Facebook or Google or Whatsapp. Or whatever! Start a list.
You already have lists? Let them build on as you spread with good content of “anticipatory delight” and quit gating content behind the enemy of spread.
Let’s discuss this essay on Twitter #FreeContent