Today I have something for you to think about. I figure this is a good time, being as we are at the start of a new year. It’s a word for you to consider. That word is “compelling”.
In marketing and blogging people often throw around the word compelling. It is right up there with “remarkable”. How many of us actually sit down and really think about it?
If you buy a product in the next week, look at your feeds or check out the news stand, ponder for a moment what is driving your actions.
Taking the feeds example have a thought for what made you subscribe, what keeps you subscribed and what could make you leave it?
Compelling could be the difference between a loyal following and being overlooked. Between in demand and take or leave it..
I have been thinking about this, and while I do not have any magic bullet answers and by no means have achieved this wonderful state, I most things can be broadly split into two categories (although to be sure it is probably actually a spectrum).
- “Must have”, “Essential”, “Compelled to consume”, “In demand”
- “OK”, “Good”, “Fun”, “Nice”
We want to be number one but I would argue most of us put more effort into and therefore only achieve number two.
It’s one thing to get people to take notice, quite another to keep them engaged. Publicity, advertising, attention-seeking, even “hypnotic techniques”, only serve to capture interest. What happens when people actually consume what you are serving up?
Any product, service or content that achieves “compelling” does this through significant and unique added value. They go way beyond mere useful. There is something crucially valuable that can not be achieved any other way.
I have products I bought that I love and wouldn’t be as happy without. One example is Sky+ which is like a Tivo service for the UK satellite TV service. It means the little television I watch gets automatically recorded and I can view when it suits. Paradoxically the service means I watch far less television but enjoy it far more. I don’t sit watching rubbish waiting for “my show”, and I certainly do not see any advertisements now. What used to be hour long viewing sessions or longer now are shorter than 45mins as the rest is skipped through. The service is compelling, as are only the shows I watch through it.
My feed reading is now similar. While I have 300+ subscriptions the ones I read daily or even weekly are those that I feel I can’t miss. I am compelled to read. Some blogs that I really love are not in there. BoingBoing for example. It’s fantastic. Love it, truly. But I do not subscribe. If I miss a week I haven’t got any sense of loss. Seth Godin’s blog is the same. Every couple of weeks I can catch right up through my web browser.
We have two things to think about here. First, should we be happy to be in “category two”, the “nice to have but take or leaves”? Second, what can we do now that pushes us into the first category, the “can not miss would hate to be withouts”?