Photo via Sophia Agustina
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It's easy to build that into a shared
physical experience—like an event. Especially one on a 19th century replica clipper ship.
But I think we can foster that same vibe virtually, too—through our content (newsletters, social posts, Slack channels, community comments, and so on).
I have 5 thoughts a-boat that:
➡️ Make it quick and easy... On the clipper, attendees needed to ask a question. Any question. Easy-peasy lift.
The same goes for you inspiring engagement online. No one wants to make the
effort to respond to hard questions. Don't ask them to shoot a video response. Or answer a difficult question that requires deep thought. (They'll keel over.)
➡️ ...add some tiny friction. On the clipper, attendees needed to pause and think of that nautical pun. That little bit of effort magically invested people more fully. The tiny effort made each person ready to share, to laugh, to cheer, to feel part of something.
We can do the same thing, yes? Shore can.
small bit of friction you might introduce to engage people and begin to align them with you and with each other?
The goal is not just to inspire comments or feedback by asking zero-friction layup questions like "What's your favorite flavor of
You might get a million responses to that, but they'll be total piffle. No one cares.
There is no community angle around answering "Blue" or "Red." That's Ye Olde Social Media from yesteryear circa 2010—when the goal was engagement at any cost and sailors still got scurvy.
Today, the effort needs to be more nuanced. The goal is to inspire connection between people who have a shared mindset.
➡️ Let your words signal style. The words and language you use
in your writing and marketing can reinforce a shared community mindset.
I guarantee that when any new clipper ship friends meet again, they'll remember the boat puns more than anything I or anyone else actually said.
We can similarly create that shared language with our audiences as a way to further our brand and fertilize connection. That's why I toss an archaic or old-timey or unnecessarily long word like a hand grenade in the middle of a sentence. Like the Freeze-Pop piffle ^^ in that last bullet.
Those words are a
little weird. We rarely use them in speaking. So they stand out as a curiosity. (Piffle made you pause, didn't it?)
➡️ Give your audience a name. Signal belonging.
My friends Jay Acunzo and Melanie Deziel call the creators who are part of their Creator Kitchen "Chefs."
Blake Madden writes a newsletter for healthcare orgs and calls his subscribers "Hospitologists."
Forager Nina Bell greets her followers on Instagram with "Hey, Wild Things!"
➡️ Play with signature bits. A "signature bit" is a term borrowed from comedy which means that a joke or story is the hallmark of a performer. On the ship last Friday, the puns created a living, evolving, group-owned signature bit.
In Marketing, our signature bits can be words or phrases we repeat or echo and which your fans come to anticipate.
Barry Enderwick has 300,000 TikTok followers of his Sandwiches of History account; he films himself making and eating sandwiches from practically the time that bread was invented. (You can't un-see his yeast sandwich.)
Barry's "signature bits" come in the phrases he uses in every video...
Barry doesn't "improve" an old-timey sandwich—he "plusses it up."
Before he takes a bite, he says, "Let's give it a GOOOooooo" and he drops an octave or two.
A sandwich he likes is a "tasty little number." (Not you, history's Yeast Sandwich.)
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Each of us wants to be seen. Each of us wants to be a part of something. Whether it's at an event in Cleveland, on a ship, in a Discord group, or on a brand's social post.
Every deal closed, each CTA clicked, each video viewed, each ebook downloaded is because the person on the other side felt seen. They felt like you have salvation or a solution that speaks directly to a need.
That one person has the potential to feel even MORE part of what you do or what you sell.
The question for all of us as writers, marketers, creative people is... how are we
doing that, exactly?
Start somewhere. Remember: No need to boil the ocean. (And now I'm done.)
* * *
P.S. Yes, I had unplugged the iron.
* * *
🔑 The 6 keys to success as a
content creator [research]:
1. Fast to first dollar
2. Plan budget and runway (18+ months)
3. Focus on an ultra-niche audience
4. One core platform
5. Diverse monetization
6... It's all in this new research, which many of you contributed to. [ungated]
🤖 In the age of AI disruption, you can't afford to get left behind.
And you won't be! Because our friends at Clutch.io have a new AI report here to help you stay ahead of the curve. The Clutch folks included my thoughts on how we should view AI. [also ungated]
📚 How to Write a Book Review.
Related: Will you be the 130th review on Amazon or 90th on Goodreads?
DEPARTMENT OF SHENANIGANS
I wish you'd told me.