Amazon doesn’t know it, but its delivery drivers are unwitting participants in a game that my son Evan and I have been playing for the past several months.
Here’s how it works…
Like most of us, Evan orders a lot of things on Amazon; he might get two or even three deliveries in a single week.
And Amazon, you may have noticed, now has its drivers take pictures of the packages after leaving them at your door. The pictures appear with the delivery confirmation emails.
Since Evan shares our Prime account, when packages are delivered to his house in Memphis, the photos come to me here in Boston.
Initially, it was just a fun way for me to see his house in near real time.
Rain, sunshine, even last month’s freak Memphis snowstorm, whatever the weather or time of day, I get a little peek into what’s going on with him (one time, I could even see him sitting inside).
About six months ago, though, I had an idea. I said, “Hey Evan, how about you leave a note with a message for me at your front door, so when they take the picture, I’ll see it.”
And so the game began.
Unfortunately, as of this writing, it has yet to work even once. Either they leave the package off to the side, or the photo is too small, or whatever. But we keep trying.
My favorite part about all this is that the drivers, while an essential part of our game, have no idea that they are even playing. They are just doing their jobs – the note-sharing part is strictly for our benefit.
Interestingly, that’s more or less what’s happening when people like you and I share content in the course of promoting our respective businesses: The consumers of our content are playing a game, they just don’t realize it.
Here’s what I mean…
No stranger subscribes to our newsletter, listens to our podcast, signs up for our webinar, or pays attention to whatever we post on social media, because they have an interest in us. They are there for what they hope will be valuable information.
So, step one in creating any kind of business content is to make sure it’s useful to whomever you are trying to reach.
That may seem obvious, but lots of people and companies (I won’t name names) are more interested in sharing content for the purpose of patting themselves on the back and/or showing off how smart they are.
Those aren’t necessarily bad things on the edges, but the starting point is “useful” – something that will help readers/listeners live their lives or do their jobs better.
But here’s where the “unwitting participant” part comes in: Readers and listeners are there for what’s useful. But our goal is not the same; we are playing a different game.
We provide that useful information with the hope that, over time, we will build trust, familiarity, and comfort in referring to or working with us.
After all, none of the information we possess is either unique or scarce. Every problem situation or question you can think of is already covered by Google, whether that’s “How to run an effective Zoom meeting,” “How to throw a curve ball,” or “Why do I sweat so much?” (asking for a friend).
All of which means that if you’re just providing the “useful,” and leaving out the things that build trust and likeability and all that other “soft” stuff, you may have readers, but you won’t have clients.
So make sure you are…
… sharing personal experiences and stories.
… taking a position and expressing a genuine point of view (even if some people disagree).
… responding to comments and questions that your content generates.
… losing the corporate speak and using words favored by actual humans.
Here’s the bottom line.
There’s an old joke about how people choose a town in which to live: “They come for the schools, but they stay for the bars.”
In other words, initially, it’s all about cold, hard, objective facts. But over time, what makes a town feel like home are the people you meet along the way.
To play the “content game” well, you also need to give people what they are initially looking for – useful information.
But don’t stop there. Your real objective is to help them feel at home, with you.
- Can you throw a curve ball?
- How did you choose the town in which you live?
- What’s the largest thing you’ve ever had delivered to your home (extra credit if it’s your spouse).
Share your answers below…