Like in every other industry, here there are people offering a product and people consuming it. However, can publishers still talk about consumers? Can we compare content consumption to consuming other products? We believe that it isn’t quite the same. Publishers are shaping new relationships: supporters, believers and fans are much more than just consumers.
Why content is not like other products
Buying soap, for instance, is easy. There are a few options and we just choose the one that we like the most, which sometimes is not even the best, but just the one that we prefer. That’s it, there are a few tangible, material options and we pick one.
However, when we decide to spend our time reading an article, listening to a podcast or watching a TV show, there are a hundred million other options. Things that we could be doing in that exact moment. We don’t have to choose between a movie or another, or at least, not only. We have to choose what to invest our time in or how to enjoy it. There is not a material need that we need to meet like when we run out of milk and we need to buy more, for instance. When it comes to content consumption is mostly just us deciding how to use our time.
A different choice
Because content consumption is mostly related to how we spend our free time, all these rational elements that apply to selling products or services seem to be completely empty here. No one decides to watch a TV show because it is good for them. We just press play on the remote because we want to watch something that inspires us or entertains us. Something that makes us cry or laugh. And it doesn’t really matter whether that show is going to be, rationally, good for us. The logic is different here and so, we cannot keep thinking that a publisher’s competitor is another publisher. At least not only. And we should not keep thinking about consumers as just consumers either.
Fans, followers, supporters and believers
Consumers are fans, followers, supporters and even believers. There is some kind of natural alignment between what your readers, listeners or watchers like and what you are offering. Natural affinity and empathy are the basis to build a stronger relationship. This is exactly the reason why those who read your articles daily, are also the ones who follow you on Twitter, like your comments on Facebook, buy your company’s merchandising, etc. It’s not just consumers, it’s people who really love the content you create or the articles that you write. People with a similar view on most relevant matters, with a similar sense of humor or with similar concerns.
Also, that’s the reason why they usually have high expectations. Your content matters to them and you should not disappoint your audience. Not only because they are there for you, but also, because they are your best “brand ambassadors”, your advocates.
Nurturing supporters and fans
Your supporters and fans, those who always read your articles and often agree with your point of view, those who believe that your work is valuable, they only ask one thing from you. You have to keep up the good work. Your ideas, topics, content quality, frequency, etc. have to be consistent because that’s exactly why they choose you over other publishers, but most importantly, over other activities to spend their free time.
Data will help you identify that segment of your audience that will always lead you towards the right path. Once you’ve identified them, analyze their behavior and refine your strategy.
Even if you think that you are investing too much time trying to meet the needs of a tiny part of your audience, you need to know that this will pay off. Every individual has friends and relatives and is part of a social circle that thinks and behaves in a similar way, therefore, this is a solid strategy to grow a loyal audience.
Just remember: they love your work. Don’t disappoint them.