On how the link economy attitude can help build your followers’ loyalty
A few minutes ago on Linked In I read the following article from my National Speaker’s Association buddy Sam Horn:
It Wasn't a Midlife Crisis; It was MIDLIFE CLARITY
"Life is too precious to postpone." - Sam Horn Five years ago, when I announced my plans to embark upon a Year by the…
From her article:
I smiled, “I’m not having a midlife crisis, I’m having midlife clarity. I’m clear that if I don’t do this now, I may never get the chance. And that’s a risk I’m not willing to take.”
Furthermore, I wasn’t planning on doing nothing, I was doing something that made my heart sing just thinking about it.
That is powerful. Which, of course, is why I wanted to share it. She’s a gift.
I’ve worked with Sam before when I was putting some book ideas and speeches together, years ago when I was an active NSA member. She’s brilliant, and when she uses her considerable skill with words she’s unstoppable.
To that, kindly, she came up with the book title “Tongue Fu,” which sold like hotcakes. She’s the Jedi Master of Words, and when I saw her piece this morning Mid-Life Clarity, I couldn’t wait to inhale it. It spoke directly to what I had just done this past year in my own life, and a few years before in 2012 when I completely redirected my life away from corporate work to adventure travel.
Crisis has nothing whatsoever to do with it. That’s why I love how Sam uses to words to twist our perceptions and invite us to rewrite that story. Her article is so good, that while I plan to pen something similar, it just far better to give you this gift than any rework of mine.
However, as a Synergy contributor, I want to make a larger point here.
You and I as writers have the sacred responsibility to read, read, read, read. We must read people better than we are, we must read people smarter than we are, we must immerse ourselves in the wonder of words that are crafted by people with exquisite talent. Not only that, if you and I possess the conceit that we are going to move people’s lives with our words, then one of the great gifts we are charged with is to share stuff that is better than ours.
I have written about this before, just a few days ago, when I talked about highlighting other writers. Not just on Medium, albeit that most assuredly is how to build community.
The larger challenge, as I see it, is thathat when we see good work, like sharing a fun meme or a motivational saying that truly got us moving, it’s key that we care enough about our readers that we populate our material with references and quotes that also shine the light on others.
A terrible rookie habit is to fear that doing this takes away from us, and that our readers might desert us for that other writer.
What. You gonna go read nothing but Sam Horn now that you’ve seen her work? Do we really think our readers are that silly?
Kindly. Don’t be ridiculous. You just expanded their world. That is your JOB as a writer.
While we are now past silly season, one of the great classics has a universal lesson to teach us. A Miracle on 34th Street, for the uninitiated, features a Macy’s Santa who, when his families are frustrated by the lack of a particular toy at Macy’s, directs them to a better deal down the street.
The manager at first is horrified and wants to fire Santa for losing them profits. That is until one very confused-but-happy customer explains to the manager that Santa’s willingness to direct her elsewhere to get what she needs, and Macy’s willingness to hire such an employee, has absolutely locked in her loyalty to Macy’s for life.
The manager is stunned, but he sees the point.
This is referred to as the “link economy.”
The National Speaker’s Association has long revered and practiced the attitude to make the pie bigger rather than to fight one another over business. When we uplift, support, link to and help others succeed, we end up being heroes.
The way that works in the online writing platform, if you’re still struggling with this, is simple. The easiest way I can explain it is to repeat a comment I got recently. The writer expressed her gratitude for all the links, the writers I’d introduced her to, and the resources she had found.
She loves reading me because many of my articles are chock-full of books and references and materials that are of value to her. I am constantly sending my readers to other people’s stuff. I make it easy for them to locate gems that they might otherwise never find.
That is a service. When you provide a service, as when you and I research, discover and share valuable writers, products, websites for those who read us, that underscores the value we bring. We save them time, effort and energy. If anything, like Santa at Macy’s, we are making their world better.
I can’t speak for anyone else but when I find a writer or a resource willing to do that for me I am a huge fan, because they are considering what will be useful to me rather that simply how to lock me into their payment profile.
I have a real talent for finding resources and material that others may like. I am also extremely good at connecting people with each other, as well as remembering an article or a product idea that might be useful to someone. It is my delight to make that connection for them. That makes me useful, valuable, and memorable.
In a world of parasites, people so focused on MEMEMEMEMEMEME, so terrified of scarcity that hoarding has become a way of life for the uber rich, generosity of spirit is a fine way to redefine your presence in the world. You stand out like a beacon, a safe way station in an unfriendly, taking, bloodsucking world. When you are generous, you reinforce what is best in us all.
That is how you earn loyal readers. You share, you link, you offer value.