January 18, 2010
Constant Builds Brands, Passion Builds the Long Tail
Someone unsubscribed to my feed recently and the reason was as I expected it would be: the content was no longer relevant. My assumption of course was that they subscribed many years ago when I wrote about RSS and aggregation more than anything else.
That hasn’t been my focus for years of course. That said, I really haven't had a specific focus for awhile now so it's no surprise someone who wanted a regular flow of content on a specific topic, would not only find my content irrelevant, but inconsistent – it is.
It's because one day I might write about theatre, dark chocolate and intense walks through the streets of Rome, the next about an initiative in southern Africa and the next about some cool new app for Facebook or the iPhone.
Not being focused typically won't result in a lot of traffic. It won't garner the kind of repeat readers Mashable and TechCrunch get consistently because their readers know what content they’re going to get every day. It’s predictable and constant……..on purpose.
Constant builds brands. Constant means consistency to readers, consistency builds trust and trust ignites brands. How many times have you heard a Yank say that they sought out a McDonalds or Starbucks overseas because it was consistent, they knew what they were going to get? Bottom line, it’s familiar and they didn't have to think about the result.
Recently in Paris, I ran into an American who was there for 28 hours and learned that he spent 8 of those hours in a Starbucks. While not a surprise, it crushed me to hear this because constant deflates my spirit, not ignites it. My spirit isn't a brand nor is it constant.
Without garnered trust, you may not be taken seriously, at least not by the group of people who crave constants.....and the latter as we know, are the mainstream who build numbers, create a massive following and over time, build your online brand.
The alternative to being taken seriously is just to be taken. Ahhhh yes, passion. Let’s look at the long tail for a moment. It’s filled with thousands of obscure niche interests of people from around the world in categories you never knew existed. Green knit suits from Thailand, tasty blue love potions, Dragon dolls, and talking dustbusters, bring ‘em on.
Let’s think about the word “taken.” Such a visual, vibrant word isn’t it? You could be taken by a fragrance, a taste, the sound of a deep cello mixed with a harp, a flower garden, the texture on a Picasso painting or a man’s voice. Very few of these luscious incredible feelings, emotions, and senses are constant. Thankfully no………for the result makes life interesting.
I'd rather be taken to everywhere and everything but the constant. The ever-changing landscape of rolling hills for two miles only to be hit by large boulders and sharp cliffs around the next corner. The ever-changing hot and cold personalities of a redhead as she samples vegan pizza one moment and ostrich and foie gras the next.
The ever-changing dialogue between an elderly man and his granddaughter which increases as the weeks and months pass by. The ever-changing energy of a scooter on a busy Berlin street and the local baker's four-table cafe in a small Malaysian town.
Mix up the colors. Mix up the notes. Mix up the ingredients. Mix up the tempo. Mix up the tones. The hours. The sunshine and the rain. The puddles and the snowflakes. The glass and the wood. The flute and the drums. The A's with the M's. The Mac and the PC. The musicians and the lawyers. The artists and the engineers. The scientists and the bohemians. A German Shepherd and a Costa Rican butterfly.
Send me. Take me. Show me. Teach Me. Energize me. Push my boundaries. Ignite my fire. And with it, make sure that in any given day, that I'm never motivated and inspired by any one thing, whether it be technology or art alone.
Isn’t it great that one day we can choose a consistent and constant brand and the next a long tail passion that sets us on fire? Isn’t it great that we now have more choices and places to find that uniqueness on the web even if you have to do a little digging to get there?
Given that we have those choices, make them. Opt out of the large constant brand that you trust from time to time and you may find that you want to change your 80/20 rule and have the 20 be your constant, not the 80. America would be a very different place if we all chose the 20%; if we demanded that the 20% show up more; if we treasured it, praised it, voted for it and not the constant…….if we all increased our standards and did a little more creation and a little less observing.
It's an opportunity for the biggest mashup of all times and we haven’t even touched the tip of what’s possible yet. The online world is but a babe...still in its infancy. The digital gold rush is most definitely not over.
Enter more passion, diversity, and uncertainty. Enter waves, thunder, ponds, gardens, birds and buffalos all at the same time. Yes, all at the same time.
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passionately constant is the real long tail. i would submit that you are passionately constant in your own special category, with a very real personal brand as described in this post. keep it up.
Posted by: jim kiles | Jan 19, 2010 6:43:59 AM
Passionately constant eh? Thanks Jim. Too funny. Not a bad way to look at it :-)
Posted by: Renee Blodgett | Jan 19, 2010 12:41:04 PM
I have looked at many sites on this subject and not come across a site such as yours which tells everyone everything that they need to know. I have bookmarked your site. Can anyone else suggest any other related topics that I can look for to find out further information?
Posted by: Constant Focus | Feb 25, 2010 6:49:41 PM
Thank you for posting this information, it will help a lot of people.Can you tell me of other source of this information?
Posted by: Constant Focus | Mar 11, 2010 1:01:48 AM