What have you done to Wow your readers lately?

by Nick Usborne on February 16, 2011

Here’s a story for you.

Back in the late nineties I was hired for several months by a start-up. My role was to be their online marketing expert during the start-up phase.

They hired me because the boss was a huge fan. He had heard me speak at conferences, read all my articles, and thought I was the bee’s knees.

When I first went to their office, I got the full celebrity treatment. During meetings, the boss would just say, “What Nick says. We’ll do that.”

I know, it sounds sickening. But back then, during the start-up-crazy-late-nineties, it could be like that. Besides, their background was as a traditional bricks and mortar business, and I knew a lot more about web marketing than they did.

Everything went fine. I ended up working with them for over a year.

But after a few weeks, that original shine began to wear off.

I was still the same guy. I still knew a lot more about web marketing than they did.

Part of that process is natural. After the first week I was no longer this “guru” they held in their imagination. I was a just a guy who knew stuff.

But also, I couldn’t wow them in the same way again. I could never recreate the wow moment when I first sat down at the first meeting.

Their increasing familiarity with my work, regardless of its quality, made it seem ordinary and expected.

The same thing can happen with your website and your web content.

You can launch with a great idea and great content. You can wow your audience and get amazing word of mouth.

But after a few weeks or months – even if your content remains at the same level of quality – it will no longer seem as remarkable as it once did. It becomes expected. “Wow” becomes ordinary.

And, of course, the moment you hit “ordinary” in a reader’s mind, you have a problem.

The answer?

Create occasional content designed specifically to wow.

For example, you might publish a blog daily, or post a new article weekly. That’s great.

But perhaps once every two or three months you could publish something different.

For example:

– A video interview with an industry expert.

– A stunning infographic.

– A thought-leader essay, significantly longer and more detailed than your regular articles or posts.

– A quality slide show presentation.

The format doesn’t matter much, just so long as it is instantly recognizable as being different from your regular content.

Also, put in ten times the effort for these pieces, when compared to your daily or weekly content.

Going back to the title of this article – What have you done to Wow your readers lately? – you use this special, occasional content to wow your readers all over again, and remind them why they started following you in the first place.

If life and publishing were fair, all you would need to do is publish quality content on a regular basis.

But that’s not how it works.

To retain the long-term attention of your readers, you have to wow them again and again.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Charles Ormsbee February 22, 2011 at 8:55 am

Hello Nick,
Great article you wowed me. Great technique weaving the story into the underlying concept. I have been reading the free content for sometime now and your advice and suggestions are really helping my web sites. Thank you.
I would like to sign up for a membership in Web Content Cafe? Do you have a yearly subscription option? I don’t need a price break but it would really help, for accounting reasons, if I could pay this for 1 year or more at a time. I didn’t see that option on your PayPal form. Thank you.

Nick Usborne February 22, 2011 at 9:21 am

Charles, hi. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I don’t currently offer an annual subscription option, but perhaps I should look into it!

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