P.S. This is the second part of a three-part series on who you are online. Part one is here. P.P.S. I hate when people “P.S.” things when they haven’t said anything to begin with. Weirdos.
Sooo, I don’t want you to start judging me and whatnot, but I have to tell you an embarrassing truth: I’m a movie theater snob. A legit snob. This is what happened:
I was minding my own business and living life while watching movies at regular theaters. I even frequented a “dollar theater” at which a rat ran past my foot in the middle of a movie one time. What did I do? I propped my legs up on the empty chair in front of me and finished the rest of that Channing Tatum movie, whatever it was, desperately hoping the rat didn’t come back. This was my life. I was in Austin, Texas (no longer living in NYC), so a movie shouldn’t cost more than $10. But, then . . .
The luxury theaters started popping up. Someone treated me to my first movie at one such fancy theater a few years ago and in my head I laughed at them . . . “Who pays $29 for a single movie ticket? Ha. I judge thee. I’m never coming back here.” (Talk about ungrateful.)
But as I was sitting there, shoes off, reclined in my oversized suede chair, feet underneath a warm, comfy blanket, watching a super duper action flick, it hit me . . . this dang movie theater was making something that everyone offers (movies) into an experience (a bar and pool tables before your movie, fine dining during the movie, a full date experience, dangerously delicious drinks for grownups, comfort, personal attendants, and popcorn in a fancy bag). Everybody knows popcorn tastes better in a fancy bag. (Tweet that, yo . . . I know I’m going to.)
I started going to all my movies at this theater. I loved the whole process, from the moment I walked into the schmancy lobby and bar, to my semi-private reclining seats, to exiting the theater with all the nice people thanking us for coming. “Who goes to a movie at a regular theater just to see a movie anymore? I judge thee. I’m never doing that again.”
Hey Regina, thanks for the long story about how you became a movie snob.
You’re welcome, my friend. And now you may be wondering, “How shall I go about making my blog or website an experience [because that’s hopefully where she’s going with this story]?” Great question. Let’s explore this. And let’s also state for the record that I still watch movies at all types of theaters, I just prefer the full experience of my snooty theater.
Which elements direct your readers’ experiences from the moment they land on your blog?
1. Your profile picture
Do you look approachable? fun? smart? fashionable? What is appropriate for your genre and personality?
2. The first words your visitor chooses to read
- logo + tagline
- blog post title
- home page content
- about page content
Depending on your reader’s goal, he or she may choose to read any of the items above first. Will they all leave your intended impression?
3. Your overall imagery and graphics
4. The amount and type of options to click on and view
Is there something that immediately applies to and attracts your reader? Is there so much to choose from that it’s overwhelming?
5. The tone + voice of your content
Is it authentic? enjoyable? informative? Do you talk down to your readers? Do you have a jovial personality?
6. The perceived quality of your content
Is everything generally error free and helpful? formatted well? fun to read?
7. The reader’s interaction with, or internal response to, your content
Did you make them think? act? laugh? learn?
8. Other people’s comments and interaction with your content
Do others enjoy you? When someone sees others having a good time with you and your content, it can cause them to enjoy the experience more.
9. Your responsiveness to others
Do you reply to some, most, or all of your comments? Do you not reply to any of your comments?
10. Your actual responses to people
Are they quality? sincere? How do you treat others? Were you helpful in your comments? Does it seem like you care?
11. The consistency with which you post
This helps build trust that you’re here to help/entertain for the long term. People don’t always love the thought of getting emotionally invested in something that will be short lived. That’s why I like to wait a few seasons of a show and make sure I’ll have enough episodes to really dig in (hello: Friends, Monk, Psych, Alias).
12. The information and content available about you on other channels
What’s on your Twitter feed, Pinterest boards, etc.? If I like what you offer in these additional places, it will affect my overall experience with you.
13. What others are saying about you on other platforms
We’ll talk about this in section three of this series (social proof), but basically: when other people recommend or like someone, it influences us. It directs our experiences and opinions.
Are your items above already in perfect shape? If yes, you are my new favorite blogger.
If no, you are really my new favorite blogger, I didn’t even like the person above. You’re my true favorite and as a way to show you I mean it: (1) download the 2-page checklist and activity below and start to research, scheme, and plan how you can change the things you don’t all the way love, and (2) if you are unsure what impression your items are leaving or if you want an outside opinion, leave a comment on this post with your site URL and question/concern, and I’ll respond.
Oh, and if you tweet me (@byReginaTV) with our secret hashtag that only you and I know (#WhoAreYouOnline), then we can meet up for a drink (coffee/tea or tequila/wine) the next time you’re in Austin and talk blogtalk in person. I mean that. Especially if you’re buying.
>>> In the NOTES + CHANGES column, record the things you like about the experience right now and ideas for how you can change it to make it even better for your readers. In the COMPLETE? column, check off the item or write the date of completion once you make your changes.
As you develop your customer or reader experience, keep in mind:
Your experience doesn’t have to be snooty, if that’s not you. The experience you offer simply needs to match you and appeal to your audience. I think of the Alamo Drafthouse (a quirky, regular-priced movie theater here in town) as a perfect example. They have “quote-a-longs” of older, popular movies, “sing-a-longs” of musicals, and marathons of nerd movies.
As a real life example, I may or may not have spent 13 hours at the Alamo Drafthouse watching all three Lord of The Rings movies and eating hobbit meals (including second breakfast and elevensies) one time. Their experience appealed to me (and 200 other nerds) and makes me go back quite frequently. Actually, I’m not sure if it was the movies or the hobbit beer and wine they kept serving us, but something keeps me coming back.
As a more blog-type example, I like to learn. I like to study. I like highlighters. I like taking notes. I like planning. I like adult homework. I feel like you like some of those things too. So, on my blog you’ll typically find longer, tutorial-ish, lesson-ish, do adult homework-ish posts. I didn’t actually create that experience on purpose, but it is a real part of the experience you may have when you spend your valuable time with me on this blog–thank you! And since you’re way more smarter than me are, you can actually create the experience you offer on purpose.
Let’ssssBeHonest: There are 2.7 million fashion blogs started per day. How can you make yours an experience true to you and fun for your readers? There are 1,700 new blogs about blogging created every month. How can you create an experience worth returning for? There are roughly 23,457 blogs started by graphic designers every month. HOW WILL YOURS BE AN EXPERIENCE AND NOT JUST A BLOG?
Do something. Really cool. Right now.
It’s called “Download and print this last exercise below and then do it at your earliest convenience.”
It’s an activity that asks you to look at other industries (and blogs in other niches) to figure out what makes them an experience, then see if you can translate those experiences onto your blog somehow. For example, you may love the nail salon you go to that serves margaritas as you get your pedicure. If you write a weekly blog post, or launch a weekly podcast/video episode, perhaps you can send out an attractive design + recipe of your suggested drink of the week for your readers to make and enjoy as they listen to, read, or watch you. You’ve got the idea.
P.S. If the ideas you come up with don’t work, just scrap them. Try something new for a while, but change it if you don’t like it.
P.P.S. The exercise asks you to look at different industries than your own because I think this allows us to be more creative. We’re not swagger jackers here (people who jack other people’s swagger >> translation: people who try to steal other people’s mojo/ideas).
Next up in this series, we’re talking about social proof. Stay le tuned.
Photo of man: Eduard Bonnin