As an author, used book fairs are my candy store.
The price is insanely cheap.
The selection is overwhelming.
The smell is mildewy and wonderful.
Is there a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?
I think not.
Recently, I stopped by the 31st annual St. Louis YMCA Book Fair to stock up on fall reading. And I’m excited to report that I DID NOT find one of my own books for a dollar like I did last year. That was terribly depressing.
What I did notice, however, was that certain books had titles that were so incredibly irrelevant, outdated and poorly chosen, they actually made me laugh out loud. For example:
• Is Stalinism Dead? The Future of Perestroika as a Moral Revolution
• The Omega Strategy: How You Can Retire Rich by 1986
• Start Your Own Mail Order Business
• How to Make $25,000 a Year Publishing Newsletters
• Mastering Pacman: Tripling Your Score on the Game that’s Sweeping the Nation!
By the way, I just finished reading that last book, and am now convinced that I could pretty much annihilate ANYBODY in Pacman.
But I digress.
HERE’S THE POINT: These titles are irrelevant. Inconsequential. Obsolete. Valueless.
And as such, they’re unbuyable, unrelatable and unreadable.
SO, HERE’S THE QUESTION: How much profitability are YOU sacrificing by being irrelevant?
For many individuals and organizations, the answer is “too much.”
So, today we’re going to learn four strategies for retaining relevancy:
1. Publish a steady stream of solid content. You need to be the generator. The source. The origin. The distributor. Now, everything you put out there doesn’t have to be amazing. But if you want to be amazing, you’ve got to put everything out there.
So, here’s the secret: Send a continuous flow of education. Don’t come off as someone who has a sense of scarcity. Whether you leverage RSS, social media, podcasts or ezines, never stop publishing.
Because if you’re viewed as a broker of intelligence and wisdom; an aggregator of valuable content that’s light on the self-promotion and heavy on the actionable practices, your ideas WILL become compulsively readable (or listenable!)
What’s more, as explained in the book Value Forward Marketing by Paul DiModica, “Use Thought Leadership devices that force people to become educated and subliminally teach them how to buy and what to buy from you.”
RELEVANCY REMINDER: Consistently deploy enduring content BY you, and it will become less threatening to do business WITH you. What did you publish today?
2. Implement a system for staying constantly relevant. Consider these questions to help design yours:
a. Where are you customers hanging out? Go there!
b. How healthy is your media diet? Cut out the crap!
c. How responsive are you to “requestions”? Answer them!
d. What terms are your customers searching for? Google them!
e. How are you upgrading your qualifications? Recertify them!
f. Are you dedicated to life-long learning? Rededicate yourself!
g. What publications are your customers reading? Subscribe to them!
h. When was the last time you got new headshots taken? Shoot them!
i. What three industry blogs are you reading weekly? Bookmark them!
j. How many networking events have you attended this week? Sign up!
k. What market opportunities do you need to respond to? Leverage them!
l. How frequently are you updating your online profiles/statuses? Write them!
m. How many of your customers have you taken to lunch this month? Invite them!
n. How often are you asking your customers to help make your business better? Ask them!
RELEVANCY REMINDER: Riches come from relevant, which comes from current. So, no current = No curren-CY. What’s your relevancy system?
3. Build your listening platform. No matter what title is printed on your business card, you work in the problem solving business. Period. So, here’s most effective strategy for understanding which real, expensive, urgent, relevant pervasive problems you need to solve: LISTEN.
Listen everywhere. Use every listening post you can find. Consider how people are reacting to your current thinking. Listen to what your customers aren’t telling you. When you really listen, people WILL describe their truths about you. And those truths will be the key to retaining relevancy in their eyes.
So, whether you use social media, Google alerts, informal surveys, online evaluations, interviews, user conferences, 360 feedback reports, refuse to be anywhere that doesn’t allow you to listen and learn.
RELEVANCY REMINDER: Schedule a listening occasion. Listen very carefully to what people tell you they remember about you. What will building a listening platform earn you the right to do?
4. Discard the inconsequential. In 1997, Scott Adams published The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century. Aside from being hysterical, the book also made several predictions that (actually) came true. For example:
“In the future, more people will actively ignore the news because it is irrelevant.”
Wow. Adams couldn’t be more right. Especially when stations like CNN and Fox News continuously air hour-long discussions on inconsequential drivel like “Barack and Michelle’s Date to the Opera” and “Brittney’s Bodyguard Calls it Quits.”
Who. The Hell. Cares.
Answer: Nobody. And that’s why nobody’s watching. So, my question for you is: Do people care about what YOU’RE saying? Are YOUR ideas inconsequential? If so, expect your customers and employees to tune you out instantly.
RELEVANCY REMINDER: Learn the questions to identify and appeal to anyone's self-interest. Do people wish they could fast-forward your conversations?
In summary, we turn to Marc Ecko, billionaire creator of Ecko Unlimited Clothing, who said:
“You stay relevant by being conscious and not over-intellectualizing things. The biggest trap for creative types is the moment they start becoming introspective it paralyzes them. You can't operate from a position of fear of irrelevance. You have to operate from a position of strength and confidence."
REMEMBER: Retaining relevancy isn’t about being a chameleon; but rather, it’s about consciously evolving towards a future you’re both the creator OF and the participator IN.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to start training for my upcoming Pacman tournament.
Blinky doesn’t stand a chance.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How much profitability are YOU sacrificing by being irrelevant?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "6 Ways to Out POSITION Your Competitors," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!
* * * *
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
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Friday, September 18, 2009
As an author, used book fairs are my candy store.