While listening to a podcast interview with Jerry Seinfeld the other day I heard a snippet that grabbed my attention.
He talked about his start in comedy, the reasons behind his show’s success, and the trials and tribulations of developing his latest material.
It was in this final bit that I found gold.
In my line of work–helping experts build businesses–my mind is always on the lookout for useful material; I’m a mouse forever searching for expert-related cheese.
When Seinfeld talked about his process…the process of all great comics…the biggest, brightest piece of cheese fell into my lap.
Are They Laughing at Me?
He walks the stage, bright lights hitting his face, and trudges through a new bit. He’s testing his material. A few chuckle, but aside from the type who will laugh at anything the mighty Seinfeld sputters, the bit bombs. It’s awkward.
That’s the point.
The next time, at the next club, he adjusts. He builds on the pieces of the bit that worked and avoids the moments that sucked the funny out of the room.
Each stop along the way Seinfeld delivers jokes, gauges response, and tweaks approach. Each stop along the way the jokes get tighter and where uncomfortable silence once ruled the room, laughter comes crashing in.
Be Like Jerry
This is the way of the wise. Put it out there…measure response…make improvements. Repeat.
Chances are your first, second, or fiftieth attempt at, well, anything, won’t be perfect. There are too many unknowns, too many variables to pull off perfection every time. Like Seinfeld’s new material, some attempts will flourish while others will fail.
The key is what you do next.
He makes his jokes better. You have to do the same. You have to measure how your audience reacts to your material–be it blog posts, podcasts, videos, lead magnets, products, or services–and make it better the second time around.
Getting the “Laugh”
Comedians tell jokes and listen for laughter; it’s their feedback mechanism. As experts, your mechanisms are attention, action, and engagement. I want you to study the following signposts in your business–what’s working, what’s broken, what’s the tweak to test?
- Which Emails Get Opened? Studying the answer will quickly reveal which topics your audience craves most. What an insight that is! Armed with this information you can create proven content, develop products that are sure to sell, and consistently build your brand from week to week. Tip: Depending on your email service provider, you may need to copy your subjects into a spreadsheet along with their open rates. This will give you a useful snapshot of topic/opens.
- Which email links get clicked? Closely studying how many times a link is clicked within your emails will also help you discover which topics are popular among your people. There’s more. Measuring clicks tracks your ability to write compelling copy. If a hot topic (many opens) gets few clicks, it may be that your copy left them cold. What, in particular, turned them off? What could you have done to jazz things up?
- Which posts get the most action? Which posts, videos, or podcasts get the most readers, viewers, or listeners? Which garner the most comments? Which get the most shares? You’re the comic and these are the laughs; when is the room quiet and when is the room exploding with laughter? Why exactly?
- Which social media pieces get the most engagement? Study your tweets, Facebook/Google+/LinkedIn posts, pins and snapchats and vines, and Instagram photos–which formats get the most traction? Quotations, shared links, random thoughts, straight content, photos, videos, infographics? What type of content gets the most love? Behind-the-scenes access, day-in-the-life insights? Which industry topics, in particular, tap into the hearts and minds of your audience?
- What percentage of visitors joins your list? You create a wonderful lead magnet. People visit. A percentage requests the magnet and joins your list. This is where it ends for most experts, but the true businessmen and women know what to do next…they track their numbers. How many people visited? Of those, how many signed up? These numbers are vital. They tell you, without question, whether you’re offering the right lead magnet–whether you’re “getting laughs”–or whether you need to hop, skip, and jump back to the drawing board.
The list of “laughs” to measure could go on and on, but I know you, my wickedly sharp audience, understands the point well: You must not stop at creation. You must gauge response and adjust accordingly.
Start today. Tap into your inner Seinfeld and look back over your emails, your posts, your social media platforms–what worked well? What didn’t? And how can you use that information to ensure your next piece of content leaves them rolling in the aisles?
It’s Comment Time!
Questions, comments, or concerns about today’s chat? About Seinfeld? (I have no doubt he’s reading this right now, eagerly awaiting your comments.) Let me know below and, as always, I’ll read and reply to every one.