There’s a moment when an online authority platform reaches its first “tipping point;” that moment a well-placed guest post brings your website a surge of traffic overnight, or a single joint venture partner email adds 1,000 new readers to your list. It seems to be the single moment that changes everything.
Getting this kind of attention is no longer a mysterious process. Every visitor and subscriber to your web site can be seen as a vote — you’ve just earned their attention — one of the rarest of resources.
If you’re ready for your expertise-authority platform to begin experiencing a series of tipping points with traffic, subscribers, and sales, focus first on what I call “The Three A’s of Attention;” Assets, Authority, and Attention.
Attention in Action
It’s fun to sign on to our Rainmaker Platform and look over the traffic stats. We can always tell when another large, influential site has linked to one of our posts, because there will be a sudden surge of traffic.
And each of those links result in another small tipping point for us, a surge of new visitors to our site, and lots of new friends subscribing to our weekly post.
I’ve seen a lot of these tipping points — for our own sites and for our clients — and big or small, they’re always exciting. This kind of “compounded” leverage is what makes writing online so compelling. And when you’re focusing on the right principles, tipping points always lead exponentially to others, and soon, you’re on a roll.
Sadly, a lot of Internet business models are built only on the hope for a tipping point moment – and for a business built solely on this expectation, that moment rarely arrives. While the tipping point can and will build your business, you don’t have to wait for it to happen by mere chance.
Instead, focus on earning that attention by producing valuable content that builds relationships, one subscriber at a time.
Earn the attention you deserve
For many practitioners, networking or speaking to local groups has long been a primary tool to attract attention and new patients or clients: Get out there, rub shoulders, trade business cards, make connections, pick up the phone and ask for referrals – and reach one person at a time.
And, there’s nothing wrong with that, other than when attempting to get attention through traditional networking, you end up relying largely on luck – on the chance that someone at that networking event will need what you have right now, and choose to get it from you or refer you to someone who does.
Seth Godin wrote about this on his blog a few weeks ago:
Does your project depend on a miracle, a bolt of lightning, on being chosen by some arbiter of who will succeed? I think your work is too important for you to depend on a lottery ticket. In some ways, this is the work of the Resistance, an insurance policy that gives you deniability if the project doesn’t succeed. “Oh, it didn’t work because we didn’t get featured on that blog, didn’t get distribution in the right store, didn’t get the right endorsement . . .”
Seth Godin is a perfect example of the smart way to grow an online info-business empire. And you can do and achieve what he has.
How are you creating your “Attention Assets?”
Let’s take a quick look at the two phases of attention-attraction used by most practitioners building a practice, and then the third phase reserved for those building an online Authority platform:
Network and advertise in person: Show up at a local networking event; munch on stale cookies with business cards in hand, hoping to be picked from the crowd of equally eager practitioners. And advertise: in the local newspaper, or maybe the yellow pages.
Network and advertise online: Leverage the web with sites like Facebook or Linked-in, your “virtual” business card and resume. There you may build networks of people to find patients or clients. Others also put up a snazzy website in the hopes it will be chosen from the sea of competing practitioner websites. Most websites serve as pretty but static “online brochures.” A few advertise in Google or Facebook, in the hopes they’ll draw some “traffic.”
Authority marketing: Build your own content-rich site, draw your own “tribe” and build relationships with them. The web brings the ultimate global networking event to your front door. Open 24/7, people can find your practice and recommend you to others without you even asking.
The Personal Web has enabled Attention 3.0, which encourages word of mouth, and naturally generates referrals.
Attention 3.0 is leveraged: after you earn one subscriber, you can reach that person, and many others, simultaneously. After a networking event, you have to reach out to each contact one at a time.
Attention 3.0 is perpetual: when you create a post, link, or guest post out there in cyberspace, it will stay there continuing to draw attention long after everyone at the networking event has gone home.
Attention 3.0 is the new way to network and advertise, and it all begins with your own attention asset: your own platformed site.
Being chosen is only the beginning, not the end
Of course, we appreciate those sites that find us worthy of a link. But I don’t sit around waiting for links from influential sites to build my business. That would be the equivalent of handing out business cards and sitting around hoping someone calls.
Earning this kind of leveraged attention begins with creating valuable, helpful content for your readers. Here, for example, my first priority is helping wellness practitioners establish and build their own virtual business. Links from influential sites are a happy “side effect” of writing the post that someone finds and wants to link to.
Want more happy side effects of your own? Want your own tipping point? Here’s how to make it happen, on your own site.
Your Tipping Point: The Three A’s of Attention
1. Create Your Assets
Identify your audience and build a simple, laser-focused site. Your platform is your home base, the place you send everyone from all those articles you write, and from those social networking sites everyone’s so crazy about.
Identifying your crowd is just another way of talking about finding your niche, and I’ve written a lot about platform building on this site.
Your next, on-going asset is creating value over time.
2. Build Authority
Write frequently and passionately about your chosen, niched topic. Great, relevant content is the key to Google’s electronic heart, and the key to your future as a genuinely leveraged health practitioner. In past articles, I’ve mentioned tipping point stories of clients who’ve been approached for interviews by the press or even book publishers solely based on the content on their site.
When you make a regular effort to connect, be interesting, and engaging, you’ll attract an audience, and linky new friends, too – especially if you pay some attention to the next step.
3. Earn Attention
Learn how to do great SEO on every page of your site.
Those of you who’ve worked with us know we use and heartily recommend Scribe SEO, the tool we use with all client blogs to optimize their content for the search engines. Scribe is available as a separate WordPress plugin, or built in to the Rainmaker Platform. Jon’s written about Scribe in detail here.
Also reach out and post on other great sites relevant to your audience.
When you post in the right places, your post (with your link at the bottom) lives on for years, drawing new readers to your site. A number of our clients have been successfully reaching out to other sites building those valuable link relationships. This is the way Attention 3.0 works. Those links between sites are electronic business cards on steroids.
Seth Godin sums it up perfectly in the conclusion of the post I mentioned earlier:
There’s nothing wrong with leverage, no problem at all with an unexpected lift that changes everything. But why would you build that as the foundation of your plan?
The magic of the tribe is that you can build it incrementally, that day-by-day you can earn the asset that will allow you to bring your work to people who want it. Or you can skip that and wait to get picked. Picked to be on Oprah or American Idol or at the cash register at Borders.
Getting picked is great. Building a tribe is reliable, it’s hard work and it’s worth doing.
Contrast and Compare
Every once in awhile, we’ll be discussing my content marketing model with a potential client, and he or she will say, “I know I really need a great site that will draw attention to my practice and message, but I don’t have time right now to build a website and write posts and wait for traffic. I need clients now.”
And off they’ll go, to get clients, now.
We all want new clients now. And most practitioners are doing plenty to generate those new clients. What about tomorrow’s clients? What’s your plan for next month? And next year?
Thus the inherent limitations of Attention 1.0 and 2.0: even when you land that one new client, when that patient is feeling better, what then? It’s on to the next (hoped-for) client referral, local networking event, or Linked-in lead. And the next.
There’s really no comparison: A contact and a business card at a Meetup event at a downtown hotel. Result: One new client, maybe a few referrals.
Or your own leveraged attention asset, sending you new friends and clients, 24/7.