The data that matters.
She shared my article about success metrics and tagged me in a tweet by another writer who had posted about how she was measuring her professional accomplishments that year, specifically around rate transparency.
This brought us to the topic of what data we care about as writers.
I asked the question, “What are you checking for to know if a metric is worth tracking? What needs to be present in order for the data you’re collecting to be about quality instead of quantity?”
I’m still waiting on @SexyGrammar’s answer and, in the meantime, here are some things I check for:
Did a thing I wrote/shared contribute to building a relationship with someone?
If not that, did I get a response that affirmed that what I wrote/shared illuminated something for someone?
Did a thing I wrote/shared get reshared and allow for other conversations to happen that I may or may not be a part of?
Did a thing I wrote/shared give someone permission to share their own experience/thoughts?
Did a thing I wrote/shared translate into tangible actions for someone in their life?
Something I have to do with the majority of the clients whom I write for is talk them out of prioritizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and building a huge following on social media.
All of my writing clients are coaches and, in one way or another, have personality-driven businesses. In other words, who they are as a human is a part of their brand.
And instead of trying to trick algorithms into putting their website and online content in front of people, I help them clarify their messaging and create content that people want to engage with and share.
We check for the quality of engagement more than the quantity.
This is in line with serving a micro-community instead fo trying to reach everyone.
Seth Godin is quick to point out that his aim is for people to search for him specifically. He calls this being a meaningful specific, a term borrowed from the late Zig Ziglar.
Of course, this does not work for every type of business or brand.
Not because it’s not possible, but because not everyone wants to do the emotional labour required to figure out what makes them a meaningful specific.
In my experience, after you do the hard work of defining yourself as a meaningful specific, there’s greater opportunity to show up and serve the people who matter to you. It’s less of a hustle and everyone is clear on who you are and the value of what you have to offer.
By the time a coach gets on a call with me to talk writing and marketing, there’s a 90% chance that they’re going to become my next client. Within the first half of the call the conversation switches from, “Do we want to work together on this project?” to “How are we going to work together on this project?”
I intentionally check or data that affirms I’m becoming more and more of a meaningful specific. This has allowed me to do better work for the people I seek to serve and has saved me the time and money required to cast a wider net.
It has allowed me to land higher caliber clients and charge more for my services.
It has allowed me to do more interesting and impactful work.
And, while it might be unconventional advice, it works.
So, what data are you checking for to know that you are—or are on your way to becoming—a meaningful specific?