Thursday, January 05, 2006

Readers want to Learn

It pays to give away all your secrets. Your clients want to know how to do everything you do, and they'll pay you to teach them. Don't worry, you're not giving away the recipe for Coca-Cola or the plans for a nuclear reactor. I'm talking about the little tips for making better investments, writing better code, or closing a tough sale.

The always brilliant Kathy Sierra hopes for more teaching blogs for learning the little secrets in 2006:
The more we help our users learn--through any means (formal training, better docs, a product that encourages discovery and deeper engagement, an experience that seduces the user into wanting to practice)--the more time they can spend in flow. And ultimately, the more likely it is that they will become passionate about whatever it is they're doing.
I hope to see more teaching blogs (or websites, etc.) rather than comb blogs used solely for announcements. One of my favorite examples of this new kind of 'learning blog' is the new one from my horse coach/whisperer, cowboy Darren Wetherill. (Side note, Darren's Horse Bliss blog was mentioned by Hugh of Gaping Void, and the next thing you know, Horse Bliss was mentioned by Businessweek online as an example of what a business blog could be.
Readers enjoy discovery, give it to them. The more they learn from you, the more credibility, respect, and trust you build online. If you concentrate on posting all the secrets of your business (little by little now, you've gotta drag it out), you will build a reputation as an expert in the field. Even with all your secrets in hand, people will now there's more in that head of yours, and that nobody does it like you do. At the end of the day, most will realize you're better at this stuff than they are, and you'll get paid.