Fans of the TV show Shark Tank are familiar with the phrase “For That Reason, I’m Out.” Potential Shark investors speak these words when they realize the investment idea presented to them is not worth their time and/or money. The reasons they give for opting out are always interesting.
I don’t trust you
I don’t like the product
It’s too early, no proof of concept
I can’t help you with this product category
Too much competition
The numbers don’t add up
Some of these reasons may apply to why your audience is not engaging with your content. Time and money are always at the forefront when investors are considering a deal. Does your content appeal or detract? What kind of content is time worthy? Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary (a.k.a. “Mr. Wonderful”) might say: “The kind that makes me money.” You may think, ‘I will engage readers with promises of profit.’ Don’t. Any savvy businessperson knows that there are nuances to making a profit. Their radar goes up – “I don’t trust you.”
Instead, offer valuable advice in an open-ended fashion, express empathy, provide alternatives for a solution, and tell a story – the way the Shark Investors often do. That’s what Harvard professors David A. Garvin and Joshua D. Margolis advise in a Harvard Business Review post on building credibility through advice giving. They write: “It takes a long time to build trust and political capital, but you can lose credibility very fast.”
“I don’t like the product.” Don’t bother trying to get people to use your app if they don’t like apps. The content could be great but the customer is never going to download it. Period. Move on.
“It’s too early, no proof of concept.” Use case studies for proof of concept. Reveal how-to information in an environment or situation your audience can relate to. It’s not too early if others have succeeded
“I can’t help you in this product category.” Target your content to the right audience. Never send content to someone when you know it is of no benefit to him or her. You are not helping them. Be gracious and recognize that you can’t help everyone.
“Too much competition.” You haven’t differentiated yourself. Get creative. Be original.
“The numbers don’t add up.” This is another way of saying either you don’t know what you are doing or you know what you are doing but your valuation is too high. The former is a credibility issue. The latter goes back to trust.
When you are asking someone for their time or money through your content make sure it is aligned with their interests and objectives. That’s how content appeals and delivers – just ask a Shark.