The Impact Equation – What You Need to Stand Out
1 February 2018
The Impact Equation – What you need to stand out in the vast world wide web.
I actually had no idea what to expect from The Impact Equation as I just picked it up on a whim at the Big Bad Wolf Books Bazar 2017 in Surabaya, Indonesia. I mainly bought it because of the first phrase I saw inside the cover. It said, ‘Anyone can write a blog post, but not everyone can get it liked thirty-five thousand times…’.
You can probably understand why I would want to pick up a book like that, right? Heck, the blog, BookMattic, is all about reaching people and The Impact Equation suggests using the guiding attributes created by both bloggers Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Those attributes are also divided up into four separate sections. The attributes are known as:
Contrast: When an idea hits a person, it has to feel like something similar to an idea he or she has already experienced, yet it has to be different enough to get noticed.
Reach: The higher the number of people you can connect with, the more influential your idea can become.
Exposure: It’s all about how often you connect with your audience.
Articulation: It is about the clarity of your message. Can it be understood instantly? Articulation is being understood.
Trust: Trust is all about being honest and therefore trustworthy.
Echo: It’s all about the feeling of connection you give your reader, visitor, or participant.
The Dividing Sections
Goals: Actually, surprisingly, so many people out there don’t set goals, or don’t do it enough. The Impact Equation gives you useful tools you wouldn’t have thought of before.
Ideas: Make an idea real tangible things you can hold onto and make happen not just in your head.
Platform: A platform is not just one blog, that’s part of it, but many different outlets that allow you to reach as many people as possible. It could include making an appearance on TV, guest posts, or creating your own YouTube Channel.
Human Element: This is putting the human in business. It’s about building that relationship between you and your customer.
Are you just making noise, or are you actually making things happen?
Exactly, are you just making noise, or are you actually making things happen and connecting with people. You may have a great idea, but will anyone hear it? That’s what The Impact Equation is all about, helping you to achieve your desired reach. It may seem like All the attributes are too much to be all covered in one book, but both Chris and Julien did a superb job of putting this thing together.
I’m excited to share it with you.
Contrast – The Impact Equation
Truthfully to tell you, I was a bit overwhelmed with the valuable information packed into this 259-page hardback book. All of the information is usable and there’s no doubt in my mind that I will be coming back to this book as kind of a ‘bible’ for content writing.
The only negative aspect I can think of about The Impact Equation is the fact that it felt like a huge blog post. But really, is that a bad thing?
So the whole idea of contrast is making your ideas stand out from all the other similar ideas out there. As the book mentions,
In our ideas, we are not looking for universal uniqueness. We are looking only for uniqueness inside our own little field.
This point drives home for me, and it should for you too. Each one of you that writes in a blog, writes for a specific niche. Your focus should be narrow with each individual having their own unique voice.
Look at my blog posts for example. Each post I write has some sort of personalized story about who I am and where I came from. There is no other person on this earth with the same exact story as me.
You also can make your posts stand out by using your own story as your uniqueness factor.
There are a few other examples of contrast and the building of ideas I feel are worth mentioning before you go off and buy The Impact Equation.
- You must create ideas, again and again, and allow them to surpass your previous ones.
- Pay attention to your audience’s interests. It’s critical to developing the message you want to deliver.
- Idea creation follows a process that you must recognize when a good idea pops into your head you must mold it like clay until it’s ready for consumption.
- Good ideas make you feel any positive emotion which stick to other concepts in your brain.
- Good ideas solve a problem or fulfill a need.
If you personally want to create something amazing, the best strategy is to act like the Internet does. You have to be comfortable with creating garbage in order to have some measure of awesome stuff.
Powerful Lesson #1:Writing your content with emotion and great ideas in mind will help you to connect with your readers in a deeper way. But, you’ve also got to throw some ideas infront of people in order to find out whether your content is viral material. You’ll never know if your ideas connect with others until you show them. Don’t be afraid to fail and get back up again.
Reach – The Impact Equation
Reach is almost never built instantly. I know this from personal experience. Everyone from Celine Dian to you and me know that building reach takes time. Even if you’re on the top, you still have room to grow.
The thing about reach is that usually, you build it one loyal fan at a time depending on your niche. I also think that each niche has a cap, some are higher than others. Your cap is only as high as there the number of people there are interested in the topic you’re talking about.
But once you reach the heights of your niche, you’ll become a master at communicating with your followers.
Ideas without Reach are like plants without sunlight. They dry up and shrivel and sink back into the soil…There’s nothing fair about Reach.
This quote is so true and it really is unfair. There are probably so many ideas that go under the bridge because the people shouting them out can’t reach enough people to make them go viral. It’s unfortunate, but a reality.
That’s why you have to be persistent, and keep on producing content for your audience to devour. If you keep on checking and changing what works and what doesn’t, eventually you’ll come across a gold mine and make it big.
How do you reach more people with The Impact Equation by using platforms?
Reach is all about using platforms as tools to get your message out. There are the social media platforms and YouTube you can use as tools to reach your audience, but also even better are blogs, websites, radio, and TV.
Getting your name out in any sort of way is part of Reach.
Another strong point The Impact Equation makes about Reach and the use of a platform is the type of advertising you do as individuals or companies.
You have to make your content part of the ‘show’ rather than like a commercial on TV. No one purposely pays attention to the commercials.
So it is your job as the curator of the value of your platform to reach out to new people constantly to exponentially expand your Reach.
The three things you want your reader to think about while reading your post.
- This is an interesting new voice.
- I’ve been thinking this forever; finally, someone is saying it.
- I’ve never thought about this before!
Build a group of up-and-comers
There are tons of other people beginning just like you. Why not just build a group so you all can converse and suggest ways of building your own platforms?
By having a community you all become stronger and make connections, sometimes, with people with more experience and knowledge than you.
The Impact Equation also suggests being very kind to the up-and-comers even when you get to stardom. You never know who the next star will be and also you probably remember what it’s like to be a small fry.
There are also opportunities like guest posting and the such. Guest posting does a great job of increasing credibility when it’s with the right people.
Powerful Lesson #2: A great platform means it has great access. The platform itself can become your brand therefore increasing your Reach with the same people in your niche. Making your platform exclusive will increase your Reach as well since people crave scarcity or secrecy. Finally, your content must be the best you can make it be while not losing any of your personal touch.
Note: There are so many different wonderful book recommendations in The Impact Equation including:
Blue Ocean Strategy
Business Stripped Bare
Screw Business As Usual
The Selfish Gene
For the Win
Find Your Next
Five Minds for the Future
We Are All Wired
A Brief History of Time
How to Win Friends and Influence People
The Lean Startup
Made to Stick
The Shipping News
Reality is Broken
Small Town Rules
Trust Agents (Brogan, Smith)
The Trusted Advisor
The Wisdom of Crowds
That is an amazing list of books. How many out of the 28 have you read?
Exposure – The Impact Equation
Exposure is the art of hitting people, again and again, until they finally decide to take some kind of action.
In other words, Exposure is about how often you publish your content whether it be every day or once a week.
Here are three major checklist items the book suggests for checking your Exposure.
- Your material is something someone would be delighted to come across.
- Your clients look forward to what you send them.
- Your content is like a TV show, not an advertisement.
I think one of the best things about Exposure is, as The Impact Equation says, once someone subscribes to your channel or email list, you don’t have to ask them, again and again, to do so. You do have to be careful of losing them, but for the most part, that person subscribed initially because they like your content and will continue to do so as long as you continually improve.
Once you build your audience up, it gets easier to continue to do so.
Here’s another checklist
How often should you blog?
You should blog as often as you have ideas to blog about.
- If you blog daily your number of subscribers will go up.
- If you blog twice or more daily your number of subscribers will go up even more.
- If you blog once a week you won’t necessarily lose subscribers.
- If you blog once a month you might lose subscribers.
- Posting on Sunday is a magical day. It seems like more people are online and on your page a little longer.
- Posting on Friday at around 5:00 P.M. is not a good idea.
But in reality, it doesn’t really matter if you post every day or three times a week as long as your content is amazingly useful and easily relatable. Your posting schedule does play a factor in how many subscribers you attain and keep. Being consistent is a must.
Two things you need to stay away from.
- The “look at me” syndrome where you basically act like a little kid by bragging and showing off or getting a bit pushy with your tactics.
- When you share your content through social media consider modifying each post for each different platform. To better understand, let’s take Facebook and Pinterest. Each are different. On Pinterest, you’ll want to share an infographic linked to your blog post. On Facebook, you could share the link to the post.
Other things you need to consider about The Impact Equation
When you’re posting every day, you’re bound to get more traffic which most likely means you’ll receive more comments. With those comments, I highly recommend being highly responsive, providing even more value through the comments section of your post.
The same goes for comments on social media and email. Your timely response and detailed answers will go a long way.
Powerful Lesson #3:One of the most important things you can do before even starting your own blog is to consider writing out an ‘ideal reader’ exercise which was mentioned in the book. The process is simple and will take you no more than 20 minutes to do.
Ideal Reader Exercise:Pull out your notebook or piece of paper, then while thinking about your readers write down everything that comes into your mind without judgement about who you are writing to when you write your posts. Come up with the longest list possible.
I personally did this exercise and found it to work miricals on how I approach writing these posts for you. Actually, I have already published it in another post for you to see: Mindset: Why You’re Here and How I Can Help – First Post
Articulation – The Impact Equation
The concept of Articulation is quite simple yet takes time to perfect. The concept is to use words in a clear and simple way to make an impact and connect with your readers in a way they can make your ideas their own. Write like you’re writing to a 10 year old.
However, Articulation is not just about the words you use, it’s also about connecting the dots between each and every post you write.
For example, the post I published a couple days ago about my Grandma could have completely been unconnected, but I wrote it in a way that it would connect with the idea of ‘mindset’ and working hard to achieve your highest potential. That’s right down this blog’s alley. It’s exactly the message I want to convey to you.
Here’s the post about my Grandma: What is the Meaning of Life? A Lesson From My Grandma
Here’re some of the things you can do to improve your writing.
- Learn to spell correctly, or if you’re not so good at it like me, you can use Grammarly. But even then, you can’t always use this as a crutch.
- Expand your vocabulary. Read, read, and read. Look up the words you do not know. You should be writing at a 6th grade level, but at times it’d be wise to use higher level words.
- Read works from the masters in your niche. Get a feel for how they write, then practice by making it your own.
- Copy a masterwork. By writing word-for-word from your favorite classic, (I have not done this personally, but I see the value in it.) you’ll be able to internalize the writing of a master!
- Write, write and write. Make time for writing every single day, even if it’s only for 15 or 20 minutes.
Powerful Lesson #4: The ability to focus is what really matters. Be clear and crisp when presenting your ideas to your followers. Every post should have strong and loose connections that all tie into your brand. There may be people who doubt you, but if you truly believe in what you and your brand stand for you should push on.
Trust – The Impact Equation
Trust is about feeling and it’s one of the most difficult and most important parts of The Impact Equation. Chris and Julien both are most well known for their book, Trust Agents, where the focus of the whole book is on trust. If you’ve read it, know that they go deeper and more specifically into the topic here.
Some people seem more trustable than others, right? Even if you just met someone, you immediately feel a sense of
trust or distrust no matter how much you say that you don’t judge people.
Here are four aspects that build Trust.
- Credibility is what you say that can actually be backed up by your credentials.
- Reliability this is when you do what you said you would do in a timely manner if not far above expectations.
- Intimacy is when you build a non-business friendship with someone that could potentially influence business decisions.
- Self-interest this is about knowing how to listen. Are you truly interested in helping your customers or are you just after their money? This can be subtle because even the tone of your voice and body language you use affects the outcome of your Trust.
The Impact Equation uses the perfect example of a cocktail party that you can also apply in any online situation to build trust.
You first approach someone across the room of interest to you. You might go about talking about interests, basically, small talk, or talk of something you know connects the both of you. Then you might go about talking about specifically what that person does for a living. You’re fishing for a business connection without being direct about promoting yourself.
As the book says, ‘It’s important to learn about who you’re talking with before you proceed to promote your business.’ Talking to people who you think you can help out, or vice versa is your goal. Make the connection with the right people then possibly meet outside of the cocktail party at a later date to discuss your business together further.
Credibility is hard
I think one of the only ways to build credibility outside of your credentials is by experience. If you don’t have the credentials to back you up, I recommend starting a blog in the niche of your desire and writing about the things that truly interest you.
Share your work with others on social media and improve your content with every step. If your work is good, people will come to you. But sometimes it’s hard to break out into the niche of your interest when you’ve been in the same field for 10 to 20 years, for example, teaching. Everyone that knows you will think, ‘Hey, he’s a teacher. Not an Entrepreneur.’
That’s when you have to make new connections and show those that don’t think you’re credible, that you actually are. You must continually study, learn and take action to be a credible individual in your field.
Three things you can do to build up your credibility
- First, you must have a website.
- Second, get testimonials from whatever work you do to post on your website.
- Third, be publicized in a blog, newspaper, or TV programme then post it on your website.
Before moving onto the last section of the book I’ll leave you with a powerful thought.
Credibility takes a long time to develop. There is no substitute or shortcut to forming a truly genuine credibility. Don’t be afraid of it. Just create the opportunities that will get you the credibility you need. Just do it.
Echo – The Impact Equation
Echo is all about emotion and connection with your followers. One of the best ways of building a connection with your audience is by finding a common interest with your audience and sharing your feelings. Just be honest with them because they’ll love that.
There’s another book I’d highly recommend buying which is all about marketing your ideas. It’s called Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger.
Remember that your number one priority is to your customers, they are the ones who bring you business and pay for your salary. Show them respect and give back to them in more than one way. You can even promote their material if it fits into your theme.
So make sure you deliver a message to your readers which is packed full of emotion and value. Inspire your readers to do more. Most importantly, be yourself.
Powerful Lesson #5: A major impact on trust has to do with replying to your customers. Reply to them whether it’s an email, letter, comment or Tweet. Too many celebrities, entrepreneurs, and people seen in high positions rarely reply nowdays, but when they do, the person who recieves the reply feels more than great. This by far, in combination with the rest of The Impact Equation, will increase your chance of making a bigger and more cedible impact on your audience.
The Impact Equation is a book that any blogger or entrepreneur should buy. Seriously buy it from Amazon, or at your local bookstore if they have it. Yes, it’s a few years old, but there’s so much useful information packed into it you won’t regret spending the money and time on it.
This is a book I will come back to from time to time and look at all the notes I’ve made. Even though there are tons of information, it’s highly navigatable with very valuable Impact Equation examples at the end of each chapter where Chris and Julien apply their equation to an existing company.
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