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Management Tactic #26: The Carrot Effect

May 14, 2009

The secret to being a successful corporate blogger is dangling something that your readers secretly desire right in front of them.

I call this the Carrot Effect.

Think about this from a reader’s perspective. To the average reader, blogs are something to read while you’re bored. Some are insightful, some funny, some inciteful (wordplay!), but in the end, they’re just entertainment.

The bloggers that you get excited about–those who rise above providing pure entertainment–are those who have something you want. They have a carrot–they make the carrot abundantly clear–and they dangle it in front of you with their words. Without the carrot, they can’t keep your attention for very long.

Case in point:

Nathan Bransford’s blog (literary agent): Nathan writes well. He provides interesting information about query letters and submissions. He can be funny at times. But why do his readers keep coming back? What do they have in common? They all want Nathan to represent them as their agent.

If you blog for your company, make sure the carrot is out there. Often it won’t take much effort–Nathan simply makes it clear that he’s an agent who accepts submissions. Sometimes it’ll take a little more work. And sometimes what you sell to represent your company isn’t necessarily what your company sells (i.e., an attractive hostess at a restaurant is “selling” sex, but you’re actually buying food if you get a table).

I read a few other corporate blogs, but only a few. Many of the ones I don’t read are well-written, funy, and interesting, but it’s not clear what I’m getting out of them. So I don’t go back to them very often.

What’s your carrot?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Red permalink
    May 18, 2009 11:43 am

    My carrot is also the attractive hostess, or what I call the hostess’s hottness (wordplay!). I find myself deciding where to eat based on the hostess’s hot… hotness… heat (maybe?). I’ve been banned from nine restarurnts (three local, six chains) because I thought they were selling sex. Apparently clarifying that thought verbally is known as “solicitation.” Whatever! Olive Garden’s breadsticks are not that good anyway.

    With YOUR blog (again, the only one that I read), the carrots are 1) I have a common frame of reference for most of the topics, 2) a good funny to serious ratio, 3) you post with regularity (I hate irregularity, hence why I eat a lot of fiber), 4)I have no problem posting my own random responses, 5) I like ties, and 6) I don’t like carrots.

  2. May 18, 2009 12:45 pm

    Thanks for the kind words about my blog. I’ve struggled to have a consistent topic, but I don’t think this blog could be about just one thing. So I like what you called it: A consistent frame of reference.

    As for your confusion about hostesses and the sex market…well, I don’t know what to say other than I’m impressed by the sheer number of places where you’ve had this confusion. Hostesses are one of the best carrots out there, but the point of the carrot is you never quite catch it.

    This makes me think of a really hot hostess who worked at Crab Louie in Chesterfield when I waited tables there for a summer in college. Really, really hot, and, at 17, completely unattainable.

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