Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Being Heard is More Important Than Making Noise

Here's a good article (Review of America Test Kitchen) about the website philosophy of America's Test Kitchen and their Cook's Illustrated newsletter and site.

What excites me is what Chris Kimball, publisher and editor of America's Test Kitchen, had to say about the success of their site and their two sister publications.

" 'I don’t care about the number of site visitors,' he says. 'I care about what happens to those people when we contact them or when they come to the site.' For example, Kimball does look at open rates for the e-newsletter and click-through rates on specific items. And with a 40 to 50 percent open rate on just over a half-million or so people—that’s good!

'Everything we do is heavily influenced by surveys and focus groups,' Kimball explains. America’s Test Kitchen conducts a substantial amount of research—email and print surveys and focus groups—to determine exactly what its audience wants. 'We don’t believe in simply giving them things that we think they should have,' he adds, 'as so many other editors do. If people don’t want all-beef meatloaf, I’m not going to force it down their throat!' "

What excites me is that he gets it. It's not about what you have to say that matters. It's about what your audience wants to hear from you. If you don't find that out, you are less likely to be heard. So it's a good idea to be quick to listen before having something to say — or market.

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