Friday, 19 September 2008

Passion Points

Oops. I coined a new piece of jargon yesterday. Didn't mean to. It just slipped out.

I was looking for a way of describing both the people who are excited and the things that are exciting in our markets.

And out it came: Passion Points.

Let's look at the second instance: things. The Passion Points are the things that excite our audience. This isn't generally the day to day stuff of their business lives (our sites are all b2b remember) - it's the stuff that generates real passion and excitement.

In agriculture we refer to it as "tractor p*rn"; in road transport, it's big lorries. Boys and their toys, I suppose.

When encouraging user contribution or engagement, these passion points are the way to go - best return for least effort.

Of course in some cases, people are passionate about their jobs - it's a vocation. Our CareSpace community for social workers has taken off really well because these people are passionate about what they do (I'm reasonably sure they don't do it for the money).

The other application of Passion Points is people. Who are the journalists in our organisation that are really passionate about what they're covering? This is important because the biggest "threat" to our business as publishers comes largely from bloggers who are often passionate non-professionals. It's their passion that's makes them exciting and makes it difficult for "career journalists" (those who are journalists by trade and move from market to market writing about different things) to compete with them.

Luckily we have many impassioned and dedicated journalists working for us but I confess that when I was an editor here some years ago I would have failed the passion test; in those days we were only competing with other trade magazines.

But what about the people we employ who - although diligent and skilled - are not passionate? How do we help them compete?

I'm reminded of the late Bob Monkhouse's observation about success in showbusiness: "The secret of success is sincerity. Fake that, and you've got it made."

If only it were true.

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