Editorial Strategy: User perceptions can often be altered with a simple change in language. A handbook by any other name…
If you’re a publisher, answer this simple question:
What’s more valuable to customer, a book or a handbook?
We heard this anecdote at a recent industry conference and it struck a responsive chord.
According to one experienced publisher, their printed product, though chock full of valuable information, wasn’t selling well when it was positioned as a book.
Something about a simple book on this topic seemed to lack gravitas in the minds of consumers.
But when the publisher renamed and repositioned the exact same content as a handbook, the volume flew off the shelves and into the libraries of enthusiastic, grateful customers. In fact, it became one of their best-selling products.
A handbook is an essential reference manual. A mere book can be perceived as being of significantly less importance and dollar value.
Books can cost up to $30. Handbooks and reference manuals can cost hundreds of dollars.
March Hare: …Then you should say what you mean.
Alice: I do; at least — at least I mean what I say — that’s the same thing, you know.
Mad Hatter: Not the same thing a bit! Why, you might just as well say that, ‘I see what I eat’ is the same as ‘I eat what I see’!
— from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
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What a difference a word or two can make
If you sell information products of any kind, you might want to reconsider how you position them in the marketplace, and how you create titles for them.
Webinars sounds faddish. Webinars are perceived as being free. Webinars usually have online advertisers. How large a fee can you charge for a webinar?
But if you call the same information an audio conference or an online seminar, the general perception by customers is that your content is of greater value. Audio conferences and online seminars are seldom conducted without collecting registration fees.
Similarly, video training is perceived as being less valuable than simply training or online training — even when it is delivered in a video or visual format.
Video seems to equate to television, and traditionally for Baby Boomers, up until the mid-1970’s, television was free. Much of it still is free.
Assuming your information product has content of genuine value to the customer, which words would you chose to describe it?
And yes, in case you noticed, we now have some name reassignment to do ourselves!
Can you charge more for your premium content if you repackage it as a product with greater gravitas or perceived value?
Join me at the upcoming Mequoda Summit to discuss how you can maximize the perceived value of every information product in your organization’s information product pyramid.