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Tuesday 2¢: Subscribing for Help

For my 2¢ this week I’m pondering about how we make vanity metrics a bit more human.


I recently read a LinkedIn post where a regular sole entrepreneur, fairly new to the gig, nobody especially famous in the industry, talked about how many thousands of professionals she had helped. That seemed like a lot to me; how could this one consultant have that many clients?

But of course, the truth is in the definition of the metric.

My interpretation of the metric “professionals helped” was “clients”. As I dug a little deeper, I discovered that her use of “professionals helped” was not just her paying clients but the subscribers to her content.

I like her interpretation better.

You could argue that you can’t assume that you helped someone with every piece of content they touch, and we could wander down a vanity metrics rabbit hole of blah blah downloads… blah blah open rates … but it’s a reasonable assumption that if someone subscribes, they’ve picked you because the content is helpful.

My chum Robert Rose once described a subscriber as someone who is putting their trust in your future content.

It’s a decent assumption that this trust is based on something they’ve heard or read from you that helped them. By subscribing, they are saying, “You helped me”.

Chalk up a score in the “professionals helped” column.

Why am I sharing this?

Well, in all this hustle culture of getting vanity scores on the board, isn’t this just a nicer metric? Your content helped X people today.

“Subscriber” smacks of a unit of measure for advertising revenue, not a word to describe a person coming to you as they are trying to be better at something or solve a problem. Whereas “professionals helped” speaks to a greater purpose of what your content is for.

Maybe “professionals helped” is not for you, maybe it’s “people influenced” or something else, but whatever it is, humanizing these vanity metrics is a reminder of why we create content.

That’s my 2 cents this week. I’d love to know what you think, and I hope this helped. 🙂



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