Academy of Wayward Authors email 39 of 45: Rent to Own

I’ve been saying since 2019 that the reader-writer relationship drives the entire publishing industry—everything.

In its best form, it exists when you have first-party data from an emotionally engaged customer.

Let me explain…

The best representation of this relationship in your business is through first-party data. This is data given to you directly by the customer, not through a third party like Meta or Amazon. The second part is that data represents someone emotionally engaging with your brand.

Simply put, they care enough to share.

They share their email address, location, and other information to complete a transaction.

The big question is: how do you get that data?

Social media is rented land. It’s a short-term, expensive tract presented as your stake in a new gold rush.

Like all prior rushes or bubbles, this gold rush is great for early entrants to exploit the market, but it will eventually collapse. Most will be too late to get the full benefit of the boom. Then we all rush to the next one, never building up ownership of our own audience.

The idea I want you to consider is how to rent to own.

I’m not suggesting you leave your plot, especially if it works. I’m suggesting you redefine what working means.

If you have had great success with your social media or influencers’ posts driving sales on Amazon, then all you have is the sale. Sure, money is great, but with every transaction, you become more dependent on others for your order flow, and they will want their cut.

So, rather than focusing on the quick return of a sale on Amazon. Look to use social media to move people to your platform.

The fundamental objective is to win enough trust to get some first-person data—at least an email.

At a bare minimum, you can pixel them and use that information to retarget them.

Yes, this is a slower, more convoluted process but it has a much bigger payoff.

It helps you to get visibility on invisible prospects and customers.

This strategy also addresses the much larger (6.5 times) audience of slow-to-adopt readers.

Bring them to your home and treat them like a guest.

Why is now the time to act?

There’s something bigger going on, and it may be the end of the end.

I posted an article about how TikTok and Meta will actively limit off-platform links, with a particular focus on those sent to Amazon.

This is different than the typical shift from easy visibility to pay-to-play. Meta and TikTok say they want to compete directly with Amazon for sales. They plan to go after the meat of Amazon’s business.

None of this surprises me. It was inevitable.

This means that soon, links to Amazon will be far less effective if not completely stopped.

What would that mean to your business?

The solution is building a system of nurturing and retention to transition people from rented to owned land.

Acting as if the party is already over and using the time remaining to build up your owned land is what I’m focusing on.

How can I get more people to trust me and connect one-on-one?

The people that you have a direct connection to become the nucleus for building your advantage in future rounds.

They will move with you no matter what changes happen in the market.

Thank you for your attention,

Joe