“Gifts make slaves.” – Levi Strauss, Born Feb. 26, 1829.
Cialdini stated this in a less harsh way. He calls it the Law of Reciprocity.
When you receive a distinct item of value from someone else, you are compelled to grant them something in return. We feel that we owe them. That we are indebted to their generosity.
It's the reason we all have a gut feeling that tells us to reject gifts from strangers. We know we are weak to it, and so we refuse it so as not to get in the awkward position of being obligated to do a favor for some weirdo we don't know.
But then our game as marketers – purveyors of information – we want to enslave people to our will. Or, you know, at least just do what we want them to.
So we need to trick them into accepting gifts from us. Gifts like “free content” in order to make them feel obligated to buy our products and services. Follow?
Now you recall above when I said above that the value that you gift must be distinct. How do you make information distinct, so it feels like a THING – a discrete little chunk of wisdom from you to them?
Well, one way is to take a piece of general knowledge and package it into a formula and give it a catchy name. That way when you explain it to people, they feel as though you are gifting them some solid, graspable concept or tactic that YOU formulated FOR them…
An example of what I mean might be something like taking a Levi Strauss quote and repackaging the simple folksy wisdom of it into one of seven “Laws of Influence” called “Reciprocity” like Cialdini managed to do.
Always, remember to convey that what you share fits this pattern. It's not just blah blah or articles devoid of personality. Like these daily quotation essays I've been doing, fashion crude data into distinct nuggets of value.
Make your shared messages to them feel like an anticipated gift they can only receive from you. And the more of these gifts they accept, the more inclined they will be to return a favor when you ask it of them.
For example, were I to collect all of these essays into a book, I bet a lot of you would buy it. Even though you may already have read all of these, and can even just print them yourself if you felt so inclined.
But hey, for all the value I've given to you, the least you could do is buy a copy, right?