The weight of expectation is generally perceived to be a bad thing.
It implies a negative form of pressure to succeed that acts to impair performance rather than improve it.
The weight of expectation is something you suffer rather than benefit from – just ask successive England managers.
But when it comes to the seeding of content, and to the in vogue concept of earned media, the weight of expectation can be a powerful positive force.
Weight can be a load, a burden, something you carry.
But weight is also a measure of force, it gives you momentum.
As in “so and so’s opinion carries a lot of weight”.
Weight can work for you rather than against you.
I see dozens, hundreds of links rolling down the columns of my Tweetdeck dashboard every day. By definition they’re from trusted sources. Unfortunately work dictates that I don’t have time to view most of them.
But there are some tweets/links that you drop everything for.
At the mere mention of Uniqlo, I’ll find time that I don’t really have to take a closer look.
Just about every piece of content that Uniqlo creates is awesome/innovative/fresh/quirky/original/cool/effortless/stylish.
(I’d have included more links but Uniqlo have a habit of taking old content down, which I choose to interpret as a sign of confidence that what they’re going to do next will be even better. The brand doesn’t rest on its laurels.)
Uniqlo is the first name I mention when people challenge me for examples of brands that have been built through digital means.
Uniqlo has built up a positive weight of expectation.
A weight of anticipation even.
Its brand stands for style and a whole load of other fashion-related things.
But it also stands for great content.
And that aspect of its reputation is a powerful seeding asset.
I’m not the only one who drops everything to have a closer look at new stuff from Uniqlo.
Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world do the same.
And then they pass the link on.
To hundreds of thousands of other people.
Uniqlo case study result figures tend to be of the seven figure variety.
Seeding strategy conversations can be awkward.
The same kind of wishful thinking that has clients and agencies describing content as “viral” before it has been published feeds a desire, in fact an expectation, of maximum reach at minimum (ideally zero) cost.
Seeding conversations can be awkward when you point out that you can’t suddenly “use Twitter” or “use Facebook” if you haven’t previously put in the hard yards and man hours to “earn” a “medium”.
(The “earned” bit of “earned media” is quite important).
Seeding conversations can be awkward when it becomes apparent that a few thousand poorly engaged email records resulting from a couple of promotion mechanics are the full extent of a client’s owned media seeding assets.
A reputation for producing great content can go a long way to making those conversations less awkward.
If you continually publish at the far right of the bell curve, you’ll be less reliant on those dodgy email records.
When you have the weight of expectation on your side you have more right than most brands to use words like “viral” in planning meetings.
The weight of expectation acts to turbo-charge every other aspect of your seeding activity.
The weight of expectation can be a good thing.