Playing to the Cheap Seats sounds horrible, awful… cheap.
The link I provided shares the history of this saying, but in case you want to stay here with me all warm and fuzzy, I’ll just say that it refers to keeping people entertained/engaged at the simplest level, even if they’re not your primary audience.
Some people will tell you that you should only play to the cheap seats by always making your material accessible to the most casual visitor to your site. They tell you things like:
- Aim for an 8th grade reading level. You don’t want to go over their heads!
- Use bullet points wherever possible… (heh, heh)
- Write “Top Ten” posts.
- Publish “How To” posts that are thinly disguised as sales pitches.
- Post lots of cat pictures in hopes that it will engender positive feelings for your brand.
I feel cheap saying this, but
It’s all true
But before you throw tomatoes or fire me a comment down below in disgust, please keep in mind that playing to the cheap seats is only PART of a winning online reputation building strategy. Most people get lost while establishing their name online by not developing expertise in something more meaningful than “kitties for clicks” or the meme du jour. You have to stand for something and have the credentials/experience to back it.
Your readers enjoy a laugh now and then, but you really owe it to them to provide something valuable for the great gift of their time and attention.
Attention is a profoundly precious commodity these days. Treasure it and reward it. Even while you play to the cheap seats.