One Percent & Rule is kicking my butt

I heard an interesting “rule of thumb” statistic recently. Only 1% of the population of any online community will create original content for the community. The rest will read or “lurk”. Down in Austin, someone gave me a book called “Citizen Marketers,” which actually provides some research data to support this “rule”.

The 1% Rule – …is simple: about 1 percent of the total number of visitors to a democratized forum will create for it or contribute content to it. Furthermore, we postulate that about 10 percent of the total number of visitors will interact with the contributed content. Interact may be described as writing comments or voting on content items.

This rule is not hard and fast, but here is some evidence the authors have gathered:

I find this data useful for a couple of reasons.

First, I’m wondering how many people will contribute content when we launch My Colts Network. Actually, I’m HOPING some people will create profiles (gulp) and I’m ALSO hoping fans will talk to eachother. So it’s nice to have benchmarks to compare ourselves to.

Second, on this (Sports Marketing 2.0) blog I’ve noticed the 1 percent rule holds true, but I’ve also noticed that not everyone shares content for the group. Instead, many readers choose to reply privately. I wonder why that is?

Over the past few days I’ve posted 2 public invitations to create content.

First, I asked readers of this blog to contribute what they think are the top 5 trends in sports marketing over the next 5 years. Next, I invited readers to work with me to launch a Sports Marketing 2.0 event. This blog gets just over 100 readers each day, so if the “rules” apply, I should see about 10 comments on each post. So far there’s only been one comment on one of the posts. But I’ve also received about five E mails from long time readers who shared very thoughtful and insightful stuff with me privately. It’s curious, I wonder why that is?

What could I do to increase the number of readers who contribute content?

I’m glad to know about the 1 percent rule. Makes me feel like I’m doing OK in terms of inspiring community participation. However, I will say that I hope someday the readers of this blog will break the (1 percent) rule.

I do have some “selfish” ambition. I want big sponsors to discover this blog and create partnerships with the Colts. I want my own thoughts to be out there so that someone might notice ME. But I’m not JUST in this for myself. I don’t have all the answers.

The big reason I’m writing this blog is to inspire contributions from the group. The big opportunity – for all of us – is to use this platform (the read-write Web) to share information and learn. Many minds are smarter than one. I’m trying to crack the code for Sports Marketing 2.0, but there’s no way I’ll do it alone. So I’ll stick my neck out again and ask for your opinions:

what can I do to inspire more participation for this group?

And please, if you have something to say, share it with the entire group (by using the comments feature). I love getting your E mails, but when you E mail me your thoughts you rob everyone else of the benefit of your thinking. Come on, jump in…express yourself online…the water’s fine.