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Best Kept Secrets in business are weird. They’re weird because brands that describe themselves as Best Kept Secrets don’t really want to be a ‘kept secret’ at all. They, of course, just want you to think that they are a secret so that, when you learn about them, you feel special. Intrigued. Part of something. They want you to feel that you have been invited somewhere that others have not. And that’s a legitimate strategy. But how does a brand deserve, earn, get, then nurture a legitimate Best Kept Secret badge? Let’s take a look.
Wreck of the Week
Wreck of the Week is a newsletter and a website. You probably won’t have heard about it. But it’s been viewed millions (yes millions) of times by hundreds of thousands of people. It has been developed by just one lady, I think. An extension of a personal passion. And something that, I feel, this lady is just compelled to do. She just can’t help herself.
When I read what this lady writes, it is almost as if the words in the newsletter or on the website have gushed uncontrollably from her fingers. I can feel the enthusiasm and the obsessiveness and the desire to get right into the detail. I can tell that she is just dying to tell us what she knows. I think she’s smiling when she is writing, too. I don’t know that of course. But I think she is.
Wreck of the Week is free. I don’t think that the author makes any money from it directly, but I do think that she is considered such an authority on her subject now (such is the impressiveness of her dedication, and the quality of her insights) that money might come in from her own successes on the subject matter, and from writing for others. The subject matter is building homes from old buildings, buildings all over the UK that are very often complete wrecks, or nearly complete wrecks, but that are filled with character, adventure
and possibility. Old churches, old schoolhouses, Old… anythings!
The author trawls the Internet and goodness knows what and where else, such is her obsessiveness, connectedness and experience, to find the UK’s most interesting potential homes. Then she simply writes about them. Linking you – live – to the estate agents or owners where, if you like, you can buy it. This is the stuff of dreams for lots of people. And I imagine that her readership is a mix of genuine potential property refurbishes, and dreamy voyeurs. Either way, the readership is huge. And, somehow, it really does feel like this lady is whispering her findings – to me. This website and newsletter, with its huge following, still feels like a Best Kept Secret. So how on earth did that happen?
Well, let’s have a look at the detail. Let’s have a look at three things that might just be part of the formula for creating a Best Kept Secret.
1. First things First.
Wreck of the week is written in the first person. Here’s an example:
“…which is why hubby and I were one of 15 sets of people viewing it yesterday. And 15 the day before, and around 15 every day of the week it's been on the market so far. No chance you'll snap this up for £100k, but best and final offers are expected by midday on August 23rd.”
And as you can see it’s very conversational. As if the author is chatting to you. Nice!
Best Kept Secrets might not even give a toss whether they get read, or visited, or bought or whatever – at all. Or at least that’s how it feels. Because they are not doing it ‘for you’. They are doing it for themselves. They are expressing themselves about their passion. You are simply a voyeur. A voyeur that wants in! As opposed to someone that the author is persuing. Here’s another excerpt:
“I've been a bit wayward this week. Firstly, writing for another website (and consequently posting a whole bunch of wrecks I'd normally show you first), and secondly visiting a wreck before posting in case I decided to buy it myself. That probably goes bit beyond "wayward" - more distracted boyfriend level of disloyalty. Sorry.”
She is not trying to please us. She is doing her own thing. She is not staring us in the eyes trying to sell to us. Drawing us in. Persuading us to do anything at all, in fact. She is allowing us to peep over her shoulder. At her passion. At what she loves. And we do. And, somehow, the more her ‘couldn’t care less whether you read me or not’ attitude jumps off the laptop screen or mobile screen, the more I want to read. This lady has a gang. She’s the leader of the gang. And I want to be in it.
If you want to nurture a Best Kept Secret, you’d better be good. The lady behind Wreck of the week; now she’s good! She’s better than me. She’s the best at what she is and does. I think. But that’s all that matters… she’s made me think that she is. This lady has made me think that if there is an amazing, wrecked property out there, ripe for redevelopment, she’s going to find it. She really knows here stuff and she’s generous too. She wants to share her knowledge. She really does what to match the best properties with the best people. And if you join her gang and become one of those people, then that person might just be you. She knows the facts, and she gives her opinion on the facts, too:
“Blackcleugh cottage, above and below, is an 11 on the 1 to 10 Wow!! factor scale. On a hill overlooking the Northumbrian bit of the north Pennines, the two-bedroom cottage comes with four acres, an attached stable (new kitchen, say I) and a ridiculously low guide price of £100k.”
So there we go. There are three things to think about if you want to build a reputation as a Best Kept Secret. There will be more you can do of course. But I’m not telling you those.