It is better to have hands on proof and evidence to share, rather than convey what someone else has already said and done.
If you can figure out a way something worked and then contribute, not only does this become ‘the things that makes you different,’ it makes everything you do believable.
With the unsupervised world that we participate, post, distribute and repeat, we can advise people to do things that we have not even experienced.
This is what you see in your timeline: articles on whether you should create a podcast or produce a video series, but no evidence of someone investing in either one for the long term; articles on why you need to blog, but no commitment when looking at sporadic posts and generalist content from the source; articles on how to get massive followers, but does not translate to actual named subscribers who want to receive what someone else stands for and believe in.
No wonder, no one trusts anybody anymore.
David Beebe ignited my thought process for this article with a post on LinkedIn. He highlighted an issue with speakers who take to the stage to tell others how to behave. In David’s words, ‘have never done the work they are speaking about.’
Whilst anyone can step up and take credit for anything, the counter argument is that if you can present (audio, verbal, written, film) in a genuine way and be able to present the evidence and stick by your convictions, this is what helps us connect better.
The risks we take, can become the things that make (or break us).
Making Things Happen
It’s all about making things happen, rather than just telling things all the time.
One of the major themes I took from Content Marketing World 2017 was that there is a surplus of expertise and the need for us to answer the unanswered.
Rather than share something that someone else takes credit for and has already said, it is time to find your own insights, threads and answer something that has your stamp to it and have the ability to continually validate and provide insight.
The thing is in a world that is looking for the shortest possible route for the quickest answer ie. how to write a book, how to get more followers, how to get a better job, do people have the time to explore and then share the evidence? It is the equivalent of deciding to go to the deep end and pick up the brick at the bottom of the swimming pool, when all you have been used to is the shallow end of the swimming pool.
From A Personal Level
It is this idea of going further and further away from the shallow end each year, that helps us share how we are progressing.
On a personal level, I think I am ready to go to the deep end, so I can share in a more detailed way, how everything works. When I say ‘how everything works,’ is in two ways. The first is to bring others to share the evidence, the second is to have the ability to present how building an audience works in its entirety.
It all centres around a conference that is coming to Bournemouth on May 24th 2018. You Are The Media Conference has its origins since October 2013 and becomes a way of sharing with you, the importance of building a space that you can control, in order to build an audience that you have a responsibility for and for profitable action.
It is going to be a mix of practitioners (including Mark Schaefer, author of Known and The Content Code) and also proof of UK companies who have created revenue streams from targeting a defined audience, on a consistent basis.
This becomes my proof to share with others how to build from zero, which is the loneliest place for anyone to reside. When I say zero, I don’t mean social followers, I mean people who are happy to subscribe to receive information, they are interested in receiving that they probably don’t get in other places.
A full blown conference, is something that I have never done before. I wanted to invite some of the top thinkers in marketing today and ask companies who can show the proof where an owned media approach has resulted in a positive outcome.
I think I am now ready to pick the brick up from the bottom of the swimming pool. The training has been transparent over the past few years, it is time for the deepest of breaths and get ready to swim deep, before my ears start feeling funny.
Let me highlight how I am continually learning to identify what it is that builds a stable and robust audience:
- I have been committed to writing since January 2012
- In October 2013, I started the You Are The Media weekly email (have a look at the very first email here, not the best of efforts, but it is ok to start rubbish)
- In May 2016, I started the You Are The Media | Lunch Club, a monthly get together for subscribers and those from the business community to hear from others who are owing their spaces to generate revenue
- In May 2018, the You Are The Media | Conference will showcase a day of learning centred on ownership
This is my way of documenting and sharing with others the evidence of building a subscribed audience, who are ready to commit. It is worth remembering that retention is more important than reach.
I am continually investing in how things work and a believer in chopping down trees and carrying the water. This is much richer than sharing a prescribed formula that I have barely had to the time to become acquainted with.
What About You?
In the words of humorist, Arnold H. Glasow, “The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.” It is far easier to say, “I believe,” rather than “I did it like this.”
Conveying what someone else has said is free, but showing evidence is sacred and should become the guide to setting principals.
Having the ability to show evidence is key to relevance and building trust with others. The ability to nurture your own approach and then share with others can become the key to grow within those who matter. This is what I have done to be more stable in showing evidence rather than conveying what already exists.
Here is a framework to take on board where you can accumulate evidence and not share what someone else says within your industry say.
Know what it is you want to explore. In the words of Robert Rose, in a recent Content Advisory article, “we are trying to pull in as many people as are relevant to our purpose.” It doesn’t matter what industry you are part of, if there is a core at the centre, it is time to start digging. For instance, a recruitment consultant could be looking to show longevity of contentment, to an estate agent it may be wellbeing in a centred place, to a networking organisation it maybe the familiarity by association with other people.
Own a platform. Without a space that you can call your own, you are always at the whim of someone else. If you have a place to document, drive people to and refer back to, what you are continually doing is building a clearer direction from where you started. I know this sounds selfish, but a reason to keep writing is to monitor how you are thinking and how your approach is developing. Sometimes it has to be you before a search engine. Imagine your work as a constantly evolving scrapbook.
Monitor the email. This is the place where people come back to you, feedback, comment and a place that allows you to collate and present the proof. By having a space to publish frequently and then invite others to participate, brings in a sense of reality where you have a one to one connection. Your email becomes a way to document the cause that you believe in. Have a read of this article from Orbit Media on how to turn email into high ranking articles. Your email can become a knowledge bank.
Find others to ask and question their approach. If you are looking to share what you believe in, it is good to have this validated by others, or present an angle that you may not have suggested or thought about. If you can anchor with those within your industry, this is not just about influencer reach and hoping someone else will share, but to bring a viewpoint to your space that can widen your own learning. When it comes to sharing, you have the proof ready to reveal from other likeminded people. What it also does is build a deeper connection with those people who participate.
It doesn’t stop. Whether this is a good or bad thing, unlike a campaign this is a continuous process. Back in 2012, my own development centred on what a content marketing approach means for businesses, where we are today the focus is very much on ownership. Over time, the evidence and proof accumulates. For instance, the You Are The Media Lunch Club enables me to bring in people each month who back up an ownership/audience strategy. As we look to 2018, this will continue alongside the You Are The Media Conference.
The whole aim is to highlight how your industry works and your relevance within it.
Lets Round Up
With the amount of data that is available and insight to validate what you say, there is no excuse to start going off tangent and make the whole process for others more difficult in finding a continually changing thread.
Encourage conversation around the areas that you believe in and let it stand up and run, as long as it aligns to the origins of your angle of attack. The more that you commit to something that you believe in, the stronger the identity within your marketplace.
What started for me as a way to express what I was learning, manifested into something far bigger, but is always centred on showing the proof. If you can be the one who shows the evidence within your industry, you start to stand in a separate space from those who march to the same tune.
Be great for you to be a part of the You Are The Media Conference? It is on the clifftops of Bournemouth next summer (May 24th) in a historic 19th century theatre. Seven speakers who represent the heart beat of modern marketing and also companies ready to show you the proof where owning their space defined a stronger businesses. If you are out of town, I have hotels sorted for you, just let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org)