When you build other people around an idea, it can scale.
If you seize a belief and find that group, it provides the confidence to go forward and allow others to act on an idea. If you don’t, it can become a lonely place where you mean nothing to no one.
Not only does it create confidence to build, but it allows others to claim something that you care about and turn it into action themselves.
Let me share with you the ying and the yang within a 24 hour period. I experienced both sides of the coin. This became the evidence I am sharing with you here.
When I say ‘ying and yang’ one was filled with warmth, the other was just a cold moment in time.
The Head Held High & Then Low
The monthly You Are The Media Lunch Club, where people get together, have lunch and discuss and share the proof of others taking on board an owned media approach, has become a fixture since 2016.
It had a set agenda at the end of last month (September), where the longer interviews that normally happen paved way for a more detailed presentation, in front of around 50 people.
Following on from my article where I shared the five key themes from Content Marketing World 2017, I discussed it in more depth and benchmarked the guests who have been a part of this since last year. This was to show how it all fits into context. The 30 minute talk felt good. It felt comfortable as was a way to highlight everything we discuss each month. The looks around the room, were all to people whom I recognised and they (hopefully) understood what I was saying and had become more familiar with over the past year or so.
Fast forward 24 hours later (Friday), I was asked to present my findings at a local marketing directors lunch.
It was the same slides, it was still 30 minutes but something felt completely different.
This was to people where I was completely unfamiliar. They didn’t know me. In their eyes I was a complete stranger who likes to wave their arms around.
Whilst the focus was on a content driven approach where you can build your audience around something that aligns with what you believe in, this was one of the most flattest experiences I have had when it comes to presenting. With the expectation to present to forward thinking marketing directors, I could see the difference. These were people who had bought into a format (a free lunch in a hotel), but not necessarily the application (switch from telling others about product benefits to the value we create).
When I asked if there were any questions, it was flat. When I mentioned that I’d stay around and happy to talk to anyone, no one wanted to. Chicken goujons were a safer option and when I struck up a conversation, it reverted back to the same small talk we all have with people we’re not familiar with at a business themed event ie. How the year has been? Are you busy? What are you looking forward to for the rest of the year? I said goodbye and felt like the moment on any dating show, where the rejection was very public and you have to leave with an insincere smile, but you still say ‘thank you for having me.’
It was time for me to walk off into the distance and past the toilets and reception with my head bowed.
What The C’mere & The No Thanks Meant
By experiencing first hand those who buy-in and those who don’t was very clear.
It represented the challenge that we all face when it comes to getting others to come over to our side and get to know you better. The whole process can potentially be very isolating, but the opportunity is there to find other people who care about the same thing and find momentum with it.
If you can discover the right people, you can galvanise action in a social world.
This is the question we face when it comes to building stronger business that have longevity around relevance, audience growth and better customers. Can you grab a belief and find that group of people who have the confidence to go forward and act on an idea?
It is the ability to act on an idea where things start to change. For instance, Gordon Fong has been part of the You Are The Media community since the Lunch Clubs began. Over the past few months, he has seen a presence grow within the local press, that is centred on the development of the digital scene on the south coast.
He is growing a voice and has the ability to reach out to others who can easily relate to him. Gordon had been contacted by a PR company to help support a message to communicate, but in Gordon’s words, “Why do I need to spend on a PR resource when I can have a direct link with someone I now know from the local press? If I can become my own channel, I can at least direct the flow of communication and nurture the relationships I choose to grow.”
Again, if you can build people around the shape of an idea, you can get them to act on an idea. This is what brings people together. This is what someone like Gordon is doing by finding the right people to connect with, that also are part of the You Are The Media community.
Going Textbook On You
I am going to go old school with you.
Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs,’ whilst something you are probably familiar with represents a proposal that people have a certain number of needs, that develop into more substantial parts of a pyramid.
Maslow suggests that prior to the need for success and achievement is the need for an intimate connection with other people.
This is what is happening when you can build other people around an ideology/belief/idea. You progress from people who you just have an association with ie. the company who asked me to present at their Marketing Directors Lunch, to those where you have meaningful relationships ie. Gordon and those who come to Lunch Club.
The more I focus and invest time in the You Are The Media project, I realise that if you don’t belong to a group who have your back, then it can be quite isolating.
Whilst others tell you to follow your passion or producing great content will somehow find a way for wider reach and distribution, I am learning this isn’t necessarily the case.
With experience, I am finding that acceptance and buy-in is centred from how we relate to one another. This is how we connect and build a way for others to participate. In the words of scholar and all round wise head, Brene Brown, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.”
What About You?
To build those around you, is not just centred on looking to steal audiences from somewhere else, but having something to say that other people can have a sense of ownership to make their own dent.
Some things to think about when it comes to building others around an idea:
Contribute to someone else’s narrative. This means that the good work you do/share, can become interpreted by someone else within their own communication.
Make everything easy to translate. Rather than make your own world complicated to sound more important, understand what it takes for other people to accept quicker ie. links to childhood, the things that are part of the cultural zeitgeist
Recognise who cares about the same things as you. You can do interesting things when you have a purpose and shared responsibility when you care about something. This means you can bring other people on board with you and you effectively live in a live lab.
A struggle is part and parcel of the course. Whilst we are expected to find success in the quickest way possible ie. gain 1,000 subscribers per day, the reality is, this doesn’t really happen if you are a complete stranger looking to find shelter. The only way to find a return is to dig in and stick to principals from the outset.
You believe in an idea before other people. There will be a time when other people catch up and modify what you do, but if you can continually remain two steps ahead, no one can catch you up. The thing that makes the difference is consistency and not losing track of what it is you believe in.
Outcomes are driven by people you surround yourself with. This works two ways, for you, there is the ability to build your audience. For someone else, this is taking action and when they feel comfortable, will tell other people.
We don’t need more emotion, we need practical ways to help others move forward. Whilst the whole ‘be more human’ mantra is getting tiresome, it also doesn’t mean anything. To have substance, you have to provide a framework and a solution for others, not just sharing theory all the time. There is validity in sharing evidence.
Lets Round Up
If you can back up everything that you communicate and have the ability to build people around what you believe in, you become less reliant on other areas to distribute your message.
Building others around an idea is centred on helping others, but aligns to what you do. I now recognise that to build something worthwhile and a sustainable business is centred on helping others achieve their goals. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing other people take action and start seeing a change.
This is not about bringing everybody on board, as I discovered, what works for one person, is just not on someone else agenda. If there is no path to follow up, then it is better to move on and not pursue everyone as a ‘lead’ and look at them as a number.
When you get others to act on an idea, this is something that no algorithm or social landlord can ever get close to taking away from you.