All you need is enough people to care about your work.
Content that amplifies is all about the relationships you have with others. If you don’t have this, you are lost.
It’s not about writing attention-grabbing headlines for people to drop everything and come to you. It is about allowing your content to find the right audience that becomes the impetus for you to build a sustainable business where people care.
This article is about finding enough people (subscribers, audience, clients, community) who then feel empowered by working with you (so it’s not all on you). If everyone achieves an outcome, we all win. You let others take the glory, but it’s you that tees it all up.
It is far too easy to be led astray by the ‘purpose’ buzzword.
It becomes confusing with an added incentive to share with the world why you are going to save it. Why not make things easier for yourself and everyone else by recognising the values that you have that can align with someone else. It helps when you have a common ground such as ownership, empathy, or connection.
This becomes the building blocks to find enough people to care. Is there a common ground with what you do for others to become familiar with? For instance, are you going to connect with someone if all you see from them is a reference to words, ‘inbound marketing,’ ‘retargeting’ or ‘omnichannel’?
No One Is Here To Save You
You can be producing the best work you have ever done and tell everyone that others are flooding to you (who are they ever to know), but if the right amount of people do not care, you will always sing alone.
Google does not care how many hours you have worked to produce that piece of content that you gave up nights and weekends for. Google does not find the best content.
People do not magically appear after you have pressed the publish button. When I started focusing on writing in 2012, it was just me and a very lonely place.
Building community (read the difference between audience and community), takes time, a lot of time. If you dedicate the majority of your time building a social media community, it is like your kids’ school summer fayre. Lots of people there, everyone is polite to you, but they are not that really bothered with each other.
Those Who Care Starts To Become The Differentiator
Businesses, for the most part, fall into these categories when it comes to something to say and other people being bothered:
1)A fantastic idea, but zero audience
2)A sizeable marketplace, but not much to say
3)Audience and a marketplace, but struggle to make people care
Is there a category that you fall into?
The way I look at having enough people who care is this:
1) still be there for others and the world doesn’t swallow you up where you’re there for no one ie. time to reply to people and converse
2) Figure out a way to grow organically where both sides benefit
3) Test, test and adapt, so it all becomes part of a longer-term plan
4) Get people to come in ie. new subscribers and those who feel comfortable encourage them to participate
5) Give others responsibility for different media strands as you grow, but still be present
Let me share with you this whole organic approach to build and accumulate the people who care.
I started the You Are The Media Conference with the whole intention to be small. The conference on Thursday 23rd May will fill up the 150 capacity Shelley Theatre. Have we outgrown the venue? Do we alter the format for 2020? If we’re committed, will more people come to 2020? Naturally, more people joining the You Are The Media community is part of the audience development strategy as we grow, so people have to feel continually welcome.
The important thing is to not be here for everyone, but create something for those who feel part of the community. This is why the conference is progressing and developing each year, the people who come are for those who care.
There is always going to be room for improvement. It is about being open to feedback from your audience. For instance, the reason You Are The Media Lunch Club has been going for three years (we started in May 2016) is because it has always been about listening to others and recognising that togetherness and shared learning is better than a middle-aged man standing at the front of a room telling people what to do and to chase their dreams.
What About You?
Finding enough people who care are the people who will stay, will spend and will tell others about you. Let me share some pointers for what you can take on board.
For starters, you have to recognise that within saturated marketplaces that are dominated by sameness, you will never be here for everyone. It’s all about the right people, not more people.
Here is what I have learned when it comes to finding enough people to care and for you to lean in together:
1)Target and know the people who will get it.
When you target, it is about your voice aligning with what someone else believes in and becoming the best choice. What started as thinking that the message from my side was aimed at senior level marketers, became more familiar to small business owners and those who are interested in building/creating something that is theirs (and be consistent with it).
2) You can be small and successful.
These are words from a chat with Chris Marr (from the Content Marketing Academy) and that strikes a chord with me. You can be resourceful without being everything to everyone. You don’t need to tell the world that you always strike gold. You can live on the borders and be happy without always looking at what else is going on.
3) Better to care than to be liked.
What I mean by this is focusing on the thing that you are creating and sharing. It is about paying attention to the voice that you are nurturing, rather than a goal to impress and overawe others.
4) Focus on doing good with a smaller audience.
A smaller audience allows you to listen in, be a part of the conversation and everyone to have a sense of belonging and togetherness. For instance, does the You Are The Media project start to introduce new initiatives to share areas of learning that feed into the whole ethos? This could be a workshop format to help with deeper learning on the Lunch Club topics ie. writing, SEO, PR. social, events.
5) Launching something to a ready-made audience is easier than a new product/service to no-one (or always spending to be seen).
When you create content knowing what people will want, it becomes easier for them to come on board. To build something completely new, with no audience in front of you, presents the most dangerous place for businesses to be today. CB Insights produced their post-mortem for why business fail. The top reason (42%) is that there is no audience. A company Patient Communicator said, “Doctors want more patients, not an efficient office.”
6) Serving an audience is a constant live lab.
Producing work that you share has to be about coming back to and analysing, so it becomes market intelligence. The best thing is that monitoring is absolutely free. If you monitor what you create (for instance these last few weeks have been around looking at what it takes for people to commit, with the You Are The Media Conference on the horizon), you start to understand other people better. You can see what hits and what misses.
7) You create a better product/service.
By modifying and fluid, when you have input, participation and enthusiasm from others you can make something better. The biggest thing I took from the You Are The Media Conference 2018 was that people are forgiving. The tech was awful, but that’s ok, we don’t have to think we’re performing at Wembley. Your existing audience will stand by you, whilst new people come on board.
8) The audience you build encourages outside opportunity.
As more people became aware of You Are The Media, it became the thing that people associate with and get involved with. It is an absolute pleasure to welcome Mark Schaefer to Bournemouth to give his Marketing Rebellion lecture in the lead up to the You Are The Media Conference (I opened up a few more places by moving tables, have a look here). Marketing Rebellion is a fantastic book and to have someone share their perspective in the place where the You Are The Media sits is a privilege to be a part of.
Let’s Round Up
The biggest challenge today is for people and businesses to step forward with a set of values that they believe in and get other people to care. This is how you create loyalty and be here for the long term.
If you can find a place to communicate from and place your megaphone to bring people to you, if it becomes consistent and you find momentum, you can build a place that is truly yours and for others to be a part of.
When you introduce new formats, it becomes easier for people to buy-in, as they are already there and have already invested time, which is worthwhile to them.
There is nothing stopping others to come in and join your club.