The world is full of content. Unhelpful content here. Dry content there.
Most do it wrong.
Learn how to do it right. Share your expertise better with your audience. So they come back for more.
Don’t just make content for content’s sake
Most marketers create content out of thin air without considering their strongsuit or audience. (Like your grandmother on Thanksgiving still churning out biscuits after everyone got stuffed and fell asleep.)
No one wants more content.
They want better content. Your audience craves your help. And it’s your job to satisfy their craving.
Do it in a way that makes them and you happy. First, consider your audience:
- What problems need solving?
- Which content medium makes them tick?
- Who are their favorite creators?
But newsflash: It’s 👏 not 👏 all 👏 about 👏 your 👏 audience. Take your own skills into account too:
- How does your expertise best shine through your content?
- What’s your strongsuit?
- Which medium provides the most helpful content for your subject matter?
Just because every other creator in your industry puts out a weekly YouTube video doesn’t mean you should too.
How can you be different? How can you be remarkable in the true sense of the word? As Seth Godin says …
Execution matters, sure. But start creating. Then you can think about distribution and getting that content into the hands of the right people.
Pick your favorite medium – a channel of trading dollars for your expertise
Read each section below. Give them a chance even if you think you know which suits you.
1. Writing: You can move your audience with the written word
Writing is the Chevrolet of audience building: Effective, long-lasting and reliable. Whether it’s on social media, your personal diary, your blog, or an email newsletter, writing looks different for everyone.
Where does your audience spend their time online? Or where do they want to spend their time? Where do you have an opportunity to stand out from others in your space?
Movies, podcasts and speeches begin as a script, notes or even just bullet points on a napkin. Somebody wrote those before that content became what it is. Writing is the foundation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Audience Building (not a real thing, but you get the point).
In other words, if you can write, you may be able to do anything else. That’s why it’s such an effective starting point for building your audience.
- Wes Kao’s long-form essays
- Dickie Bush & Nicolas Cole’s course Ship30for30 (I’m a member of the August 2022 cohort!)
- Kat Bourgoin & Customer Camp’s newsletter Why We Buy
How you can sell or monetize your writing:
- Blogs (what you’re reading right now)
- Digital courses
- Email newsletters
- Templates, checklists or pdfs
- & more …
- Your audience engages with content in many different ways.
- You’re able to repurpose content from platform to platform (ex: Tweets to Linkedin posts).
- Others in your space have proven written content works with your audience.
Don’t write if:
- You don’t like writing.
- You want to share your personality in a more visual way.
2. Video: You have the charisma & personality to get on camera
Storytelling is an important element of your success in audience building. With video, you not only tell, but show your audience your perspective. Especially with your charisma and personality.
As does writing, video content requires lots of practice. You can’t simply show up and create stellar videos worth watching. Visual content requires investment (both time and money) to perfect it.
At first, you’ll hate your voice and notice some blemishes on your face. Totally natural. Then you’ll start to block out that stuff for the actual content of your videos – the driving force in whether your audience pays attention and thinks it’s share-worthy. You can always return later to perfect little things like your hand movements, voice inflection and posture.
But if the idea of getting on camera, smiling big, and rerecording the same shot 48105 times makes you throw up in your mouth, you can always create illustrated videos.
- Matt Deavella’s YouTube channel
- Ali Abdaal’s Part-Time YouTuber Academy video course
- Charli Prangley’s YouTube channel CharliMarieTV
How you can sell or monetize your videos:
- Affiliate links
- Influencer partnerships or collaborations
- Long-form documentary or video
- & more …
Do video content if:
- You want to increase SEO. YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google and far less saturated.
- Your audience is younger and favors video over other mediums.
- Others in your space have proven video content works with your audience.
Don’t do video content if:
- You’re not excitable and passionate about your topic.
- You have to bullshit your audience to make it through a video. They’ll see right through you.
3. Community: Monetize your network
A community is in a league of its own. If you’re a veteran creator and have your own audience, a membership-based community is a great way to create even more rabid fans. And get paid too!
That being said, you aren’t required to have a minimum number of community members. So you could start with just two people.
All you need is fans willing to pay you for more access to your time, content and a network of like-minded people.
Communities fail when their leaders aren’t able to devote said time, content and network to the paying members. And you may damage your brand if you start a community, then close it.
- Jay Clouse’s Creator Science Lab (I’m a member!)
- Rachel Rodgers’s We Should All Be Millionaires: The Club
- Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Pro
How you can sell or monetize your community:
- Membership subscription
Start a community if:
- You have an existing audience who is willing to pay for better access to you.
- You have a strong relationship with a core group of your customers and want to extend that relationship even farther.
Don’t start a community if:
- You don’t have a plan to engage and add value to your community members.
- You don’t have a few hours each day to devote to managing the community.
There you go. 3 ways to start building your content engine and audience.
Writing is the foundation for almost all other mediums. It’s the basis of human communication. So we always recommend creators start their audience building journey by writing.
But you can always change your mind. That’s the beauty of a flexible content strategy. What works and what doesn’t? How has your audience changed? Optimize for what’s fun for you and what’s helpful for your audience.