Building an audience is quickly becoming the #1 way to market yourself or your services.
When I hear developers say, “I stopped selling xyz product because I couldn’t market it.” I wonder if they ever gave themselves a chance to cultivate an engaged audience first. Lot’s of them feel “weird” about marketing and they shouldn’t.
I don’t want to be THAT gal hocking my wares. I don’t want to be THAT guy plugging my services.
Why not? What’s the worst thing that could happen?
If you don’t ask, you will never get the sale.
That feeling of regret
I want you to think back to your days in middle school.
Remember when you were at the school dance and you wanted to dance with that special someone?
You’ve passed notes to her back and forth in math class and always sought to land a seat next to her at lunch time. You know she’s the one for you. There you are, in the school gymnasium, with the lights turned down, while everyone get’s their two-step on. You’re wearing a fresh pair of Levi’s and rocking clean cut from the barber shop.
You’ve put in the work, this is your time.
“But everyone’s watching. Teachers are glaring at me. She’s going to say no.” you mumble to yourself.
Regret sets in while you head back home in the back seat of your parents car.
Don’t make that mistake again.
The 6 P’s and your future audience
I hope you can use these bullet points as the framework to your new marketing efforts. There’s no doubt about it, you have to put in the work.
The difference here is, the work is whatever you want it to be.
I like audience marketing because it’s creative, engaging and brings in an interesting twist to competition. I’m not ranking for keywords or battling PPC. I’m talking, hopefully you’re listening, and we’re making a connection.
Now it’s your turn.
This is what keeps an audience coming back. It’s why they are attracted to you in the first place.
The #1 rule is to not force yourself to be other than who you are. I’ll be honest, in my first few episodes of the Matt Report, I was trying to be like another podcast host I followed. I even tried doing my intros just like him and I knew I was forcing it each and every time. Stay far away from that.
It’s also going to lead to a lot less stress.
If you let it flow naturally, it’s going to be like a normal conversation. You’re comfortable with the way you already speak or present your ideas — why change it now? That’s also going to attract people just like you and that’s what you want.
In marketing we talk about engagement factors. An audience of 10 that talk to you (read: engage) are much more valuable than 1,000 who say nothing (read: not engaged). There’s a lot of value in an audience and we can talk about that after.
Talk show host.
Podcasting is, for the mean time, the best way to start cultivating your audience. It’s intimate, portable, and can be highly interactive.
But for the love of God, do something other than 45 minute interviews.
I’ve laid out a few resources on how to start a podcast and the challenges of podcasting in the WordPress world. The technology is going to make it easier, but the amount of content being published will make it harder for you to bubble to the top.
That’s right, you have to think of your efforts for building an audience akin to product development.
Know that you need to care for it,market it, and pivot with it.
You start out thinking it’s going to appeal to a certain crowd and before you know it, you’re fielding questions on a whole different topic. Just like when you launched your first plugin or started your services company — you set out to do one thing and unearthed a new vertical. Be prepared.
Something else that products require is scale. The more you sell, the more support you need. The more revenue, the more developers you need to hire and reinvest back into production. Your product needs a marketing team and a sales team too.
Don’t worry, this takes time, but I urge you to have some foresight in the matter. The more content you put out, the more inbound requests to do stuff is going to happen. I know, that’s a good problem, but a problem you need to be ready for.
I’m looking for a Producer. Do you know one? Contact me.
Father time is our greatest enemy.
Podcasting isn’t your only avenue for building an audience. It could be blogging, a private newsletter, a community forum or group, or video series of screencasts. But each of these take time. A lot of time, in fact.
You start out excited and eager to publish your content. Then you get busy and you put it off for a week — then 2 — and so on.
They say once you hit 10 episodes, you will get to 25 and from 25 to 50, and from that point on you should be in the groove. Godspeed.
But why do I say persistence and not consistency? Because you’re going to make excuses in the beginning. Combating time and your priorities, day in and day out. You need to stay the course, this stuff requires you put in the work.
Remember when I said there’s a lot of value in building an audience?
I didn’t mean just for selling a product or marketing your services. You can do all sorts of things with an audience if you take a moment to plan this out.
- Selling, without selling – Attention developers: Start with a series of how-to. How-to code, pick a framework, or use Github. If you have a fear of selling, just draw attention to what you’re good at and folks will inherently find the products you offer. Content marketing 101.
- Product development and feedback – Probably the most underrated out of the bunch, but great for early product development. Start by filming a short introduction to your product and it’s future features. Perhaps you can being your potential customer on a journey as you roll out your first few phases. Capturing feedback now, well before you have to start beating the streets.
- Build a bigger network – Above all, you start meeting new people you otherwise wouldn’t have from within your audience. They introduce you to others and before you know it, you’ve grown your network. Everyone wins when this happens.
So what’s your plan and how are you going to execute on it?
I should only give this a “half” of a point because everyone gives this advice, but I still think it’s worth reminding you about.
You will quickly become aware if you have the passion for all of this or not. There’s a meme within my Twitter friends called #medeirosing. If you follow me, you may have seen it once or twice.
I have a passion for networking, promotion, and occasionally saying things before thinking. Ready, fire, aim vs. Ready, aim, fire.
The internet is a busy place. We’re all busy — we’re all tuned in to our various “channels.” If you don’t have the gumption or #medeirosing to step it up and make yourself known, how will you ever be found?
How will you ever be unique?
It’s up to you to rock this journey — no one else.
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