The Best Way To Build An Engaged Audience
You can’t just hit “publish,” sit back and expect results. Just as important as creating the content in the first place is what you do after publishing – how you step up and stay on for the ride, alongside the work you’ve produced.
You can produce your best work – the slickest video or most enticing landing page – but if you’re not there when people react to or respond to it, you can’t expect the positive connection to be anything but fleeting.
Being present, keeping up with, and interacting with people reacting to your content, speeds things up for you in terms of having more people come over to your side and eventually becoming customers.
In order to get results from your content you can’t publish and hide – interaction is key and this is how you can use it to scale and build an audience that is yours.
Where The Advantage Sits
If you want to put something out there that makes people sit up and notice you, you have to in turn, notice them – the people reacting to your content.
This is something many people and businesses forget about. All the time and effort is put into creation and production but when the work is published, far too many walk away, moving onto something else. There is a real advantage to sticking by what you’ve published and being present when so many others tune out, using content creation only as a one-way, broadcast flow of messages.
Interacting with people who comment, enquire or reply to you is a privilege. The only way we find connection and develop attachment is through participating.
What you are doing through interacting is:
👍 Reinforcing how you see the world – what you believe in and stand for
👍 Making people feel special by noticing and responding to them
👍 Making it easy for them to share your work and tell others about you, doing an element of your marketing for you
It’s more than a marketing mindset – it’s a way of being civil, honest and good-to-know.
Let me share with you here, what you can do to develop your audience, giving people the sort of experience they may not get elsewhere.
What To Do After You Publish
Interaction is about thanking, replying, chatting, nurturing and asking. Building it into your content and audience programme can make a significant difference.
Here are some pointers that have benefitted me:
When someone has subscribed to you, a simple thank you is worth a lot. Everyone accepts that automated responses are a part of our lives these days so thanking people personally, so they know it’s not just generated from a field on a form, can make a huge difference. Taking time out to welcome people shows you care.
I used to send email replies to new YATM subscribers, but even if I personalised the email far too many assumed it was automated. By sending short video messages (I use Bonjoro), I make sure I say the subscriber’s name straight away, so they know I’m there for them.
I started this year with a video I posted on LinkedIn that went into orbit (you can read more about it on creating anti content). One of the reasons so many people saw it, was that I made sure I replied to everyone who commented, this meant that everyone got attention and the message travelled.
In this article on the LinkedIn algorithm, Andy Foote says, “Comments provide more data than likes and re-shares, they also generate engagement.” This is what I mean by ‘standing next to your content.’ By checking in daily, I was fanning the ‘reach fire.’ The content flew, people connected and more people joined the You Are The Media community. Unless people are making unwarranted requests, you should always reply to their comments.
Use other software to help you out.
I mentioned I use Bonjoro, but you could just as well use a LinkedIn video or audio message – whatever you can, to help bring you closer to that other person who has subscribed, commented or interacted with you.
This helps you on the journey of getting to know people better, and so own your audience. For instance, at the start of 2021, I am keeping Friday mornings free to meet up with anyone from the You Are The Media community (you can book here). This is to discuss what they’re working on, their message, what problems they’re having and just checking in with others on what they’re creating. This is via calendly.com/ and if you sync with your Zoom account, it is diarised and every meeting has its own link. Use what is available to support your efforts.
Don’t stop on a hello.
A quick thanks, however nice to have, closes a conversation. Instead figure out ways that can keep the flow going.
Focus on what they want to hear (if someone subscribes, the last thing they want is a sales pitch from you), and think about what is important to them. For instance, when coming across new subscribers, I ask people what they do and how they found out about You Are The Media. By asking questions that are specific and relevant to each person, you show that you are interested.
Your Tone Of Voice Matters Too
Being faced with a sales pitch feels totally different from an introduction in which someone wants to get to know you better. An open, considered and relaxed manner feels so much better than one that conveys urgency or a need to communicate status.
If someone has subscribed because your material resonates with them, they like your message, angle or approach, the worst thing you can do is pull rank and effectively put up barriers. This shouldn’t be about putting yourself on a pedestal, but more about recongnising the value you can deliver to others and communicating in an approachable way.
When you reflect who you are and people see it, you bring the right people to you. As Doug Kessler said in a YATM Online event in 2020, bringing your voice to the table represents “untapped potential that every company can tap into…but very few do.” Doug is going to help you look deeper at tone of voice during the You Are The Media Month Of Learning in April.
When you interact in a way that shows people that you are there for them:
— You land in a place of truth and honesty as well as simplicity
— You demonstrate self-confidence
— People know you are right for them
— You can use it to your commercial advantage
When you bring yourself and your content to the party, together, you put yourself in a strong position. Connecting and developing relationships with your audience is something you have full control over and cannot be manufactured, hacked or worked around. It is very much about you and how you present yourself.
People need to know that when they comment, subscribe or commit to something, that they’ve made the right choice by choosing you. Your content is your tool to share your thinking and approach with others. When people know it’s you who answers the door and not a stranger, you bridge any gap and get closer to them.
Content that is used in this way, encouraging interaction, helps people know you appreciate their support. If people are going to make a decision to subscribe to you and buy from you, you need to make sure that all the touchpoints they experience match up. In this way, your voice, in the back and forth of a conversation, brings people closer to you.