Creating Commonality With Your Audience
The content you create will click more with your audience if they can recognise values they share alongside the messages you’re putting across.
Blending your content angle and shared values is what makes you attractive to others as the right person (or business) for them.
To grow your audience, have more subscribers, or turn customers into loyal advocates, it doesn’t have to be about only sharing industry rhetoric. For instance, an email newsletter that is only ever about the people you work for and the industry you serve, soon becomes formulaic and predictable.
Sharing An Example
Taking a stand and aligning your message with the values of others, is how you earn loyalty.
Ask yourself, who is your message for? What is the mindset and perspective that matters to them? When you understand this you can form closer connections with them.
Let me explain from a You Are The Media perspective:
The message (the business angle/perspective):
- Content marketing
- Content entrepreneurship
- Content creation
- Subscriber growth
- Email newsletters
- Personal branding
- Thought Leadership
- Owned media
- Audience building
- Monetising work
The common ground you already share with your audience:
It’s Tough When It’s One-Sided
If everything is too focused on one element you’re in danger of becoming irrelevant. Let me explain:
Too focused on your message – it’s easier to zero in on what goes on in your business than it is to recognise the wider responsibility and role that your business plays within a marketplace. Being too inward-looking means your messages become blinkered, with a focus only on what the business achieves (the wins, the glory, the output), rather than the commonality it shares with others.
Too focused on your values – it’s relatively easy to piece together a collection of phrases and call them company values that then feed into a mission statement you get behind. And of course you need a mission behind what you do and deliver on, that isn’t just reserved for an ‘About Us’ page or LinkedIn posts. But it’s far more important to live those values and mission, and not just share words that feel good and make you look noble.
Knowing What Brings People To You
Find the balance between what you want to say and how that fits in with others.
Common values are what people connect with. For instance, during the pandemic, a thread running through You Are The Media was us being something, in all the disruption that was going on, that you could rely on.
Reliability became our North Star. The Thursday email was still delivered every Thursday at 6.30 am, we started a Zoom show on the first Thursday of every month and we had quizzes on a Friday teatime. People may have felt detached from one another or lonely but we made sure there was regularly a way for them to be in the room together.
The common values alongside our other messages helped people feel a part of something and it meant so much more than occasional gestures or narratives that were purely business-focused.
What You Can Do
Your content creation efforts are elevated to a new level when you are not just motivated by goals, but are also looking to define themes.
Know what is important to the people you create for. In the words of a forthcoming (October) You Are The Media guest, Jay Acunzo“ When we pay more attention to the customer than to the industry, the customer pays more attention to us.”
As you begin to have an idea of the people who stand beside you (your subscribers, your customers), you start to find common themes that people get behind. For instance, from a study of 1,000 coffee drinkers, depending on the type of coffee they preferred, common themes became apparent – from extraversion, social boldness and vigilance, to patience, perfectionism, warmth and sensitivity.
Whether black coffee defines you as a purist or a latte indicates you have an open book personality, remains to be seen, however, the point I want to get across is that when you deliver something that speaks of shared values with those you’re trying to reach, you stand a stronger chance of building closer relationships.
Here is how you can frame it and find a balance between your message and creating something relatable for your audience.
This is a framework that has helped me over the years:
The only way you can adapt and look at how your message sits with others is for people to see your work. Over time you can fine-tune, but the only way you can find a common ground and a place that you lead from, is by creating that initial momentum. The longer you’re at the wheel, the easier it becomes to know the type of person who’ll be attracted to your work and find out what resonates with them.
Discover and pursue the ideas that resonate with others.
The longer you create work for, the more you become aware of the people in front of you. In an article on how to make your work timely, “how does what you do fit into the wider lives and concerns of your audience?” For instance, should you be talking about the sector you specialise in or making it more general, and talking about encouragement, redevelopment, support, gratitude, building stamina and strength?’
Recognise how loyalty comes into being.
When you find the link between your message and common values, people won’t stray. Shared values don’t have to be centred on societal issues – they can arise from the aspects of life we care about. This is what cements your place in the hearts of others.
Sharing your industry knowledge and viewpoint gives you the chance of having a place at someone’s table. When that someone can also see that your values are a good fit with theirs, you can “share a meal at that table” every week.
It’s a place from which trust develops, initiatives are delivered and you can continue creating work that resonates with the people that matter most to you.