Why Having A Direct Relationship With Your Audience Matters
The more direct the relationship you have with your audience, the more opportunities you can both take from it. Plus the more secure you will be.
Too much of the time, and for too many people and businesses, connection only ever translates into transaction, coming down to what can be extracted from someone else. This can be in the form of ‘likes’ or someone buying from or downloading something from you. It all comes down to the ‘take’ that is within us all.
Another way of looking at it would be to acknowledge that we are here for each other, so should work together to find a better way for both sides to get something more and longer lasting from the relationship that’s being created. Taking this approach is about digging a well that won’t ever run dry.
This article is about looking at what we can build together rather than what we can simply take from others.
Let Me Explain
Having a direct relationship with others who ‘buy in’ to what you do is very important. This is the bedrock of your relationship with your audience, the base which you own and distribute from.
If you make things better for yourself and others, you can both do well, plus it gives you a bit of a happiness kick in the process.
There was once a time when you had to get through any number of hoops to have any hope of reaching the people you needed to get to.
This could have been paying to be seen in a magazine or purchasing a database so you could send information out. Today, it’s possible to take out the intermediaries that stand between you and your market and you have the capacity for a far more direct relationship with the people you’re trying to reach. There are lots of different ways you can do this, from the email list that you own, to a WhatsApp group.
What Does It Look Like When It Works?
From my own experience, You Are The Media is the space people congregate around and, as they become familiar with each other, further connections and opportunities present themselves. These are there for everyone who’s a part of the group, (you can read more here from the article on how to make a scene) and include such examples as people guesting on others’ podcasts to directly working together.
This is proof of how being close to your audience and one another can really make a difference.
From a personal perspective, so far in 2021, being close to my audience has included:
— working with Bournemouth University on a community-led project
— YATM community members, Lighthouse, Poole inviting us to deliver the first YATM Lunch Club after the recent lockdowns on July 1st at their theatre
— offering paid work to the teachers at the YATM Month Of Learning
— YATM community members, Yellow Tuxedo asking if I would present at their Digital Circus event in May
— Community members stepping up to start the weekly email with the YATM Takeover (this started in January) and people also sharing their work at the YATM Online events (this has been ongoing since 2020), and in our #winning section.
These multiple examples highlight what I mean by having a direct relationship with your audience – everyone benefits.
From exposure and reach, to paid work and joint delivery or just trying something new out – when you know the people around you, what you create becomes an abundant source for you and others which can only be a good thing for everyone involved. There is proof in the abundance people feel when they are a part of something.
Framing It For Your Side
If you own the relationship (by owning, I mean you can reach out to people directly without having to go through a gatekeeper), you’ve bolstered your position both in terms of your own career and your standing within your marketplace.
This is the process you’re following when you make it about more than just promoting yourself:
- It’s about them. This is where you create with an audience in mind
- It’s about both of you. This is where the weight of potential benefit balances on both sides
- It’s about what you can take. This is where finding the opportunities that are available can be mined, together.
When you do something that you enjoy, that springs from genuine interest and purposeful intent, and you achieve consistency with it, people will gravitate towards you. This is the basis you create from – so that others want to go on and find out more about each other; very different from just having a ‘what can be extracted’ or ‘what you can gain’ from others mindset.
This approach is very much about finding the right fit and creating momentum with other people.
We can all find better paths towards coming together. A recent article from Sonja Nisson on how community will lift us, Sonja says, “Our need for connection and collaboration is primal — certainly a counter to the isolation and separation many of us have felt in Covid-sponsored times.”
It is important to know that we are here for each other and that we can create something that brings people together and then develops and builds on those initial connections.
This is what producing meaningful work is all about. You create with a sense of accountability which recognises that the possibilities for developing that work also lie with those who are around you, the ones you’re trying to reach. It’s how you make your most worthwhile contribution – something that benefits your community and the people around you, and where you do yourself and your career, a power of good too.