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Getting The Right People (Not All) On Your Side

When you realise that you’re here for some, not everyone, you start to produce work that connects on a much more impactful level.

It pays to create work that is worth people’s time so you can actively engage with others and then grow from it. 

That is far stronger than wishing everyone to buy-in.

A Marker

One of the reasons You Are The Media started was I realised I was spending a lot of money and effort looking for the attention of strangers and to be of worth to people who didn’t know me. 

As an example, for a sales promotion campaign, I paid a cake maker to make cupcakes and then distribute them around the local area. The cupcakes were great, they were branded, each one in their own box and the team hand-delivered the cupcakes with a note. The return of new business from this cupcake surprise was zero. People were only interested in free food, rather than the business and a follow-up call. 

This is the reason YATM started (you can read the full story here) to find a more resourceful way to say something of worth that would attract the right person and wasn’t always driven by a campaign.

Rather than being reliant on someone else (a cake maker or Google), if your biggest investment is time and energy you can start to see a return when you are committed. It helps when you have something you stand for, know the audience you serve and the promise you make to that audience that makes their world /business better for knowing you.

Encouraging the participation of strangers who will never buy into you, is worthless. The opposite is being of value, so people trust you so much that the decision they make is easier to commit to you.

Sometimes it can feel slightly uneasy knowing that your work is not for everyone. It is far easier to post on LinkedIn topics that relate to hard work, happiness and personal success than it is to know the role you play for the people around you. 

It means being ok with your work not being intended for everyone. In this way you’re being generous to the people who are right for you, deepening your connection with them and ensuring you do more of the work you want, and need, to do.  

Seth Godin highlighted (Sunday 22nd May) the importance of doing right by your audience. “Specificity is the way. It has nothing to do with absolute scale and everything to do with being really clear about what hook you want to be on and setting a standard for producing work that people connect to and are changed by.”


When you know who your audience is you can stand the test of time. This is different from being popular.

When you are popular, you become part of the zeitgeist. The TV series that has the most seasons is The Simpsons with 33 since it began in 1989. However, when you know the people you are creating for, you have the opportunity to make a mark in their lives. The longest-running children’s programme, in the UK, is Blue Peter. It first aired on 16th October 1958 and is still going strong. 

To do work that matters, you have to be prepared to leave people out. In the case of Blue Peter the show is for six to fifteen-year-olds, everyone else is outside. 

When it comes to producing work so the right people join you, it comes with some guiding principles. 

When you flip from achieving scale and popularity to recognising you are here to help and know the people who need what you do, they are more likely to pay attention and stay, but they need to be convinced first.

Here is what you need to know and what I wished I knew before I spent a lot of money on cupcakes and other failed sales promotion exercises. 

Know who you are doing this for

If your ‘who’ becomes everyone then your message becomes generic and you are fighting to be heard with everyone else. This is why when YATM began it took a few years to find its stride as the main message was generic marketing information.

Know why you are doing it (and then keep with it)

There has to be a reason why you are stepping up. What do you want to get out of it ie. reputation, sales, trust, experience, or develop your learning and skills? One of the reasons I began You Are The Media was to find ways to save money, I was spending too much time on paid campaigns in the effort to be seen.

You’re ok that when you start, very few will care

It takes time for people to start to recognise you, the hard work you do and how it can help. Starting something new invariably takes time, but it is worth it. People need to see a track record and it feels easier to commit when someone else backs you up. What happens is that you prove to yourself that you can create work with meaning. This helps build your own confidence.

Know what people want

When you begin, you might not know what others are looking for. That is ok as what you are doing when you start out is to find your own rhythm and voice. Over time, you can start to understand what strikes a chord. Measurability could be from Google Analytics, it could be from the comments people send to you. This then helps shape why time with you is worthwhile.

Understand what you are going to share

A core message is vital. It’s the central theme for what everything comes back to and you are assured that you are not going to run out of ideas and inspiration. Whatstarts to happen is that people recognise you for industry relevance and becomes easier to understand the role you serve.

Become a part of your audience

Being there for the right people, not everyone, means you connect on a stronger level. Cherish the people who stand with you, celebrate together, respect their input and find ways to learn together. There’s no need to be engineering some sort of hierarchy between you and others – become a part of your audience.

Have a real interest in your topic area

Sharpening your knowledge always helps. It lets you progress and shapes what is right for you and your audience. You have to be tuned in and show an interest. It could be podcasts that spark an idea or a book that introduces a new way of thinking that was right in front of you all along. If you show enthusiasm in your work, people notice this.

If you want to be seen as an authority, start a newsletter

Encouraging the right people to join in, supporting involvement from others and making sure they are seen, start a newsletter (you receive their email, they feel a part of something). The YATM weekly has been the engine for everything since 2013. This way it becomes a place that only those who subscribe can be a part of. It’s what you own and an opportunity to be a highlight in someone’s day.

Let’s Round-Up

When you know the people you are creating for and understand that more isn’t always better it provides the cornerstone for building something you probably didn’t think was possible. 

When people know they can feel a part of something with others and want to participate, then people will show a commitment.

Creating work that matters and then knowing people are around you, who want to join in and help, so they feel a part of the same connected experience is empowering. That is why finding the right people, not everyone allows you to produce meaningful work where you choose to close and open the doors. 


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