Moving From Everyone To Someone
Creating work believing everyone should read, watch, and listen is confusing. It takes time, but you can get to a place where you know you’re creating for the right people.
Figuring out who your audience is and what they come for is easier said than done. This article highlights the steps to get to a place where you shift an approach for all, to the right message for someone.
The longer you stick at something, you realise that continual improvements, modifications and refinements, are so important. Let’s share those stages.
The Problem When You Create For Everyone
Thinking your audience is anyone who will see your work, accelerates the drive for popularity over the possibility.
When your work is generic, it means appealing to a wider audience but at the same time what starts to creep in is thinking about the people who might not like what you share (the focus on who unsubscribes rather than who stays), so it becomes far easier to play it safe.
When your work becomes broad and you cover everything, you ignore the audience to focus on. Even worse you bypass getting to know them better.
Where To Refine To Get To Place For Someone (It’s Ok To Start Wide)
It’s ok to start where you might not know your true audience. Over time, you start to chisel away at this big block knowing the goal is to shape your work for the right people. More importantly, the people who will stay with you, over time.
Have a look at this graph that highlights where you start broad just to have a presence. Then you work at it long enough to know the people you want to reach out to and recognise why they want to stay with you.
Let’s break this down by going from everyone to someone.
1) Sharing Your Message
When you begin, the writing, video, audio, visual work is what gets you seen. If you don’t start, no one is going to notice you and pay attention.
It’s similar to beginning a new school and not joining in with anyone. If you don’t participate, your days become lonely. To make friends you have to take part. Being online also defines how we make friendships and find people easily. The goal is to find other people who have a connection with you (interests, beliefs, objectives, aspirations, values, hopes) and you grow together.
You’ve got to keep at it, so more people can see you. It’s the rhythm that helps you find confidence in your message. The more people who see you, the better their judgement that what you say is right for them. At this stage, it is more about rhythm than being defined on the right person and tailoring your message.
2) Knowing there is always room for improvement and wider awareness
Serving others by returning with your slant or ideas that can be of use, is what starts to define your work. It could be a newsletter with a central theme you share on a specific day/time, it could be a podcast that follows a particular topic. This helps you with focus and you start to have an idea of the role you can play for others.
When you know your message and belief structure, you keep going. What happens is that your audience organically grows. It’s the recommendations, it’s the subscribers, it’s the sharing on social media by people who are now familiar with you. At the same time, you are gaining insight into a growing audience and what could work if you introduce new strands (paid or free).
This stage is where you have an awareness of what works for others and what doesn’t appeal to them.
3) Refinement based on feedback and awareness
When you begin your content creation efforts (point one) you don’t have data points to refer to or have an idea of what others appreciate. You have to keep going. Over time you start to see patterns of where your work resonates or where you can improve.
Have a look at these words from Jay Acunzo from a YATM Online Offline show and where your work matters to the right people, rather than an endless goal of more people.
For me, a danger over the years had been spreading myself too thinly and doing things that didn’t resonate (for instance I thought I could create a podcast network!), you have to be focused on your main output and where you want to get to.
When you find persistence with your work, you start to see patterns of people who are tuned in to you, those who will never commit and those who are uninterested. As you work on your narrative and message, the uninterested group becomes smaller (or they faze out into the distance).
When you make refinements to your work, you always have to ask for feedback from others whilst at the same time not hampering your progress.
Proving It To You
The everyone to someone approach is what we now have with You Are The Media. Where it is today is not about covering broader topics from marketing, SEO or social media but focused on how we can create to build our own platforms to be leading voices in our fields that people want to hear from and work with.
The whole refinement process moves to a place where I want to build a learning platform but also appreciative of the people who enjoy feeling a part of a community. I aim to take the involvement with YATM into two places:
TOGETHERNESS – the coming together from the Friday Sea Dip Club to the YATM Game Nites (emphasis on camaraderie).
DOING/CHANGE – working together with creation and audience growth themes via a membership format and we do the work together (emphasis on focus).
The You Are The Media Club will be a private online space where the focus is on the people who commit and are there to support and motivate each other. A safe space for us all to learn and grow. You can read more and register your interest here.
The reason I want to share with you is that getting to a place that serves the right people, takes time. If you recognise that a goal is to create work that has never been done before, you can’t just jump in feet first and think you can convert everyone.
You and the world change. It starts with building your audience and then recognising that the trust that is built enables you to do the best work you have ever done.
If you want to do work that makes an impact, you have to be ok with finding your feet, being slightly unsure but be able to take risks, listen in, make adjustments and truly stand up for the work you do and the value it creates.
We all evolve, the worse thing we can do is stand still and think that what we have always done has to remain resolute. Whilst the overall message and what you stand for remain central to your efforts, the ways you develop and deliver has be open.
It takes a big step to be confident enough to say ‘I don’t think this is for you,’ but what it does is free you up to do the work that matters for the people it was intended for.