You Are Your Audience
It helps, when you’re putting your content out into the world, if you are part of the audience that you serve, and there’s no great divide between you and those you’re reaching out to.
From a content creation perspective, this comes into its own when you’re constantly producing new material, and learning as you make progress on your content journey. Trusting your intuition and not overthinking things helps you deliver work that not only hits the spot but can also take you to new places.
You Are Not Your Target Audience Is Not Always True
It’s a staple message, shared by many people and businesses, that ‘you are not your audience.’ From my perspective, if you want to be a part of something you have to want to get involved with those very others you’re trying to reach.
Let me explain.
When you create distance between yourself and someone else, an element of ‘difference’ creeps in. You and the people you reach out to stand at two separate ends of a spectrum. Businesses create personas, keeping their audience at a safe distance. They know what people might want, but aren’t prepared to stand alongside with them. It’s similar to people coming to your dinner party and you sitting at a separate table – the one with the bigger portions.
In a recent article on growing your audience from zero, I stated that your audience is made up of the person you once were. You are your audience.
When you are your audience, you deliver and produce something that everyone can feel a part of. July 1st 2021 saw the first YATM Online/Offline event – the first hybrid event where a Zoom and in-person event happened simultaneously. If I had adopted the ‘you are not your audience’ approach, I would have orchestrated the whole thing and people would have enjoyed themselves, but perhaps not been as present.
Listen to me talk about the event on this show.
By being a part of You Are The Media with every single person, we started the day together. A group of people headed down to the beach and we all went for a swim. During the event, I asked for help from the audience about a Zoom issue. We sang together, we spent time together afterwards and headed out into the evening together.
This all happened through my being a part of something with everyone else. As such it allowed me to tap into that fantastic asset – intuition. Intuition means you trust your gut, choose the right sort of risks to take and feel empowered to deliver something that you’ve never done before.
Who Are You Creating For?
When you’re a part of something with your audience, you’re less likely to run out of ideas. Think about framing your content creation this way:
🧐 Changing it from – What do people need from me?
😃 To – What would have helped the old me?
In the words of Mark Schaefer, ‘we create content, but in a way, content is creating us.’ My interpretation of this is – you become better at your craft the longer you create and produce and also more attuned to your audience (which in turn translates into becoming a recognised voice for them). For instance, what I produce and share today is on a different level from what I was doing a couple of years ago. The reward for this is that your audience grows and you optimise for the people who are a part of your endeavours.
When you know the people you’re producing material for, you begin to have more conviction and confidence in what you say. It helps you come up with a tone of voice that sits right with everyone. The You Are The Media tone of voice is upbeat, encouraging, cheerful and informative.
Sometimes you have to step aside from the analytics. They may look encouraging but don’t tell you a whole lot. You may have had lots of website visitors but do you know who they were? And that 45% open rate for your email – how did it impact your business?
Intuition Matters, A Lot
To be seen and heard, you need an audience.
When you have that audience, you can start making the choices that are in tune with them. Over time something bigger starts to happen where it’s not just about you and it’s only not all about them, but about everyone.
Intuition isn’t then just guesswork – that rolling, continuous delivery helps you make better decisions that leave little to chance. For instance, to many people delivering a dual in-person/offline event could be seen as a risky step to take (particularly as the country is not fully out of lockdown, but we did have the Lighthouse, Poole ensuring it was a safe event). In my eyes though, it felt right. We had become comfortable with the YATM Online events since March 2020 and all communal activity was in-person before March 2020.
Being a part of this with everyone else meant that we created a special occasion, not a networking event. Saying ‘hello’ to people again didn’t feel too awkward as we’d spent time together during lockdown.
To be on a level with everyone else, stay grounded and do something that can create impact, you need your audience. Calls to action, bounce rates, views, clicks, layouts, and conversion rates are extremely important, but they don’t mean anything if you don’t have people in front of you that you really “see.”
Cherish the people who stand alongside 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. You experience things, mature and yes, age together (!) over time.
That is something that no algorithm can interrupt – you making something worthwhile for the future, with a nod to your old self.