Often I have found that audience is something that evades writers and bloggers especially when just starting out. Everyone is trying to figure out how to connect with their audience, but what does an audience even entail?
See most often, there is a difference between an audience and what I like to call a tribe. All of us as writers, bloggers, or dreamers have probably noticed that there are pretty distinct groups that all create a collective following of our work. So really when we talk about audience, I think it’s important to get clear on those distinctions. I would like to refer to the collective as a following. But here are some of the subgroups that I believe make up a following.
Audience tends to be the people that aren’t really personally invested in your work at all. They come for what they need specifically, may or may not engage while they’re there and may or may not purchase anything that you have to offer. More often than not, they are kind of just the watchers and lookers on.
The tribe consists of the people that not only dig what you have to offer but also probably dig you as a person too. They probably like what you share on social, they leave comments, and have probably shopped your products, maybe even more than once. The tribe is dope. They probably even pop up with an encouraging email on the days when you feel like you want to give up. I can’t be the only one who has thought, “What am I even doing here?”
Et Tu Brute?
Then there is the Et tu Brute group. Shakespeare anyone? This is a specific type of lurker I have noticed that may be looking to overthrow you at any moment. They are more on a colleague level. But they kind of stay in tune to what you’re doing just to keep their eye on the competition. They may either become great collaborators or they may just continue to lurk. The pendulum can really swing either way.
But all these groups make up a following. So it’s really important to understand targeting in these subgroups of your following as well. Each area will be fed from something different through your writing and content. They all have their place and are all an important piece to your visibility and growth.
So what are some tangible steps that you can take in order to connect and grow your audience? Because this is what we all want to know right?
- For me, it starts with the writing and content. Did you expect me to say something different? It may sound elementary, but I don’t care what tactics you employ, if you are not producing well-crafted content, no one is going to care. The internet has 1.2 zillion blogs. Yours should have excellent content. And it takes time to get there. I feel like I am in my just getting to my good stage and working diligently toward getting great.
- Authenticity. We mention this all the time, but I need you to really get it. If you are a carbon copy of someone else, no one is going to care because you probably don’t do them as well as they do. Be you. What is it that you need to say that the world needs to hear? It’s not about creating a voice for your writing, it’s about amplifying the voice that already exists. What makes you, you? Are you honest in your writing? Do you give real life examples? Are you as transparent about your struggles as your victories? These things matter and people aren’t stupid. They can sense when people are disingenuous. Be inspired, never copy.
- Do you know who you are talking to? If you don’t have a niche or focus, you will be grasping for straws. You need to know exactly who you are speaking to in order to connect with them. Niche is not a dirty word. The more you narrow down, the more your audience will expand. I know, doesn’t seem to make sense but it does.
- Are you as engaged as you want your following to be? Take a moment to get to know the people that are supporting you. If you don’t have a large audience, it makes it even easier. Check out their pages, get into convos, give them real responses to the comments they leave on your blog.
- Be present and consistent. Are you around? Do you only pop up on twitter when you are promoting something? Make sure that you are posting consistently to whatever schedule you have set. And show up. Be there when you say you will and that is the trust that you will begin to build especially with the tribe.
Click to Tweet/// It's not about creating a voice for your writing, it's about amplifying the voice that's already there.
These are some of the major keys to not only amassing a certain number of people that may view your work, but building quality connections with them. An audience is composed of different parts and so the work it takes to maintain each of them will vary.
Building a following that’s valuable and engaged will take you some time. I know everyone makes it seem like do these things and with a snap you’ll have thousands of views and make thousands of dollars. But that has not been my story. It won’t take you forever when you are doing meaningful work, but it will take some time. I would never boast insane numbers of views and followers, but I have definitely doubled my following on all my platforms over the last year by implementing these practices among a few others.
In The Writer, The Brand, we talk about even more tactics to gain traction and garner exposure for your writing. Monday, Feb. 15 is your last chance to purchase the course at the current price. Do not wait when these are tactical processes that you can begin implementing right away. The Writer, The Brand 2.0 is coming and it won’t ever be this low again.
What has been your biggest struggle connecting with your audience? Is it sheer numbers or authentic connections?