Lessons From Three Years Of Learning Rolled Into Six Months
You can future proof your business by building a community around it.2020 has been a very busy year for so many people in terms of figuring out how to be relevant, holding on and just weathering the pandemic storm.As You Are The Media prepares to take a short summer break, here’s what I’ve learned from the past six months.The one thing I am now sure about is that if you build a community of people around you, you become so much more resilient – you’re more agile and give yourself the capacity to be able to head in any number of directions with the people who support you, on board. All of this comes down to having the loyalty and trust of others.You achieve this by doing the work over the long term, with the expectation that you might not see a return when you begin. I don’t believe you can build a committed community if you give yourself a window of just a few months or if it’s something you only have a sporadic interest in where the main objective is a financial return (that said, the latter does come into play the longer you’re involved).What 2020 Has Presented So Far?2020 has probably seen the biggest shift in activity since You Are The Media started seven years ago. This article highlights how having an active community can make a significant contribution to your commercial and personal well being.Here are four major happenings that have affected You Are The Media in 2020: Workshops were introduced at the start of the year. We began in January with Janet Murray and her 2020 planning workshop which sold out. The next event with Jon Burkhart was scheduled for the end of March but had to be postponed as the pandemic took hold. You Are The Media Bristol launched in February and whilst we’d had to cancel our initial October 2019 launch, due to lack of interest (I figured out why no one wanted to come, you can read here read here), we eventually launched to a full house of over 50 people at The Strawberry Thief, in the centre of Bristol.✘ Pausing all offline activity just as an entire year of live events was getting into its stride. There have been no live events since the end of March. Although nothing has been cancelled, only postponed, it’s a significant departure from the norm. You Are The Media Lunch Club Online was introduced on March 26th and has continued up to 9th July (and will pick back up again in August). This came about through thinking quickly, rather than stepping back and waiting to see what happened and whether others would make a move.From 9th January to 9th July 2020 there has been:27 YATM articles (here’s the proof)27 x weekly YATM emails27 x You Are The Media Bitesize Podcasts6 x monthly You Are The Media Podcasts with Chris Huskins3 x You Are The Media Lunch Clubs (2 x Bournemouth, 1 x Bristol)1 x YATM Workshop9 x You Are The Media Lunch Clubs OnlineWhy Would This Be Relevant To You?Not putting the brakes on the momentum that had already built up has helped to build a stronger community. The YATM Lunch Club Online has helped further our reach and it is a joy to see people from around the UK being a part of this and getting to know others far better than if the online fomat hadn’t existed. You never know what is around the corner.This is the whole point, you can currently be working on something where you might not see a lot happening (not much interaction, not much social engagement, slow growth of your database), but under the surface, things are going on. In the Art Of Asking, Amanda Palmer writes, ‘Since ever, in China, bamboo farmers have planted baby bamboo shoots deep into the ground. And then, for three years, nothing happens. But the farmers will work, diligently watering the shoot, spreading hay and manure, waiting patiently, even though nothing is sprouting up. They simply have faith. And then, one day, the bamboo will shoot up and grow thirty feet in a month. It just blasts into the sky.”2020 has been the year where the bamboo has grown out of the ground.It’s the same for all of us. Doing the groundwork and ongoing cultivation means you’ll be presented with a return. This could be the cumulative action of consistently showing up, sharing your thoughts, building your website, sharing your podcast or videos and making better, deeper connections with others. The content you make and create, all year round puts you in a better position for when you need other people to be there for you. During the pandemic, people were there for You Are The Media and people can certainly be there for you too.Why Did People Step Up?When things went bad, the community stepped up. That meant a lot.If you create something that people enjoy they will be there to help out when the time comes. What happened with YATM was we effectively pitched our tents in a new field.People have asked, ‘why can you charge £10 for YATM Lunch Club Online?’ It all comes down to the hard work put in over the years (read this article on when to charge). It would have been difficult, if not impossible, to build a paying audience for virtual events from scratch once the pandemic and lockdown struck. Not having already nurtured a space would mean low take-up and a getting-know-like-and-trust phase in less than ideal circumstances. It would mean not having what you needed when you needed it most.What I Hold Close In July 2020This is what I cherish from having been on the steepest learning curve I’ve ever been on in my life over the past six months: By doing the work, I know what I’m best at (sharing how you can build your space and presenting) Working on something that gives enjoyment (YATM) and helps towards the mortgage Seeing people from YATM work together and help each other out e.g. such as when Sarah Townsend launched her book, Survival Skills For Freelancers Being able to move into new areas and know that people will turn up in each new space (I now believe that even if we started YATM yoga on the beach people would turn up!) Making better decisions that improve the YATM experience for the community. For instance, the moment YATM got its own website in November 2019, it became easier for people to see at a glance what they could become a part of (before that it had been a bolt on to my main company website)What You Can Take From This?A lot of You Are The Media is me trying to figure things out for you, so you can save time, avoid the mistakes I made and take the lessons I’ve learnt to apply your side. This is what I now know really works when it comes to building a community: You need to build your own platform to extend from Build a place ahead of when you need it most Get out there and create without fear of being judged (write, record and share) Test out a few places to begin with and identify the one you feel most comfortable with and then stick with it Recognise how you best serve others and align your values with the audience you build Continually build on the interaction with other people which is a by-product of creationLet’s Round-UpWhen you give people enough reasons to believe that your space is somewhere worthwhile for them, they will continually support you.I now realise that You Are The Media is not just about the learning, but also in equal part about being a part of something. There was safety within our community when the pandemic hit because there was no interruption to that element – there were people there in the community ready to welcome others on board and offer support.It’s not about putting time and energy into something and then stepping back to see the results, it’s about that something being what you come back to over and over again. That’s what will keep you going through the years to come. Not stalling so far in 2020 has effectively meant rolling three years’ worth of effort into six months, in terms of learning, thinking and recognising that if a community is truly sustainable, it can be there for you, no matter what and where the lighting strike hits.Thank you for being a part of this.LET ME READ THIS ARTICLE TO YOU, CLICK BELOWThe post Lessons From Three Years Of Learning Rolled Into Six Months appeared first on You Are The Media.
8 Jul 2020
It’s Time For You To Be The Hero
Being the hero of your own story helps others identify what your content can do for them, associate with you, and for everyone to win.This goes against a lot of what you read where you’re urged to ‘make your customer the hero.’ You’ve doubtlessly seen articles where the emphasis is on walking in the same shoes as your customer, rather than ever putting the focus on yourself. This article looks at why putting the emphasis on you as the champion, but not in a way that’s heavy with self-gratification, helps to engage others and builds your credibility. The end result is that everyone does well. People become informed, introductions are made, people reach out to one other and you are at the epicentre, helping and supporting. It is the work you produce that gives you credit, makes you accountable and a reputable person/company to do business with. If you want to read another ‘make the customer the hero’ mantra, then this article is not for you.What Does It Mean If You Are The Hero?If you are the hero this means others acknowledge the thought and dedication you put in. What you create is for them. It’s you who puts the hours in, trying to figure things out, becoming a voice that stands up to be heard and dedicates time to producing good work. It doesn’t mean that you’re always pushing your narrative though, sometimes it’s more important to engage with connections and just be in the moment with others.If you identify yourself as the hero it doesn’t mean you’re interrupting and coercing people nor does it mean that every message you share is about you or your company, and it certainly doesn’t mean you share work that adds nothing to someone else’s week. Being the hero means you respect yourself enough to want to be recognised for the work you create and the message you stand for. It’s a responsibility you take on board, the payback from which eventually comes back to you in the form of having more of your ideal type of customer and raising your own profile.How The Path Of The Hero Is Similar To YoursWhen you step forward and produce a narrative where you stand for something you believe in and attract others to get behind you, your journey follows a similar path to that many hero-type characters take.It starts with an everyday person. The hero is always introduced as a regular person dealing with things that are grounded in reality. Over time, they change and even more rewardingly, share the wisdom they’re acquiring. The Hulk was a socially withdrawn physicist, Harry Potter was a schoolboy, and Deadpool had a terminal disease.A bit like you? No one is ever thrust into the world by thinking they are going to write, video or produce audio. There’s always a shaky start with that first piece of content that doesn’t look, sound or read like you. It makes sense to have that sense of trepidation when you take the risk and choose to show up, be present and create rather than hiding behind an impersonal logo (a logo is not an invincibility shield any more!).Everything starts from a calling. Peter Parker was bitten by a spider, Luke Skywalker discovered a message from Princess Leia. What’s going on is that something happens to change the course of the original trajectory.A bit like you? What starts as just selling and marketing your products and services can then start to take shape as you find something in or about your industry that you believe in, want to develop or where you recognise that an adjustment could be made to a norm or a way of doing things that has been around for many years. This lies at the intersection between how you make money and what you believe in.They become noted for being great at one thing. From having X-ray vision, shapeshifting, flying, invisibility to telepathy, the world gets to know heroes through the strengths they possess.A bit like you? It becomes easier for others to find you when you start off within a space that gathers people around and you deliver within that medium. This makes it easier for people to know you as you deliver good work in one space. What starts as writing can easily move to podcasts, video and live events.Allies come on board. When the hero finds others to journey and fight alongside them, they tackle the problems they come up against together. From Han Solo and Chewbacca to Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, no one operates alone.A bit like you? Doing everything yourself can be an uphill task. In finding your allies and cheerleaders, people that can help you out, you recognise that having other people beside you on the journey makes it even more rewarding and means everyone can do well.Bigger problems need to be solved over time. Rather than life being a breeze and taking advantage of the superpowers heroes possess, there are always further hurdles to be overcome. A bit like you? What starts off as a simple way of sharing your message becomes, with greater investment and a growing audience, something that develops and presents ever-evolving challenges that need to be tackled. For instance, You Are The Media’s live events were introduced in 2016, driven by a growing subscription base that created a community and rising engagement within that community. Become a better person, all the better to share your wisdom. Starting out as an everyday person, the more friends who supported and adventures that were experienced, the hero always returns changed, with a different outlook on life.A bit like you? From where you started, to the journey you’re currently on, creating, sharing and driving forward with your narrative – the longer you show up for, the better you become at what you’re doing and serving others. Why It’s Time For You To Stand Up And Be The HeroHere are some hero-status traits to embrace through which people can recognise you as someone with the guts and sense of responsibility to stand for something. You can become a hero when:You demonstrate to others that you are someone worth listening too. This is by sharing an ongoing perspective where you pick up on themes that not everyone else in your marketplace is looking at. This isn’t about a Q&A with a new member of staff, but leading with intent on the things that you believe in, that have a valid role within your industry.You continually ask questions that support you and your audience. Living in this time of uncertainty, it’s ok to admit you don’t have the answers and to say ‘I don’t know‘ Sharing your thinking, including your uncertainty, and what you’re doing about it, in plain sight of your audience helps build trust.You prove you have done the work. Just conveying anecdotal “evidence” doesn’t work, it’s important to dig deep and do the work and chart the journey yourself. That way you can show your findings. If you can show your own interpretation and share with others how things have progressed, it makes your perspective convincing and persuasive in the eyes of others.You enlist allies. The more people who are on side with you, the greater the opportunity for everyone to win. What happens is that ideas are shared, but you lead the way and provide people with a space where they feel included. The reward for creating a group and others feeling a part of it is that they will feel comfortable repeatedly returning to it. This is vital if you want to create something that has longevity. Read this article where I explain more click here.You are doing more than you realise. It is important to be there for others, it’s about being friendly, being attentive and there to support and guide. This is beyond the immediate remit of what you do and how you make a financial return, and lies in how responsive you are to others. For instance, I enjoy replying to people who send me an email. Sometimes something sparked by an email can become an article (here’s proof for you). It feels good to be noted as a person who is there when others need you (it’s how you become noted in your industry).You know there are opportunities to continually explore. The worst thing you can do is rest on your laurels. You have to be prepared to be continually moving the needle. For instance, one thing that I had to learn quickly during the coronavirus lockdown was how to make live video work. The You Are The Media Lunch Club Online may not have even happened if I decided to ride this storm out and reintroduce activity as it had been previously, when things finally became more settled again. Showing you have the guts to explore new opportunities can pay off particularly when others see you doing it and come to recognise that you’re not going to be letting them down.Let’s Round-Up Joseph Campbell introduced the idea of the hero’s journey in 1949 and said, “You can get a lot of work done if you stay with it and are excited and it’s play instead of work.” Creating can’t just be about the need to fill space with posts, but having a sense of responsibility for others. This is about showing a fighting spirit, learning and becoming knowledgeable over time. Whilst there should always be emphasis on giving the customer/client the opportunity to see themselves as the stars of your narrative, in a period of uncertainty those same people look to find leadership in the people they follow. Stepping forward and being upfront about the role you play and the support you garner means that you receive the credit and acknowledgment due. You may not have looked for it, but you can be the hero of your own story.LET ME READ THIS ARTICLE TO YOU, CLICK BELOWThe post It’s Time For You To Be The Hero appeared first on You Are The Media.
1 Jul 2020
How Your Credibility Helps You Build Your Audience
To stand in a place of authority and people to gather around you is to show up and consistently share your point of view.You Are The Media community member, Tom Dodd, marketing manager, from EntrustIT, recently asked: “I was wondering how you made the connections necessary to build up your brand. Whilst I understand that providing content that people want to read gets you in front of a wider audience in your Thursday emails, how did you get discovered by the local press and an audience across the area and country?”This article looks at what it takes to build a reputation that helps you carve out that position of authority, and helps move your business forward too.All credit to Tom for getting in touch and asking the question and, as a tip, questions from your audience, be they subscribers or customers, are one of the best places to find great material for your content. The short answer to Tom’s question is, it’s all about building credibility – not just among your clients and customers but within your industry or sector, and within your local area.Why is Tom’s question relevant to you too?Building a database and being able to control and direct who you reach out to, comes from attracting people’s attention. The bad news is that no one is entitled to just reach out and have people say ‘yes’ to you. The good news is that attention is something you can earn, over time by putting in the right sort of work. No relationship of any value has ever been built through a quick win such as asking someone to buy when there’s been no prior connection. You can’t ask people to sign up for your online course just because you’ve spent a huge amount of money on the tech if you’ve not put much in by way of building a rapport with your audience. There’s always a cost that goes beyond the financial.So, the longer answer to the first part of Tom’s question around building those connections is that it comes down to showing up consistently and building something where others can see that time spent with you is going to be worthwhile for them.Nothing makes me any differentThere is nothing that makes me any different from anybody else, I decided to build my own space for people to come to, away from the social channels, but taking from them by any means necessary (read more about that here). If I could prove to people that it was something that could work for them (and use You Are The Media as a vehicle to prove it), then they are trying it out for themselves would be less daunting and, as they joined me as I documented my journey, they could also see that I was accountable.With a marketing and adland background, I established YATM from zero in 2013, and spent a huge amount of time and effort figuring out how to build an owned media approach that could work. This included making mistakes such as failing to be clear enough about what I was doing and who I was for, in the early days, and falling into the trap of believing that jargon conveyed authority (I go into my jargon-filled days in greater depth, read here)When I began YATM, I didn’t have the credibility to be taken seriously. That lack of awareness is the biggest obstacle you face when you start from zero. It starts and ends with the content you share and the people who gather round To be discovered and get noticed, you have to share good quality content – helpful information and a point of view that has your stamp on it, and that hasn’t been done to death elsewhere. However, good quality content is no way near enough. You need to be constantly promoting yourself, acting as your own tour manager and so building your own credibility. The more people that trust your audio/writing/video, the greater your reach. If you want people to come to your side and stick by you, they also have to see that you show up consistently and are not going to let them down.It’s not just what you know Your work starts to gather momentum when you have the right people behind you. These may not always be clients, they could be followers or subscribers, or even people within your sector who can help you share your message, have their own audiences and authority, and can contribute to furthering your reach. For instance, during lockdown I have ramped up my visibility by appearing on podcasts with people I have got to know over the years such as Trevor Young’s Reputation Revolution and Douglas Burdett’s Marketing Book Podcast spin-off, ‘Authors In Quarantine Having Cocktails.’ Referring back to Tom’s question, “how did you get discovered by the local press and an audience across the area and country?” It comes down to working hard to get to know the right people on a professional and personal level. This is not about going to as many networking events as possible but identifying the people who can help amplify your reach. I reached out to Darren Slade, business editor from The Bournemouth Echo in 2015 and we are now close allies. It all started with having a topic that I thought would be relevant to his business section and asking, “Can I buy you a coffee and chat about it?”The network (or contacts) you build can become your mentors, people to talk to about new ideas and advocates for the work you share. Every opportunity to get to know someone is an opportunity to grow your credibility.As credibility builds it becomes easier for people to say yes to you. For instance, the YATM Lunch Club Online has seen some noted international industry names such as Mark Schaefer, Margaret Magnarelli and Andrew Davis taking part and feeling they’re members of the YATM community too. The people who you consider the most difficult to reach are probably the ones you most need to reach out to. Being Credible Comes Down To…Being discovered on a local level and then taking it further afield, where credibility drives your progress, breaks down as: Finding your hook. This is something Andrew Davis shares where you ‘put a simple twist on a familiar theme to ensnare and entrap your audience. Having absolute control of one thing. If you have an email list, you control the email list. It is your responsibility. Building close relationships. From the local paper to initiatives such as Dorset Growth Hub to building relationships with people further afield, from John Espirian to Trevor Young, it feels good to have others feel they are a part of something you’re building. Proving to people you genuinely care. You have to show up, do the work, be present and always respond to people. Growing one space, getting confident and then building on that. As you start, you want people to become familiar with your home base (website, podcast) which then means it becomes easier for them to join you when you extend your activity to a new medium or initiative. Discovering the big hitters. These are the noted people within your industry to whom you reach out to directly or else let know that you’re listening to them by commenting on their work on Twitter or LinkedIn. Knowing what your journey is going to be. When you are clear on the overall purpose you serve for others, it’s easier for them to come stand with you. Being approachable. This is where you recognise that your personality is more important than making sure your logo looks pristine. Backing up everything. It would disingenuous to suggest behaviour to others when you have not lived it yourself. Always deliver the proof, not assertions, assumptions and claims. Shunning the obvious, but championing simplicity. No one wants to read another article on SEO tips or how to get higher email open rates. Your role is to put your slant on the corner of the market that you want to own. Refusing to compromise. Shortcuts and hacks (buy followers, buy ads) abound but to build credibility you have to stay true to what you believe in and stand for. Showcasing others. If people make a commitment to you, give them a chance to be in the spotlight and feel important too. For instance, at YATM Lunch Club Online we have the #winning section to highlight the things that have brought joy to people’s lives. Accepting you will get your turn, but it might not be right now. Being recognised as credible within your industry is an ongoing venture, it doesn’t happen after three months and then stop. You have to be in for the ride – it’s the journey that’s fun, not looking for the finishing line.Let’s Round-UpBuilding your brand and being discovered by others comes down to the credibility you earn through what others think, not just what you say.When you start, you have to be comfortable that the effort you put in will only be recognised further down the line. Three blog posts in, you may be outspoken, but you probably won’t be influential. If you produce and share your narrative from a place of truth and empathy consistently, the effects will compound.Being discovered and achieving a position of authority is never something that’s passive, “build it and they will come.” You have to put as much, if not more, work into promoting your content, as you do, creating it. The key lies in doing the work and building your network of connections strategically, looking for the people that can help amplify your work and thinking about how you can help them. LET ME READ THIS ARTICLE TO YOU, CLICK BELOWThe post How Your Credibility Helps You Build Your Audience appeared first on You Are The Media.
24 Jun 2020
How To Know When It’s Time To Press Stop
Sometimes stopping – pressing pause on your content activity – and taking stock of where you are, is the best thing you can do.If you’ve been creating content for a while and are seeing little, or not enough, return on your efforts then this article is for you.In a recent article, I highlighted the tangible and also the intangible returns that start percolating through as time, your track record and back catalogue start to build. But it’s just as important to recognise when, if you’re writing a blog, putting a podcast together or creating video, you’re not getting anything back, and what to do about it. Sometimes, pushing through and carrying on regardless is the worst thing you can do. It’s not that you have to admit to yourself that your work isn’t any good, it’s more a case of asking yourself a series of questions to determine where you are in relation to where you want to be, and being honest with your answers. Pause what stalls, kill what’s nilYou Are The Media got off to a slow start with very few subscribers. The reason I kept going with it when things were quiet was that it was serving a purpose as far as I was concerned. It was a way for me to learn and put together a lot of the content that eventually became The Content Revolution when it was published in 2015. Another reason why YATM was such a quiet online space in its first few years was that I was involved in too much other activity. As well as running my main business, there was also an offline event (called Once Upon A Time) and a podcast called Marketing Homebrew. I had to press pause and stop on those so that YATM had a chance to stick. And by stick, I mean that it connected better with people, started building a community, told stories people enjoyed and cared about to the point where they’d buy from me. I pressed “stop” in 2017 after that original purpose of helping write The Content Revolution had been served, so I could get clear on exactly how I was helping others and what I wanted to achieve. Here is what the You Are The Media timeline looks like: 2013-14 Established and committed to YATM with gusto and energy, but little expectation or intention of audience growth 2015 The original purpose had been served but YATM’s generic marketing message meant continued limited growth and little differentiation in the marketplace 2015-17 Involved in too many other things alongside YATM so lost focus 2018 Focused on one thing – how YATM could help the community it built – by showing them how to develop and grow owned online spaces 2019 People cared 2020 onwards – Focused on keeping going and adapting to a changing world until it feels the YATM mission has run its course. There’s a phrase for it, it’s “kill your darlings” and it refers to getting rid of something you become too attached to for its own sake but that ultimately doesn’t serve why you exist in the first place, nor what you’re hoping to achieve long-term.What Are The Signs That You’re Heading Into A Place Of No RewardWhilst it may be easy to say, “stop what isn’t working,” what are the signs you should be looking out for that could indicate that you’re not hitting your stride and not building momentum? It all comes down to relevancy between your message and your audience. If there is no audience for your message or your content is too inward-looking, i.e. all about your company, then you will never win. Taking this further, CB Insights produced their post-mortem for why businesses fail. The top reason for new businesses collapsing (42%) is that there is no audience. When businesses fail, it is often less to do with money running out and more with their not meaning anything to the audience they hoped to find. A similar thing happens when content creation efforts fail.Here are some pointers to look out for that mean it could be time to stop and evaluate content that’s making little or no impact. The goal shouldn’t be producing more, but creating greater meaning and resonance with others:An initial burst of energy, then a lack of momentum. There is a thing called ‘podfade’ where the average number of podcasts made before activity dwindles, is seven. No one wants to look back and see evidence of initial devotion that evaporates into nothing. Similarly, when the articles you publish have dates associated with them, your apathy becomes apparent when your readers can see long breaks between publishing. Persistence, say a podcast or article once a month, is far more powerful than an explosion of activity over a period of a few weeks, followed by silence over the following six months.Focusing on the wrong metrics. When your short-term goal is conversion to paying customers, you’re only going to be disappointed. Content creation is always a slow burn activity and there are aspects of it you’ll never be able to quantify such as the breakthroughs finding your voice, becoming confident in the creation process itself and finding consistency in your narrative, bring. Trust can, and will lead to commercial returns, but you have to earn it first.All the effort going into creation and little into promotion and repurposing. This is one of the most unequal outputs from content creation, where people spend 80% of their effort in creation and 20% in sharing their work. If you don’t share, no one will see what you’re doing. If you ask people to share your work, they won’t, unless they get something in return. Your narrative also shouldn’t just sit in one place, you should be able to repurpose it, extending its longevity, for instance making a blog a starting point for a newsletter, editing highlights and sharing them on social media or creating an audio format from a blog post. Lack of distinctive style. When you look and sound like everyone else, there is little chance you’ll stand out, clearly differentiated. One of my biggest mistakes and the reason for YATM’s early lack of growth was that my message was generic and sounded complicated. When I leaned into simplicity and made everything feel accessible, YATM’s fortunes changed for the better.No plan or framework that drives activity, that you can return to time and again. All content needs a plan. If you create on a whim, the chances are you’re going to run out of steam or your message won’t be brave enough. Start with a guiding purpose followed by an editorial plan, and perhaps even more fundamentally commit to gathering inspiration and information continually – have a dedicated space in Notes or use Evernote for ideas/topics to follow up on or test out. Think about, for instance, what type of theme resonates more with others? Read this article to help you discover content themes to explore and build a calendar.Believing that people can’t get enough of you. Only your family will tell you exactly what you want to hear, nobody else will ever scream that they want more from you. Many businesses are fantastic at dedicating themselves to one thing – themselves. You have to give the audience you’re wanting to connect with something they can care about, showing them that you can help with the problems or issues they have. When the focus always comes back to you and not your reader/listener/viewer, returns on your content slow down.Having no strategic direction. This comes back to why you’re doing what you do in the first place. As I mentioned, in the early years of YATM I was so happy dabbling with other side projects that all focus got lost and this affected subscriber rates. Having something that defines why you’re setting out on this journey and what you want to achieve from it, is a barometer to check back into, to see if you’re going off course, becoming distracted or sticking by what you want to achieve. When Things StickThe moment you realise your work is having an impact on others, is when you can start taking what you’re doing to the next level. You have tangible and intangible proof that your work is building your audience and achieving your overall objectives Your regular content creation activity becomes a process you can replicate over and over again, minimising waste and time taken (all YATM activity is recurring, it doesn’t stop) The community you build means you lean into others for their help and advice Your community, fired up by what you share, becomes a place where your people ask questions that drives further content creation By repeating a winning formula, you can test and experiment by trialling other initiatives People care enough to buy from youLet’s Round-Up There are no rewards for creating work that doesn’t strike a chord. Stopping and pausing activity, all the better to recalibrate, allows you to realign and minimise the effects of sharing the wrong kind of work. In this way you’re not wasting time or resources, or tarnishing your reputation. Looking out for early warning signs that things aren’t going to plan, whether that’s recognising that content creation has become a chore or say, being honest about it not having much impact, means you’ll be better placed to create relevance within the marketplace or niche you want to succeed and build longevity in.LET ME READ THIS ARTICLE TO YOU, CLICK BELOWThe post How To Know When It’s Time To Press Stop appeared first on You Are The Media.
17 Jun 2020
Most Popular Podcasts
Going Beyond Clicks – The Return You Get From Content Leadership
The return on your content creation efforts is based not only on what you can see, but also on what is out of sight yet still having an impact on you and your audience.Sales made as a result of your content can often be measured but the place that you’re creating from, the reputation, profile and authority you build up, play their part too. This article looks at the rewards you can benefit from when you develop a content leadership position. Both Sides Now One of the best arguments for taking an owned media/content marketing approach is that the return on investment (ROI) all flows back to you. You’re building from a place you have complete control and ownership of. Getting returns from creating marketing content for other people’s spaces or platforms is never as straightforward. Naturally, the owned media approach takes patience, time and dedication but the return is based on the effort you put in and what people take out. It can be tangible or intangible:Tangible – what you can monitor, over time, based on your actionsIntangible – the actions you take, that encourage a change in othersOne side is what everyone is accustomed to (traffic, clicks, reach) but the other focuses on becoming a recognised voice in the space you want to dominate. This means you direct the message to an audience that has already subscribed and indicated that they’re willing to buy. Let’s look at both.The Tangible ReturnIt’s natural to expect a return your content effort and there are many resources that cover specific metrics you might want to be thinking about as far content performance is concerned. This is a good read, from the Content Marketing Institute read here.When you focus on too many performance indicators however, it can become confusing and disheartening especially, if you’re hoping to generate a sizeable return in the shortest possible time. Let’s highlight some simple tangible returns based on some common goals.You want a bigger audience – web traffic presents an indicator that what you create or spend, brings people to you. This could be progressed to wanting an increase in email subscribers where you have a dedicated page to draw people in to, where they leave their name. If you have an objective of increasing awareness, bounce rates and time spent on your site becomes a useful barometer. You want leads – look at what motivates people to step forward and be seen. A return here is when the narrative you create moves people from being just numbers (via analytics) who are aware of your content to those who then leave their details, opting in to receiving communication from you. You obtain this via promising something in return, namely your newsletter. Whether weekly or monthly, the newsletter you produce and send regularly is the silent contract you have with someone else (they give you their email address, you keep on supplying what they signed up for). Look also at the number of people you can draw away from social channels to you. For instance, invite every new LinkedIn connection to your subscription page. Monitoring the leads you generate helps you discover how long it takes to convert, as well as then retain, customers. You want customers/subscribers to stay with you – loyalty reaps dividends. You need to keep customers and those who enjoy your work with you. They are the people who are happy to effectively help out with your marketing. What percentage of people who subscribe, help you out? These are the people who share (and tag you in) and these are the people who recommend you to others. You need to retain those who help you extend the reach of your work in this way as they’re integral to your future success.The tangible returns are your number barometer – the boost in traffic, the conversion of leads and the reach you can achieve. Google Analytics provides great insights when it comes to looking at the return for your efforts (the time people spend with you, bounce rates, which pages are the most popular).The Intangible ReturnCredit to Richard Glynn for mentioning this quote.The intangible return is when your narrative looks to tap into carving out something of a content leadership niche, where your intention is to get others thinking and changing their behaviour. Less measurable by conventional metrics it goes a long way to creating loyal customers and a committed audience. A previous article looked at the importance of what you can’t see (read it here on what you can’t measure, still makes an impact).By leadership, I mean saying something that others haven’t said before, or taking a specific perspective and putting your own stamp on a sector or industry you’re a part of. It’s about being brave and saying what can make you feel uneasy. For instance, I have shared topics on nearly going out of business, burnout and hardly anyone showing up for events. Tough for me, as it shows vulnerability.An intangible return where you’re carving out a leadership position comes from: Persistence and sticking with what works. A return for getting into the habit of content creation and building your confidence alongside building an audience Stepping up to lead the way. A return for the connections you make and the trust you build Being recognised for having taken a particular stance. The return for the value you create, the insight you give and the perspective you share.By taking a leadership position, the intangible sits alongside the tangible (the views, the clicks and the shares), but offers up so much more to work with than data and figures. Here are some of the returns you can expect from content leadership:You create rhythm from showing up regularly Committing to writing and/or recording regularly is not easy, but over time, the more you practice you put in, the more you improve. Read this article on the importance of doing the work (it’s here) The more you invest your time in sitting down and not being led astray by a fear of being judged, or striving for perfection, the greater the opportunity to distribute your narrative and get people to join you. To make this work, you have to be tuned in and ok with continually adjusting your output. You find what works Being in it for the long haul, you recognise the work that your audience enjoys. For instance, my quest is not telling the world about marketing, but about what it takes for small businesses (and people) to build their own audience by creating and contributing to an ongoing narrative. Gathering an audience around you, on- and offline, makes it easier to introduce new products or initiatives such as online courses or events.You drive towards establishing an authority position This is where you focus on becoming recognised as a trusted person in your industry, based on your insight, frequency of content output and the drive that ignites a change in others. What you are doing, over time, is resonating with others so they trust you and know what to expect when your content arrives in their inbox, social feed, or podcast browser. This is far more powerful than a Google Adwords campaign.You move away from being merely campaign or sales focused People come to expect a particular perspective from you, one that goes beyond a single week or month’s worth of content, and your approach becomes something that identifies and differentiates you. This return can only happen when your dedication leads to your building momentum. You build an asset base Every week/month that you’re making those regular deposits into your content bank, your return on investment grows. For instance, you can make your content deposits go further, by one piece of work contributing to so much more. For instance, the return for one main article each week (which you are reading here) is that it also becomes part of a talk, a podcast, email, social posts and part of the library of work that sits in the blog section of the YATM website. The return for one piece of work should always be to drive engagement and look to find other routes for your work to have a new life. You provide value over time as a long term strategy for relevance, not just numbers The investment you make means that over time, people know who you are, what your business does and the role that you could fulfil for them. It works best when you find your niche and continue to deliver value within it. This happens when you let go of a focus on accumulating mass driven by views and clicks and choose relevance instead. In this way you build your authority even if at the start and without a track record, subscriber numbers are small. What starts as a gradual process ends up generating its own momentum. In the recent Edelman Trust Barometer, the conclusion was that what was important was to do the right thing, to partner and to lead (read the article here).Let’s Round-UpBenchmarking what can be seen offers up a useful and tangible way of understanding the return on the work you put in. For instance, if your goal is traffic to your website, then paying for ads is a sensible choice and a good way of measuring and understanding the return on spend. Another way to look for return is to focus on the more intangible returns offered up by content leadership. You may not necessarily be able to make an immediate judgment of success or otherwise but can be assured that change is bubbling away under the surface. This is down to the reader / listener / viewer who is on the sidelines, seeing your work and then deciding to commit when the time is right for them to buy or subscribe. This is the work that acts as an evergreen resource on your website that works hard for you long after you created it. Carving out a position of content leadership means you become known for what you stand for and gain longevity and relevance in your marketplace as trusted source. LET ME READ THIS ARTICLE TO YOU, CLICK BELOW.The post Going Beyond Clicks – The Return You Get From Content Leadership appeared first on You Are The Media.
10 Jun 2020
What You Can’t Measure Can Still Make A Huge Impact
Things that can’t be measured can still have a huge impact on you and your audience.Creating yardsticks and expecting to be able to quantify the success, or otherwise, of every activity and initiative can distract you from fulfilling your real purpose. What is concealed or impossible to quantify often reveals its value over time and can bring far more significant returns than arbitrary metrics ever allow for. This article makes a stand for what isn’t always immediately apparent – showing how things that are impossible to quantify can still amount to great work that attracts attention. Setting The Stall OutEverything that has a metric is attached to a particular level of achievement. Two likes are seen as less impactful than 16 likes, a handful of visits to your About Us page in a week is not as effective as a ton of views, having only a small number of Twitter followers means you have less clout than those who can boast an army of followers. More is seen as good, less is seen as bad.Of course, having a means of measuring means you can identify what works and what doesn’t. Then again, you have to ensure that your metrics are asking the right questions and make it possible to measure the right things. Marketing dashboards heavily focused on scale and likes, may not be that valuable – after all, a like does not necessarily equate to a new subscriber or sale. An obsession with numbers is a safe place from which to make judgments. Quantifying things allows us to see what happens if we continue as we are, do more or stop. You Are The Media would probably have been pulled in its first year if I’d gone on numbers alone. Let’s just say that it was very quiet. Measuring something doesn’t make it easier to make a decision. It just makes it measurable. Creating and sharing your best work rarely happens when you’ve set an express intention to align with a particular set of demographics and psychographics. You do it for other people (and also for yourself). So there is value in what can’t be measured.Champion What Can’t Be MeasuredLet’s look at some of the things that cannot be monitored but still have a positive effect on your work overall, and ultimately contribute to commercial success:The enthusiasm you bring to the table Enjoyment doesn’t have a metric associated with it, but offers its own support, helping you continue creating and over time, making others aware of your presence. All this starts from you gaining contentment from doing the work. I recognise that the moment I stop enjoying You Are The Media, will be the time it comes to an end. My enthusiasm and commitment is driven not by me having all the answers, but bringing people together to figure things out together (reasd this on why it’s ok to say I don’t know). This sort of spark and drive become the catalyst for so much more. The way your work helps someone else If someone takes an idea from you on board, then you’ve been genuinely helpful and are elevated to a place of trust. If your message encourages others to think differently and they then apply that thinking, it’s something you can’t measure or even see. But what’s happened, quietly and in the background, is that you’ve attracted a supporter, someone who may be ready, in time, to stand beside you for the long term. Whilst this can then progress into something that can be measured such as a decision to attend an event or work with you, it is the intangible that you may never know about – how your work made someone feel – that started it all. Private sharing that means you may never know It comes as no surprise that the majority of shares take place in places that can’t be measured. From a private DM, to a Facebook Group, conversations and shares, that your work may be a part of, are happening all the time in places you probably don’t know about. The days of simply telling your Twitter followers to share your latest article are gone. In their place, there’s something far more organic happening outside of your control in private spaces.The vibe you get from others Nothing beats that feeling of everyone being together in the moment. This is something we’re enjoying in the current online version of the YATM Lunch Club and it’s something that can’t be measured. Another thing that doesn’t lend itself to measurement is say, the personal sense of achievement you feel when things simply go as planned or others interact with you and you have the satisfaction of knowing that the content you created struck a chord with them. These ephemeral moments are to be savoured as recognition of your being on the right path. The potential for measurement may come some way down the line, when activity’s scaled, for example taking the form of people telling others to attend an event you put on. Knowing your work is improving and becoming more confident You progress and improve by making a commitment to creating and sharing your narrative over time. There will be no definitive moment when you suddenly feel more confident; self-assurance is not quantifiable. Also, counter-intuitive though it may seem at first glance, the more confident you become, the easier it will be to open up and acknowledge where you fall short or feel able to recount instances where you got things wrong. This openness and willingness to share the more personal experiences of your business journey becomes your differentiator and a magnet for bringing people to you. An attachment to others around you When your media mix connects with others, it forges a path for the future. From the weekly email to the live events (both on and offline), I like the idea of growing older together with the YATM community. This is nothing to do with a drive for more likes or social followers, but having a sense of responsibility to the people around you and what you do to you help them. The relationships built are not driven by some underlying drive to sell by any means necessary but through finding a mutual space where people join you for the long term.A personal response from someone The best part of sending the weekly YATM email is not combing open rates, social shares and clicks for the different sections of the email, but the interaction that happens after the email is sent. The one-to-one moments arising from the email are some of the best parts of my week. These interactions can be as simple as a “thank you” email or hearing from someone who’s recently subscribed, to someone stepping up to share something they learnt from you and used for themselves. This real-time closeness is something that a marketing dashboard cannot evaluate. It feels good to you, it feels good to the person who got in touch with you, and it means that you’re both listening to each other.Let’s Round-UpSo much that’s valuable doesn’t lend itself to, and goes beyond, metric mantras such as likes, views, clicks and shares. The things you can measure don’t necessarily tell you everything you need to know about your activity and your audience. Even if responses to your activity stay largely out of your sight, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t aware and engaged by what you’re doing.Data, and the insight gleaned from it, is important, but what it misses or can’t pick up – the sharing, comments and relationships built one-to-one, in more private spaces – is just as important in building a sense of community, connection and your confidence. LET ME READ THIS ARTICLE TO YOU, CLICK BELOW The post What You Can’t Measure Can Still Make A Huge Impact appeared first on You Are The Media.
3 Jun 2020
How The Right Voice Can Spark Conversation
Content that resonates with your audience and moves them to act is as much about “how” you’re saying something as it is about “what” you’re saying. The “how” is called tone of voice. This article looks at how getting your tone of voice right can be a budget (and reputation) multiplier. Hat tip to Doug Kessler who was the headline guest at a recent You Are The Media Lunch Club Online and spoke about how powerful this can be. Let’s get things clear from the start, tone of voice flows through all your written, broadcast or in-person communication. It’s there, saying something about what it’s like to do business with you, whether you’ve been intentional about how you want to appear, or not. It represents a series of signals you send out to others who then decide if you’re right for them. And it takes far more thought and hard work than merely adding words like “human” or “collaborative” to a LinkedIn post. The objective of creating a strong voice is to reflect who you are and bring the right people to you. As Doug said, this is “untapped potential that every company can tap into…but very few do.” When you get your voice right: You land in a place of truth and honesty as well as simplicityYou demonstrate self-confidence People recognise you are right for themYou invite interactionYou can use it to your commercial advantage Doug highlighted, “Confidence becomes the magnetic force to bring people to you.” This makes sense – people can see you’re good at, and enjoy what you do, which makes it easier for them to become attached to you. It feels less like hard work for them. A Real Life And Personal Case StudyThis is something I shared at the YATM Lunch Club Online: In 2017, someone who I respect and spent time working with on my business turned to me and said that I “sounded like a w*****.” At the time, I was taken aback and stunned to hear my voice being described like that. However, looking back now, it made complete sense. When it comes to voice, you have to be delivering in a way that invites people in and sparks connection rather than puts up walls. Let me explain what I was getting wrong back then:I used jargonI wasn’t concise Whilst there was consistency of message, it all sounded complicatedI wasn’t teeing things up to be accessibleI was vagueI wasn’t embracing simplicityIf you want to see what I mean watch this, Margaret Magnarelli (our guest for today’s YATM Lunch Club Online) effectively carried me. Composed and considered – hers is the complete opposite of my tone (watch below). Looking back now, I was delivering in a way that was distancing me from others rather than pulling them in. If I hadn’t taken that criticism on board, things could be very different today. Voice In A Covid Place Back to our time with Doug at YATM Lunch Club Online…I asked him what he’s picking up from business messages during the pandemic: “There is no playbook for marketers on this. Some of us are getting it right and some aren’t. Many companies say they are there for us but are they really?”Not every company has to be a part of this conversation. You probably aren’t going to notice too much that your energy provider says they care about you. On the opposite side, some companies are opening up and being honest with how they are adjusting to the changes. Doug highlighted how being able to let your guard down and share your weaker points openly and honestly, putting across your personality and perspective, gives your voice strength and makes you believable. After all, what would draw your attention, a company that displays a vulnerable side, or a company that wants you to know they are open for business?Examples Of Great Personal & Organisational Tone Of Voice Let me highlight two ends of the spectrum, the first on a localised level, the other in a big brand context. Darren Slade is the business editor of the Bournemouth Echo and Southern Daily Echo. He shares the voices and perspectives of others in the business press, but at the same time his own tone of voice is what others have confidence in and many people rely on his perspective. It’s not just what Darren writes but the consistency of his delivery – a tone of voice that is assured, matter of fact, honest and fittingly formal. He recognises the importance of connecting the business community to one another not just featuring individual stories, and shares a digest on everything he’s reported on at the end of each week. This is reflected in him never being seen, during the pandemic, in anything other than his trademark shirt and tie. In fact even on the hottest day of 2019 that coincided with a YATM Lunch Club, Darren had a tie on. I wanted to highlight Darren as he demonstrates what happens when you choose to ensure that everything you do reflects your character, position and delivery. He’s made choices about his voice. Where do you sit when it comes to your voice? Thoughtful or funny?Formal or relaxed?Excited or matter of fact?On a corporate level, although it’s quite a well-worn example, this represents a true definition of tone of voice hitting the mark: REI is a retailer specialising in the great outdoors. When Black Friday comes around, REI their doors and encourage customers and staff to explore the world around them rather than shop on this day. REI would rather be in the mountains, than in the aisles.Their hashtag #OptOutside says everything about a tone of voice which cares deeply about living a full life, as well as the products they sell. They want people to align with their thinking and encourage customers to cherish the outdoors. There’s clarity in their actions and their message. What You Can Be Thinking About & ApplyFinding your own true tone of voice and encouraging conversation takes time and plenty of thought. Here are some areas you might want to think about so that others find it easier to engage with you:You don’t have to be perfect, it’s better to be honest. Get comfortable with being open – it’s a position of far greater strength and relatability than the stiff upper lip that reveals nothing. A great example is Sonja Jefferson’s recent article, (People have noticed and reacted click here) Be clear about who you are and what you’re not.An accountancy firm whose primary aim is supporting its clients with their finances starts to look confused when it strays too far from home territory. Staying close to what you’re known for makes it easier for others to align with and remember you.You are who you are, not who you might want to sound like. You may love everything about the tone of the Innocent Drinks brand but it doesn’t mean you can, or should, become the B2B equivalent. It’s far better to develop your own voice, one that resonates with who you truly are. No one can take it away from you and very soon it starts to become your differentiator.Remember how it feels to have a conversation in real life. Just because you’re writing rather than speaking to your audience one-to-one, it doesn’t mean you have to become unapproachably formal and on high. You can help without dictating or driving your point home – an About Us page that is full of bluster and self-assurance doesn’t help anyone.The more confident you become, the easier it is to be vulnerable. Doug says, “Only a leader would admit how bad they are at something.” Being open about your own insecurities comes from a place of power. This is about being open in a way that others connect with, sparking conversations and sharing.Let’s Round-UpYour tone of voice is something that you have control of and that cannot be manufactured. It represents you and how you present yourself to everyone. If you take out the technical word ‘tone of voice’, think of it as how you talk to everyone. Is it closed, is it open? Does it feel uptight, does it feel welcoming? It doesn’t matter if an industry behaves in a particular way, your company represents you and the people who are part of it. Make what you share, accessible to those you want to reach. If people are going to make a decision to work with you, subscribe to you, buy from you, they’ll find every opportunity to ensure that the touchpoints they have all match up. This is your voice, in a conversation that brings people closer to you. LET ME READ THE ARTICLE TO YOU, CLICK BELOW.The post How The Right Voice Can Spark Conversation appeared first on You Are The Media.
27 May 2020
What’s Wrong With Saying, “I Don’t Know”?
Not having the answers is ok.Saying “I don’t know” is fine. It opens up dialogue and helps you have better conversations. And sometimes, particularly in times of change and uncertainty, it can work better if you stay with that. Begin with “I don’t know” and from that, try to figure things out as you go along.Hands Up If You Don’t Know The AnswerAt school, you get told that if you don’t know something to put your hand up. At what age does that stop? Acknowledging that you don’t know and that many things are simply unknowable during this time of pandemic isn’t much in evidence these days. You’ve probably seen companies trying to get you to sign up to a coronavirus themed webinar on what you need to do to succeed post-pandemic – these companies want to tell you about a future in which they’ve already carved out a role for themselves – supporting you. Coronavirus has given businesses an excuse to productise. The opposite of this prescriptive and self-interested “how to do well when business returns…” message is “I don’t know, but let’s figure it out together.” Working It Out As You Go Along This article looks at how things have changed my side recently and what I’m learning from the events that have affected everyone over the past two months.It’s for you if you’re building something where you’re looking to retain customers and remain relevant in your market.This article has a reflective feel to it, I tend to share this sort of material when something key happens to me personally. For instance in the past I’ve talked about burnout (read about that here), I’ve reflected on what I learned from putting on the You Are The Media Conference (read here) and what happened when I deleted the entire You Are The Media database (car crash here). These reflections become a scrapbook of sorts, in themselves representing a way for me to work things out.We Should Have Been TogetherToday, Thursday 21st May 2020, should have been the You Are The Media Conference. This has now been moved to the end of September. If it has to be moved again, it will be taking place in Spring 2021 (I’ll be making that decision in the next month and will keep you updated). Looking back, I could never have predicted that live, in-person YATM events would all come to a halt and the momentum we were building in Bristol would be paused. It’s a salutary lesson in how we can never predict the future and foresee seismic events that can affect us all.How It’s Been Instead Similar to millions of people, lockdown has taken its toll on me too. The days are running into one another, there’s repetition, more to do on the one side, less on the other and everything cloaked in uncertainty. Unsurprisingly, it’s had a major effect. Perhaps you’ve been feeling something like this too. Let’s start with some negatives and challenges from a personal perspective:The struggle to balance work/family/homeschool. I have two daughters – a seven-year-old and a five-year-old – and like many families across the UK, homeschooling is a key part of the everyday. Homeschooling without places to take the children to, such as the library or museum adds to the pressure. It’s hard when everything has to be contained within your own four walls. On top of that, there’s client work and You Are The Media, vying for attention, as well as getting on with the ordinary business of family life. Exhausted at the end of each week. Even if we’re not quite sure when the end of the week actually falls – the unrelenting family, work, education continuum being played out in one physical and emotional space means that by Friday afternoon, we’re all drained. A bout of tapeworm in our household (we all got it!) hasn’t helped matters.Fear of becoming obsolete. As my main company is a marketing consultancy, I understand that clients need to regroup and focus on matters internally, stabilising themselves before we pick up working together again. Nevertheless, it still feels awful when work gets put on hold or initiatives get postponed. It’s like having a line of dominoes that keep toppling over and you can never be sure if the next one is going to be the one that just might remain standing. Knowing that this experience is being replicated all over the world doesn’t make standing in the middle of your own storm and facing it head-on, that much easier.Decisions tend towards the reactionary. Initially I found myself taking on this role of overcompensating for there being no live, in-person events by trying to fill the gap that was left with online equivalents including a series of webinars (these did not, in the end, see the light of day). The unchartered waters of the early days of lockdown inevitably led to quite a few of these knee jerk reactions.Where Things FlippedAs pandemic and lockdown pressure mounted, there were several options for You Are The Media:Let everything pass and go quiet (all live events had to be paused anyway), retaining only the weekly YATM email as a means of keeping in touchDocument how businesses can adapt and chronicle how life through lockdown is going as you live through it (via the weekly email)Go back to the basics and share what people need to do to be building their database / audience so they can then create and share their narratives.I became territorial and brought everything back to the reason why YATM exists in the first place – helping people build their own spaces from which to talk to their audiences. The times we’re living through, the coronavirus and lockdown, inevitably find their way into the YATM content but what’s also been growing is a sense of opportunity: Now is the time to show my hand and share how the YATM concept works and can be put to good use, serving all kinds of businesses. Whilst distraction was everywhere, I pulled back to dig deep into what you can do and how you can do it. You can read what I mean here: the questions to ask yourself before you start ,topic ideas to generate creation and how to get your first ten email subscribers.As well as bringing things back to basics and so, familiar territory, an online format of the You Are The Media Lunch Club was decided upon and launched. This has always had a cost associated with it and whilst we trialed the first online YATM Lunch Club event to see if it could work, for free, this has now become a regular fortnightly occasion with a small cost involved (£10). We’ve also introduced a fortnightly quiz, held on a Friday at 5pm, where the second and fourth placed become the sponsors/ads for the following week’s online event. Both the written content and online events represent everything that makes up playing to YATM’s strengths. Doing the sorts of things that people would find easy to get back into whilst everything else around them was still unsettled has helped our re-positioned YATM offering be adopted as a new routine for our community.It reflects this sentiment, shared by Seth Godin (Monday 11th May): “The minimal viable audience concept requires that you find your cluster and overwhelm them with delight. Choose the right cluster, show up with the right permission and sufficient magic and generosity and the idea will spread.” When you elate the people who are with you, it becomes easier for them to acknowledge they made the right choice.Play To Your Strengths & Find The Answers With OthersIn taking that side step away from purely coronavirus related material, I’ve learned, perhaps more so than ever before, what the YATM community really needs. The following is what I’m currently learning on how to remain relevant within a space:Know your true audience. This isn’t about the person who subscribes and then rarely opens an email or attends an event. It’s about appreciating and putting in the effort to get to know those people who show up and support you. It’s also about making them feel included; for instance, everyone has a chance to take part in the #winning segment of You Are The Media Lunch Club Online. Deliver extra in your newsletter. Whilst we’ve been living through Covid19, the weekly YATM newsletter has expanded its perspective and now carries information that covers government relief, cash flow strategies and Zoom tips. The voices from the within the YATM community have a platform from which to share and be heard. Keep up the hard work. Output has not slowed down. LinkedIn posts have remained frequent and every new LinkedIn request has met with the person being invited to subscribe to the YATM Community. Using LinkedIn Events with the YATM Lunch Club Online has created its own lead generation exercise – people’s interest in the events is acknowledged with a DM. I have also spoken at more online events as a lead generation exercise (more subscribers).Create separate revenue streams. Whilst the marketing consultancy side to the business (ID Group) may have somewhat stalled, YATM, sitting separately, is still able to continue generating income. Not having all your eggs in one basket means flexibility as well as peace of mind. A side project can become an income generator.Find something that can insulate you and your audience. When everything became unstable in the wider world, the work you’ve put in over the preceding years pays off. Open rates for the weekly YATM email haven’t dropped off and people stepped up to attend the YATM Lunch Club Online as it was already a familiar space, somewhere that it was a relief to feel things were at least something like “business as usual.” If you’ve worked hard to build your audience, people will be forgiving. When times are tough and you’re looking to introduce something new, keep your overheads low. The YATM Lunch Club has had a few teething problems, notably sending out the wrong Zoom code to 50% of the audience (100% my fault), but as this is a relatively new medium, people were ok with an event starting 8 minutes late. Perhaps if we were three months into the live video format, things would have been different. If people know you have the right intentions, they’re usually ok with blips and minor interruptions (as long as they don’t become frequent). Experiment but don’t put everyone in unchartered territory. The longer you can demonstrate you’ve been committed to something, the easier it becomes to introduce new elements. You can’t establish something and then immediately introduce drastic changes – that sort of approach will make people feels disconnected. For instance, I have found myself stepping up and leading the YATM Lunch Club Online, but I do have the support of others. My goal is to hand more of this over, but as we’re still only starting out in the live online space, I understand that for now, it’s right that I lead, before others take over the reins. Speak out, but don’t dictate. With many businesses taking the stance of having answers to how the next few months and years will be played out, work with the people who stand with you. That way you’re forming bonds that will be stronger in the future. News site Axios highlighted (thanks to Kelly Butler from Podcast Labs for sending this to me), “Data shows that consumers overwhelmingly want brands to speak out regularly during the pandemic, but that they don’t want to be sold anything that isn’t going to help make the situation better.” Let’s Round-UpThe biggest lesson I take from what’s happened over the past two months is not to get too fixated on the need for constant forward motion through this, or indeed any, crisis. There has to be more, not less, time set aside for reflection and trying to figure things out when you’re going through challenging times. Give yourself permission to take a step back and figure out a path that serves everyone better. Sharing your thinking, including your uncertainty, and what you’re doing about it, in plain sight of your audience is what will help build trust for the future. LET ME READ THE ARTICLE TO YOU, CLICK BELOWThe post What’s Wrong With Saying, “I Don’t Know”? appeared first on You Are The Media.
20 May 2020
Building Visibility Comes From Doing The Work
Being found by others comes from you putting in the work. The work you do to support others, will ultimately support you too. Building visibility starts from you being prepared to put in the effort. Sporadic posts and a dormant website don’t cut it. This article demonstrates how, for people to notice you and become accustomed to seeing you around, you have to put in the elbow grease. You have to be disciplined and dedicate time to the graft.What Are You Doing To Be Visible This Week? Now is the time to create, produce, and promote. It doesn’t have to be flawless. Ask yourself, what good advice can you give, what problems can you solve in between sales? In a recent You Are The Media Lunch Club Online event, John Espirian shared with everyone that the worse thing we can do at the moment is to go silent. Being out of sight means you become out of mind. John talks about keeping your presence ‘ticking over’ and keeping ‘top of mind’ with your network within LinkedIn on the latest You Are The Media Podcast where he also picks out what you can do to reinforce who you are, what you stand for and resist from sales by stealth.Putting In The Work The return you’ll get from creating the work is that people will get to know you and become familiar with your message. From this, the possibilities are huge. Putting in the work is all about creating and following through with ideas, it’s about visualising and looking ahead, rather than just responding and reacting when things feel desperate. And it’s also about keeping going (read this article on why we have to keep going).And Being Mindful Of Potential PitfallsHere are some reasons why you might stall in your creative efforts and how you can overcome these very real obstacles:The fear of being judged when I was in the final stage of editing The Content Revolution, the manuscript sat dormant in the draft folder for five days as a written email with the text attachment, ready for the publisher. This was because pressing ‘send’ would be the moment when everything changed, when things would be beyond my control and a step nearer to being published. All that went through my head was that the work was not going to be good enough. This held me back.Being rejected It is far easier to not start something and keep ideas whirring round the safe space of your head or remain unshared and unseen by others on your screen. No one wants to deliver something only for it to be thrown back at them. One of the reasons I started You Are The Media was because of all the events and conferences I’d wanted to speak at and all the proposals for doing this that I had to cast aside, fearful of rejection. If I created something that I could lead i.e. if I created You Are The Media or something like it, I would be creating a platform that would give me an opportunity to step forward. In the end, I couldn’t reject myself.Too much time editing. I set myself a ticking clock every week without fail. The deadline is publishing the weekly You Are The Media email every Thursday morning. If I miss that, a week has been lost. Making sure that the work you produce is immaculate, is an indulgence. In that time, your competition may have created, shared and moved on. During the coronavirus, I have been working with a fantastic client where every week, the team has to step up and produce a short video. They know it doesn’t have to be high quality, it has to represent them and their voice. That voice is their brand. Time is not forgiving to those who sit on the editing process. It also gets tiring and demotivates everyone involved.Mistakenly placing greater emphasis on acceptance, rather than frequency of voice. Seeing a collection of likes naturally feels good as it shows you’ve gained acceptance and some form of engagement from others. However, when all you’re producing is infrequent posts without an overall, guiding narrative thread, you’ll do more than lose continuity, you’ll be losing the opportunity to build your brand. You need a plan in place, so you don’t deviate. You also need a central theme to your narrative that can help support your voice and help people make an association with you (click here to read content themes to use your side).Adopting the wrong metrics. This is where you find yourself placing heavier emphasis on results rather than building a body of work that contributes to building your brand. Default metrics have always been skewed towards page views, clicks, likes and shares. This makes sense when the reward is reach and a lot of work is campaign-led. However, when you produce your work and distribute it with momentum you become known. In Mark Schaefer’s book Known, digging deep becomes a commitment. Mark says, “I recommend that to do this right, you should be ready to devote about five hours a week to becoming known. And you should be ready to commit to 18 consecutive months of effort to prove your ideas. That is a lot of effort.” How To Get More By Way Of Return For Doing The Work Let’s paint a picture where you’re putting in the effort and achieving the visibility and buy-in you’re looking for. How can you become more efficient and maximise those content efforts? (By maximise, I mean continue building a growing, loyal audience, generating more enquiries, better clients and revenue)This is all about maximising the impact of what you produce and making your work go further than that initial diligence on your part. It works like this. You create once and cut many times. I like how Katherine Ledger calls this COPE, Create Once, Post Everywhere (with thought and strategy).For instance, your content becomes your script. Here’s the proof – in early April I shared how to get your first 10 email subscribers. The time invested was approximately 3 1/2 hours which generated the following:It became a You Are The Media Bitesize Podcast (you can listen here)It became the main article in the weekly YATM emailIt became a 30 minute (free) presentation that I wanted to test out as a new YATM ‘webinar’ formatIt became a presentation for Dorset Growth Hubs Online Business Summit (Friday May 1st)It became a presentation for Festival Of Enterprise (Tuesday 12th May)Whilst there was no fee associated with the work, the call to action was to attract new subscribers to YATM. It was effectively a lead generation tool that attracted a new audience that came to see what YATM was for themselves. The reason this particular article was chosen as the one that could act as a mechanism for extending YATM’s reach was because of the reality of the proposition – that achieving your first few subscribers is within everyone’s grasp. These days we all know that there’s no such thing as minimal effort resulting in huge uptake. There are no workarounds for bringing in thousands of new subscribers in a few weeks. Don’t Over-Complicate ThingsCreating content becomes easier when you realise that sharing the basics – things you may have known for a while because of your particular experience, things that people want to know but are afraid to ask precisely because they are entry-level – will have an appeal that resonates with people. And this can come straight from your own knowledge and understanding – you don’t need to pretend you’ve a Ph.D. in marketing or position yourself precariously as the world’s foremost expert.Let’s Round-UpThe more you invest your time in sitting down and doing the work and not being led astray by a fear of being judged, criticised or striving for perfection, the greater the opportunity to distribute your narrative across a range of media.Now is not the time to sit in a corner and wait for the time to be right. The time will never be right, as there will always be an excuse. A quote in Steven Pressfield’s The War Of Art says, “It’s better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot.”When you’re prepared to hunker down and create work that you then put as much effort into promoting and sharing, you find a rhythm that not only makes it easier for people to trust and commit to you, but that also helps you keep going. And that momentum and sense of responsibility is what it’s all about. LET ME READ THIS ARTICLE TO YOU, CLICK BELOWThe post Building Visibility Comes From Doing The Work appeared first on You Are The Media.
13 May 2020
Create Productions, Not Presentations
If people are signing up to your Zoom events, it’s your responsibility to make sure that those events have the potential to be a highlight in their week. Nobody signs up to watching a lifeless presentation or thinly-veiled sales pitch.The content you produce should play two roles – it should inform and entertain. You can have one without the other, but even in a B2B context, doing both helps you achieve your goals far better. This article highlights how to use Zoom as an event space, helped along by its very nature as a great medium for combining business and pleasure in one place.As David Meerman Scott (listen to him on the YATM Podcast here) said in Fanocracy, our “unyielding professionalism can obscure our genuine connections.” By trying to appear ultra business-like what we’re doing is keeping our guard up. So that we can produce content and create an event that truly resonates with and speaks to the people we care about, we need to free ourselves, let our guard down and live a little. Getting people’s attention is a privilege, not one you should waste by wheeling out the same old tired mantras already featured on LI, focusing on “how your business can thrive after coronavirus.” No one wants to be dictated to. Although we’re not all in the same boat, we are all weathering a similar storm. We’re Getting Tired In The Zoom Room Zoom remains a much-needed platform, a means for us to reach out and stay connected to family, friends and business colleagues. There is however, a sense of weariness creeping in around the video call/event space – being glued to your screen from one hour to the next can be energy-sapping. According to a BBC article, “Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally.”That said, there’s still plenty of potential to step up and be delivering your message with the sort of energy and creativity that’ll make you stand out. Why You Should Reshape What You DeliverFrame what you share in a way that conveys all the information people need but in a way that keeps it interesting and injects a sense of your personality and values into it. Jason Miller, who was our first ever speaker at the You Are The Media Conference in 2018 highlights this need to be two steps ahead of others, “As marketers move away from campaigns and towards an always-on content strategy, entertaining at the top of the funnel is going to be essential for keeping your prospects engaged. If you don’t have that element in place, your competitors will.” Walt Disney also saw the benefit in learning and entertainment…Proof For You The fortnightly You Are The Media Lunch Club Online is an event, not just another Zoom call. It’s not one person stepping up to broadcast and deliver a presentation but a space where everyone can listen and get involved. By having a central theme around message, creation and audience, people know what they’re going to get. The YATM Lunch Club Online features a main guest (a well-known name in the marketing industry) and a series of smaller segments that keep the momentum going: One of the audience steps up to share something of note from their side, this has included the business editor from the local paper talking about the sort of articles the regional press are looking for and a view of what life is like in Sweden. One of the few countries where the coronavirus response centres on civic responsibility as opposed to mandatory rules. Fleur Cook delivers the #winning section that is all about life outside of work. I’d like to think that this sort of format helps it become a live show that both informs and entertains, as well as builds on our sense of community. It’s an hour for people to kick back, learn something new and also be part of a wider conversation. Its unstructured feel and flow are wholly intentional but only achieved through the huge amount of planning and thought that goes into each event.How To Put More Emphasis On The Production (Not Just The Presentation) Let me share some ideas with you on making sure the focus is on the “how” and not just the “what” you deliver. Pay attention to putting on a show, not just broadcasting a presentation. Whilst these ideas can also be applied in a podcast setting, the intention here is to take a look at live video broadcasts.Find a format. Expecting someone to listen while you talk at them for 45 minutes non-stop, is a tall order in any scenario. Add in the fact that most of us are holed up at home where distractions abound, it’s a recipe for losing people’s attention. Find a way to break up how you present information into segments, ideally ones that bring an element of audience participation into play so that they can feel part of the flow of the event. As an example, YATM Lunch Club Online has two sections ahead of the main conversation/topic. This is interspersed with people being encouraged to use the chat function and also ask questions of the main speaker.Plan a long way ahead. If you’re looking to make your online events an ongoing feature, scheduling them in fortnightly or monthly, it helps if you plan ahead. It makes sense for your audience to be able to plan their time, see the topic areas you’ll be delving into and choose the ones they want to attend, weeks before you go live. Whilst you can just cut and paste the event information, so there’s conformity to how you present each event, consider your audience and let them know you’re thinking ahead.Know what connects with your audience. By keeping your events regular, you can identify what strikes a chord with others, in terms of topic or individual. Play to your strengths, identify the “hits,” and make that kind of content appear more frequently. For instance, the YATM Lunch Club Online #winning section always sees an uptick in online chat – relatable stories from community members mean more comments. Ask for help. If you do everything yourself, the process of creating an event can soon become quite overwhelming. Identify the people you need to reach out to. For instance, you can let others into the Zoom event room and get them to deliver some of the segments. A production works far better when it’s not just a one-man show. For instance, Richard Burn from Dorset Growth Hub has been a huge support and good friend through all this. He checks the attendee list and welcomes everyone in, as well as asking the questions from the audience to our main guest. Fleur Cook’s #winning section is hers and plays such an important supporting role. Be appreciative of everyone’s time. If you say that your event is an hour, keep to that hour. Don’t deviate and expect everyone to be ok with it running over. Follow a plan, stick to a schedule and don’t let it descend into a free-for-all as people will not come back. The Return For YouThere is a return for you from investing in a format that has a “creating a production” element to it.— You create a platform that has your stamp on it that no one else can replicate — People trust what they are going to be consuming is right for them and return time and again— Your own confidence grows— You have fun in relaying your message — You become comfortable with something that may have been uncomfortable at the start (i.e. Zoom events may have been something you hadn’t done before) — You create a sense of community and belonging for others, and it’s that which then inspires you to keep going with it. Let’s Round-Up Your challenge today is that once someone has found you, how do you keep them coming back? No one wants to tune into a one-dimensional presentation with delivery that has no heart or soul. In the words of Otis Redding, “If you want to be a singer, you’ve got to concentrate on it twenty-four hours a day. You’ve got to concentrate on the business of entertaining and writing songs. Always think different from the next person. Don’t ever do a song as you heard somebody else do it.” If you can put your own stamp on the way you do things, you create your own uniquely identifiable space.Even if it makes you initially feel self-conscious and awkward, step up and dare to entertain, in a way and style that reflects who you are, and how it would be for people to meet you in-person. Online, as in the real world, recognise your responsibility to be a good host, delivering an experience that’s well thought through and makes people feel involved. It’s putting all these elements together that’ll make you stand out. LET ME READ THIS ARTICLE TO YOU…The post Create Productions, Not Presentations appeared first on You Are The Media.
6 May 2020