Thank you for continuing on this journey and being willing to read a little more. If you find this guidance worthwhile, I'd like to extend an offer at the end of this article. With gratitude -- CB
Corey's Best Advice Series
Five Steps to Finding Your Audience: First, Toss Out What You Think You Know
The readers of your book don’t want another social media ad or a starred review. They want a taste of the magic you sparked when you worked late nights to start your company or felt inspired to write your story. No online post is going to deliver the real connection they’re craving—the connection that will drive them to open your book and fall into your world—but taking these steps will help you develop the relationships you need to reach your tribe.
1. Find the Right Community
Look for an audience with plenty of overlap with your own values and ideas. Ideally, look for a group where you feel so excited about the mission that you are eager to take part in it, and where most everyone else attending could be an ideal customer for you. Look for where you will be interacting mostly with people who are your tribe and where you want to be of service. Also, make sure this is a community where you can be respected as a contributing colleague and not as a vendor, and where you can grow as part of your interaction.
2. Determine How You Can be of Service
Starting with a sincere inquiry of how to be of service is not about figuring out how to get what you want. Being of service is about uncovering what you have to give. How are you called and compelled to serve? Put away any agenda you have and trust that if you focus on being of service, in return the community will somehow conspire in your favor.
3. Offer Something Unique
Go beyond the obvious. If your company is a consultancy, don’t offer free consultancy services. Dig down to look for a contribution that is tied to the essence of what you do to improve the world but also delivers in a totally different way. For example, we specialized in books when we first attended Conscious Capitalism, but our offering was a vulnerability Art Wall Experience, something we had never done before, and it was a new way to tell a story of the entire community at an event.
- Once you know the special magic only you can give, extend the offer. Create an invitation to be of service. Instead of asking what you can do or responding to a request, it is incumbent upon you to put together a well-crafted pitch that is sincere in its intention. Make it a genuine gift that doesn’t require any financial resources from the organization/community.
- Make it easy to say YES. Make your pitch irresistible by offering something the community didn’t even realize it needed but so obviously now must have. Execution of your idea will likely require an investment of time and money on your part. Put up as few barriers as possible. The goal is to genuinely interact, to represent yourself as someone who can be counted on to deliver, to impress and inspire, and to build up relationships within the community.
- Follow through and repeat. Show up. Anything less than a home run, and you will only do yourself harm. Go all in and make sure your impression has the best possible chance of being an outstanding one. Make it easy for the community to accept your offer (or a variation of your offer) again and again. Your audience gets value from your offering, as you grow in understanding the community and as your relationships with other influencers within the community grow as well.
- Stay consistent and give freely. If you continue to show up and take part, you will soon become recognized as an integral part of the community. Commit to the marathon. Remember that as people search for your activity online, your past posts and offers will appear. So consistency will serve you down the line, especially with your online presence.
Once you have tried this, you may be tempted to try to build relationships with multiple groups. Resist the impulse and instead focus on your one true community. There is an endless number of communities you could join, but a reciprocal relationship is like any friendship: you want to be fully present and interacting to have an impact and to grow legitimate relationships of value. Focus first on a single community and on going a mile deep with them instead of engaging with multiple communities that spread you too thin.
4. Allow Your Audience to Grow From the Relationship
As genuine relationships within the community blossom, you may notice that, without selling, people you’ve never met are coming up to you as though they know you. They do—through your contributions. At this point, you will have entered a phase of relationship-building where your audience is growing organically and with less of your direct input. This is true influence. Instead of chasing leads and sales, this is where you become a magnet for your ideal customers.
5. Recognize Opportunities
Opportunities will naturally arise from your genuine interest and growing relationships, and they will take you places you did not expect as long as you allow them to. A new company or class may grow out of your contributions to the community. When you do the authentic work of committing to the betterment of the community, you will find you are presented with on-ramps to highways you had no idea existed. Keep your eyes and ears open; those on-ramps often come as whispers.
If you start with a desire to sell, your audience will be able to sniff that out. They already have many marketers selling to them, which is why joining and giving rather than focusing on “me first” is so powerful. When you’re generous with your time and resources and when you stay authentic in your focus on building relationships, you build a real community that wants to hear from you and eagerly seeks out what you have to give. Practice patience as you create gravitational pull towards your company and/or work, and you will draw your audience to you—no hard sell required.
As I mentioned at the start of this article, I would like to offer you a free exercise in Finding Your Purpose.
And at any time, I invite you to a complimentary 30-minute session with one of our coaches, professional editors, or our director of client services. This would allow you to get to know us a little better and for us to understand how we might be of service. If you're willing, let's take 30 minutes to get closer to achieving your goals.