My Audience Started With Just One Reader
That's why I began writing after all, to satisfy an unquenchable need to share ideas. I had no concept of who would read my writing, or what their motivations would be when I started out. Although I hoped many would come to find my writing valuable, it was probable that my thoughts would be buried among the deluge of information that is generated each day.
As comments began coming in I learned that the real value of sharing ideas was the participation of the reader. You give value to this blog simply by reading. You can super charge any raw post by commenting and sharing it with others. After discovering that true value came to the blog by socializing the media, I began marketing in earnest. By laying down many virtual landing pages, people interested in similar topics have a better chance of tuning in. I can adapt my gut instincts and experiences with information shared from well thought comments.
Although I have long term goals of transitioning these shared thoughts into something financially profitable, I can't get there without creating an environment that's valuable to the audience. I believe this holds for any business, organization or media creator.
You Can Please Some of the People, Some of the Time
One of the challenges we have as a business, content creator, or author is to generate tools, products and information filters that are appealing and/or useful to our core audience. That audience is going to be apprehensive at first. They're going to need a recommendation from a friend or an early adopter to experience what we have to offer first hand.
If we choose too large of an audience we can have difficulty with customer service. One can easily be overwhelmed with personalization or error requests. We won't be able to adapt our core content to the needs of the group. One method several successful organizations have used to overcome this challenge, is to open up customization to the user community. Opening source code, opening data, and allowing personalized templates are all ways in which we can empower to the user to best fulfill their own needs.
There are several levels of trust that strengthen our ability to engage an audience, and for them to accept our content.
- We have to trust that our group members' instincts are correct about what they need
- We have to trust our own instincts to make a personalized solution, determining how best to fulfill community needs
- The members need to trust you enough to make a commitment: follow your lead, offer their advice, or purchase your product
- If the members earn each other's trust, there's no stopping your community/business
As your organization progresses, a decision must be made about the trade off of profit versus community building (customer satisfaction, public opinion). A model business that has masterfully navigated this corporate culture challenge is Wordpress. I look forward to their group's product offerings, and look for opportunities that I can enhance public recognition of their corporate culture.