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Building an Online Audience (Pt. 2 of 3): Your Brand Your Platform

Building an Online Audience (Pt. 2 of 3): Your Brand on Your Own Platform
Building an Online Audience (Pt. 2 of 3): Your Brand on Your Own Platform

Your brand is something for people to connect with, to be a part of and have a relationship with.

Reach & Speak to Your Audience From Home

Do you exist online? Weird question I know, but do you have a home base platform outside of social media?

If you don’t or your current home needs some major remodeling, then this will highly benefit you.

In the Key 1 towards building an online audience, we dove deep into understanding who you are, what you do and why you do it. It’s crucial to lay this foundation in order to build a meaningful brand and attract an audience for long term sustainability.

In Key 2, you’ll begin to construct a platform — your home on top of a sturdy foundation.

In order to build a thriving platform, there are three things you must accomplish:

  1. Your Brand
  2. Who You’re Trying to Reach
  3. How to Speak Their Language

Once you’re able to remodel your home to fit this criteria, you can start producing compelling content and utilize social media properly in Key 3.

The 3 Keys to Building an Online Audience

1. Your Brand

What is a Brand?

So what is a brand anyway? Your logo with some colors splashed across a website?

As stated from the Behind the Brand podcast:

A brand is far more than what something looks like. It is the culmination of values and goals, molded by its actions and interpreted by its audience. A brand is not just what someone sees, it’s what they feel or think when they see it.

That’s why I stressed the importance of knowing what you’re doing and why you’re doing it in Key 1. You need that foundation for your branded platform to be built on to successfully make an impact.

If you don’t have solid core principles, the actions you take with an attempt to influence and attract an audience will miss….badly.

Outside of your core beliefs and actions, your brand is built on perception:

  • How you are perceived by others?
  • How do people feel about you?
  • How do they feel about your work and the experience they get?

Your brand is something for people to connect with, to be a part of and have a relationship with.

Understand that your brand will constantly evolve and your methods will change, however, your core principles, values and mission will always remain consistent and true.

Your platform is where and how your brand is experienced, so why would you want to build your own platform on your own property?

Building On Your Own Property?

There are so many other places you could build your platform on pertaining to the type of content and services you provide: Medium, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Society 6, Etsy, Twitter, etc.

These places make it easy on you by tailoring it towards your needs because:

  • No design work is needed — it’s already done for you.
  • The people / attention are already there.
  • You only have to set pricing and they take of printing and shipping.

This sounds great right? Why take the time to do this on your own platform?

If you dig a little deeper you find the cons far outweigh the perks of solely living on someone else’s platform:

  • When you build on someone else’s platform, you have to abide by their rules.
  • If user agreements or algorithms change and it affects your reach, too bad, you’re on their platform.
  • They may take care of printing and shipping, but you deal with the middle man and lose a significant cut of the product.
  • You lose control of your user’s experience and how they experience your brand.
  • If social media died tomorrow and you lost your audience, you don’t exist!

True, it’s a much larger investment in not only time but in money as well. However, you’re reading this because your long term goal is to create a sustainable brand and business, so having your own platform and domain is a must.

If you just want to post work and create products you like for yourself, then build on whatever platform you choose as this isn’t tailored to you.

You want to build your own platform because:

  • You’re in control of the user experience.
  • You cut out the middle man and make the most profit.
  • You set your own rules.
  • People know where to always find you.
  • You can customize and tailor it towards your needs (especially with an open source platform like WordPress).
  • You house your native content and then distribute it through your social channels (we will touch more on this later).

It’s not going to be perfect right away away but I can promise you it will be worth it. You have to think long term here.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1C1C1C” class=”” size=”32″] Take it incrementally — it can’t be perfect right away. [/pullquote]

By building the identity of your brand on your own platform, you can transition into knowing who your target audience is.

Let’s figure out who you’re trying to reach!

 

Building an Online Audience (Pt. 2 of 3): Your Brand on Your Own Platform

What you do has to be for someone and not just anyone.

2. Who You’re Trying to Reach

You have something to offer the world, but who exactly is it for?

Defining your target audience will bring clarity to what you do, allowing you to execute to the best of your abilities.

You’re able to narrow down this ideal audience by following these 3 steps:

1. Define What Problem You’re Solving

As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t about putting out stuff you think is cool. You are creating with intent — with a purpose to help other people. You want to attract them to your brand and support your mission.

You do this by solving a problem — this problem you’re solving should help your audience become a better version of themselves.

Based on your sweet spot earlier, what can you do with your greatest strength and passion that’ll help other people? How can you find a market that requires being equally good at what you love to do?

2. Outline Your Unique Solution

Chances are that you’re not the only person doing what you do right now… there are so many designers, photographers, lettering artists, etc. out in the world doing what you do.

What separates you from the herd?

This isn’t meant to discourage you, it’s meant to challenge you to rise above the noise. We live in a noisy world that’s oversaturated with people putting out their work, products and services in a sleazy manner which can make it hard for people like you who have good intentions.

You need to distinguish yourself with your unique skill set that makes it a no brainer why someone would choose you to solve their problem.

3. Define Who Has the Problem You’re Solving

What kind of people suffer from the problem you’re solving?

List these types of people off and try to get as specific as possible. Ideally, you want to know more about these people than you do your family or close friends.

Ask yourself questions about these people:

  • How old are they?
  • What gender?
  • Are they single or married?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do with their spare time?
  • What kind of jobs do they have?
  • What kind of music to they listen to?
  • etc.

Go to where these people are. Study what they do. Listen and read their conversations. Discover their interests. Ask them questions. Do whatever you can to know everything about them.

 

Keep up to date with the 3 Keys to Building an Online Audience Handbook

 

3. How to Speak Their Language

People Want You to Care

An audience will be attracted to your brand and what you do when you make it obvious you care about them. You do this by speaking their language – meaning you talk to their needs and relate to them.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1C1C1C” class=”” size=”32″]People will never care about you until you prove you care about them. [/pullquote]

The most successful brands connect with people instead of pursuing each person as a sales opportunity. Selling is a byproduct of making a brand that connects with people and speaks to their needs

Your message across your platform needs to position you as the clear solution to the problem you are solving.

The only way to speak their language is to understand who they are and what they are struggling with.

Your About Me is About Them

The clearest way to let your target audience know that you have the solution to their problem lies within your About Me page.

This sounds weird right? Why would it be called an About Me if it’s not about you?

If you’re a brand or a business and all you do is talk about yourself, where is the value to the audience? What is the benefit?

Your existence is to provide value and solve their specific problem. If all you’re doing is talking about you and how great your brand is, they will note that there is nothing in it for them and they will go back to Google search.

Remember that story you crafted in Key 1? People are looking for a story on your About page. They’re looking for a story they can see themselves in and they’re also looking for an outcome.

Tell your compelling story but position it so they can see themselves in it. This builds credibility and gives them confirmation that what you stand for and provide is for them. You’re helping them visualize a better version of themselves.

Two great examples of compelling story telling that builds credibility and serves the user is on Pat Flynn and Sean McCabe’s About Me page. These guys are doing it right.

Below is how I approached mine:

Everything you do needs to frame the benefits to the reader. You do this by locking down your XYZ statement.

XYZ Statement:

  • X: Who you are and what you do (brand)
  • Y: Who you are doing it for (target audience)
  • Z: So they can do what? (value proposition / the benefit)

Like most people, you have no problem with the X; “My name is ________ and I do __________.” Remember, this isn’t compelling and doesn’t engage interest. It’s cookie cutter and it reminds me of being in an uncomfortable circle of people with everyone going around the room and telling a little bit about themselves.

Go deeper.

 

Push it to the Y. Who are you doing it for? If you’ve done your research you understand the people you’re trying to speak to. You understand their needs and can speak to their pain points. This is how you begin to evolve your about me into an about them.

Are you doing this for people who struggle:

  • With building an audience?
  • With getting started?
  • With freelancing and getting clients?
  • Making and editing videos?
  • With business, marketing and strategy?
  • With finding confidence?
  • etc.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1C1C1C” class=”” size=”32″]Make it obvious you care about your audience by speaking their language and tailoring your message to their needs.[/pullquote]

What you do has to be for someone and not just anyone. You can’t speak to everyone!

You pique interest when you can speak to who it’s for and why it will help them by pairing the Y and Z statement together. The Z statement is the most important part: what will they be able to do with what you’re providing?

This is the main reason anyone would ever consider browsing your site, reading and sharing your content or even purchasing a future product or service.

You need to speak to the benefits you are providing and position you as the solution. You’re selling a better version of themselves and stating that you can make that possible.

This is why the Z statement is the most important thing and it’s important that it’s the first thing they would ever read!

Your headline here and on any type of content you ever produce should speak to the people you’re trying to reach and how it will benefit them.

Here is an example of my XYZ statement and how I positioned it on my website*.

(*This may have changed as I am constantly evolving and finding ways to speak to my audience more clearly by solving their specific problems)

  • X: I’m Scotty Russell, and I create motivational illustrative lettering for…
  • Y: those unsure of their creative purpose in life…
  • Z: so they can find direction and share their gift with the world

The overall benefit: Helping you share your creative purpose with the world

As you can see I lead off with the Z statement and tailor my message towards how I can benefit them and their problem.

Building an Online Audience (Pt. 2 of 3): Your Brand on Your Own Platform

Your Z statement is your value proposition to the viewer.

Your Platform Serves Purpose

Anyone can have a brand, a website and can produce content, products or services. Despite the lack of complication, not everyone does it right.

You understand that your brand is just more than a logo, it’s how someone experiences what you are about. You know that it’s important to build your brand on your own platform as you dictate the rule and control the user experience. You know how to make your platform speak to your target audience and position you as the go to solution.

Next you need to learn how to produce the right type of content and how to share it properly with the world via social distribution channels.

This is what I will share with you in next weeks post, Key 3: Creating Content That Attracts an Audience.

Key Takeaways

  • Your brand is something for people to connect with, to be a part of and have a relationship with.
  • Don’t make your entire online presence on someone else platform
  • Defining your target audience will bring clarity to what you do, allowing you to execute to the best of your abilities.
  • This problem you’re solving should help your audience become a better version of themselves.
  • The most successful brands connect with people instead of pursuing each person as a sales opportunity.
  • Your message across your platform needs to position you as the clear solution to the problem you are solving.
  • Everything you do needs to frame the benefits to the reader.
  • Your existence to is provide value and solve their specific problem.
  • What you do has to be for someone and not just anyone.

Do You Want to Learn How to Build an Online Audience?

This post is an overview of the 2nd Key of the 3 Keys to Building an Online Audience Handbook that I am working on for you. This guide will teach you how to share your gift, build a brand and attract a loyal following. There’s never been a better time to pursue what you love. Follow the link below to learn more!

Show me how

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