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Building an Online Audience (Key 1 of 3): Laying Your Foundation

Laying the Foundation for Your Personal Brand: Your Story Will Attract People to Your Cause

Your Story is the Backbone for Making an Impact

The internet is a powerful tool and you can only build an engaged online audience where the attention is.

Building an Engaged Online Audience (Pt. 1 of 3): Laying Your Foundation

The Winning Formula: Story + Gift + Intent = Impact

Having this audience will help you:

  • position yourself as a thought leader with influence
  • build a community
  • sell and launch products easier
  • create brand ambassadors and loyal customers

Of course you want all of this but do you even know where to start?

No matter if you do hand lettering, illustrations, calligraphy, photography, improv speaking, painting, etc., you have a golden opportunity to impact people, build relationships and make a living doing the work you love.

The odds have never been more in your favor with the worldwide access you have with social media — you just need a little bit of guidance. That’s where I can help you.

I truly believe that before you can build a successful platform with an engaged online audience, you must understand who you are, what your gift is and why you’re doing it.

It’s crucial for you to construct a foundation that’ll provide the longevity and support you’ll need to sustain a prosperous vision.

I’ve assembled a set of criteria broken into a 3 part series over the next few weeks. This will allow to you to bypass the guess work and dive right into the engaged online audience building process.

The segmented three key series are:

  • Key 1 – Establish Your Story (Foundation)
  • Key 2 – Build Your Platform (Home)
  • Key 3 – Producing Content (People)

The first key will help you discover the winning formula which allows you to make an impact on people.

The Winning Formula: Story + Gift + Intent = Impact

The first step to starting is to figure yourself out.

The 3 Keys To Building an Engaged Online Audience

The opportunity to make a living off doing what you love is ridiculous and the path to building an audience couldn’t be more realistic with the tools at your disposable

Establish Who You Are (Story)

Whether you know it or not, you have an incredible story to share. Your life experiences can serve as valuable insight to people.

These experiences can vary from:

  • client work
  • workplace roles
  • negative or positive responses to adversity
  • times you’ve failed
  • times you’ve succeeded
  • wants, wishes or regrets

All these can be used to share an authentic, transparent side of you which helps your message resonate and establish credibility. You can’t preach from a soapbox if you don’t have the backstory to make you credible.

Your story is your most powerful and valuable asset.

When I position myself like this:

My name is Scotty Russell and I’m from a small town in Iowa and I like to create art,

There’s nothing compelling about this and the majority would disregard that individual.

However, when I position it like this:

Life has been extremely hard for me. I’ve had so many moments of defeat that I almost gave up my love for art. Somehow I pushed through and want to show you that where you’re from doesn’t matter. I can help you discover your gift to share with the world, all from my tiny office in a small town in Iowa.”

Sounds a little more enticing right?

It’s all about how you position yourself; if you make your story sound vague, bland and boring, you will get no traction. If you get vulnerable, real and let people know who you are to the core, it’s more likely they will latch on to your story as maybe they can relate.

Knowing who you are is important when you embark on building an engaged online audience.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1C1C1C” class=”” size=”32″] “Knowing who you are changes what you do.”[/pullquote]

I believe one of the best ways to boost your self storytelling is through writing.

The only reason I’ve gained clarity of who I am and how my experiences are valuable is because I took up the challenge of blogging weekly in June 2015.

Later on in Key 3, I’ll discuss all the benefits you’ll get from consistently blogging, but for now I want you to understand that writing will help you project your inner voice outward and provide clarity on your purpose.

People will care if you tell a compelling story that frames the delivery towards benefiting them.


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


Understand What You’re Supposed to Do (Gift)

In order to get what you want in life, you need to have a vision.

A vision serves as a mental picture which allows you to channel your focused energy towards reaching it.

Focusing on the wrong vision can set you back and waste precious time, so it’s important to invest your time and energy in the correct spot.

Pursuing the wrong vision is like placing a ladder against a building. You’re hoping that during the climb to the top that you’ve picked the right building which yields the lifetime of happiness and success. However, once at the top, you realize it’s the wrong building — the wrong place you should be in life. So you proceed to climb back down, focus on another vision and hope the next building you place your ladder on is the winner.

That’s the problem, you’re guessing. This is typically based off false influences in people telling you what they think is best for you or you basing a decision off fear.

You want to make sure you have the right vision and  climb the right building the first time. You do this by finding your sweet spot.

The sweet spot is:

  • your vocation, your life’s calling or your purpose
  • when you’re equally good at what you love to do
  • the intersection of your greatest strength and passion

You find your sweet spot by performing a self-audit and breaking it down into three practical steps:

  1. Find Your Greatest Strengths
  2. Find Your Greatest Passion
  3. Find & Live in Your Sweet Spot
How to Find Your Sweet Spot Worksheet

Your sweet spot is at the intersection of your greatest strength and passion.

I’ve comprised a lot of this plan from Ken Coleman of Ramsey’s Solutions but have added my own personalized touch.

I’ve covered each step extensively in previous blog posts and will link them up accordingly. Therefore, this time around I’m going to cover the practical basics and recommend you dive deeper into the suggested linked content.


Find your greatest strength and devote your focus to it.

Find Your Greatest Strengths

1. Find Your Greatest Strengths

What is so unique about you that only you can do it?

This is your gift and it’s not a useless skill that others possess as well.

Below is how you can determine yours.

Write What You’re Best At

This first step involves a worthwhile time investment on your end.

Kill all distractions, put your phone out of site and devote your focus into the power of writing.

In the column labeled strengths in the Venn Diagram image provided, I want you list what you feel your greatest skills are.

Just to clarify, this is not about being a jack-of-all-trades at something. Nobody cares if you are above average at a lot of things. You want to be considered an expert, a master, a specialist at what you do.

I’m pretty good at basketball but that is far from my greatest strength so I didn’t list it.

Ask a Trusted Resource

Once you’ve listed your skills out, seek out some close friends or family members — someone you can trust to give you an unbiased opinion of what they feel your greatest strengths are.

Do not show them what you’ve previously written down. Source their answers under yours in the strengths column.

I think you will be very surprised on what some of these people will say as it will give you a little insight of what others think of you and your unique abilities.

If you don’t have that moment of enlightenment, understanding you can transition into the next step.

Take a StrengthFinders Test

This is an online quiz you can access by making the small investment in the book written by Tom Rath. Once taken, it will source from all the thought provoking questions you’ve answered and give you your top 5 strengths. You will then add these to your growing list in the strengths column.

Cross examine your data

This part could be tricky or easy depending on all the data you’ve collected. Try to find the root common strengths underlying through through your answers.

For example, I had the recurring theme of hand lettering, illustrations, making people feel comfortable, wanted and appreciated. So it made sense that my top strengths were Creativity and Communication……which is exactly what my StrengthsFinder test told me.

Funny how that works right?

The Sweet Spot: Finding Your Passion

What would you be doing today if you weren’t promised tomorrow?

2. Find Your Greatest Passion

What are you doing when you feel most alive?

I feel that determining your greatest passion is a bit easier because it’s subjective. There is something you love to do and it’s important you act on it.

Below is how you can determine yours.

Write What You Love to Do the Most

This is similar and parallels the first step in finding your greatest strengths. You must set aside a focused, uninterrupted block of time to write.

This time you will list these in the right column labeled passions.

Don’t Over Think it

You may get tripped up in this segment as maybe you think that what you love to do is stupid and unrealistic. However, nothing about what you love to do is unreasonable…..when pertaining to a creative outlet.

This is an enjoyable part of the process as you get to focus on the things you find entertaining and fulfilling.

Cross Examine Your Data

Again, try to find that underlying root common passion or two that makes you feel alive and significant every time you perform it.

For me, I always had a knack for encouraging people which landed me into leadership roles in sports, coaching and even personal training. I loved showing people their potential and helping them succeed.

I tailor all my content towards encouraging people like you to find your creative purpose in life. I do this because I truly care about you and this fulfills me.

I want you to find this same fulfillment and happiness.

The Sweet Spot: Making the Most of Your Existence on Earth

Create a space where you are equally good at what you love to do.

3. Find & Live in Your Sweet Spot

Once you’ve taken the time to audit your greatest strengths and passions, it’s time to get creative and find a way to merge the two.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1C1C1C” class=”” size=”32″]

By climbing the ladder that’s focused solely on your strengths, you will lack the passion down the road to enjoy the work you do.

By climbing the ladder focused on your passion, you will not be successful as your skill set is lacking.

You must climb that ladder that include both and that building will become the sweet spot.


So how do you know you’ve found your sweet spot?

This is how I know that I’m in my sweet spot and how you’ll know when you’ve found yours:

Good Things Keep Happening

Every day, week, month and year, great opportunities seem to continually present themselves to you. This has been my life the past two years as I continue to receive opportunities to improve my skills or gain exposure / influence.

By showing up each day and focusing on the right vision, the universe will conspire in ways to give you what you most desire.

This is the Law of Attraction, which is discussed heavily in the book The Secret. However, one must not simply wait for opportunity but create it by taking action on the right path.

Right Place – Right Time Happened

Wait, isn’t it supped to be the right place at the right time?

No…..you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be and the right time will always happen when you’re in the right place.

Create Your Own Luck

Being in your sweet spot will feel like luck is always on your side (right place right time).

Yet this is only possible because you’ve prepared yourself for these moments of fortune by placing yourself in the path of success.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1C1C1C” class=”” size=”32″]“Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity” – Seneca [/pullquote]

Being able to:

  • locate your sweet spot
  • step into it boldly
  • live it in fiercely

will provide you with endless opportunities to build an engaged online audience.

Building an Engaged Online Audience (Pt. 1 of 3): Laying Your Foundation

People will care if you tell a compelling story that frames the delivery towards benefiting them.

Why You Do It (Intent)

Now that you’ve figured out your story and understand your gift, it’s time to dig a little bit deeper and reveal your true intentions……your why.

Why is it you do what you do?

What are the motives for what you create or what you’re trying to build?

If it’s centered around solely making a profit and becoming rich, then I have to apologize. That’s too shallow and my advice will not help you. I feel money is the byproduct of serving others through doing what you love.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1C1C1C” class=”” size=”32″]“What you do matters, but why you do it matters more.”[/pullquote]

Picture finding your why like an onion.

There are so many layers until you can get to the core. Inside the core is where your true intent lays. This will constantly evolve and peel away deeper intentions as you show up every day with a tenacious focus.

Finding your why helps you in two ways:

1. Gives you a reason for what you do
The best feeling is going to bed each night knowing that the work you’ve done is significant. I want you to wake up with excitement because you know the work you do matters to you and to others.

Finding your why and peeling back those layers reveals the reason for what you do.

When you think you know your why, I want to challenge you to ask why again. Then continue to ask again, until you get to a point where you can’t answer past that.

The goal is to always dig a little deeper as this will help you appeal to your ideal engaged online audience.

2. Helps you determine your audience
Once you understand who you are, what you do and why you do it, it enables you to clearly define what solutions you can provide to a specific target audience.

It will allow you to understand their needs and provide a solution while speaking in their language. This will also be covered more in depth in Key 3.

Knowing your why benefits you, your engaged online audience and business in the long game.

The Winning Formula

By following these steps, you’re putting yourself in position to understand yourself. This will in turn grant you the ability to attract an engaged online audience.

You have to construct the foundation first before you can build your home. If your home doesn’t have a sturdy foundation preserved to endure harsh conditions, your vision will surely cease to exist down the road.

Key 1 allows you to uncover the winning formula:

Story + Gift + Intent = Impact

If you’re taking this seriously, I want to challenge you over the next week to determine your sweet spot.

Read the corresponding posts and follow the listed steps that go more in depth on each step:

  1. Finding your greatest strengths
  2. Fiunding your greatest passions
  3. Locating and living in your sweet spot

If you can figure this out in your current season of life, building an engaged online audience and a successful business will be so much easier and enjoyable.

Key Takeaways

  • The Winning Formula: Story + Gift + Intent = Impact
  • One of the best ways to boost your self storytelling is through writing.
  • People will care if you tell a compelling story that frames the delivery towards benefiting them.
  • Nobody cares if you are above average at a lot of things.
  • The universe will conspire in ways to give you what you most desire.
  • The right time will always happen when you’re in the right place.
  • Money is the byproduct of serving others through doing what you love.
  • Knowing your why benefits you, your engaged online audience and business in the long game.

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

This post is an overview of the 1st Key of the 3 Keys to Building an Online Audience Guide 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.

Show Me How

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