Throughout this blog series, I’ve laid out how to:
So now, the questions remains — how can you truly make sure your audience understands what you’re saying?
If You Build It, They Will Come…Right?
When I had an idea of what my audience was looking for, I was really excited. In fact, I was so excited that I started coming up with all sorts of topics. And then I got busy producing content.
Now that I had finally figured out what my audience needed, I was going to be the best content-deliverer ever. I felt like I have found the golden key that was going unlock a juggernaut of sales and have people come streaming in.
My excitement fueled me to be 12 weeks ahead in my content! It was all finished, tied with a bow, ready for delivery. This was it. Everything was FINALLY going to to fall into place for me!
So I launched the new strategy and started posting my updated content on my blog. Week after week, I published out a killer blog along with an insightful video…
And I waited. People should be eating this stuff up, right?
And waited… and then waited some more. Hmmm, some of these posts are getting some hits, but some are lost in the sagebrush.
What’s going on here?!
This felt strangely familiar again: I had done all this hard work in terms of marketing and research, but all I was getting was crickets.
It made me scratch my head. I really didn’t understand what was happening.
So AGAIN, I thought I had it right…but, my methods appeared to not be working!
Another Sickening Ride on the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster
Here we go again. I was just up on top, thinking I knew what I was doing, and now I’m crashing down into the pits of despair again.
So at this point, I just felt so hopeless. I really thought I knew what my audience needed because they had told me.
And I was making what they said they needed. So why were they still not coming?
Honestly, I didn’t even know what to think anymore. All I knew was that I was completely exhausted. All of these ups and downs…they were just killing me.
In fact, I felt a little betrayed by my dreams. It seemed like everyone around me was creating successful businesses, but I couldn’t even get mine off the ground. I had no idea that this was the life of an entrepreneur. Nobody ever talks about it being this way. I just didn’t didn’t know that I could keep handling this.
Thanks, Derek Halpern for this awesome graphic!
I think I was right around, “I was wrong. I suck!”
But even though I felt that way, I knew this time was a little different. Even through my deep exhaustion, I knew I was on the right path.
Because each time I had an up, and then fell back down again… I felt more clear. More like I had a better idea. A clearer direction for my next steps.
The content that I was creating was clearer than ever before (I was not longer offering a crazy variety of products and services [link to last blog] AND I had already validated that this was the kind of content that my audience wanted.
Again, I talked to people and they told me! Genius!
So. I took a deep breath and regrouped. I needed to revisit what was going on and ask myself some deeper questions.
- Was it the way I delivered the content (maybe people didn’t like reading?)
- Was it me (maybe they found my videos annoying?)
- Was it my writing voice (I love my tech lingo and research?)
With these questions, I was ready to begin again.
Talking On Your Audience’s Level
My real issue wasn’t hearing what my audience was saying, but that I wasn’t able to convey the information in a way that they could comprehend.
The graph below shows where your content should ideally land.
Source: GDS (Christine Cawthorne)
Even if you are delivering the content that you audience wants, if your audience doesn’t understand what you’re saying, they won’t know how to apply it. And that’s what we’re here for, helping people take action, right?
So one way to understand if your audience is understanding your content is to do some content testing. And a way to do that is to figure out how your readers talk and then talk (or write) they same way they do. It may not be as intense as learning how to speak French, but it is a way to show that you’re “in” with them, that you’re on the same page.
The way we use language can create bridges or walls between people, and for the longest time, I was accidentally creating walls.
I came from a very corporate mindset which can be more formal, direct, and full of jargon. And personally, I just love lingo and technical terms.
BUT that’s not how my audience talks and writes. I don’t have formal business meetings with my potential customers. We have conversations.
That’s why, checking out where your audience hangs out (e.g., Facebook groups, Quora), is a great opportunity to see how they talk and mimic it.
Basically, you need to take what your audience tells you, and say it back to them with a solution. It shows that you’re really listening to them.
You can also test different ways of presenting content or different kinds of content. Maybe your readers like video more than written content, or vice versa. Or maybe they like both. Your website’s metrics, as well as your sales conversions, will let you know what works best.
There’s also the issue of readability. Again, I came from a corporate background, so my language was a little bit too elevated. So now, I swear by apps like the Hemingway App that help you keep your sentences short and sweet. Also, with my writing, I try to sound like I am having a conversation with someone and read everything out loud to myself.
Give Yourself Time to Figure Things Out
This process of understanding and connecting with my audience was really humbling. I had come with all these accolades and know-how from my corporate career. But I had to slow down and really learn about what I wanted to sell, who would buy it, and how to talk to my audience.
It took a lot of going back to the drawing board. It was an exhausting experience, but it was worth it because it’s getting me the results that I want.
And that’s what I want for you — real results!
Even if you want to be the swift and speedy hare in your race to business success, you’ve gotta take the mindset of the tortoise.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Entrepreneurship, and starting a business is a journey. No matter what people say, 99% of people don’t get rich quick; It requires persistence and resilience. You have to be willing to put that effort in.
You’re most likely not going to hit your target the first time (or even your fifth) — and that’s even with all the great information out there that can help you launch your business.
So anyone who says that you can start a business and make money fast — don’t believe them! Their marketing tactics aren’t going to get you the long-term results you’re seeking.
If you’re ready to take the time to get to know what your market is, who you audience is and what they need, and how to talk to your audience — then you’re ready to go the distance.
You’re ready to create a business that will be more than some flash in the pan.
You’re ready to create longevity for your business and authentic relationships with your audience.
So how about you? How do you connect to your audience? Is it working well? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.