Reasons why organizations (and individuals) with audiences win
If you don't have a community both for your company and personally, you're at a massive disadvantage in the modern world
Smart organizations and individuals across industries are building their brands through gathering organic audiences and encouraging dialogue.
By organic, I mean people who have opted-in to receive messages. And, encouraging dialogue not only between individuals and the organization, but also between fans of their brand as well. When you function as a connector, you become even more valuable to your audience than merely providing content.
Blog comments, for example, function great as connectors because they publish not only a reader’s name but a link to their company or website when they comment. So, when someone posts an interesting comment, it not only adds to the conversation on-site, but it allows the readers of that comment to potentially connect with the writer.
After building an audience, the possibilities opened up to your business are incredible. By not having a platform to build an audience (along with an audience acquisition strategy, of course) you slip behind your forward-thinking competitors daily.
Let’s go through 10 reasons why organizations with organic audiences win to help make the case why you should consider building one. These are reasons for both individuals or businesses to build an audience. One of the best and most efficient ways to do this currently is through writing, starting a YouTube channel, Twitter community or podcast but certainly not limited to those.
Anyway, without further adieu, here they are:
1) Instead of actively looking for customers/clients, they will stumble-upon you
Companies spend so much time cold calling, advertising and throwing money at traditional marketing methods. If you can build an audience, you can communicate with people in anticipated, relevant ways and spread your messages to people who want to hear it. Wouldn’t it be nice if your customers or new clients came directly to you? An audience and community creates its own serendipity for those who painstakingly take the time to nurture it.
2) When you publish something interesting, your audience will share it with others
The social web is all about sharing ideas. Right now, people are actively sharing the content your competitors are producing. And, if you’re not producing anything of your own, then there is unfortunately nothing people can share surrounding your brand. Your ideas are always held back until gatekeepers, both amateur and professional, decide to give you airtime. You can no longer survive on this alone.
3) Having an audience allows you to carve out a voice in your industry and be seen as the “go-to” company
Carve out an audience in your field for the niche you really want to fill, and you can dominate any competition by being the “go to” company for that niche. If you’re already seen as the best, everyone else’s marketing messages will fall flat. Tesla might not always have the best EVs, but their community is so passionate they’ll tell their friends Teslas are the best until the end of time. Don’t let your competitors do this to you.
4) You will cultivate the best talent
The best talent is hard to find and keep, and smart people are motivated by passionate companies. The only way you’ll build an audience in the first place is by demonstrating your passion. It’s a natural by-product that you’ll also attract great talent this way. People want to work for companies with a positive reputation, plain and simple, so why not take this into your own hands as much as you’re able to?
5) Your expertise will be on display in black and white
If you build and maintain an audience, that’s a pretty strong endorsement. All other things being equal, if I was looking at two potential vendors for something, and one company had an active blog with 20,000 subscribers, thousands of Twitter followers, etc with incredible content, and the other merely had a few static pages with sales copy – it would be a no-brainer who I would hire. The people going through the seemingly unnecessary to some but absolutely critical to others extra steps to show they care really matter. At least for the cohort you want to connect with.
6) You won’t have to rely (as heavily) on others to publish your news
I’m not saying you should ignore PR, certainly the endorsement of others is a strong sell for whatever it is you’re doing. But, when you have your own audience built, it is a lot of pressure off needing others to publish your messages. And after you have built an audience, the media opportunities you’ll have increase exponentially, as your organizations visibility and trust in the world will skyrocket. Back in my consulting days clients who shared statistics or opinions weekly were the ones where major news sources were calling them for input on stories or to appear on TV. Why would they call on those who are silent vs those who clearly have thoughts and are willing to share them with the world openly?
7) You’ll build links, traffic and exposure for you business
Building your audience through a blog platform is the smartest way to go, as you’ll accomplish so many positive things simultaneously. Purely building a newsletter audience is a mistake, because you miss out on people linking to you, and all the organic SEO of having your content on permanent, linkable pages on the web. Plus all of that archived content serves to create a deeper authority on the web for your business and trust in search engines. Pure newsletters not also shared online also do not encourage dialogue with your fans unless you publish them to static, linkable pages. It is trivial amount of extra effort to do both.
8) Speaking engagements, panel discussions, and conference leaders will come to you
By building an audience, you open up your potential network for all of these things and more. Your content serves to establish your authority, and eventually if you work hard enough these opportunities will seek you out naturally.
9) You can build community around your brand
I mentioned this in the introduction, and there is so much talk in the social web about this lately. If you’re reading the same authors as I am you may be sick of reading about this. But, it’s so true and it’s the future the present way to successfully spread ideas and build influence in the world. As the weeks and months go by, the audience around your brand will grow larger, and the community will grow tighter. This builds your company high levels of influence and relevance. You can’t put a price tag on either of these things, and prior to the web there were not many ways to accomplish it on a mass scale.
The fact that this is even possible now means it is something you should be jumping at the opportunity to do, not waiting to see how competitors are proceeding. Waiting here may prove more dangerous than diving in.
10) When you have a great idea to spread, it can be almost as simple as hitting publish
When you build your community before you need them, anything you wish to spread – whether it’s best practices on your industry, a case study you created to share your success on a project or just some motivation for the day, the web couldn’t make distributing your messages to the world easier and more direct. But you have to put in the work up front for this to be the case. Plenty of smart organizations are using this to their advantage daily. When your competitors have this ability, how can you afford not to not have it as an integral part of your communications arsenal?
These are just a few reasons I jotted down off the top of my head, what else would you add? Will we see organizations in the future without tuned in audiences? It’s increasingly more difficult to bet on those…
Adam - this is very helpful. Started a blog recently on substack, “Catalyst Foods,” and you provided some great ideas for it.
Favorite quote from you here:
“Building your audience through a blog platform is the smartest way to go, as you’ll accomplish so many positive things simultaneously. “
this was great. and actually works in everyday life.