Relationships (and audiences) are both an asset and a restriction.
I’m not yet entirely sure whether it was your interest in the balance of love and business or an unhealthy obsession with romance novels, but your responses to yesterday’s email about ‘Sex With Business‘ were splendiferously enthusiastic.
Daniel A. shared an impassioned resonance with the struggle to “balance love and ambition while my mother seemed to think I should shift my career and write the next ‘50 Shades of Grey’.” Eloquent in its simplicity and illuminating with its lack of detail, Dvir T. stated (in the most flattering of ways), “I’m so glad to be subscribed to this.”
As much as I’d love to continue that story, I have a different one to tell.
Robbie M. wrote in response to ‘Time Well Spent‘ that he was “more interested in showing those who’s time I want that I deserve it.” We’ve spent the last few days volleying the conversation and discussing the launch of his new blog series.
Inspired by his grandmother who’s confused by anything that’s not Facebook, Robbie sought to develop a less threatening point of entry to digital world. From discussions of Evernote to Google Photos, Robbie is taking a conversation approach to something that’s often discussed from “high on the mount” (i.e. people who are only blogging to develop their brand and make money, not to help people learn).
Knowing each piece of Robbie’s response was inspired by the need of an individual, I shared something that helped my writing process when I launched My Social Sherpa.
Have you tried sending it to them (the people who inspired the content)? One of the single most impactful things I did to amplify my writing was, after posting a new article, sending it to 3-5 people that I knew would benefit. Not just “hey read this” but a massively passionate and personalized email about how I thought it would benefit them (even when they didn’t yet know they had the need). That did something powerful… by sending it to these people I got immediate (overwhelmingly) positive feedback on the content. Before I’d have to wait months in angst wondering if the internet hated me, but now… I garnered three to five comments, compliments, or constructive criticisms within hours of posting the content. This evoked fantastic conversations and energized me to create more while enlightened me as to what I should create next. Personalized outreach was the catalyst.
The conversation with Robbie quickly evolved into a discussion about methods for distribution of content for a new series and, when he mentioned posting to his Facebook newsfeed, I responded with something I’d observed in the past:
People are skimming to stay updated with friends and feel they already know you so they’re more closed off to seeing you do new things.
Any established audience you will reach on Facebook (friends or fans) will have a pre-established opinion. This can be a good thing as people will support you with likes, comments, and shares solely because they enjoy you as a person or brand.
Relationships can also be bad, particularly when branching into something new.
When you post to your Facebook profile, you’re speaking to a menagerie of family, co-workers, college friends, love interests, and random strangers you accepted while drunk — it’s impossible to speak specifically to that broad of an audience.
The most leverageable aspect of brand focused platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the development of an audience, is also one of the most constricting.
Reddit, and democratic platforms like it, are different as a result of the way they’re built. Communities are developed around specifically defined shared Interests like /r/webdev (web development) and /r/entrepreneurship, but they’re also developed around stimulating ideas like /r/showerthoughts and /r/ofcoursethatsathing.
Reddit is a democracy. The platform’s focus on community makes it (intentionally) challenging to develop a brand (on the platform). Support the community and win.
The fantastic thing about submitting to Reddit is that you know exactly who you’re talking to and they aren’t paying too much attention to who’s speaking. If the content brings value to the community by their standards, it is then carried as the gospel of the community and develops a reach beyond any one person — it goes viral.
“Viral” is just a reach greater than your own and that’s what Reddit provides.
There are 9,000+ active communities who are (if you know what to look for) clearly communicating what they want and need. Provide it to them as a member of the community, in the community’s voice, and the people within will carry it for you.
Reddit is 95% research.
Brand platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are built and structured for the development of an audience, but an audience comes with expectations.
Community platforms like Reddit, Product Hunt, Hacker News, etc. are built and structured to sustain ever evolving communities. Anyone can walk in the door and, if the message resonates with the voice / beliefs of that community, have their content carried far beyond those that you would be able to reach alone.
Without an audience, an advertising budget, or a (publicly) established track record I wrote something for a specific audience /r/marketing. I did my research and knew that these were data oriented people with a proclivity for irreverent stories.
I took what I had and told it in that voice — that’s it.
It went viral, blah blah blah, you know the story. The point is that Reddit is a platform full of communities with clearly communicated values. All you have to do is find those that most resonate with what you have to offer (content, stories, connection, etc.) and frame it to fit their voice. Unlike Facebook, you’re not constricted by the pre-established opinions of people who already know you — you’re given room to grow.
If you’re launching a content focused brand, Reddit is your best friend.