What aspect of your message does your audience want to hear more about?Jan 02, 2024
Last week, I sent an email. Maybe you received it. I asked those who are on my email list to let me know if there was a platform development topic they’d like me to cover in this coming year. The response I received to that email has been fascinating. It revealed several things to me.
First of all, it reminded me that wherever we are on our platform development journey, many of our problems and concerns are exactly the same. We’re wondering the same things. Our struggles are very similar. The topics we’re curious about may differ in scale, but they don’t really differ in substance.
Second, I was reminded that foundational issues continue to matter even if you’ve been building your online platform for a long time. Some of the people who replied to my email have been working on their online platform for years, yet the questions they wanted me to address brought me right back to the foundations of online influence.
Third, I was impressed with the volume of questions I received. Some of you sent me one or two. Others replied with lists that were closer to twenty. I’m actually going to do my best to answer most if not all of the questions you sent in the coming weeks.
So, as we begin a new calendar year, and we contemplate some of our goals and aspirations for our online platforms, let’s make sure we’re building our platforms on the right foundation. Building on the right foundation saves us time and prevents our platforms from going off into unproductive areas.
One of the most important foundational areas that’s always worth reviewing is your message. There are things we like to talk about, and there are things our audience needs us to talk about. Sometimes, those are the same, but often they’re a little different.
There are things I like to talk about, and can talk about at length without losing any steam or enthusiasm, but I’d never be able to build an online platform based on some of those topics because they don’t meet a need for others. Knowing that to be the case, I make sure to listen closely to my audience (and before I had an audience, I listened closely to my friends).
I pay attention to what they ask me to help them with then I create content, courses, and coaching to meet those specific needs. My online business grows because it isn’t being built to meet my needs. It’s almost entirely focused on meeting the needs of others, and as I continue to serve, I earn two things; repeat business and referrals. I want you to experience this as well if you’re in the process of building your platform.
So let’s talk a look at your overall message for just a second. Does it feel like your message is connecting with your audience, or does it feel like you’re missing something? If you are connecting, how could you make a deeper connection? If you’re missing something, how can that be corrected?
Most experts in online platform development will tell you that people are primarily looking for help in three areas…
1. They would like to improve something about their health.
2. They would like to improve their personal finances.
3. They would like to develop stronger relationships.
Take a moment to think about those categories for a second. Do you agree with that list? Is there anything you would add or take away from it? Are there subcategories you might add under one of those topics? Does the message of your platform come anywhere close to meeting one of those needs?
Personally, I think the major topics of health, finances, and relationships are a good place to start, but from my experience, I would definitely add a few subcategories as well.
When people are looking to improve their health, they may be thinking about more than just their physical well-being. If you are familiar with some of the content I create online, you’re probably well aware that most of what I’m writing and teaching about has to do with the subject of spiritual health. I care about that deeply, and I’ve learned that there are many people who are looking for help in that area, so that’s a need I’m eager to serve.
When people are looking to improve their personal finances, they may be thinking about more than saving and investing. I’ve learned that plenty of people are looking for training that will help them to start a new career. Others are looking for ways in which to supplement their traditional income by adding an online income. Many are looking for creative ways to fund ministries or charitable organizations, so I try to offer guidance in these areas based on what I have experienced.
When people seek to build stronger relationships, they may be thinking about dating and marriage OR they may be thinking about relationships that fall into vastly different categories. I believe we’ve been divinely designed as relational beings. That’s why I offer much of my training in a community context where groups of people get to know each other and sharpen each other’s understanding and growth.
How can your message help in one of these three areas? Do you see a personal application or a way you might be able to meet one of these primary needs?
One other topic that might be worth considering either as a main point or a sub point is the subject of legacy. Based on some of the coaching conversations I have been having and some of the questions I have been receiving, this seems to be a subject on the minds of many people, particularly if you serve an audience of people who have adult children or grandchildren.
As the old saying goes, “keep your ears to the pavement.” Pay careful attention to what your audience is asking you for, and be humble enough to admit that it might require you to fine-tune what you’re presently offering or begin offering something brand new.
Your audience will tell you what they need from you, and if you want to experience the blessings that come with repeat business and referrals, make sure you’re listening.
© John Stange, 2024
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