The web has created a world of opportunity for us all. More than ever before, it’s now possible for anyone to come up with an idea for a business and to start promoting themselves to a massive audience.
That means you can start making money from the comfort of your own home. Or maybe you’d rather just promote a cause that’s important to you? Or make a little money on the side writing about something you find fascinating?
With the world as your audience, the opportunities are nearly endless and you can achieve all kinds of incredible things.
But there’s only one problem…
So can everyone else!
And this can make it very hard to stand out on the web. You don’t need me to tell you that of course, you’ve probably noticed it yourself. If you head online right now and spend five minutes there, you’ll probably be bombarded by countless ads in that time, several emails that you never signed up for and all kinds of other junk. Every website is covered in flashing banners trying to get attention and some other dude keeps showing you his Ferrari.
That sounds like chaos but in all honesty, it’s not much different from walking down the street. Head to any city and there are approximately 20 adverts visible at any time as well as plenty of store windows – some of which with TVs playing more adverts.
The result is that we become a bit desensitized to any and all attempts to get our attention. Beeping, flashing lights, news flashes – we’re oblivious.
So the question is: how do you be one of the few voices that manages to stand out in such a noisy world? How do you reach your audience and get them to care?
It’s actually surprisingly simple…
Creating a Brand You Care About
This might sound like a bleak situation – with thousand of people all vying for a very finite amount of attention – but the reality is a bit better than that.
The advantage you have is the fact that most of these voices are going about being heard in the wrong way. They blend into the background because they’re all the same and they’re all dross. YOU can be different and that’s how you stand out.
Think of all those voices on the web like a flock of sheep. You glance at the flock and you can’t make out any of the individuals therein – except one. And that one is the black sheep, because he’s different! And that’s what you need to be.
The first thing you need to do is to create a brand that you care about and that you really have your faith in. This is where a lot of people go wrong right from the start.
How many people do you think start up websites planning on selling fitness ebooks who actually have no real interest in fitness?
How many people are trying to make money selling marketing ebooks and ‘make money’ schemes? Do you think they really believe in that product? Do you think that they’re passionate about it?
The result is a half-hearted message that comes across the same as every other person trying to sell those things.
Instead, you need to think about what it is that makes you unique. What is it that you can offer that no one else can offer? How can you be different and interesting and what are you passionate about?
In doing this, you will also be selecting a niche for yourself that is unique and different and that means you won’t be competing head-on with quite so much noise. Once you decide that your passion is for making computer games, you’re now competing with maybe 5 other big websites rather than 100,000 websites in the fitness niche.
And it’s much easier to get to the top of that subject matter as a result. There are still enough people here to sell to and because you’re more passionate about the topic, you will find you’re much better at coming up with content and actually selling the stuff you’re interested in.
How do you stand out in a noisy world? Simple – you go where it’s a bit quieter!
Then again though, you might decide you want to have a blog about fitness or making money online afterall. Maybe that is what you’re passionate about? Maybe you just want to be the biggest you can be?
That’s find too. The only caveat is that you now need to find a smaller section of that market and you need to find a new way to differentiate yourself.
There are plenty of examples of brands online that have done this well. One of my absolute favorite examples is ‘Nerd Fitness’.
Nerd Fitness is a website that’s all about fitness but it is catered specifically to people who class themselves as ‘nerds’. This is perfect because it has found a smaller niche within a bigger niche and created lots of direct routes to market – Nerd Fitness can market on bodybuilding forums but just as easily market on comics forums!
Nerd Fitness is a unique topic that introduces lots of unique ideas for blogs and posts and this ensures everything it does is fresh. The images used around the site are unique too – they’re Lego characters that have been set up and photographed!
Nerd Fitness has gone on to enjoy a lot of success and that’s because there’s nothing else like it out there.
That’s how you need to be!
Profiling And Knowing Your Audience
The next step in creating your brand and your business model is to consider your audience. And if you want to get in-depth with this you can even profile your audience as though they were sitting in front of you.
Try and learn and estimate as much about these people as you possibly can based on what you already know. What is the average age of your typical reader? What is their disposable income like? What other interests do they have? Where do they hang out?
What drives them and what do they want out of life?
Where can you find them?
Doing this little bit of research at the start can help you a great deal with the creation of your brand and the content you share but will be instrumental when it comes to designing your marketing campaign.
Firstly, knowing where your audience is likely to be found is one of the best ways to ensure your marketing is on-point. If you are a small business, then there’s a limit to how much marketing you can do which means you need to ensure you are efficient and accurate with it.
If your audience is very old, then they are unlikely to spend much time on ‘young’ social media platforms like Snapchat or WhatsApp. But if they are young? Then this is the perfect place to find them and to market to them!
Then again, you also need to think about what drives your audience and who they are. The reason this is so important is because it’s going to impact greatly on the type of marketing you use. This relates to a concept called your ‘value proposition’ and more broadly to the kind of message and lifestyle you’ll be promoting.
Because when we read websites about fitness, we don’t read them because we’re interested in biology (as a whole). Rather, we read them because we want to feel more confident, more energetic and more attractive. It’s the lifestyle and the emotional hook that drives us – its aspirational and vicarious.
On the other hand, people who read blogs about making money are likely to be unhappy in their current jobs. Maybe they’re driven by conventional concepts of ‘success’ and ‘achievement’. They want to be standing in a high rise skyscraper somewhere wearing a suite and knowing that their pay-check is huge.
Knowing what it is that drives your audience will make it much easier to inspire them and to get behind your brand as a movement rather than just a company. What is it you want to help other people achieve? What is it that your audience dreams of and how can you tap into that?
Now you have your niche and your topics, you should also have your audience. The next thing you need to do is to start providing value.
Whether you’re on Facebook or Twitter or you’re just running a blog, value is what’s going to ensure that people keep coming back to your site and that they keep reading.
A lot of small, stuffy businesses, approach social media as a podium from which they can promote their products and services and generally pat their own backs:
“We have a small but highly capable team!”
“Our new service is second to none, why not see for yourself?”
This kind of random marketing talk is completely useless however because it doesn’t give the audience any reason to stick around and keep reading. If you were following a Facebook page and all it ever posted was messages about its own products, what would you do?
Most likely you would unfollow it.
So instead, you need to think of your social media efforts as a service. This is a free service that you provide to your audience as a taster of your expertise and to build that trust and gain that attention.
Your service might be to provide the latest industry news. Or maybe it’s to inspire them with ideas and quotes? Maybe you want to offer entertainment with funny videos and joke articles?
Either way, find a way that you can offer a service that will appeal to your particular niche and what you’re doing.
If you have a health insurance company, then why not post health tips? If you make software for small businesses, then how about featuring small successful companies that others can be inspired by?
Even if your subject matter is dull/dry, there are ways you can make it interesting and thereby inspire your audience and get them to keep reading.
Ask yourself this: if your social account went down tomorrow, would anyone be sad about it? If the answer is no, then you’re not doing it right!
Only then will you occasionally post promotional content which will be much more successful now you have your audience listening. And when you do, you need to make sure you’re still providing value by offering exclusive content and unique information.
And make sure that you are consistent and that you are frequent.
The same is true for your blog. If you provide value on your blog with deep, fascinating and in-depth posts – then people will share it for you! Think of each article you post as a little product in itself and that means it should have its own design period, gestation phase and even marketing campaign surrounding it and helping you to launch it!
There’s So Much More!
Hopefully now you’re starting to see how you can get heard in a noisy world. Hopefully you recognize the difference between spamming the web with promotional content and having a brand that’s interesting and unique and that you really care about.
If you are doing something genuinely worthwhile and something that you’re truly passionate about, then you can not only be seen – but also build a loyal army of followers and fans who can help you ensure that you go from strength to strength.
But there’s so much more to it than this.
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What do you think about this post? any suggestions to how to be noticed and heard on the world wide web?