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The Secrets to Building an Audience for Your Business

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By Hector Cisneros

We are now more than a decade into the 21st century. Our world has evolved from one where the dominant communications medium was unidirectional, to one that is bidirectional. We have moved from a world that was market driven to one that is now consumer driven. Businesses today must not only cater to a target audience they must develop a fan base that is willing to follow and share their message and show their loyalty by consuming their products and services. To ensure their survival, a business must either build their own audience or buy exposure to someone else’s audience. The good news is that the network TV, Radio and Print media don’t have exclusive control of the internet. More importantly, the internet allows anyone who is willing to spend their blood, sweat, time, money and tears to build their own audience. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore the secrets to building a strong internet audience. One that can not only sustain a business in good times but one that will allow a business to grow and flourish even in a down economy. This article will provide you with an understanding of the prerequisites needed for success along with more than a half-dozen detailed tactics to grow your fan base. It will also provide links to dozens of articles that will broaden your understanding of the 21st-century opportunity.

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The rapid growth of the Internet as a dominant part of our lives brings with it many opportunities. For more than 50 years the broadcast networks dominated our lives. Today, internet giants dominate our lives, but with one big difference. The internet is a universal broadcasting station riddled with hundreds of ways to broadcast your message, many of which are no cost or low cost to get started. There are already many examples of companies achieving meteoric success in arenas that were dominated by well-entrenched mega corporations. Think of Gillette and Schick versus the Dollar Shave Club or Harry’s Razor Company. Think Netflix versus ABC, NBC, and CBS, or the hundreds of YouTube shows that have started with organic audiences that eventually led to broadcast network buyouts. Many shows have also made it completely without the networks as well. Another great example is blogging. For most of the public, reading blogs is today's Goto news media.  Blogging has supplanted all print media to become the dominant news medium. In fact, most of the major online magazines and newspaper corporations now use a blogging format for their digital publications. Today, anyone who is willing to learn how to create, prepare, publish and distribute high-quality content, can stake a claim to their own fame and fortune. The most common problem I see is that businesses give up too quickly before they discover their own secret sauce by experimenting and measuring their efforts. Read my article called: How to Get Fish to Jump in The Boat - A Social Media Analogy for some insight to this issue.
Today any internet entrepreneur can harness a multitude of content providing platforms. This includes, blogging, podcasting, internet radio, internet video, digital books, internet subscription services, (for games, story content, music, help/support content, advertising, and news) and these are mostly free avenues. Imagine the world without Facebook, Instagram, Blogger, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus? There are literally hundreds of social media opportunities for publishing your authoritative content for free.  There is also a horde of pay to play venues to get found, build a following and distribute your content as well (including your marketing message).

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There are several elements that all publishing mediums require for success. We call these, “the prerequisites for content marketing success.” If you want to tell a compelling story or deliver a compelling marketing message, your content must meet these minimal standards.

Quality is first. Your content must be of a high caliber. Whether it's a writer whose prose is dynamic, eloquent and concise or your video comes with high production value, or your podcast is useful and entertaining at the same time, your quality must be high. Spelling and grammar must be clean and tight. Lighting must be great; sound must be clean and clear. Many say that content is king, but the reality is only high-quality content is king. I recommend reading; Top 18 Tips That Can Maximize Your Content Marketing, if you want to get a great overview of what is needed.
Relevance is second. Your content must be relevant to your targeted audience. The broader your target audience, the greater potential for growing a huge following and fan base. Your content must be relevant to your potential audience’s needs, wants, and desires. If it doesn’t give them what they crave, you will be irrelevant.

Timeliness is third. Your message, article, podcast, music or show must be delivered in a timely fashion and at the right time. Shakespeare wrote that timing is everything, well it may not be everything, but from a marketing and audience building perspective, it's next to oxygen.

Courtersy of Wikimedia Commons
Fourth, is Creating Evergreen content. There are many pundits who say that you should only publish unique and new content. However, this idea has several flaws. First is the fact that evergreen content has value that lasts. It is not only more useful than just new or unique content; it can be used by virtue of providing everlasting principles. On top of that, it can be re-published many times. Think of your favorite old but great re-run TV shows or the classic books that are required reading for high school and college. Heck, think Dr. Seuss, who has served six generations of families and their kids! Check out: Learning the Tricks of the Trade – Part 2 of Blogging 101

The Fifth is Providing a Consistent Product. All successful content channels (i.e. TV, Radio shows, Magazines or Newsprint columns) have a high level of consistency associated with them. They are all either broadcast at the same time and day of the week, or they are published at the same time and day.  They have a consistent look, feel and quality associated with them. If the content is not delivered with the same consistency -  the same look and high quality and unique feel - it will lose as much audience as it gains.  Read: Marketing Your Blog in the 21st Century – Part 3 of Blogging 101.

The Sixth is Providing the Right Frequency and Delivery. For your content to succeed today, it needs to come out at the right time that the target audience wants. Some social media venues have a high viewership on weekends, others on Monday mornings, still others on different days or spread across several days. It is important that you measure readership to discover the best days and times to publish your content. Experimentation helps, but I would also recommend maintaining a consistent publishing schedule as well. I recommend reading: The Write Stuff – How to Blog & Make a Profit.

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Seventh is Branded with your Unique Slant. If you want to be successful, you can’t create a me-too product or service. Only a few companies will be able to copy a leader and ride their coattails to achieve success. The rest of us will need to show our own special slant on the world. We must deliver content that has our own unique voice, style, look, feel and format. This allows you to build a brand, stand out from the herd and become a leader of the pack, not a me-too content provider. Make sure you read: Understanding the Difference Between Branding, Marketing, and Advertising.

Beyond the Prerequisites

Along with these seven prerequisites for content marketing prowess, there are strategies and tactics that need to be employed to achieve success. For example, we have created our own blog, internet radio show and live streaming video formats that we produce every week.  Check out our articles called: The Guide to The Working The Web Universe and How to Make Money with Internet Radio and Podcasting for a detailed description of how we create our shows. If you’re a blogger, your articles can take the shape of a multitude of formats. For example, your article can be an interview format, a comparison format, a good vs. bad format, a holiday format and so on. Some companies like to publish their content once a week; others may publish ten times a day. How often you publish will depend on how much high-quality, evergreen content you have in your library and how often you publish new material. Check out our hit article called: How to Triple Your Blogs Views in 60 Days or Less. It provides a great example for growing a blog following.

Managing the Throes of Development

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When you’re in the throes of developing your publishing platform, make sure you have setup analytics to measure your efforts, experiments, and marketing results? Neglecting this is equivalent to flying blind! Read our article called, Don't Pull the Trigger on Advertising with Your Eyes Closed and How to Keep your New Year’s Business Resolution in the 21st Century. On top of everything mentioned so far, you also need patience, stamina, commitment and financial wherewithal to go the distance. We have seen many companies quit when they were winning. This was either because they ran out of money too soon (they signed up for a year’s commitment, but only had six months of money)  or they lost faith because they did not see rapid results that they mistakenly envisioned (even though realistic goals were set for six months and a year). Check out: Blogging 101 - Part 1: We Start With Commitment – It Succeeds When Talent Falters.

There is no doubt in my mind that many who are reading this article are thinking, that’s too much work, or I don’t have time for all that”. Well, it’s true, most entrepreneurs don’t have time for audience building. They are too busy fulfilling production. However, you can buy access to an audience. That’s why businesses still buy radio and TV ads; it gives them a pre-made audience to share their message with. However, the internet offers a multitude of ways that you can buy an audience. You have Pay Per click, both in the Search and on Social Networks that are available for starters. You can advertise on internet video channels like YouTube and Facebook, internet radio channels like BlogTalkRadio, advertise in banner networks, in the Apple and Google play stores, engage in email blasts and e-newsletters and much more. You can even hook your caboose to a social media celebrity by paying for endorsements or by having a company like ours share your content to our 100,000+ social media followers. You can also build strategic alliances with other like-minded non-competing companies to engage in banner and link exchanges.
Don't forget the Social Market

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Let not forget social media marketing. You can build your own social networks by actively inviting and following a targeted audience, and you can solicit social media influencers in your industry to share your content and message. My articles called: Social Media Tips, Tricks and Best Practices from the Pros and  How to Grow Your Twitter Flock – 14 Surefire Tips for Explosive Organic Growth spell this out. Both are good reads if you’re looking for new ways to grow your social following.  
From a guerrilla marketing standpoint, you can also engage in face to face word of mouth networking. Although this requires you to commit to spending time developing this network, the trust relationships you build through word of mouth is strong and can provide referrals that have a much higher closing rate and loyalty than leads that come from other marketing methods. Check out; Social Networking Secrets & Best Practices - Part 2 - The Givers Secrets and the Social Networking Secrets & Best Practices: Part 3 – There is no Substitute for a bunch of word of mouth tips and tactics.

Here is a partial list of additional articles we have written that provide even more information to feed your need for know-how and success. You can also find more by searching our blog just by entering your search criteria in the search box at the top of the blog.

General Content Marketing
Strategy and Tactics for Success
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Marketing in General Success

It is my hope that you will share this information with your friend’s, family and co-workers. Today, more than ever, businesses have an opportunity that only comes once or twice in a century. Building an audience, a loyal following and an enthusiastic fan base is a time and money consuming endeavor. However, it is well worth it when you compare the cost that must be spent when you rent an audience by advertising on TV, Radio, Newsprint or even Pay Per click. If a business is dedicated to audience building and starts today, they could have a large audience of 5 to 10,000 loyal fans by the end of a year. They could have a blog with 5000 monthly page views, and a live video stream on Facebook or YouTube that is receiving 2000 views a month. The links listed throughout this article can provide the reader a wealth of useful and current information on audience building. If you feel this is too much work, then, by all means, give us a call, we can make this process cost effective for most companies’ budget and needs.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

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This article provides more than a dozen tips and tactics that a business can use, to build an audience, following or fan base. It provides a complete list of success prerequisites along with other proven tips and techniques you can implement to reach your audience building goals. It also provides links to other valuable articles that teach you how to grow your audience.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091 or fill out the form in the sidebar of this blog, we will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. You can find other articles on our blog by typing in “marketing, advertising, branding or audience” in the search box at the top of this blog. Also, check out the 
“Blog Talk Radio, Internet, podcast, that goes with this article ” and the Show Note Page, it has, even more, links for you to check out.  If you have a useful comment or opinion related to this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog.  Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+.

Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”  

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