Content or Clarity: Which comes first?July 30, 2013 July 30, 2013 /
Here’s a question for you:
When you sit down to write or create content how do you approach it?
[icon name=icon-expand]Are you writing because you’re inspired to write?
[icon name=icon-expand]Are you just winging it?
[icon name=icon-expand]Do you know WHO you’re writing for and WHY you’re writing for them?
[icon name=icon-expand]Is there a cohesive message or theme to the content you create?
Have you taken the time to get clear on all those things that don’t really “seem” like work (I’ll get to these in a minute), but give you the clarity you need to really grow a solid community and provide value to your audience through the content you create?
You know the old saying,
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears?”
Let’s just say I’ve had at least 5 teachers “appear” in the last week with a very clear message (no pun intended since the message is about clarity.. ;-)).
I know for myself that regardless of whether it was when I was just starting out or where I am today (5 1/2 years in) – getting crystal clear on things isn’t something I’ve spent enough time doing. It’s more like I had an idea about what I wanted to be doing but would get much more clarity around what I didn’t want to do (you know this one, right? After a less than pleasant experience with someone you get really clear on not wanting to be in that position again, do that type of work, work with that type of person, etc. Interesting that pain drives us more often than pleasure).
The challenge with getting “clarity” in your business is that you have to be willing to course correct and understand that you won’t have all the answers in the beginning but that you still have to get started.
Let’s start with the Beginning
Whether you’re literally just starting out or have an existing business, there are a few things that I would consider the “Beginning” in terms of getting clarity in your business. I have no doubt that everyone reading this has heard this before, so don’t hold your breath for any new earth shattering snippets here, but let me just tell you that getting clear on these things is what has made a significant difference in my business this year.
- What is your business about? (Think what you do, why you do it and how you do it)
- Who is your Audience? (and you don’t get to say something generic like small business entrepreneurs… nice try)
- How will you serve them?
See? Basics, right?
If you haven’t taken the time to answer these questions, then you’re not really treating your business like a business. It doesn’t matter if you want to stay a one person shop or set up offices globally, taking the time to do the things that don’t ‘feel’ like work are absolutely necessary to providing valuable content and building the business you want to build.
I’ve been spending a lot more time looking at all of this stuff because I know that in order to be where I want to be I need to get off the computer, take the time and answer these questions, do these exercises and put a strategy behind what I do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t completely fly by the seat of my pants. I have plenty of systems in place for all my client work and projects, but for ME… well, that’s a different story.
Like I’ve said about a dozen times in the last couple of months I make a conscious choice to start engaging more. I don’t have this totally spelled out in terms of how often I do x,y,z (because as soon as I feel like I have to do something all of the sudden I go into total resistance), but I am absolutely committed to growing my engagement (hmm… I think that will be a blog post of its own). One of the things I decided to do was join a community (membership site). Because I finally “got it” that the strength behind an online business really comes down to relationships and value I wanted to find a place where I could constantly learn something, engage with new people (like minded people) and then implement everything I was learning.
Fizzle is a community founded behind the team at ThinkTraffic. What sold me on the community was listening to the podcast (I enjoy listening to podcasts as much as I love producing my own show). The Fizzle Show podcast is hosted by Corbett Barr, Chase Reeves and Caleb Wojcik. All three bring something of value to the table but I have to be honest when I tell you that it was Chase Reeves who sold me on it (he’s the comic relief, but also brilliant at what he does). Corbett and Caleb are brilliant at what they do but I enjoy the humor Chase injects to each show.
They just released a new course that Chase created called “Essentials of Website Design for Business Builders”. Naturally I was interested. 😉 Although everything in Fizzle is great (not that I’ve gone through all the materials and these aren’t affiliate links, for what it’s worth). I started watching the videos and listening to everything and when I went to do some of the work (downloadable worksheets… Amen!) I had to go back to a previous course, because well, that’s what strategy and building a business is about, right? There are sequential steps you need to take in order to move onto the next phase.
SO… I went back and did the “Defining Your Audience” course.
Yeah, I know. Something I should have done years ago. But the truth is that I don’t think I would have done it as thoroughly or as honestly as I’m doing it today. Not because I would have half-assed it, but because I didn’t have the knowledge or courage that I have today (courage meaning I’m not afraid to get something wrong or worried about what other people might think).
I’m also VERY clear on what it is I want to do with my time to grow my business.
And I don’t think I would have been able to define this without the experiences I’ve had over the last five years.
I’m not saying you need to wade through 5 years of figuring it out (although, no amount of planning can prepare you for everything), quite the contrary. I’m suggesting you do these things now. Take the time to define what your business is about, who your audience is and how you’ll serve them. You can (and should) course correct along the way.
But you’re much more likely to reach a goal or intention you’ve set as opposed to hoping your way there.
If you’ve already done some of these things in your business, I’d LOVE to know the impact it’s made or changes that have taken place. We all love hearing the how behind people’s stories.
Kim, I so know what you’re talking about. I’ve been spending some time defining my audience before my launch but to be honest, I have no idea who my audience will be after even a year or two. I think it’s something businesses and bloggers should evaluate at least every two years and be flexible to adjust yourself according to what your audience wants and needs.
oh i forgot to mention that i LOVE Think Traffic! Been following that site for a long time now and it’s always been quite epic 🙂
Have you listened to the podcast, The Fizzle Show? It’s fantastic! Chase Reeves is hilarious!
No, I haven’t taken the time but I need to!
Well, I still think it’s great that you have spent the time doing it now! You’ll definitely have to revisit it and I agree that it’s something everyone should revisit every couple of years. I know my audience has definitely shifted from when I was first getting started (well, and to your point it’s probably changed a lot each year).
Thanks for all your comments. 😉 It’s MUCH appreciated!
My pleasure! Been impressed since the day I discovered you over at StudioPress!
aww… thanks. 😉
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