Published Podcast Ep. 05 | Proof of Concept & Knowing Your Audience


In this episode, we'll be focusing on understanding your message and why you should be the one sharing it. We'll be using the building blocks we discussed in the previous episode to create a full strategy with Brand Strategist Karina Keating. 

1:50 Why is it important for authors to understand what problem they solve? 

  • If you don't know what problem you're solving, how can you identify your target audience? 
  • Knowing the problem you solve helps you understand what transformation you offer your readers. Selling on transformation is stronger than selling on features. 
  • The promise is a translation of your vision. What impact do you want to see? And what are the practical applications of that impact? 
  • The promise needs to be so strong that it's worth the time that it takes readers to read it, not necessarily the price. 

4:30 What makes someone a thought leader? 

  • It starts with passion. If you can demonstrate your passion in an area and couple that with experience, then there's no reason you can't be the person people look to. 
  • Simon Sinek refers to the Golden Circle of Why How and What. Being able to communicate those aspects of your brand, in that order, to the public will make people feel a personal connection to what you're offering and to you as a person. If there's a strong connection to you, they will follow any products, services, content that will follow. 

6:05 How do you begin to understand who your audience is? 

  • There's an Inc. article by Tanya about getting to know your audience. Going through the exercise of asking, "What problem do I solve? What value do I add to my readers? What impact do I have on their lives?" 
  • Think internally about what you do well first before branching into research. 
  • Pew Research Center does many studies about demographics and trends that can help you tease out some important characteristics around your audience. 

8:15 How do you best understand an audience's pain points, especially if you don't fall in that group yourself?

  • If you already have an established audience, you can start out by surveying them. 
  • If you don't have an audience, you can start by surveying yourself. Michael Hyatt (Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World) has an exercise called Map Your Message, which should give you a clear sense of who you want your customer avatars to look like. Ex. "What people or causes do you find yourself naturally drawn to?"

10:55 Once you have the pain points identified, what do you do next? And what if the answers to the pain points aren't in your wheelhouse? 

  • If it's not in your wheelhouse but you clearly have an affinity for it, look to develop a partnership or look at outsourcing some of what you're doing. 
  • The biggest thing to do after identifying pain points is to start tailoring content to your audience. How can you talk to them in other places to lead them toward your website/book/etc? 

14:55 Why is it so important to understand the competitive landscape before launching a book? 

  • Being aware of what your competitors are doing lets you glean best practices. You can reverse engineer the work of others when they are attracting audience members that are similar to yours. 
  • Emulate the parts that make sense for your particular brand. As long as you're true to your vision and passions, you will be unique. Authenticity is key. 

17:00 How do authors really hone in on what makes them different? And how do they highlight that?

  • Focus less on doing things really differently and more on doing it well. 
  • Seth Godin's Purple Cow philosophy is to make every day a masterpiece (or a "purple cow"). Striving for excellence in everything you do will be your differentiator. Coupled with the authenticity you bring, you will have a strong understanding of what makes you different. 

18:40 What do you do with all of this information to apply it to work? 

  • Brand messaging isn't a static thing. Treat your brand strategy as an ever-evolving entity. May need to tweak visual branding/content as you go. 
  • Create a "roadmap" to refer to throughout the platform development experience. It will help ensure that content is consistent and true to the ultimate vision. 
  • Platform building shouldn't end with the book publication. It's a way to keep the attention of the followers that you worked so hard to gain. There may be new books or other goals beyond the book. Nursing those goals beyond the book publication date not only helps maintain book sales but also ensures your brand has long legs. Even a short lull can alienate followers. 

21:45 Any other tips? 

  • Your audience's needs may change. Keeping a finger on the pulse of what your followers say to you helps make sure that what you're providing still provides value. 

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