Creative Business 101: The Best Way to Create Valuable Content and Build Your Audience
Every creative entrepreneur wants a bigger, more engaged audience. We want more eyes on our content, more people sharing our stuff with their friends, and ultimately, more buyers for our work. But how to you go from knowing who your ideal audience is to actually building that audience for your platform?
It’s all about valuable content.
If you are new to this series, you can check out the other articles here:
Creative Business 101: What to Say When You Have Nothing to Say
Creative Business 101: Defining Success as a Creative Entrepreneur
Creative Business 101: Tips on How to Identify Your Audience
The Best Way to Create Valuable Content and Build Your Audience
If you are reading this piece, you should already have answered the question “Who am I creating for?” and have a pretty good idea of who your target audience or ideal audience is. If not, make sure you read the last post for Tips on How to Identify Your Audience.
In this article we will discuss:
How to provide value to your target audience
How to take what you know about your ideal audience and apply that to ideas for creative content
How to target multi-genre or multi-interest audiences in a cohesive way
How To Provide Value to Your Audience
When you’re starting a creative business and brainstorming ideas for what to put in your newsletters, blogs, or social media posts, it can be very overwhelming. Many entrepreneurs put off building their platforms because of this. We know what we’re “supposed to” do. But when it comes to actually doing it, we draw a blank.
If you have been dragging your feet over taking those first steps to building your audience, I have a pretty good idea why.
You don’t have anything to say.
First of all, that’s a lie. But what if I told you that your content is not really about you, anyway. Your content is about the value you provide to your audience. In order to provide valuable content for your audience, you have to stop thinking about yourself and think about them.
Why are they interested in your work? What other interests might they have that connect to your work?
Valuable content can be entertaining, educational, inspirational, or motivational. You do not have to pull ideas out of thin air. You can do things that have been done before. Find inspiration in the articles and posts that you read and love, then figure out how to make that idea work for your audience.
Valuable content is all about your audience. It is something you curate with them in mind. You are the merely the glue that holds it interesting bits together.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller
The Easiest Way to Create Content Catered to Your Audience
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel here. The internet has been around for a long time, and we have a pretty good idea of what kinds of articles we are drawn to when we have time to kill. And you don’t have to be some kind of super genius algorithm hacker to figure it out. Here are some easy ways to apply basic blogging techniques to your own creative content:
Have you ever read a Top Ten list? Lists are a great way to start producing creative content. You can make a list about anything that your audience might find interesting or entertaining. Anything, that is, that connects your audience to your work.
If you are a romance writer, you won’t probably want to post a list about the funniest ways to die. As entertaining as you might personally find this topic, it’s not about you. It’s about your audience. You want to drive the right kind of traffic to your platform.
Depending on the kind of romance you write, you could to a list of everything from romantic getaways and best valentine’s day gifts, to hilarious safe words and underrated sex toys. What would your audience like?
No matter who you are, there are some things that you are good at. Have you ever followed an online How-To type article? Did it work? Was it a terrible fail? Either way, you have material.
The How-To is a great way to bring your audience into your creative process, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many people in your audience will be amateurs themselves, and targeting burgeoning creatives is a great way to build one leg of your platform.
If you are an artist, for example you can do an How-To for basic skills in your craft. Or you can share something that you’ve tried that didn’t work out with a “How-Not-To” twist. Or go all in on a fail and share “How to Ruin a Painting in 5 Easy Steps.”
This is one of the most popular type of blog post, and you can spin it a number of different ways.
If you have recently overcome a challenge, share a personal anecdote and a favourite quote to let your audience know that you are in fact human. Motivational stories, even about seemingly insignificant moments, can really strike a chord with people. I shared an experience with teaching my children how to skate, and what that taught me about writing, and my followers loved it! Sharing our failures is a great way to connect with your audience.
You can also share quotes, passages, and images that have inspired your creative work. A science fiction writer might showcase futuristic landscapes by artists which have inspired them. This draws the right kind of people to your feed. If they like the artwork that inspired your novel, this will make them curious about your novel. See how it works?
The Possibilities are Endless!
If you are interested in exploring this topic more, I’d be happy to brainstorm more ideas with you. Let me know in the comments!
“All knowledge is connected to all knowledge. The fun is in making the connections.” –Arthur C. Aufderheide
How to Target Multi-Genre or Multi-Interest Audiences in a Cohesive Way
I said earlier that you are the glue that holds your content together. You might write in different genres or paint in different styles or record many different types of music, but in the centre of it all is you.
I know I said it’s not about you. Just listen.
The content is still not about you. It’s about your audience. But the way it all comes together and becomes cohesive? That’s all you, baby. You are the part of the equation that will keep your audience with you instead of one of those other platforms (or as well as, we can share!)
When you’re trying to find ways to tie multiple genres of work together, potentially with separate audiences, connection is the key. You need to think of ways that you can connect your interests/ideas to each other.
An author/blogger friend of mine expressed frustration with how to express three seemingly unconnected aspects of her identity in one platform. She’s a writer, a make-up artist, and a cat lover.
Any of these could be its own platform, but if she focuses on them each individually it all falls apart. She either has three separate platforms to grow, which would need separate accounts, and be completely overwhelming. Or she ends up with a random collection of make-up videos, writing updates, and cute kitty pics that looks more like a personal account than a business.
You may have many interests that inform your work, and as different as they are, you are the glue that holds them together. There is something about each of them that you connect with, and your connection is what will connect your audience.
Here were some of my suggestions to her:
Do a mood board for your current book (writing or reading) and do a post it with a make-up tutorial using the same colour scheme
Do a cosplay of your favourite literary character
Dress your cat as literary character (or attempt to dress your cat and take video of the calamity)
Share a picture of your cat along with a cat-themed passage from a favourite novel (there are so many books with cats in them!) or a quote from a writer about cats
Share a quote from a writer about beauty, identity, or strength, and share it with a look that makes you feel the same way
This technique works for multi-genre writers as well. How can you connect readers from one genre to readers from another and target them in the same post?
Share two of your favourite characters, from different genres, and compare and contrast their personalities
Compare one of your characters to a character from a different genre
Ask your followers a “Would you rather…” with a question from two different genres
Compare and contrast mood boards
Chose a theme and relate it to books from different genres
The ways to connect our work to our audience and our audience to us. Look for inspiration in the posts and articles that you like to read and brainstorm ways that you can do something similar in your own words.
How are you feeling? Do you have a better idea of how knowing your audience helps you create valuable content and build your platform? What topics would you like to see next?
Upcoming articles will address:
How to Synchronize Your Platforms
How to Turn Your Platform into a Brand
How to Convert Followers into Customers
If there is anything else you want to know, please ask! Thank you for joining me in Creative Business 101. Happy creating!