10 Reasons Why Organizations (And Individuals) With Audiences Win
Smart organizations and individuals across industries are building their brands through gathering organic audiences and encouraging dialogue.
By organic, I mean people who have opted-in to receive messages. And, encouraging dialogue not only between individuals and the organization, but also between fans of their brand as well. When you function as a connector, you become even more valuable to your audience than merely providing content.
Blogs function great as connectors because they publish not only a reader’s name but a link to their blog or website when they comment. So, when someone posts an interesting comment, it not only adds to the conversation on-site, but it allows the readers of that comment to potentially connect with the writer.
Several organizations come to mind that have developed strong community around their brand. SEOMoz is one – they have built an entire community of SEO professionals around their site, while also selling their own products. TopRank Online Marketing is another, who have built a huge following of marketers around their blog, while also selling their own marketing services.
These are just two examples and brands that I am personally a fan of. They also both have blogs with tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of unique visitors monthly and are in the 5-digit range of RSS subscribers.
After building an audience, the possibilities opened up to your business are incredible. By not having a platform to build an audience (along with an audience acquisition strategy, of course) you slip behind your forward-thinking competitors daily.
Let’s go through 10 reasons why organizations with organic audiences win to help make the case why you should consider building one. These are reasons for both individuals or businesses to build an audience. One of the best and most efficient ways to do this currently is through blogging.
Anyway, without further adieu, here they are:
1) Instead of actively looking for customers/clients, they will stumble-upon you
Companies spend so much time cold calling, advertising and throwing money at traditional marketing methods. If you can build an audience, you can communicate with people in anticipated, relevant ways and spread your messages to people who want to hear it. Wouldn’t it be nice if your customers or new clients came directly to you?
2) When you publish something interesting, your audience will share it with others
The social web is all about sharing content. Right now, people are actively sharing the content your competitors are producing. And, if you’re not producing anything of your own, then there is unfortunately nothing people can share surrounding your brand.
3) Having an audience allows you to carve out a voice in your industry and be seen as the “go-to” company
Carve out an audience in your field for the niche you really want to fill, and you can dominate any competition by being the “go to” company for that niche. If you’re already seen as the best, everyone else’s marketing messages will fall flat.
4) You will cultivate the best talent
The best talent is hard to find and keep, and smart people are motivated by passionate companies. The only way you’ll build an audience in the first place is by demonstrating your passion. It’s a natural by-product that you’ll also attract great talent this way.
5) Your expertise will be on display in black and white
If you build and maintain an audience, that’s a pretty strong endorsement. All other things being equal, if I was looking at two potential vendors for something, and one company had an active blog with 20,000 subscribers to their RSS feed with incredible content, and the other merely had a few static pages with sales copy – it would be a no-brainer who I would hire.
6) You won’t have to rely (as heavily) on others to publish your news
I’m not saying you should ignore PR, certainly the endorsement of others is a strong sell for whatever it is you’re doing. But, when you have your own audience built, it is a lot of pressure off needing others to publish your messages. And after you have built an audience, the media opportunities you’ll have increase exponentially, as your organizations visibility and trust in the world will skyrocket.
7) You’ll build links, traffic and exposure for your .com and your business as a whole
Building your audience through a blog platform is the smartest way to go, as you’ll accomplish so many positive things simultaneously. Purely building an e-newsletter audience is a mistake, because you miss out on people linking to you, and all the organic SEO of having your content on actual pages on the web. Plus all of that archived content serves to create a deeper authority on the web for your business and trust in search engines. E-newsletters also do not encourage dialogue with your fans and are, in my mind, (sorry for the cliche) a “marketing 1.0” tactic. Time to get up to speed and do things better.
8) Speaking engagements, panel discussions, and conference leaders will come to you
By building an audience, you open up your potential network for all of these things and more. Your content serves to establish your authority, and eventually if you work hard enough these opportunities will seek you out naturally.
9) You can build community around your brand
I mentioned this in the introduction, and there is so much talk in blogosphere about this lately. If you’re reading the same blogs as I am you may be sick of reading about this. But, it’s so true and it’s the future the present way to successfully spread ideas and build influence on the web. As the weeks and months go by, the audience around your brand will grow larger, and the community will grow tighter. This builds your company high levels of influence and relevance. You can’t put a price tag on either of these things, and prior to the web there were not many ways to accomplish it on a mass scale.
The fact that this is even possible now means it is something you should be jumping at the opportunity to do, not waiting to see what your competitors are doing. Waiting here may prove more dangerous than diving in.
10) When you have a great idea to spread, it’s as simple as clicking publish
When you have an audience already built, anything you wish to spread – whether it’s tips on your industry, a case study you created to share your success on a project or just some motivation for the day, the web couldn’t make distributing your messages to the world easier and more direct. Plenty of smart organizations are using this to their advantage daily. When your competitors have this ability, how can you afford not to not have this as an integral part of your communications arsenal?
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Related aritcles from around the web
Plan Your Audience Acquisition Strategy (Chris Brogan)
Getting The Most Out Of Your Corporate Blog (TopRankBlog)
Why You Should Blog (SEOMoz)