Over the past 10 years I have been involved with the creation and building of several brands ranging across a variety of industries and differing target audiences. There was Chucking a Mosh which was promoting Australian punk, metal and hardcore bands, Waywire who specialized in online video and pre-roll advertising, and currently I’m working for GO1 and building up OnlineLearningWeekly.com, both of which sit in the online education space.
Each of the experiences in launching and building these businesses up were very different, however the same key elements applied in the first year which is critical to growth and setting yourself up for success.
I’m often asked for advice on how to get a brand up and running from the marketing side of things, and no matter what you are doing, or who your audience is, there are 2 key elements that you need to lock down if you want to achieve success, and they are commitment and consistency.
As odd as it might seem, one of the best examples to look at for a well applied overview of these elements is via what we now refer to as those who are “Instagram famous”. Users who have achieved this status on the photo sharing platform have a very set routine. Each day they are posting photos and caption following a set theme, and they stick to it. Every day their follows know what to expect, and know that they are not going to disappear in a few weeks’ time.
Looking deeper into the first element, commitment, you need to decide early on as to what you have planned for your project long term. Maybe you just want to get a blog up and write something when you have a chance? That’s awesome, and completely fine. But if you want to start carving out a name for yourself as an expert in your field or turn that blog into an ecommerce platform over time, dabbling will not get it done.
Dabbling, or sporadically working on a project is the biggest mistake that people make when trying to get something up and running. If you want to really build something, it’s critical commit regular time to working on the project so it is constantly progressing. This might be a few hours per week, or a whole day per week depending on what you are trying to build, but unless you are sticking to that weekly routine for 6-12 months, it’s going to be incredibly hard to see any scalable momentum starting to build.
Break your project down into small manageable chunks that you work on each week and set up a project board and you will find things much easier. Doing 1 task well and to completion each week is much more productive that partially doing 10 task to 10% completion and creating a disjointed workflow.
Remember, things take time and won’t happen overnight, but with a consistent routine you set yourself up for keeping with your timelines and achieving faster growth.
Once you’re committed to your project, it’s time to start getting consistent in how you communicate with your audience. If people know that you are going to be publishing something once every day at 2pm, after a while you will notice that people are growing to expect that content to be delivered, and it’s at this point when you have established a returning audience.
Understanding what consistency means for you is the tricky part. Who are your audience? Following our blog example, if you post an article every day are they going to read it? Or are you better off focusing on one more in-depth feature article each week which is delivered on the same day and at the same time each week? Knowing your audience is critical in determining your frequency.
A great example of this is when businesses start newsletters to send out to their customer base. At first, the customers are excited to be receiving information from you, and your open rates are through the roof – but if you are send out information too frequently you can do more damage than good, especially if you are putting the focus more on quality rather than quantity.
Reaching out once a week with a good informative update will achieve a much higher open rate, and click through rate than if you are sending out articles daily, which then get skipped over as your readers start to slip away.
A great way to learn more about your optimal frequency, and even times of the day to reach your audience is to test things out. Define some clear metrics of success, and trial some different days, and times over a few weeks – all while tracking the metrics each time you interact with your audience. You will find that patterns quickly start to emerge around the days that your audience is most engaged, as well as the approximate time of the day that they are most likely to interact with you.
When it comes to building anything, the most important thing to do is have a strategy, and to track progress. Outline what your short and long term goals are, along with the steps that you need to take to achieve them, and then make sure you track your progress at each step. When building your strategy, you might not get it right on your first try, and that’s completely fine, but you should always build in key points at which you review and adjust your strategy to align with your long-term goals.
By applying the above processes to your next project, you are setting yourself up to achieve your goals, establish return visitors and set yourself up to be able to scale so you can go from a dabbler to a reliable and trustworthy source of information. It’s not hard to do, it’s just takes a little strategic thinking and to stick to the plan.