Build It Right and They Will Come
Today I’m pleased to have my wise and wonderful friend Suzie Eller guest-posting for us. Suzie has been a leader on our Proverbs 31 team in helping us to use social networking to its maximum potential. Here is her advice for speakers as we utilize social networking to spread the word about our message and build our platform.
“Like me, okay?”
“If you like me, I’ll like you back.”
This isn’t a note written in grade school, but rather a conversation I witnessed on a Facebook group created after She Speaks last year. Many were so excited about building a platform that they rushed home and created Facebook pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts without a second thought.
Build it and they will come. Right?
Maybe that worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, but it doesn’t work for social media. In the end, you may grow a small network of writers and speakers or family and friends, but soon interest will fade. Worse, you’ll feel like you invested a lot of effort for nothing.
Rather than “like me”, ask this question: Who do you really want to reach?
To answer that, long before you start a Facebook page, your first tweet, or blog, you create a blueprint. In order to build an effective social media platform that will draw a niche audience to your message, you need to answer these questions:
- What is my core message?
- How will I communicate that message throughout my entire social media platform?
- Who is my audience, and how will I reach that person with solid content and value?
- How much time am I willing to devote?
Today, let’s tackle the first!
Your core message is the underlying theme as you speak or write. It’s your life experiences and the message burning on your heart. It weaves into every aspect of your online presence. It’s you!
Let’s say you are a fashionista mom blogger. You write about fashion, your thrift store finds, how to put a great look together, but you also write about spiritual beauty.
Your core message might look like this: You can live within a budget, have five kids, and still look great!
It’s important to define your core message because it will show up as the underlying theme in your books, in your messages, in your blog posts, and in your FB group and tweets.
It identifies you as you!
But there’s more. It can also help you define your tag line, which might be “breaking out of the mom jeans. . . together!”
Knowing your core message will help you create categories that naturally fit like thrifty spending, fashion tips, spiritual beauty, etc., which leads to hundreds of niche ideas under each of those categories for blog posts or vlogs or magazine articles or books. . .
- all wrapped around a common topic
- that meet the felt need of a specific audience looking for you
- that brand you across cyberspace
- that helps an editor make a decision about your book
- that tells speaking coordinators what their audience would receive when you come to their church to speak
You see, Kevin Costner was close. Rather than standing in cyberspace asking others to “like you”, you have the opportunity to create a platform that will not just sit like a cobweb in cyberspace, but reach a targeted, but broad audience seeking your message and you.
Build it right, and they will come.
T. Suzanne Eller (Suzie) is a Proverbs 31 speaker and author. She hosts two thriving FB groups: Moms Together (facebook.com/MomsTogether) and Living Free (facebook.com/LiveIntentionallyFree), reaching over 14,000 people daily.
Thank you for this post. I’ve struggled with this question for quite some time. What if your core message seems too broad? What is a good thought process we can work through to arrive at a narrower, more focused core message? What themes in our writings and messages should we look for?
Monica, great questions! Since I’ve had similary questions and conversations all week, I’m going to devote some time in the blog posts to try to give an answer. I have a client that is going to write for us soon to tell about her process in answering these questions. Also, I hope to get Suzie’s take. In the meantime, you might be interested in the recording of “Finding Your Ministry Niche” that Karen Ehman did. The call is chock-full of information that answers your questions as well as Lynn Cowell’s story of how she found her ministry niche. You can purchase the recording at the bottom of our Group Services page.
This is so good! And just what I needed. I have taken down my blog and twitter accounts because I really felt they did not have a target or a specific purpose. Before putting anything back on the web I am going to really pray over these points, and print off all these posts to use as I pray. I love having this resource of Next Step Speaker Services as I seek God on this journey of ministry. Thank You!
THANK YOU for sharing this information! I am SO EXCITED about this series!!!
I appreciate your post today. I have watched as my readership went down as well as my confidence. My question to you is this: What if you have more than one area that you are passionate about. Obviously you cannot have a number of sites, nor would you want to. How can you combine what seems like it would not go together?
I think there’s no easy answer to this question. It’s something I struggle with on my personal blog just like you. Here’s the funny thing, though…I’m realizing even as I type this that the readership of this blog which is to a very specific niche is almost double my personal blog which tends to be all over the place. I’ve also been writing my personal blog almost twice as long! These results tend to confirm what I hear others saying. Readership for blogs grow when people know that they can consitently find what they need/are seeking on your blog.
I think that we each have to seek God about specific direction. That doesn’t mean that we write about one thing exclusively. Mary DeMuth, author and writing coach, says that our ministry niche is the intersection of our personal experiences (the whole ball of wax including degrees and life experience) and our passions. Lysa TerKeurst is a great example of someone who has followed Mary’s line of thinking but writes on lots of different topic. Her ministry has a cohesive direction, though, as defined in her tagline. Lysa is “leading women in the adventure of faith.” Although she covers lots of topics, the defining thread is her perspective of sharing her latest adventure with God.
I hope this is an answer even though I’ve gotten round-about! I think you need to prayerfully find the thread that defines your ministry. It may mean that you don’t blog about things that you still dearly love, but ultimately I think it will bring clarity and definition that your readers will love.