How to work with your Audience (not only for them)
October 24, 2021 · 5 minutes reading time
You, as entrepreneurs, build solutions for your audience. I am going to explain how you do that with your audience, too! This is true audience development.
I build software, and it took me ages to realize that I should bring people to my labs (at least virtually)!
Why you want to do this: If you include the members of your audience in the very act of building, you get
- faster feedback,
- better ideas,
- more attention in the market,
- more joy and energy,
- and more satisfaction in the process.
Unfortunately, so many of us entrepreneurs and creators think we must solve our audience’s problems alone, by ourselves!
Why the heck do we think so?
The primary reasons are fear and established practice.
As builders, we build – because it feels natural to us. Getting out of our labs and talking to strangers makes us uncomfortable. This is fear.
Also, we don’t include our audience in our build process because we think “Everybody does it like this, right?“. When we see someone who builds stuff, we don’t see whom they were talking to nor where their ideas came from. That’s established practice.
And lastly: We simply don’t know what it’s like to have a user in our lab, and how we involve them in the very act of building:
- Where do you find those people?
- How the heck do you prepare for a visit?
- What will you ask them exactly?
- How do you record the answers and results?
- What’s the next step?
There is hope. Let’s start with the mindset. Fear is the bigger problem. Making the to-do lists is the easier step, believe me!
I’m going to explain how you can overcome both. Here’s how, step by step:
Step 1: Set the intention to work with “them”
Building with your audience, not only building for them, is a long-running process. You will need the firm intention that keeps you doing it. Give yourself permission, confidence, and energy, for example like this:
I will build, together with my audience. I will reserve some time each week to do it. If I have no idea how to do it, I’ll go and figure it out. It rocks. I rock.
Write it down. Use powerful, positive language. Attach a post-it to your screen. It will remind you and make you strong.
Step 2: Find out what it means for your context
Many checklists are out there about how to do this. I could write another checklist for you, but this would be a mistake. Everything you do is specific to your situation. Everything I write into a simple checklist could mislead you.
- Find out what a collaboration with your audience really looks like, step by step
I stopped podcasting three months ago because I felt overworked. But: Podcasting was my way to work with my audience, so it was a pity that I stopped!
Stefan, a Twitter friend (see @talktostefan), asked me: “What would it mean, exactly, if you continued with podcasting?”
I thought about it and found out that I need to do the following things, repeatedly:
- Research a podcast guest
- Invite them to come
- Agree on a date/time
- Meet and record the interview
- Edit the recording
- Have the audio transcribed
- Publish audio and transcript
- Share everything on Twitter
This looked like an awful amount of work, at first. But wait… look how I did it!
Step 3: Put it on your calendar and execute
This is how to find the light at the end of the tunnel:
- Make a rough estimate how much time each of those steps will take that you need to work with your audience, and sum it up.
- Then ask yourself: Am I willing and able to spend the time that it takes?
- If the answer is “hell yes!” (or at least “okay, let’s try!”), block the time in your calendar, as a weekly recurring time slot.
- When the reminder comes, sit down and execute the steps, one at a time.
In my case with the podcasts, I found out that it will take about 5 hours to make a new podcast. It takes another 5 hours to finish it and share audio and transcript on gettheaudience.com.
This made it clear that I can podcast fortnightly, if I reserve 5 hours a week for it!
So I added one two-hour slot on Mondays, and another three-hour slot on Fridays, both as recurring appointments, to my calendar.
As a result, I could resume podcasting, and I now have 23 podcasts in store, 20 of them are already published.
The super-cool thing: From the podcast interviews, I learn how people found their first audience and how they work with them to make progress. I can learn tons of lessons that will make my product, GetTheAudience, a better SaaS.
Time for action: What’s /your/ way to work with your audience?
Think about it: What activities would you enjoy? Is it customer interviews at a cafe, is it podcasting, is it tweeting back-and-forth on Twitter, is it informal chats on Zoom…
Whatever it is that makes you happy and allows you to work with your audience without going nuts, do this:
- Set the intention
- Find out what it would mean, exactly, step by step
- Block the estimated time it on your calendar and execute, weekly.