My biggest belief about modern business as it intersects with the digital world can be summed up in one sentence:
Create useful content that nurtures a specific community so that you earn the right to sell and serve them to exchange value.
Boiled down tighter: content, community, marketplace.
The old saying about if the carpenter has a hammer, then everything looks like a nail is very true when it comes to me.
I’m an author and writer and someone who believes that content isn’t king, but that it’s what you feed kings.
Content, community, marketplace
In my world, my newsletter accounts for 70 percent of my revenue, but I earn those subscribers via posts on my blog.
Because my content is appealing to people who wants to figure out for themselves how to connect in meaningful ways with the community they serve, I tend to attract people to me who have similar interests.
My vision becomes one they can embrace and make their own. Then, I’m able to equip those people with tools and introductions to people so they can improve their capabilities and connections.
From there, I earn the right to sell. Remember that you serve a certain community (or two or three), but not everyone there is part of your marketplace.
If you draw two circles, the bigger of the two is community, and the smaller is marketplace. Your goal is to earn the right to sell into that marketplace by delivering content and interactions that are useful and worthy.
This is a business strategy
Reebok earns the right to sell into CrossFit, Spartan Race, and the UFC (mixed martial arts) by building strong relationships with those communities.
They tell the story of the people inside those places. They fund events, promote with the media, and then (and only then) work with the various constituents of those communities on what types of products best suit the needs of those people. That’s a big-company example.
Disney does this, you know. If you think of “The Mouse” when you think of Disney, you’ve got to remember that they own Marvel, they own Star Wars, they own Big Hero 6, and they own ESPN.
I promise you that the average ESPN junkie doesn’t think about riding Dumbo around Cinderella’s castle.
But in all of those cases, Disney (a media company) builds content that nurtures a community and earns the right to sell billions of dollars worth of products and services and experiences to them. That’s another big-company example.
Small companies? It’s easier still. Because you’re “one of us.” You’re part of the fabric of whichever circle you choose to serve.
But maybe it’s not easy. Maybe it’s just simple.
Actions to take
- Define that circle you intend to serve. Who are they?
- Learn their lore. What do they talk about and who are their heroes?
- Shine your bat signal. Create great content that educates and informs.
- Connect and share. Engage with the community that gathers.
- Earn the right to sell and serve.
That’s the model I’ve used to build my business, and it’s a model that I’ve observed other companies using, as well as a model I’ve helped companies adapt.
The particulars are another thing, but that’s for Authority Rainmaker. See you there?
Join us in Denver this May …
Chris Brogan is among the powerhouse lineup of speakers who will be presenting at Authority Rainmaker May 13–15, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. Accelerate your business with integrated content, search, and social media marketing (plus invaluable networking).