In The Impact Equation, one of the prominent parts of our prescription is the realization that you must learn to master your use of your platform to communicate your ideas and build a network of value. We talk about thinking of yourself as a fledgling TV station. Another helpful way to look at what you’re doing is to think about how magazines are put together, and consider applying the same concepts to how you use your platforms, especially your blog. How do you get people to care? Here’s a recipe for using the magazine approach to improve your platform.
The Magazine Approach- Ingredients
- A Solid Mission – What’s the mission of your magazine/platform? If you have no idea who you’re serving and why, how will you know which magazine you’re designing?
- An Editorial Calendar Frame – When Susan Kane goes to put together an issue of Success magazine, she doesn’t start from scratch.
- A Commitment to Delivering Value – If you’re writing for yourself, you’ll only attract yourself.
- A Community/Network Mindset – People want you to entertain and inform them, but also to see and acknowledge them.
- Delivery Quality and Success Every Time – If you’re not putting out great work, why should people give you their time?
The Magazine Approach – Preparation
Without a Solid Mission, it’s hard to know what you’re bothering to create. The mission has to be bigger than whatever it is you’re trying to sell. There needs to be room to breathe participation and your buyer’s success into the story. What’s my mission at Human Business Works? To deliver a vision, a plan, and a community of support to help you do the work you want to do, only better. That informs all I do.
The Editorial Calendar is key. If you think about your favorite magazine, it has a certain format. It has ads. It has an editorial page. It has lots more snippets (very small bits) than it used to). It has features. It might have reviews and also interviews. Put your content together appropriately. If you write only about yourself, that’s like a magazine with only editorial pages. If you sell all the time nonstop, it’s like a magazine of only ads, aka a catalog. If you write only features, you’ll be out of business in no time. It’s the mix. That’s the magic trick.
People are Reading For Value for themselves, not for their appreciation of you. They may or may not like you. It’s better when they do. But they are there for them. They want something they can use, or at the least, they want to be entertained. Where do you spend your time online? Why? What do you get from it? Convert that for the marketplace you serve and make something of use to these people.
The Difference Between a Community And a Network is that the community cares, but the network is so enmeshed in their participation that they’ve taken to sharing and spreading your platform to others. That’s the real gold. Communities are great. But once the community feels a certain ownership, they will spread your ideas and that’s when you grow.
“Sorry I Haven’t Written Lately” has never been printed in a magazine, and yet bloggers write it all the time. They fall in and out of love with their online properties (it’s happened to me). You owe your community a magazine/platform experience that they can count on. Deliver value and do it repeatedly. That’s what they seek and what they will respond to most.
To wrap this up, I’ve written this from a reasonably vague implementation premise for a reason. You could do this model via email, via a blog, via some social networks like Google+ or Tumblr, or even in the offline world. None of this is technology-specific. What matters is that you use the tools you have available to tell the story in the best way possible for your buyers. If you are a painter, an audio podcast isn’t right for you. ( My audio podcast, on the other hand, is waiting for you to discover it!) It’s not about the mic. It’s about your use of whatever tools you wish to use to reach people and improve your channels for impact.
By the way, if this has been interesting and you’ve yet to pick up The Impact Equation, you’ll find a lot more on this and more within.
As for you, what’s holding you back? What excuses are you making? What has worked or not worked for you around this concept? Have you considered the magazine approach for your business? If you want to deliver impact, that’s what might help.