If you want to build a sustainable brand that your customers actually appreciate, then you have to offer value through your output. The truth of the matter is that when we’re looking to find a solution to a problem, we subconsciously feel relieved that an expert is guiding us along the way. They have the answers to our problems, which builds trust.
That’s where providing education opportunities online is the key to building an audience. These educational opportunities take many forms, whether they’re practical how-to’s and tutorials, opinion-based pieces meant to enlighten and broaden one’s experience, or brand-specific reviews. When done correctly, your audience will grow organically and exponentially.
Here a few key concepts to understand when educating your audience to build an online presence:
Make It Easy to Learn
You may have the greatest lessons and strongest insights out there, but if you don’t provide a simple-to-use platform for your audience, you won’t build an organic audience. That’s where using an online course creator for WordPress can make the process simpler. Creating an online platform from scratch may be time-consuming, but with an online course creator, you simply plug in the information and media (i.e., video, audio, pictures). The easier it is to grasp new concepts through your courses, the more students you’ll attract that value the brand that you offer.
Making it simple to learn also sets you apart from your competitors. Often, online marketers will try to build an audience by offering in-depth articles which provide great content, but paradoxically offer too much. In order to really capture an audience, it helps to think in the simplest terms. This is especially true for those who learn at their own pace. Content that encompasses every topic all in one article can seem like a good idea, but imagine it from the point-of-view of a beginner. Would you be able to take in a large amount of information all at once, or would you be intimidated by so much information?
(Quick Tip: Make sure to test the online course that you offer before offering it to the public. A poor design can count against your expertise or confuse your audience.)
Curating vs. Creating
As an online persona, one of the common misconceptions is that you have to create 100% original content all the time to be taken seriously. The truth is that yes, you should strive to provide original content (e.g., for SEO purposes, to avoid plagiarism lawsuits, etc.), but curating content is almost as valuable than creating content. Your audience will look to your content for answers, whether it’s in blogs or social media posts. Curated content is a way of enhancing your brand. This shows that through your expert filter, your customers can experience what you find valuable. It also cuts down on the online noise and helps focus your audience’s attention.
Curating content can save you time and create new educational opportunities. For instance, you may find that your target audience really responds to a particular blog post that explains the science of coffee cultivation. Instead of crafting a new article altogether (and not coming from a place of expertise), why not link to valuable articles? By aligning your content to meet this curiosity, you answer a demand by providing an expert’s work while also getting the credit for steering customers towards the solutions they seek.
This is also a great networking opportunity where you can engage audience members that share similar interests. Tying in other industry professionals and even your direct competitors ensures that your motives are meant to educate. After all, there may be a lot of overlap between them where both businesses can mutually benefit, and who doesn’t want more followers on social media?
Understand Your Audience’s Pain Points
The easiest way to demonstrate your knowledge is to show where your audience is likely to experience pain points. This could be meant as a way to avoid potential conflicts, anticipate ways to avoid painful experiences, and ultimately, navigate them through whatever subject matter. For instance, you may be teaching guitar lessons online and warn your followers that their fingers will actually hurt while they develop calluses. Similarly, you may be teaching clients how to anticipate delays in the pet-adoption process and show how to look for animals that aren’t part of puppy mill operations.
Think of something that wastes time, money, or effort for your audience. If you provide the solution in an efficient manner, you’re sure to build an online audience. The most common way to discover your audience’s pain points is to simply ask them. More often than not, your audience is happy to share what grinds their gears or what you can do to accommodate them better. For instance, you may want to offer a way for your online course for WordPress to be accessible to those with reduced eyesight, or you may be asked to create a podcast-like version for those who want to learn while they’re on their morning and evening commutes.
By including ways for your audience to contact you, you gain an awareness of what they really want, which might not be what you may think they want. This can save you considerable time, as you create a stronger relationship between your audience and you. They have questions, and you have answers.
Personal anecdotes, especially commonly-embarrassing ones, can bring authenticity to your online presence. People want to be helped from those who know what they’re going through and want to vicariously experience your previous hardships that are common to them. Your audience will appreciate the tips you offer through real experience. After all, anyone can just rewrite online content and use SEO best-practices to attract an audience. The real audience-building comes from creating a narrative of how you’ve encountered problems and found solutions that’s put you in a position to share the trials and tribulations.
Through word-of-mouth and recommendations, your audience will begin to associate stories related to your brand. For instance, if you tell a story about how you narrowly escaped a bear attack during a camping adventure, you simultaneously educate and entertain audiences. The better the storytelling, the more your online presence will grow.