Building from the Ground Up (JHP Day 6)
I'm going to try and keep this one short purely because my arms are killing me today.
Went for my second day of climbing yesterday. I made some decent progress but I'm still in the very early stages: waking up this morning, it hurt even just to move my arms.
It's the kind of pain where if you overstretch a muscle even slightly you'll get this jolt of searing agony in your arm, as though you've ripped something, and it'll fade away slowly over a minute or so. That and the overall stiffness was really fun to deal with, honestly.
But it's worth it if it means I get better at climbing.
Yesterday the final component for my drone build arrived, which means I'm now in a position to fully complete the build!
For a while I'd been caught up in the mindset that there wasn't much point in going on with the build until I had all the necessary components ready to go in after, but now that everything is here I'm looking at getting it done in a single session, going through the setup on Betaflight and ideally a quick demo flight :)
Structure has been put together, ESC is in progress and the rest will follow!
Thoughts on Growing the Blog and Content Creation
I spent a lot of time today researching ways in which I could develop my website, and the platforms that I post on.
I outlined the reasons for it in my previous posts about making an impact, and discovering my interests. But today I delved a lot more into the particular aspects - the type of community I would want to build going forward, based on my interests. I've discussed before about wanting to focus on aerospace related topics, so I looked at the idea through that lens.
A couple of years ago I discovered a great creator/business and marketing expert called Devin Nash, who'd worked in a number of marketing agencies in esports, and eventually started streaming, teaching the strategies he used. Diving into one of his YouTube videos about his experience growing brands gave me a lot of insight into what people value when they consume content on different social media platforms - and a lot of things that were similar to what I mentioned in previous posts. Trust, authenticity, and providing genuine value.
I think a lot of the time, for the average person who doesn't own a brand or a business, it can seem like a somewhat taboo topic to ask how to grow a following. In my post on making an impact, I talked about the idea that as humans we all inherently like to be socially validated - to be popular and recognised. So to ask how you can get those things so overtly, can often seem very blunt to some people.
But having spent a lot of time in these spaces for a while, looking at business experts talk about their strategies for growth and success, I've realised that both companies and established individual creators genuinely go into the market with thoroughly considered, developed, concrete strategies for it. So I've warmed up to the idea that it isn't necessarily a 'dodgy' topic to look into, so to speak, when you genuinely have good intentions with it.
The notes I took serve more as a general guide for content creators who are just starting out in the very early stages of their journeys, wanting to know what it takes to build a community. Here's what I found.
The Key Questions:
To be able to provide value effectively and attract people to learn from you, you need to ask yourself some key questions.
- What makes me unique and what am I doing differently?
The best strategy once you find that unique selling point of yours, is to focus on a specific niche of people who identify very strongly with the message that you're trying to give.
- Why am I an authority/what value can I provide?
I think a lot of people come at this with the idea that they really don't have any inherent value. I believe that's objectively wrong. No matter where you are in life, you've learnt things that often make you the best teacher to show other people, who are in a similar boat to you. I'm an aerospace student, so I think making videos for aerospace students is a great area for me to focus my efforts. Because I'm asking the same questions they are.
- What platform am I going to focus on?
Often building a community requires consistent, targeted effort. Although diversifying your presence to a number of different platforms helps, you want to focus on quality, especially on a single platform. I started out blogging on this site, and I still have every intention of improving my writing to a point where I'm happy (with this 30 day challenge, for example).
Focus on one platform - focus on completely understanding it, and then syndicate to two platforms maximum. Supposedly that's the best strategy.
Don’t make a decision based on how big the platform is either. The strength of your content matters more than the strength of the platform. You’re only one person. There’s a potential audience for you virtually anywhere.
Adopt public platforms that correspond with your niche and type of content, and where you think your core audience is.
Snappy content and entertaining videos suit platforms like Tiktok. Long form articles and blogs suit personal websites, or sometimes even Twitter, if they can be condensed into threads. Educational content suits Linkedin or Youtube.
- What is my actual product/service? What value am I providing to people?
You should be able to answer this without hesitation, and in a few words. E.g. with some of the ideas I'm currently throwing around:
'I give advice to prospective and current aerospace engineering students on what their course is like, and what their future might look like in the industry.'
This is often called an elevator pitch, since you can tell someone what you're doing in a few sentences, before you've even exited the lift at your floor.
- Who is my customer (their demographic) and where does my customer spend the most time? Name their top three places.
For younger audiences, it might be Tiktok, YouTube, Twitter or Instagram. Older audiences might tend to frequent long form content on Facebook, blogs or specific niche forum discussions.
Zero to One Strategy
The Zero to One Strategy was developed by Gary Vaynerchuk, and is commonly considered to be the number one way to grow a brand. It's made up of two principles.
- Deeply connecting with potential people (viewers/customers) who interact with you.
- Putting yourself in places where these discussions happen, and providing value without an ask.
This could be anywhere, like Quora or Reddit. Even on Twitter making a habit to respond to insightful tweets in your niche and provide commentary can be surprisingly productive.
The Syndication/Platform Strategy
This one is a common marketing strategy I've seen, and often used to direct consumers to paid platforms down the line (disclaimer, I'm not about to do this anytime soon haha)
It's sometimes called the Ice Cream Cone or Funnel strategy.
You operate on one main platform, providing as much free content as possible. Your intention is to reach as many people as you can and be as helpful as possible. If whoever is watching is interested in you, they'll look at continuing to learn from you, moving 'down' the funnel, and consuming more of your content where other consumers might have stopped.
The point isn't to bait them into doing anything, it's to establish a relationship of trust. A great way that Devin explained it in his video is thinking of it from the perspective of building a real relationship or friendship. You wouldn't tell someone you want to spend the rest of your life with them on the first date. Those kinds of interactions are fostered over weeks and months, and it works the same way online. Hold back the bold claims and business propositions.
To gain the loyalty and respect of the people in your community, you want to be focused on their satisfaction first and foremost.
Overall, if there's anything I'm learning from these content creation/marketing strategies, it's that the best thing you can do is be a good friend to everyone you talk to, and focus on helping them get where they want. The rest will make it's way towards you through whatever means possible.
On the off chance that you've read something on here and loved it, or want to read more, feel free to shoot me a message on my socials:
The feedback helps massively. Thanks!