In business, once you decide who you aren’t going to serve, you are free of tyranny. So also in creating..if you try to appeal to everyone you may end up with no one. The plurality mindset is a myth..those who your product/service resonates with are all you need to succeed. ~ Cmoni
I love Seth Godin because of his consistency which is built on repetition. In the Akimbo podcast, he repeatedly exhorts us to aim for the SMALLEST VIABLE SIZE and watch the multiplier effect from those we impact. Just do your best to create value and share it generously. If you rinse and repeat this process it is a guarantee that the ratchet as he calls will take over.
He exemplified it thus; “Starbucks doesn’t serve coffee to the majority of the people in the United States. The New York City Crochet Guild appeals to just a small percentage of the people who encounter it. That’s okay. You don’t need a plurality or even a majority. In fact, in nearly every case, trying to lead everyone results in leading no one in particular.”
For instance, you are reading this because my caption attracted you or you’ve read my previous essays. Either way, you want to get something at the end. If a line, paragraph or entire message resonates with you the likelihood of reading my next post will be high. Otherwise, you will scroll away next time.
This is equally so in business. Products and services that offer value are purchased and repurchased over and over again. There will come a time when your customers/audience will start recommending you to others. They invariably become your advertisers for FREE!
When I started the cmonionline writing contest, I only wanted to revive a waning literary culture. And since I planned to fund it as a way of giving back to the society that groomed me, I didn’t want to spend on publicity because I had no plans to profit from it. The initiative received tremendous support from friends and soon enough ideas and suggestions flooded in.
Many recommended increased online publicity. A friend advised me to up the ante and take it to the broadcast media. Others asked me to seek corporate and government funding. Conflicting thoughts on strategy threatened to overwhelm me and I began to imagine that we could be the African version of Reedsy.
Following tips on social media marketing I increased ad spending to grow page my social media pages, attract more writers and reach a bigger audience. Of course both the writers and audience grew in numbers. By the time we had published close to 1000 stories from over 50 writers the symptoms of inorganic growth became manifest. The engagement level didn’t reflect the followership numbers and some writers just wanted to write for the prize even though I repeatedly made it clear that the aim was not to win but to improve our chosen craft.
I started having doubts about the viability of the project. I was certain about my mission initially even if the vision wasn’t vivid, but now there seems to be an increasing lack of clarity on both. In every endeavour, you will likely encounter frustrations but try not to let it dim your determination. I stopped the social media ads. It was time to take stock.
Fortunately, the period of rumination was during my Post Graduate Diploma in Digital Arts & Humanities with modules like teaching & learning online, digital techniques and communities of practice. While the interdisciplinarity of the course exposed me to digital tools and methods that can be applied to solve various real-life problems, its hybrid nature prioritised learning through discussion forums like Canvas, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet etc.
It didn’t take long for me to apply the knowledge gained. We moved from judges to peer review and that automatically streamlined the group because the selection of winners involved the writers themselves. If you are passionate about writing and improving you are going to partake in these activities. So while some writers moved on to other things those who mainly wrote for the money also left. The ones who wanted to progress remained and that was all the niche I needed. THE SMALLEST VIABLE SIZE.
Since then we have moved from weekly writing contests to periodic competitions. In addition, we hold regular Talkshops on related topics and sponsor training in digital skill acquisition. Recently, a member of our community published a book and we are currently writing a book in a year. We can now publicise the project with confidence and hunt for public/private sector funding because it is easier for others to support you when you have gained some mileage. And we have the results to show for our efforts.
As you can see, the path is usually not so clear at the start. I mean you can’t possibly have a picture of the route your journey will take but embark on it nevertheless. Learn and unlearn along the way, repeat worthwhile processes, iterate and use the feedback to progress. So long as you have an idea, a basic take-off plan and the resolve to keep pushing you will eventually succeed.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that publicity or paid ads are wrong. Of course, they are great ways of attracting leads and growing your audience. What I’m saying is that if you believe in the value you are creating then you don’t need plurality or publicity, especially at the start when your resources are limited.
In business, once you decide who you aren’t going to serve, you are free of tyranny. So also in creating, if you try to appeal to everyone you may end up with no one. The plurality mindset is a myth. Those who your product/service resonates with are all you need to succeed.
Whatever you are trying to create doesn’t need those numbers you dream of to be successful. People will come and leave. The key is to be selective. Reach the few who your idea, service or product resonates with and they will form a partnership with you. Chances are that this will increase your commitment to keep building your platform. And if you stay consistent the numbers you dream of will eventually hit you like a ton of bricks.
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