In another blog post, I talked about how visibility is a kind of paradox:
You never started your online business intending it to be about you...
But because you need to get your message out there and because people need to know you exist before they know you can help them, the game of visibility, i.e. where it’s all about you being seen and heard, (seemingly) must be played.
2 blog posts in a row...I suppose you could say I’m on a virtual rant about visibility and the merits thereof, lol. ^_^
So while I’m ranting, let’s come out and say it:
Algorithms are always changing.
The way we all use the interwebs is constantly evolving and so we coaches and consultants, who are trying to reach the people we want to help, have the pressure/ responsibility/ need (?) to adjust our strategies for creating and sharing content and remaining visible.
On top of those constantly changing strategies...
There seems to be a kind of unspoken prerequisite that you must know something or have reached somewhere to be visible. Whatever that something is that you know, or wherever that somewhere is that you’ve reached...people must have a reason to be consuming your content.
The problem and pressure of this unspoken prerequisite is that it makes it easier for us to project an image, a brand.
We have titles and elevator pitches and taglines: all geared toward the best version of ourselves who either know this elusive thing that everyone else wants to know, or have gotten to this mysterious (yet desperately desirable) place that everyone wants to get to. Of course I use the word everyone very loosely :-)
Our content ends up serving a compound purpose: to ensure we are seen and to ensure we are seen in a specific light, ‘as the expert,’ ‘positioned,’ ‘branded…’
The way we want to be seen can be tailored; our content is the key way by which we do that.
And when (not if - WHEN), we fall short of what we’ve projected and how we’ve positioned ourselves, regardless of whether or not we do so privately or publicly, we end up feeling less than ourselves.
Public fall from branded grace: We mess up once and do something our community doesn’t expect us to do - the one thing our haters were just waiting in the wings for us to do. For example, you’re a 100% fully raw vegan and someone gifts you a pair of lovely shoes that you decide to post to your Instagram account. But it turns out the lovely gift isn’t vegan and you get utterly torn to pieces for enjoying what you thought was a lovely gift from a good friend. (Yes, this actually happened.)
Private fall from branded grace: You do everything to position yourself as the expert to turn to when it comes to health and wellness but you secretly hate your body and have some unresolved and unhealthy habits around emotional eating, especially when you get stressed.
A public or private shortfall each presents its own kind of gruesome hell...although personally I’d prefer being eaten alive from the outside in (i.e. a public fall from branded grace) than the inside out (i.e. a privately feeling like you’re not who you’ve told everyone that you are)...
Bottomline: we play the content game anyway.
We play it because, like I said before, we need to get our message into the world so that people hear it, so they know we can help, and ultimately so that they actually take us up on our offer to help.
So while we’re unavoidably stuck playing the game, we might as well know what to expect, don’t you think ^_^
Here some myths that I think it’s worth taking a few minutes to debunk:
- Content created = content consumed ---- Not true.
I’d hope that any online entrepreneur in business for more than 3 months understands this is just not true by now.
It really doesn’t matter if you churn out blog post after podcast after livestream...just because you create content does not guarantee that it will be seen and absorbed by anyone.
As does playing by algorithms and SEO rules.
But there’s no guarantee.
If you create it, even if you put everything you have to give into it, there’s still a chance it may not get read, listened to or watched.
2. More is better ---- Also not true.
Again, with the stereotypical online business rules that say you must become a content creation machine that pumps out x Instagram posts, y livestreams, and z emails per week PLUS your weekly podcasts and monthly 2500 word blog posts.
I said this before: volume does help. However, if it’s crappy content, you could have a whole tonload of it and all you’ll end up being known for is crappy content.
PLUS the dreaded algorithms are changing! Always! Lol.
Seriously though, the almighty Facebook is favoring personal interconnectedness - which basically means quality, shareable content.
So volume is beginning to matter less and less.
Then again, maybe I’m wrong on this: the internet is willy beast and people pay attention to (AND pay for) things that seem to me like the weirdest things these days, lol. ^_^
More is only better when it’s saying something that is meaningful to someone.
Which quite naturally segueways into another myth we hear all the time:
3. Give value ---- Oi vey.
Another egad moment ^_^ Lol.
I have another blog post on this that you can read here.
But I think we need to take a minute and redefine the word ‘value.’
Essentially value means ‘worth it.’
Value does NOT mean lots of words.
Value does NOT mean teach a lot of stuff and show off your expertise.
Value does NOT mean more (graphics, audio, video, infographics, workbooks, trainings etc).
Value is whatever is worth your community’s time, effort and money.
So yes, give value. Just be sure that you’re giving whatever your community sees as worthy of receiving.
Figure out what is worth it to them and to you. Then give THAT.
4. Plan it all out and schedule everything ---- Double oi vey.
Alright so once upon a time I was a stickler for giving this advice, lol. The thing is though I always gave this advice, but I never followed it. -_- (Can someone say private fall from branded grace? Dwl)
Somehow planning and scheduling it all out never really worked for me.
And if it doesn’t work for you, I don’t think it has to be an imperative. An option, sure. But not a imperative.
Going out on a limb here, because I may be one of the few that thinks this, but planning and scheduling out all my content always felt so…
...contrived to me.
It felt like 'I’m automating this interaction because truthfully I have other things to do…'
Or 'I’m scheduling this out because I know I have to show up x number of times a week - not because I had anything meaningful or worthy of my community’s time and attention…'
Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT saying those are the main or only reasons people schedule their content. And I’m definitely NOT saying that I would never schedule my own content (because I have, and I probably will again)...
I just think that successful content creation is not equal to planning and scheduling.
Moreover, if you’re concerned about how often you show up and whether you community will see your content, that’s as simple as training them to show up when you do: make it worth their investment (aka ‘give value’ ^_^ ) and they’ll be there.
5. Good content = features, clients, money, followers
Not immediately anyway.
This is, I feel, the biggest misconception about visibility. And probably the thing that has kept me from being visible for over a year…
The truth is that content is a long game.
It’s not an immediate ROI situation. And it’s not something where you see an immediate pay-off, or at least not very often.
It takes time and consistency.
Showing up and giving and giving and giving - most times not receiving a lot in return.
And if you’ve read the post I referenced earlier, you’ll know that I said
unless you come with a thorough knowledge of online marketing PLUS a sizable audience (who loooves you to bits and who you know better than the back of your own hand so you create #allthecontent that solves their -ish) baked into the awesome-sauce that is you…
...then there’s no way that your audience growth DOESN’T take time. And there’s no way those followers, features, clients and dollars don’t take time.
Okay, I think I’ve ranted enough at this point ^_^
- Regularly fall short of the branded image you’ve crafted for yourself. Or just, you know, be you ^_^ (looool, yup I said that. But that advice is a WHOLE OTHER kettle of worms or fish or tea that I just won’t get into right now, dwl).
- That way WHEN you mess up, fail in any way, or do something way left-field, it’s not so disruptive to your personal self-image or the way your growing community relates to you
- Give the nuggets of content that are worth it to you: you don’t have to say things to position yourself as the expert. Say what you believe. Say why you do what you do. Say what’s burning in your gut to be birthed into the world. Your people will believe that - that will always be worth it to someone.
- Give with gradually increasing expectations over significant periods of time (aka play the loooooong game of content and visibility with joy, grace and conviction) ^_^
Have you ever believed any of these myths? Did believing them work for you or no? What are your thoughts on this whole idea of visibility?