The Easy Way to Create Content, Community, and Conversions
Read Time: 6.0 minutes
Document. Don't Create.
— Gary Vaynerchuck
Have you ever stared at a blank screen, while trying to create content? Have you thrown your hands up in frustration because you're not growing your followers on social media? Have you gained new followers but find you're not converting them?
What’s the Tip?
We've all experienced these frustrations at some point. But in today's issue, we're going to address the above challenges with a concept you may not be familiar with. It's a concept that can help you create content, community, and conversions the easy way. It's called "building in public." Highly successful entrepreneur and influencer, Gary Vaynerchuck, alludes to this when he says, "Document (your journey). Don't (just) create (content).
What is building in public?
The gist is this: you create and share content on social media that takes your audience along the journey of whatever it is you're working on. Your job is simply to document what you're doing as you're doing it...in public.
So, what kinds of things would you build in public? Well, the truth is...anything! But here are some initial examples:
- Writing a book
- Creating a course
- Tackling a re-brand of your website
- Remodeling or opening a new business space
- Starting a new process to achieve a goal
Once you've thought through some ideas and then decided on one, you can move on from the ideation phase to the development phase where you document your journey with your social media audience.
At this point, you may be thinking:
- How could something so easy be effective?
- Why would anyone care about what I'm doing and the steps I'm taking?
- Why would I want to put myself out there as I try something new?
- What about all the mistakes I'm going to make...the twists and turns?
These are good questions. Keeping reading for the answers.
How Do You Use It?
Step 1: Let your audience know that you're going to be working on a new project, an eBook for example, over the next [X number] of days.
Step 2: Begin brainstorming, (either in a MS Word doc, a Google doc, or in Notion) the steps you have to take to bring your project to fruition.
Step 3: Once you have an outline of how you're going to approach writing and designing this eBook, go ahead and share your plan with your followers, so they know what to expect.
Step 4: Now, start to execute against your plan, one step at a time. Each day, share your journey as you go: the ups, the downs, the snags...everything. Make sure to engage your followers by asking for feedback, their thoughts, anything they might do differently.
In the previous "What's the Tip" section, we asked some rhetorical questions. Now, we'll provide answers that will help you use the building in public approach even better.
How could something so easy be effective?
First, it's generally easier to work on something you care about and are comfortable talking about. In the case of your eBook, not only are you working on something that's important to you, but it's most likely a topic that will resonate with others as well. There is an audience for everything. And chances are, you already associate with and have some people in your social network that share common interests with you. You already have the foundation for an interested audience.
Now, we'll address the "why is it effective" part of the question:
It's effective because you're providing value to people as you invite them along your journey. Here's what's amazing - instead of selling to them, you're sharing something useful with them. You're showing them all the steps to creating an eBook. Something they may want to try in the future. HUGE DIFFERENCE.
Why would anyone care about what I'm doing and the steps I'm taking?
People like to be considered and included, especially in a project they care about. When they feel vested in the project, they are more likely to buy it and promote it to others.
Why would I want to put myself out there as I try something new?
This part can be scary. When you are building in public, you're not signing up simply to share the good parts...the wins...the stuff that makes you look awesome. You're signing up to share the whole story...even the stuff that doesn't work...the misses...the near misses...the big mistakes...the do overs.
But here's the dirty little secret of building in public...when you include your struggles and vulnerable side, you actually become MORE AWESOME because people begin to root for you, empathize with you, connect with you, even care about you. All of the sudden, your success becomes, in a sense, their success.
BIG CAVEAT: when we say, "share your losses, misses, etc.," we aren't saying that you should over share...you're not having a therapy session with your audience...you're simply humanizing your journey and your efforts as you move toward a goal. In storytelling terms, we call this "using struggle strategically."
What about all the mistakes I'm going to make...the twists and turns?
See the previous answer.
What are Some Examples?
In this first example, Art is letting his Twitter followers know that he's building a set of online courses. See how he includes his outline? But he goes a step further and asks for feedback...even tough feedback as in... roasting the outline! That's brave.
Notice how helpful having a visual was in the first example? In this next one, we actually see the person working on something...we see them building in public on a whiteboard. Low tech. Super effective. Really brings it home.
In this final example, we see how a simple screenshot of the metrics for this company is used. When it comes to building in public, your effective use of screenshots is key.
What Are the Benefits to You?
The benefits of building in public include being able to:
- Create your content more easily because all you have to do is simply document your journey.
- Create community easily because you’re not selling something to people, you’re sharing a process.
- Create an environment conducive to conversions by creating trust and fostering authority.
- Create faster, better feedback loops.
- Create more data to learn from.
- Setting a goal for a new project and a pathway to achieve it can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be if you bring people along with you by building in public.
- Finding inspiration for content can be a daily struggle, but if all you're doing is documenting your journey, the task becomes much easier.
- Getting attention and gaining traction with followers can be difficult, but you can build a product AND a community simultaneously if you build in public.
- Building in public is one of the purest forms of storytelling for founders, creators, makers, and solopreneurs.
Building in public can be even easier when you know the 3 StoryHacks.
1. Master the 3 StoryHacks you need to create better content faster in our Private VIP Workshop.
2. Get real-time feedback for a special project or presentation and elevate your business storytelling with live, virtual 1:1 Coaching.
We hope this issue has been helpful. We look forward to seeing you next week!