In November of 2011 I took my first entrepreneurial leap. Within 6 months I was crawling back to the corporate world, begging for safety.
My biggest mistake, which was also my biggest lesson learned from that experience, was that I didn’t know who my avatar was, and therefore, I didn’t know what I could provide them that would be of value.
Taking that lesson learned with me on my journey, my #1 priority when I joined the team here at EntrepreneurOnFire in April 2013 was to immerse myself in all things entrepreneurship and all things Fire Nation.
Creating valuable content for your audience
I knew the best way I could serve Fire Nation in my role as the content creator was to first and foremost understand who they were, and then, try and uncover the pain points they were experiencing so I could start creating valuable content to help.
In this post, I want to share how I used my entrepreneurial failure and lesson learned to start creating valuable content for Fire Nation, and how you can do the same for your audience by following these 5 steps.
5 steps to creating valuable content for your audience
First things first: let me set the scene.
By April 2013, EntrepreneurOnFire was a little more than 6 months old.
We had a following from the podcast, an email list, and John had established some pretty big relationships with leaders in the industry.
However, what I’m about to describe below only requires that you have an email opt in up that is generating sign ups – that’s it. It might be 1 per day, or 1 per week right now, but the point is that you don’t have to have an existing audience or an email list to do this.
The process I used in order to intimately understand who our audience was and what I could create for them had nothing to do with the podcast, our existing email list or any of the relationships John had established.
So, here are the 5 steps:
1. Define your avatar
Defining your avatar is one of the most important steps you can take on your entrepreneurial journey. If you don’t know who you’re creating content for, or what their biggest pain points are, then you’re in for a rough start.
2. Invite feedback
Once I had a good idea of who EntrepreneurOnFire’s avatar was – I had actually defined them on paper – I started inviting feedback so I could identify whether or not my avatar was who I thought they were.
I did this by clicking a box in AWeber (our email client at the time) to be notified every time someone opted in to our email list. Each time I received a notification from AWeber that someone new had opted in, I would send them a personal email:
My name is Kate, and I’m the Content Creator here at EntrepreneurOnFire. I wanted to write and personally welcome you to Fire Nation; we’re excited you’re here!
This week, we’re asking those who subscribe to our newsletter: “What’s your greatest business challenge?” If you have just one minute to respond, then feel free to hit the reply button and let us know. Sharing our challenges is the first step to finding a solution.
Thanks for listening to EntrepreneurOnFire!
Once I started sending these emails to everyone who was new to our email list, I started getting a lot of really great responses. Many of them were similar to this response:
I am an aspiring entrepreneur. I am working a full time job and also have a family. With these obligations, I find it difficult to find more time for my business.
In addition to this, and since this is all new to me, finding structure, networking (which is extremely important) and monetary resources are my top challenges. Regardless of these obstacles, I have a strong drive to pursue and find solutions to these dilemma’s.
I will persevere and succeed. The nagging spirit within will not make me give up.
As I received these types of responses from those who were responding to my emails, I started keeping track of the things people were struggling with.
Time, structure, building relationships, a plan, fear, niching down, monetizing… these were just a few of the recurring themes I saw in almost every email that came back to me.
4. Create & test
By writing on several different topics – all relevant because they were things I was hearing directly from our email subscribers – I continued to test them. Which of these posts were getting more traffic to them? What topics matched up with the themes and struggles other bloggers in our industry were writing about?
Through creating and testing out this content, I got to a point where I could start to identify the most popular topics, at which point it really just a matter of repeating the process.
Once you’ve started creating content and testing it, it’s a matter of repeating the process.
Don’t be the one to end the conversation with your audience. Continue asking those questions, and continue requesting feedback on your blog posts and podcast episodes. Because until you can intimately understand who they were, and then start uncover the pain points they’re experiencing, you’ll be running in circles trying to figure out what type of valuable content you can create to help.