I’m so excited to introduce you to Deanna Lohnes, this week’s guest blogger in our summer of small voices series. Deanna teaches solopreneurs and small businesses to create effective marketing messages. Deanna owns Parlance Media parlancellc.com. Stop by the blog and say hello. When she isn’t building success with smart business owners, she is lounging in a boat or on the beach.
The biggest fear of anyone with a message is that they will speak and no one will listen. Bloggers pour blood sweat and tears into a post … then nothing. Crickets.
The best way to amplify your message is through community. The best way to build community is to show your audience that you care about what is important to them. Whenever you broadcast a message, make sure you are talking to the person your audience believes themselves to be. Don’t talk to urban women 25-45 with college educations. Talk to liberal women who care about the environment and love animals. When you consider your target market, go beyond census data. Consider what they care about.
A talk show host recently mimicked that old Jay Leno segment where he asked people on the street questions about current events and history.
This talk show host asked women in their 20’s to name 5 of the Kardashians.* They generally rattled off at least 2 without thought, then easily came up with at least 3 more. The next question was “Name 5 women in congress.” Dead silence. Crickets. (Full disclosure: I played along at home and came up with 2 of each)
I’m not shining a spotlight on the ignorance of women in their 20’s or getting on my soapbox about the American public’s ignorance of its government. I am wondering how well you know your audience and what is important to them. It doesn’t matter how you, me or Jay Leno perceive any of these people. Your concern in spreading your message is how these women perceive themselves. I’m sure these women don’t think of themselves as ignorant. They may think they are hip or interested in celebrities and current trends. If you want to reach these women, speak to the hip woman she believes she is.
Take the time to find out what is important to your audience. When you know what that is, show them you care about it also. Mutual concerns will build your community. If your target cares about the Kardashians, then you should also.
Successful brands build community. To build a successful community they have to stay relevant. Successful brands care about the same things as their communities. They speak to the person their audience believes she is. Know how you are perceived in your community. Your community is the key to amplifying your small voice. Your small voice times your community makes a voice big enough to carry your message. How can you change that perception to align yourself with the people you want to reach?
*Editor’s note: When Deanna offered to write a guest post about the Kardashians, I was expecting a post about the chief antagonists in Deep Space Nine. I love it when life illustrates the point of a post so perfectly.