What comes first, the brand or the audience?


What comes first, the brand or the audience?

One of the first books I ever read when I started working for myself was Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port.

I don’t remember every detail about the book, but I do remember that one of the first things he focuses on is defining your ideal client. I am pretty sure it was the topic of the first chapter.

This whole idea of the ideal client baffled me. What does he mean, ideal client? I asked myself. Shouldn’t I just work with whoever wants to pay me?

At the time, I was a private tutor and I now realize that my audience was already somewhat defined for me. “Parents with kids who are struggling with a given subject” is a pretty well defined audience.

And over the years, I was able to define my audience even more. People who wanted to work with a creative tutor. People who were reliable and able to pay what I was asking. People who cared about education.

This process of audience definition didn’t happen by doing a client avatar brainstorming session (although they can be very helpful), but by working with people, and seeing who wanted what I had to offer.

I went through a similar struggle when I started this blog.

I initially decided that my audience was bloggers who wanted to write better.

But then I worried. I thought, That’s such a broad audience, and there are thousands of blogs about blogging out there. I need to make mine more specific. What if I just focused on therapists? Or teachers?

Somehow, I couldn’t make myself focus on just one type of profession.

And then I realized something that was truly life-changing:

I didn’t need to better define my audience. I needed to define my voice instead.

Yes, there are thousands of blogs about blogging. But I decided that what would make me stand out wasn’t narrowing my audience, but instead, focusing on my approach.

I am a teacher, and what I really want to do online is gather students and teach them.

Other bloggers take a different approach. They want to be authority figures, or share information, but what I really want to do is teach.

I want every blog post I write to contain nuggets learned from my teaching career –  I want them to connect, to be accessible, and to give some action steps.

And once I decided on my approach, once I defined my voice, my audience found me.

And they don’t all have the same type of business. They aren’t all at the same point in their blogging process.

But they all want to read content from a teacher.

What comes first, the brand or the audience? - Facebook

So here’s what I think about the question “What comes first, the brand or the audience?”

I think both.

First, it’s essential to have some idea of who you are writing to. But you don’t have to get too specific.

This template works for me: My audience is  _________ who want to _______

Business owners who want to blog better.

Mothers who want to start a business.

Mid-size businesses who want to grow their online presence.

Go ahead. Fill out the template for yourself now.

The next step is deciding who you want to be online.

(My newly released course, Define Your Blog Voice in 5 Days, can help with that.)

This isn’t about searching for months, or about wondering what other people want.

It’s about looking at who you are, how you want your audience to feel, and what your strengths are, and fearlessly putting it out there.

Then, once you have defined your voice, and branded yourself, your audience will define themselves.

People who need what you are offering will come out of the woodwork, and you will be able to see who wants to work with you.

So the bottom line is:

1. Get a rough outline of your audience by using the template above.

2. Define your voice by embracing your uniqueness and figuring out how you want to come across.

3. Then, slowly but surely, your audience will define themselves.