“If you build it, they will come” is a great line in a great movie. It’s not however, good advice for building your audience. I know this firsthand.
I attended my first writer’s conference about 14 years ago. I was so excited! I was going to take the conference by storm. I mean once they saw my “obvious” talent, editors would clear their schedules to meet with me. Or so I thought.
I printed out my “published” articles (as in published in two volunteer newsletters; one for my mom’s group and one for my homeschool group); created a snazzy info sheet and business card. I even put them in plastic report covers to make it easier for the editors to review and of course, share with their publishers back home. I was set.
As you can probably guess, my tactic got me absolutely nowhere. I was completely humbled (read: embarrassed) when the editor I had stalked in advance, refused my packet and looked at me as if I was crazy. She didn’t have the time to do the research to figure out if I was a good fit for her needs. That should have been up to me; but I missed it completely.
I had built what I thought was a compelling case for an editor to be interested in me. I had missed the point that the editor wasn’t the least bit interested in me. What I had accomplished. My talent. Or my snazzy report binder. She had one concern: finding someone who could fill her needs and serve her audience.
In other words, I built it, but nobody came.
Later in my career, I would return to that same conference as an editor meeting aspiring writers who were as clueless as I was. I was able to lead them to the same discovery I’d made years earlier. It was up to them to discover how they could serve the editors and publishers they were approaching. This would take research, time to develop relationships, and a servant’s heart.
Building “it” isn’t a guarantee for success; that only works in the movies! In real life, we are called to build others. Then they will flock to us and our mission.
The world doesn’t have time or interest to discover what you have to offer. Instead, you need to be the one to learn how to serve your audience. With due diligence on your part, with prayer and perseverance, you can learn to speak their language and add value to their lives. This is what it means to truly serve.
I challenge you to answer these three questions:
- Who is my audience?
- What do they need?
- How can I fill that need?
You may be surprised at what you discover. And excited by the possibilities! You and your organization can stand out from the crowd by serving others. You’ll be amazed at the doors God will open as you focus on building others, not your platform, business, or organization.
Ready to delve deeper? I’m available for coaching calls with you or your team to help you answer these questions and position you for bigger impact!