How to Produce Audience-Centric Content and Get Your Work Seen (Part 1- Establishing Authority/Reputation)



This is an open letter to artists, singers, writers and all other individuals who produce content for an audience.

Hi readers, I've been getting quite a number of requests by people and groups who write in to me asking to be featured on PopConversation - first things first, thank you for taking the time to compose the message (this excludes those who use generic template solicitation letters); secondly, I would like to apologize if I never got around to replying you - I'm busy, PopConversation is a blog that I write for after I finish my 9-6.

I'm writing this article in hopes that I'll be able to help you out - to aid you in creating content that more people will want to see, and to promote your works online more effectively to a larger audience - I'll provide you practical advise and pointers that I've learnt along the way in my efforts to grow PopConversation, through my experience with personalities in the entertainment industry and my background in marketing.

Of course it goes without saying that if your goal of producing content or performing isn't to get as many relevant people to look at it, then you can skip this article altogether - but then again, I never really believed the people who say that, I feel that everyone wants to be recognized for the good work that they do, but to each their own. Oh yeah, if you're only hear to read stories and watch videos, you'd find something here that you'd be able to apply to the other aspects of your life too, be it work or your hobby, so read on!


Audience-Centric Content

Ever since I made the decision to focus on writing about the subject him/her/itself and making it as interesting as possible for the mainstream audiences to read (I call it Pop-Writing, no prize for guessing how the term came about), I've seen a significant improvement in my site's traffic. When I first started blogging, I was rather fixated on getting my mug, name or brand out there alongside everything that I did or produced - there's nothing wrong with it except most of the time - if you're just starting out on something (perhaps a blog about food or a contemporary dance performance) - people don't really care who you are, what you do, or what you think about things - this is due to the following reasons (I'll only list one of them in this article) -


You're Not Established

More specifically, it means that you have yet to make a name for yourself in that particular area of expertise - people are not familiar with what you do and they don't trust you to give them a reliable answer/solution (think blog review) or satisfactory product (in this case, it might be a painting, or a song). I could go in depth as to why this is so but the short answer would be that many people are overloaded with information and at the same time, they're starved for time - it's much more convenient and efficient for them to fall back onto personalities or brands that they already know or trust.

It wouldn't be much of a guide if I only pointed out what you or your friends could be doing better - if you want to build a reputation for yourself or be readily associated with a particular discipline or area of expertise - you'll have to establish authority. You go about that in several ways -


Strong Branding and Consistent Content

A good example for this point would be Youtuber TheSingaporenRapper (Toh Yifan)  – immediately just by reading his name you’d know roughly where he’s from and what he does – his name is apt and succinct – yet it’s still broad enough that it allows Yifan to naturally grow his music into bigger themes – for example from a local rap about train breakdowns to global lyrics about saving Mother Earth – both of which has a common theme in social awareness.

Upon looking at Yifan’s music - many of which are timely rap responses to sensational local news – for example, his rap to diss a Singaporean girl who hit her mother and consequently became a hotly discussed topic online- you’d realize that his content fits his branding. Over time, a distinct branding and the production of content that is consistent to what people expect of your brand will help you establish authority over the things and activities that you do. But this measure alone is not enough; it brings us to our next point -


Create an Impression among Your Target Audience

You can’t build an authority if you don’t have an audience (duh!) – but this step might be one of the most overlooked aspect among many performers and content producers today – many individuals who take a lot of time to produce great work only spend 5 – 10 minutes promoting it on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube in hopes that it’ll get noticed or better yet – go viral.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with this approach - that is if you weren’t up against countless other artists and producers with the same idea. Like I said, these channels are flooded with content – Youtube.com alone has ‘60 hours of video uploaded every minute, or one hour of video uploaded every second’ – granted they’re all different videos about different things, but the general noise level of these channels are very high and the audiences on these platforms have many different choices of content to consume and consequently they’re much more impatient – so don’t be surprise if your melodic playing of a piano piece does not get as much views as a sneezing baby panda who shocks its mother – it’s all about understanding the medium you’re working on and creating content that will have a higher probability of being watched and shared – in the case of Youtube, there’s a relevant and informative video which you should watch.

Of course, not everyone is looking to generate a viral video – but then again, such knowledge would be good to have should you decide to do something that shakes the very foundations of the Internet – until then, content producers can go about making an impression on a relevant group of target audience by asking the following questions -


1. Who do I want to produce content or perform for?
2. Where can I find these people online (or off)?
3. How should I present my work or content to them?
4. Are many people already producing content for my target audience? If so, how do I stand out?


1. Who do I want to produce content or perform for?

For this, I’ll use a beauty blogger as an example. A beauty blogger wants to write for people who are conscious about their physical looks and also for those who wish to feel more confident (both on the outside and inside) about themselves – the immediate forums that come to mind are (I’m drawing Singaporean examples) CozyCot.com, Flowerpod.com, MyFatPocket.com – these forums are the most prominent and they also boasts a significant number of users (on a related note, forum activity in CozyCot.com has been rapidly declining – this might be due to the excessive advertising that the site does).


2. Where can I find these people online (or off)?

For the second question, I would like to suggest that you think out of the box, or at least outside of beauty forums – where else (online) do you think people might be searching for tips on looking and feeling better? Have you ever tried health forums? What’s stopping a beauty blogger from visiting a men’s health forum  and sharing her tips on a healthy diet that’s beneficial for your skin and body? In fact, a lady actively posting beauty tips in a predominantly male forum might be a genuine novelty for the male members -the beauty blogger with that initiative to do so might just establish a loyal following in the forum.

So what other forums would you be able to share your content or advice in? Well, I won’t be able to name you all of them, but the trick to this would be to work backwards, ask yourself where a possible need or demand for your work might exist, and then go forth to open communications with the people in the community – be it through email, signing up for a forum, looking for their names on Facebook and messaging them – the point is, when you contact your target audiences with a relevant message, they would be more receptive to it.


3. How should I present my work or content to them?

How should you present your work or content to people? Why, I’ll just drop them a link that leads to my site, right? WRONG. Lest you want to be labelled as a spammer, it’s advisable that when you’re beginning to assimilate into an online community or introduce yourself to a person, doing so with a simple sentence and a link thereafter only serves to show the person or group that you’re talking to that you’re only interested in getting them to click through to your site for more traffic – the most common consequence of this approach would be getting ignored or having your thread deleted.

A much more tactful way (which also takes a little longer, but it shows that you’re willing to take time to get to know your audience) would be to participate in the forum’s conversation or to befriend the person whom you’d like to see your work – in fact even if you’re being very active when you first join a community, many forums (like Youtube Guru forum, GuruGossip.com) won’t allow you to post a link until your account is a week old, other communities take stricter measures in the form of active moderation and extended period of forum ‘probation’.

An appropriate time to post your links would be after you’ve established a level of rapport with the forum members – they understand what you do and that you have a blog on which you write about topics and subjects that the community might be interested in reading – the thing is, if you’ve managed to build good rapport – people will naturally want to know more about you and they’ll attempt to discover it through your forum profile or Facebook or Twitter – this self initiated effort by your audiences make for stronger traffic – meaning direct traffic that stays longer on the site or watch more of your content. But posting a link or two will not hurt, a useful tip to keep in mind would be that the content you post on the thread should be complete – in that it answers the question or provides the solution – the link would be for users who want to delve a little deeper to know more or watch/read other relevant content  – but more often than not, you’d still get more people clicking on your link than you’d expect because they like you.

4. Are many people already producing content for my target audience? If so, how do I stand out?

For part 1 of this PopGuide article, we’ll round up how a content producer can build authority online by answering our last question – if my target audience are already being over-communicated to, how do I get my message or work across to them?

When I get mail from individuals and groups who want to have their content or work featured on PopConversation, the people and their content which make it onto the site have several attributes, I’ve only the time to detail the most important one (but I’ll list the rest of the points):


a. The Content is Remarkable

This point warrants an entire article by itself, but for brevity’s sake, I’ll attempt to succinctly iterate what remarkable content is -


i. Perceptually distinct

Content, which is deemed to be remarkable by one audience member, might not hold the same striking effect on another – this is where knowing your audience well comes in really handy. I wrote up a story on COOP3RDRUMM3R, a percussionist on Youtube who I thought played some of the best drums that I’ve ever seen – the different groups of people whom I shared the article with gave me a diverse range of reactions – the most common of which was total awe (similar to my sentiments) or completely unimpressed. The group of people who praised his drumming were people like me, we were mainstream audiences with a general knowledge of drums, whereas the second group was made up of people who are into rock music and they’ve watched many other rock drummers doing drum solos.

When you promote your work to people, the content that would leave the biggest impression would be content that’s conceptually familiar to people but it contains elements that are distinct – in that its easy for your audience to describe to their friends and everybody immediately knows what you’re talking about – a good example would be prominent Singaporean Youtube Vlogger Dee Kosh – consider an example of one of his most popular Youtube videos – SMRT song.

It's much easier for Dee Kosh's audience to remember and share his works because he's elevated himself from 'that vlogger who talks about the train breakdown in Singapore' to 'that flamboyant vlogger who parodied the YMCA song to the train breakdown in Singapore'.


Finally, the two other remaining points that will help your message cut through the media clutter online are as follows -

b. Content that's Relevant

c. Competent Solicitation


I’d like to end off the first part of PopGuide at this juncture – I’ll look to cover more of and expand on the points that I feel would be most relevant to people who want to learn how to produce audience-centric content and to effectively promote their works online.

Please do provide me with your feedback on this article so that I may continue to provide articles that are useful in helping you improve your content production and marketing efforts online.

Cheers!



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By Herman Soh
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