First, Be Where They Are

Estimated reading time: 03 minutes

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Probably one of the most hotly debated age old questions ever asked.

Yet the answer is as elusive today as it was way back when.

There is also a modern version of that question which applies to the world of content creation.

Especially when the creation process involves an information product or an eLearning course.

Which comes first, the audience or the digital product/course?

Often times an owner will get an idea for a product or course and then fall deeply in love with the idea of creating their inspired better-than-sliced-bread learning product.

They’ll fall so in love with their own idea that they ignore the obvious next step.

That next step? To figure out if an audience already exists that cares enough about the great idea to willingly and eagerly exchange their monies for the promise the idea offers.

Being on the wrong side of the product creation equation is not a fun place to be.

Would you rather create something to sell and then see if there is a market to sell it to, or would you rather find a hungry crowd then create something they want and offer that to them?

Fair question.

It’s also a question I should have asked myself more than once over the last several years when the futility of a build it and they will come philosophy took over my content production efforts.

Looking back now I can see how silly I was (and how much time, energy and money was wasted) building something nobody wanted.

My sage advice? Don’t be silly.

Instead be proactive in finding the audience you want to serve or work with first, and what challenge it is they have that they’re willing to pay to solve.

Then if there is a good fit between what you want to create and what they want, create something to solve their problem and offer it to them for sale.

Yes the formula is simple. However the execution will require research and effort. Often times a whole lot of both.

Many times too, you will not be able to find the good fit between what you want to create and what they want created to solve their problem.

What do you do then?

You let the idea go and look for other possibilities. Possibilities that may have shown up in your research. You dig in a little deeper and sometimes you go back to square one.

Tough to do isn’t it. Letting your pet idea go can hurt.

My sage advice? Don’t get so attached to your own ideas that you can’t let any idea go at anytime.

Instead take your product creation cues directly from your audience. If you ask and listen, they’ll tell you what they want and how they want to be served.

Unfortunately businesses tend to operate by default when it comes to building and growing audiences.

Look at most other businesses out there and you’ll see this popular formula to fail with an audience at work in most places you look…

Not putting audience building, servicing and nurturing as the number one priority in a service driven business strategy.

In many ways your audience is the only inventory you ever have in a service business (I think Chris Brogan said that). And you can never own any of the inventory (I think he said that too).

What you do own is how you choose to build, service and nurture your crowd. Your only control is the control you have over you and your actions.

Go find out where your crowd is, meet them where they are and talk with them (and plan on having a bunch of business conversations about their business).

Then listen and offer ’em what they want, both for free and for a fee, entirely on their terms not yours.

Creating and producing digital information products and teaching adult level enrichment courses associated with eLearning can now become the pleasure both were meant to be.

Besides. Building a sustainable business is always way more satisfying work than chasing dollars that only seem to exist in the imagination.