There's one question nagging every solopreneur, freelancer, and creative rebel out there: How do I make people CARE about my message? The answer:
By giving them value. Your unique value.
I've talked about this before, but mostly in regards with content. We've talked about the freebies you can give, what to give if you're not an "expert", and now I want to talk about the 7 kinds of value you can give your people (and everyone for that matter).
You see, value is not just content and blogging, or the "quality" of your products and services. Value is anything that helps people. And your unique value is the kind that comes naturally. Usually it's a combination of two or more of the types below.
Now let's dive in and don't forget to tell me which ones resonated the most!
1. Inspire people.
It's not something you can force. Few people have this gift.
If you look at the reactions from your writing or videos, and you find that your content moves people, you might be giving this kind of value. It's a natural talent that you have. You may have started movements in the past or inspired people to act or join a cause. It's like your words give people what they need - meaning, mission, purpose.
You also have a knack of giving people a sense of belonging. Around you, they don't feel alone. Because you're there, showing them you've been through hell, and you came out of it, but you're fine now, helping other become fine, too. It's a deep human need - to give back what was given to you or help others do what you did.
Examples: Scott Dinsmore was the epitome of this with Live Your Legend and his TED talk, beckoning people to live their dreams and living his; Elizabeth Gilbert has the knack of making you want to play with creativity and she has a free podcast where she helps people with creative blocks; brands can inspire too (read: Crew).
2. Give information/guidance.
This is the most popular type of value. People like teachers, infopreneurs, and life coaches do this naturally. There's something within them that compels them to help people by giving out information and gently leading their people to the right answers.
Personally, I enjoy doing it because it brings me something nothing else will - the feeling that I've contributed to the betterment of the world. I might have not saved it from poverty, but I did just help one person, and this brings great fulfillment.
If you're naturally good at helping people - whether by teaching or coaching them, you are a necessary part of society and you make a difference. With the help of platforms like Udemy, Teachable, & Coach.me, and tools like Skype, Slack, & SoHelpful, it's never been easier to help people on a greater scale. And make money at the same time.
Examples: Mariah Coz gives all kinds of valuable and free information about launching online products in her blog posts and webinars; Melyssa Griffin helps her tribe be better at blogging and social media with her scopes and webinars; Jen Carrington empowers people to be creative and unique in their content strategy; Amber both teaches & guides people by creating her elaborate guides and systems, for FREE.
3. Share your journey.
Another way to help people is to share your journey with them.
People want to see that other people have similar struggles and experiences; it helps us feel like we're not alone. Your message to the world is - as Jeff Goins would say about one of his Archetypes, the Star - "If I can do it, so can you."
This is perhaps the biggest gift you can give to the world. You can tell your story in an honest way, leave nothing out, and show people that whatever they dream about, they can bring about. You don't have to share your journey once you've succeeded. Start NOW, so people can see the progression, including the highs and the lows.
Few people are brave enough to tell the whole story. You can be one of them.
Examples: Mariah Coz and Sian Richardson do this in their newsletters. Jason Zook and Stef have done it at different times on Medium. It's becoming more and more "the norm", which is great because the world needs these authentic voices & stories.
4. Hook people up.
You call them "social butterflies" - the people who flit from platform to platform and carry the news with them; the ones who connect you to the best resources and introduce you to the most interesting people. They know the lay of the land, and they're happy to share their social fairy dust with you, as long as you admire them a little.
But these people are not to be praised or bribed or underestimated. They are to be APPRECIATED. Without them, you'll be alone in the meadow. If you want the best tools and connections, you need to make friends with a butterfly. If you are one, even better! And if you need a friend, they are also great at that, albeit too busy. They are usually painfully nice because of their deep love for humanity and all its lovely shades.
Examples: Devan Danielle, the uniter of girl bosses, is one. It's like, every conversation between two or more people I follow on twitter includes her, too! Other examples include master curators like Anuj Adhiya and Nichole Elizabeth Demere.
5. Entertain them, baby.
You know Robbie Williams' song: Let meeeeeee entertain you?
That's what I hear every time I think about this type of value. It's the type I do not possess. Sure, I crack jokes a lot, but it's not something that translates in my business. Nevertheless, I admire people who can weave that into their strategy.
You could be using your wit in your books. You could be growing your little empire by sharing your controversial opinions. And whether you shock them or make them laugh or think, you have that wow factor in your system, and you need to use it.
Just don't try to be funny or controversial if it doesn't come naturally!
Examples: Gary Vaynerchuk is quite entertaining, it's obviously a natural trait; Halley Gray from Evolve and Succeed is hilarious with her baby goats and drunk webinars; Farideh amazes me every time with her musical talent and humor in her biz songs.
6. Create new things.
Some people are just good at creating new things. Bringing things into the world that didn't exist before is both a personal high and a social contribution. Not to mention, in this age of consumerism, it's more important than ever to create.
Remember, innovation is not coming up with "new" things, but forming connections between existing elements and stringing them together in a unique way. For example, a poem is not new, but if you write one that doesn't follow the existing rules, but borrows principles from another form of writing or art, then you've created something new.
In your case, it can be a quiz, a new form of blogging, or an entire methodology. In fact, those kinds of ideas probably come to you regularly. There's a part in you that thrives on innovating, and it's a real gift because people generally love novelty.
Even though it scares us sometimes, like when our favorite program rolls out an update or our favorite platform does a completely radical re-design.
Examples: Beth Grant & her Archetype Alignment Grid; Danielle LaPorte & her Desire Map, Marie Forleo & her colorful terms; Marcus Buckingham & his StrengthsFinder; Emilie Wapnick & her Puttylike community of "multipotentialites".
7. Make them talk.
You make them think and talk by being controversial.
People who possess this quality feel best when they're in people's faces, saying something we're all thinking, but few dare say it. Some controversials are not so controversial, they just give you another point of view, like Jeff Goins, who has his own opinions on writing & creativity, and at the same time inspires his people to do more of it.
Obviously, if you use this certain quality, you'll need thick skin. For example, if a people-pleaser such as myself attempted it, I'd probably cry every time someone called me mean, which would happen a lot. The more controversy you invite into your life, the more people will push back. To survive, you have to not care about everybody's opinion.
Examples: Ryan Holiday's methods are questionable, but he's got a huge audience, and he's built it on his stunts; few people can wield the motivational rant like Gary Vaynerchuk, who'll take every piece of bullsh*t that comes out of your mouth and throw it back; and Erika Napoletano who's happy to be "unpopular" and curse her mouth off.
What's your unique value?
Look at your articles, your videos, your tweets. What's the recurring theme?
It could be one or more. If it's not painfully obvious, ask a friend, or someone who knows you less. Ask them what your biggest strength is. Once you know what value you give NATURALLY, you can intentionally build your strategy around it.
Also, please remember that value means giving, not taking. (tweet this)
Don't create elaborate schemes with the sole purpose of getting "traffic" and signups. The whole purpose of this tactic is to realize that your goal is to win PEOPLE, not NUMBERS. When you aim for numbers, all you'll ever get is numbers.
So... what's your unique value?
Mine is a combination of the first 3 - inspiration, information, and a bit of transparency... which reflects in my content strategy. It works!