The steps to achieving influence in a crowded marketplace are not complicated. But they require a … [+]
So, you have some content you want to share? A book? A podcast? A blog?
Or maybe you want to help your favorite cause gain visibility in the marketplace?
Or you simply want a user-friendly guide on things like building a personal brand (both online and offline), smart use of social media or how to increase the “shareability” of ideas you’re sure other people will appreciate?
Becky Robinson is ready to help. She’s founder of Weaving Influence, a boutique marketing firm that guides both established and up-and-coming thought leaders in breaking through today’s wall of information density.
Robinson’s new book is Reach: Create the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause.
No matter where you are on the continuum of experience in marketing your ideas, you’ll find a ton of value in this book. Using a four-part framework of value, consistency, longevity and generosity, Robinson shows how to expand your impact in today’s crowded marketplace.
Rodger Dean Duncan: Throughout your book, you emphasize that your goal is to help people add value, not necessarily to gain fame or fortune. What measures do you use to evaluate value?
Becky Robinson: I believe value can be measured by your ability to help, educate and inspire readers. However, perceived value is not universal, nor is it static across a person’s lifetime. What I found value in at age 20 is not the same content that I find value in at 50. What I found value in as a parent of young toddlers is not the same content I find value in as the parent of young adults.
For anyone who wants to create value, it’s helpful to have an intended audience in mind and to understand their interests, needs, and goals. If a creator produces content with their audiences’ needs in mind, and does so with skill and creativity, typically their audiences will recognize and appreciate that value.
If I am seeking to evaluate the value of the content I’m creating I can ask myself: does this content meet the needs of my intended audience? Is this content accessible to my audience? Will it help, educate, and/or inspire them? Will it cause them to take actions not previously considered or pursued?
Duncan: Having impact (reach), you say, requires commitment to four things—value, consistency, longevity, and generosity. Why do you focus on those particular four?
Robinson: As I’ve interviewed and worked with successful thought leaders over the years and studied their approaches, these four factors popped up as universal themes. It’s not possible to create traction for a message if you’re not adding value to audiences. You can’t become memorable if you’re not showing up consistently. You can’t have great impact if you don’t stick around over time. While generosity may seem like an unexpected element, people who give of themselves and their content seem to be magnetic in attracting audiences.
Duncan: Which of the four commitments seem to be particularly challenging for people working to promote a message or cause? Why?
Robinson: By far, the most difficult of the four commitments is consistency. What I hear from thought leaders is that they have high demands on their time. They are juggling multiple competing priorities. The commitment to add value consistently to online spaces can feel overwhelming. And because it takes time to gain traction with sharing content online, some thought leaders get discouraged because they don’t see results quickly enough.
Duncan: You talk about “influence gap” as the difference between how a person shows up online compared to how they show up offline. How does understanding that gap help a person know where to place emphasis in expanding reach?
Robinson: Typically, people understand the influence gap easily. If we focus all or most of our attention on adding value to offline audiences, we limit our influence to only the people we can reach in person. We miss the opportunity to exponentially expand the potential of our reach. Showing up online removes the geographic and time barriers and allows us to scale our influence.
The first way to close the influence gap is to create a web presence that you own and control—typically a thought leadership or business website—and make sure it is thorough and up to date. Your website is the place to share and catalog the value you offer the world. It should clearly communicate what you offer to audiences and your content should be easily accessible. By creating this web presence, you ensure you show up online in the same powerful ways that you show up in real life.
Duncan: Your Reach Framework emphasizes showing up online. What are the most critical first steps to that, and what are the keys to sustaining a strong online presence?
Robinson: As I mentioned earlier, creating a powerful web presence starts with your own website. Once you’ve established and are maintaining a website, it’s helpful to earn the permission to stay in touch with people who are interested in your work. If your website visitors opt in for your communications, email offers you a reliable communications channel to consistently reach your audiences.
Developing and sharing content on social media channels is the next step. Social media channels allow us to find and form relationships with people and interact and engage with them. Ideally, as we meet people through social media, we pique their interest enough to visit our website and give us permission to stay in touch via email.
Influence Congruence Chart
Sustainability is key. For those just getting started with using digital marketing tools to reach their audiences, there’s a tendency to overcommit and set ambitious goals about frequency of content creation. Others spread themselves too thin by trying to create content across too many platforms. The key is to be realistic with your commitments to create and share content. Start small. Grow as you can. Let go of some ideas. Take your time.
Duncan: You say, “We not only need to bring our offline life online, we also need to bring our online life offline.” Please elaborate.
Robinson: Showing up in online spaces is a helpful way to expand our ability to reach larger audiences since we are unbounded by time and space. Connecting personally—through phone conversations, zoom calls, or in-person interaction—allows us to deepen our relationships and have greater, more memorable, and more long-lasting impact.
Duncan: A lot of people are turned off by what they see as unfair and highly partisan practices by some of the social media giants. If they’re unwilling to ignore that ongoing debate, what are their alternatives for online channels? Or should they simply take a deep breath and keep “the big guys” in their media toolbox?
Robinson: There are plenty of reasons to withdraw from social media platforms, and I have struggled with this myself at times. Do the negative impacts of social media platforms outweigh the positives? This is an individual choice that thought leaders need to consider. As things stand currently, a decision to eschew social media channels is likely a decision to limit the reach of your content. Social media channels are THE place people discover, follow, and relate to content creators. If you’re not present on the channels where your audience is present, it’s more difficult to reach them.
Duncan: A permission-based email list is clearly an important tool for anyone seeking to build a following and promote a message or cause. What are the most important keys to using such a list?
Robinson: One of the most important keys for your permission-based list is to grow the largest list you can. Thought leaders who speak and travel often miss the opportunity to build an ongoing connection with the people they meet at events. I encourage speakers to make sure they have a call to action when they’re on the stage to offer content of value to their audience in exchange for an email address. This ensures that they can stay in touch and be memorable beyond that one experience.
The other key is to create a regular and sustainable schedule of staying in touch with your list, to keep the list current and to continue to add value to your audience. This can be quarterly, monthly, or weekly.
Duncan: In today’s crowded communication world, what seem to be the most effective ways to propagate content? Why?
Robinson: The most effective ways to spread content are dependent upon the intended audience. If your audience is 15-30, likely short video content (reels), shared on TikTok and Instagram, are most effective. If your audience is older, other content forms, such as articles on your blog or in business publications, may be more effective.
There is not a one-size fits all solution to creating content. The key is to create content and repurpose it into different formats to share on various platforms to reach different segments of your audience.
Duncan: What have you found to be the most effective ways to repurpose content assets?
Robinson: I enjoy thinking about themes and topics that may support my audience and then creating what I call “content bundles” to elucidate my ideas.
I might start with a short-form blog post on a topic, then expand it into a longer e-book, then break it into bite-sized quotes and graphics to share on social media platforms. I then consider whether it would work well as a podcast episode and look for a guest with expertise on the topic.
I also consider whether it could be an interactive training. If it works, I also deliver the content in a webinar. In this way, I’ve used one topic or theme but provided a variety of ways for my audience to interact with the content.
Duncan: Why does generosity in sharing matter?
Robinson: Not everyone wants to be famous, but each of us has the opportunity to make a difference. If we have valuable ideas or content to share, why wouldn’t we choose to share with as many people as possible?
What I’ve seen is that it’s not possible to give away too much. The more value I share with others, the more opportunities I have to connect in relationships with them and see the impact of my work.
There is so much joy to be found in sharing the best of what you have with others. Choosing to create and share value generously with others is a choice to have the biggest impact for your life and work.
The steps to achieving influence in a crowded marketplace are not complicated. But they require a … [+]