It’s been a couple of years since I was on stage as a musician. I’ve been in a lot of bands over the years and the last two were called the Pretzel Boys and Dough. The Pretzel Boys were a complete band with drums and PA systems. Dough was an acoustic band of two. The reason we called ourselves Dough is because raw pretzels are made of what? Dough. And “Dough” is two for the duo.
The biggest thing about being in a band is that you learn to read your audience. For example, we usually played three sets a night and it would be about a three hour gig. The first set sets the tone of the evening. You warm up people a little, play some songs they know, maybe some songs they don’t, and you pay attention to what they react to.
Not every band has the same experience every night. If your band is playing original music, they usually have set lists. Playing other people’s music gives you more flexibility in customizing. If the audience that night liked The Beatles, the second set, we’d modify it to make more Beatles. If one night they like Tom Petty we’d do more Tom Petty.
Customize your content
It was about everything the audience responded to. And by the end of the night you had your third set and always saved your best for last. This taught us, and most importantly, taught me how to read the audience to keep them busy and get them excited about your content. And we can do the same with our content online, but it takes a bit more work because you don’t always get to see their eyes or faces and watch them sing.
What you can judge are likes, comments and shares. But even that is not one hundred percent accurate because you won’t always see it until you look at the information. “Oh, someone shared this three times. That’s great. ”When you create content, you need to have a system in place to test it as you work. Often times we try to create things and just finish them and then move on to the next thing. But some things need a little more loving care if you want your audience to accept your content.
Boot camp restart
I’ve been doing LinkedIn boot camps for years. These are live events, four hours long, where I stood in front of a group and taught them everything they needed to know about LinkedIn. But then the pandemic struck and the last one I saw live was right before everything shut down. A lot has changed since then. Not only has LinkedIn changed so I need to update it that way, but the way people use it as well.
People had to reinvent the way they found new businesses. “Hey, since we can’t visit people live, I’ll jump into social media and look for prospects there.” Well, that changed the whole atmosphere on LinkedIn and how a lot of people think about social media usage. So I knew I had to reinvent my boot camp from scratch.
One reason for this was that I was hired to do LinkedIn training for a group, and it was very specific to their needs. It really got me to build it from the ground up. After teaching first grade, I said, “Hey, I think I have something interesting here!” But I had to test it. I had to present this to a handful of different audiences and see what kind of reaction I got.
When I was doing the course, they loved the new perspective and wanted more, which was great. That meant people were excited to show up for second and third and fourth grades. But I wanted to go one step further because I have such high expectations for this first class. I wanted to make sure that I could offer the same level of excellence in all meetings.
Take the pulse of the audience
I made a presentation of what I was teaching and had the opportunity to speak in front of an online mastermind group. I took what I did on that course and presented it to this B2B based group. You loved it. The perspective to their audience that LinkedIn uses and the concepts I talked about resonated with them. I made great connections with some new people who really enjoyed my presentation. That showed me that it works.
Then I called one of my webinar partners and said, “Hey, I have something here. Want to do a partnering webinar? ”When you sell something in affiliate marketing, you usually give them half and keep half, which is fine. But it was a way for me to test this out in front of a different audience. This was more of a consumer-based marketing audience. And they had a smaller perspective on the sales and ROI of my presentation. It kind of fell like a dud. I sold one person in, but the vast majority of those who came just didn’t understand what I was saying. And they didn’t feel like they were getting the value, which is fine. That told me, “Hey, this isn’t going to work in this niche.”
The test video
The third thing I did was take all of this feedback, put it together, and make a video. I made a compressed video that was short, about 25 minutes. Then I put it in front of a couple of mentors. Each of them looked at it and gave me feedback. They really beat me up and said, “You have this, but you really need to better explain or take this out.” I gotta fucking massage this. But the bottom line was that they were right. They saw it from a perspective I couldn’t see. And they helped me tweak it again.
The on-demand presentation
The last thing I did was create a new video based on all of your feedback and share it with you. I made a few small tweaks and then revised it again. And they said, “You have something here.” So now I have this presentation and I am making it available to the world via email. I put it in front of my tribe and my 1500 people on my email list.
And guess what? It got down to the people I expected it to resonate with, and those who didn’t were the same guys as the webinar crowd. That meant I got great feedback on which people in my audience were more focused on the B2B side of the business and which were more consumer-centric. That gave me great feedback on the makeup of my audience based on who was engaging with it. Now I could segment the people on my email list even further.
Let me leave you with a few final thoughts and a few lessons.
To be successful, you have to be unique and explore new perspectives. Next, you need to share with multiple audiences, even if you think you know what the outcome will be, you might be surprised. Third, make sure you put it in new eyes and be open to heartbreaking criticism. It will only make it better and make you better. Fourth, be ready to work hard at each stage to update and optimize your message. It takes time to perfect. And finally, you know when it’s time to present to your audience. You have to get it to the point where you feel like your audience is reacting the way you expect them to. This allows you to test and expand your content one, two, three, or more times to get your audience to accept your content in ways you never thought possible.
The lesson of being a musician taught me that at the end of the night you always want to whet your appetite for more. People would scream Free Bird, but we would play American Pie. Why? Because Free Bird contained guitar solos. And at the end of the night, nothing went as well as a drunken sing-along song.
I would like to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions on how to get your audience to adopt your content. Did you have to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not meet your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice to share?
Author: Brian Basilico
Brian Basilico is a nationally recognized writer and public speaker. He is the founder and president of B2b Interactive Marketing Inc., an award-winning marketing consulting and manufacturing company in Aurora Illinois. B2b helps businesses and nonprofits to market their products and services through the effective use of online tools, including; Websites, blogs, … Show complete profile >