One of my favorite rock songs is Rev Theory’s “Hell Yeah” for a couple of reasons.
First, it’s a full immersion, high-octane, rock ‘n roll, jam tune. This is one song you can crank up and rock out to anytime you want to get fired up. It’s exactly the type of fast paced, adrenaline pumping song that I love to listen to. Incidentally, I happen to play a wicked air guitar to this song and am an even meaner lip syncer.
The second reason I love this song is because it’s the perfect business model.
You heard me. “Hell Yeah” is the perfect business model. But before I get too deep into an explanation, here’s the music video so you can hear the song for yourself to better understand the rest of this post.
NOTE: If you really want to get fired up about rocking your business, crank the volume on your computer as loud as your ears can handle before playing this video. That’s right, let the neighbors know you’re at home, and I want to see everyone head-banging like there’s no tomorrow (including you in the back there). OK, ready? Go!
OK, so now the explanation..let’s start at the beginning.
Every business wants more sales, and every blogger wants more readers. Every last one of them. That means you have up-teen thousand people in every niche all clamoring for attention from the same audience. The problem is, most of them either blend into the noise, or waste a lot of time and money trying to convince, cajole, and coerce their audience into buying what they’re peddling.
But what if you could get your customers / audience to raise their hand, bounce up and down, and scream “I want some!” – or more appropriately – “Hell Yeah!”
Well, if you’ve been following IttyBiz or Copyblogger for long, you know you can do just that. But recently, Lisa asked me:
“How do I go about identifying my brandable attributes that will inspire a rockstar following? Some say be (genuinely) quirky, outrageous, or weird. Others say just be yourself, even if you are boring (and you can capitalize on your boringness). Is there a meaningful process to doing this, or is it hit or miss, trial and error?”
Awesome question Lisa, and I’m going to take the answer right from the chorus of Rev Theory’s song.
“Get ready to go”
The first thing you need to do is know what you’re trying to do in the first place. I’m talking about planning and research here. This is the most important phase of building a rockstar following, and one that many people try to bluff their way through. However, there is no shortcut to good planning and specific research. So let’s talk about those first.
Planning out your rockstar style is critical to your success. Keep in mind there are lots of people who do what you do. How are you going to differentiate yourself from them? What personality attributes do you have that give a unique spin to what you do? How can you immerse your brand in what you’re personally passionate about?
For example, there’s tons of “branding gurus” and “Internet marketing experts” out there, and if I had just started another branding blog it would have fizzled quickly. So how did I come up with “rockstar branding?” Easy. I love rock music. Like really, passionately love music. I’m one of those people that can’t listen to music without singing along. And I knew I could integrate my love of music and my love for branding in a unique way that would help people build their own rockstar following.
The second part of this initial phase is to know your reader (or customer). Notice I said “reader” not “audience?” There’s a reason for that. The more specific you get with who you’re trying to attract, the more successful you’ll be at drawing them in. This means going beyond a simple profile of “middle-aged men who make $50,000/year” to “my uncle Steve who loves to golf, is a mid-level manager, has 3 kids with one in college, and has tried several times to quit smoking.” Notice the difference? With the first profile your shouting to a crowd, but with the second, you’re speaking to one person – which makes it easier to address their specific needs and engage them with your writing. For more on how to do this, I highly recommend Johnny B Truant’s “Storyselling” course (non-affiliate link).
The other research you need to do is know what your audience actually wants to buy, instead of just making something to sell. The two are often very different. Find out what’s bothering them, what needs they have, what scares the hell out of them – then create a solution to fill that need.
“She ain’t movin’ slow”
Once your research is done, you need to “kick it in gear” and start implementing. This is where the rubber meets the road and you start applying what you’ve planned, and start using the research you’ve accumulated. This is an important step to take so you don’t get hung up in “analysis-paralysis.”
As my favorite uncle used to say “you won’t get it done by staring at it.”
So once you’ve made the decision to start implementing things, don’t dilly-dally around with it. You’re either going to do it, or you’re not. Doing it halfway is worse than not doing anything at all, because it sends conflicting messages to your audience and confuses them. As soon as you decide to move forward, dive in, make the changes, and get it up and running as quickly as possible.
“She’s takin’ control”
Keep in mind that implementing changes, and tweaking them as needed to increase their effectiveness doesn’t happen on it’s own. You need to grab the bull by the horns and take charge of your new rockstar style. Guide it, nurture it, distill it, and tweak it until it resonates with the core of who you are, and you find that “sweet spot” with your ideal audience. But don’t stop there. In order to have ongoing success, you need to always be promoting, adjusting, and strengthening your brand.
Last week I wrote a post on IttyBiz about “10 Tips from the Gene Simmons School of Marketing,” and in the comments Jamie brought up an excellent point. Even in the peak of KISS’s popularity, Gene never stopped promoting their brand. If he had, they would have had the same “flame up, fizzle out” kind of fame that most one-hit wonders experience. Instead, KISS has enjoyed steady popularity among their fans for almost 40 years now, even though their music isn’t all that remarkable. The lesson here is to take control of your brand, because no one else is responsible for it’s success but you.
“Pushin’ the pedal through the floor”
Once you take control of your brand and start implementing the changes you want to make, you’ll notice a certain momentum beginning to build. This is a critical point in building your rockstar following because once you start to gain momentum, you don’t want to lose it. Instead, step on the gas and build on that momentum to keep it growing.
For example, if you have a blog and one of your marketing strategies is guest blogging, don’t just write an occasional guest post that’s randomly timed. Instead, plan out your guest posting activities so that when a post you wrote for one blog goes online, another guest post on a different blog isn’t far behind, and you have something cool on your site to draw in the people who visit from the guest posts. Doing it that way will make you look like you’re everywhere at once, and can be a great way to build some serious momentum. Just ask my good friend Johnny B. Truant.
“I’m beggin’ for more”
If you’ve done your homework, implemented your plan, taken control of your brand, have put out some killer content, and have built some momentum, something really awesome will start to happen at this point..
Your audience will start begging for more.
You’ll start receiving fan-boy e-mails telling you how awesome you are, and how your site is the best resource they’ve ever seen online. People will start tweeting links to your blog posts with little notes next to the link that say things like “awesome sauce.” You’ll get people asking you to write more posts about a specific topic, or they’ll suggest a resource they’d like you to create.
In other words, you’ll start to notice your rockstar following taking shape.
In my opinion, this is where things start to get fun – and all the hard work you’ve done starts to pay off and you really begin to love what you do. You’ll also notice your list beginning to grow and sales beginning to pick up, which brings me to my next point.
“You better hold on tight”
If you’ve done everything “right” to this point (by right I mean what’s right for you and your audience), and continue treating your people awesome, you have the opportunity to have a break-out, escape velocity, runaway business at this point. You see, once you have a rockstar following of true fans, you’ll find they are hungry for what you offer. It’s this kind of hunger that’s allowed folks like Darren from Problogger to launch an eBook that generated six-figures in sales, and have some of the people tell him they bought it because they loved the free content he’d been providing and wanted to support his efforts.
So make sure you have a plan in place for how you’re going to leverage your rockstar following. Are you going to use it to raise awareness for a cause? Sell some products? Offer an online training course? A mentoring program?
Know what your game plan is before you get to this point so you can build on your success. Then “hold on tight” for the “best damn ride of your life.”