On Becoming Known

on becoming known

If more people know you than you personally know, then you might be in that place where you're “becoming known.”

That's the definition (or close to it) that I recently read in a post by Tom McFarlin. And I thought – wow, what a great topic, in and of itself, for a post. You see, becoming known is valuable regardless of whether you're trying to build software in a distributed team, sell a product, run your own company or anything else.

Becoming known is valuable in any endeavor where you want to have impact.

But what's the formula? How do you do it?

In the past, your influence was a product of your products, your service, or your personal charisma in your own local space. Once you became known locally, you expanded that space and things went on from there. Interview anyone famous over sixty, and you'll find additional factors played into it. Certain relationships, networks, and chance appointments helped. They were the catalysts that you'd never ever be able to replicate.

So what are you to do?

Today things are Different

Three things have completely changed the landscape of becoming known in the day we're all in.

  1. Social media and blogging platforms have given anyone and everyone a voice.
  2. We're all way more distracted and have all contracted something like attention deficit.
  3. The competition for “taking a corner” has increased dramatically.

So in that context, how will you ever become known?

Consistency & Segmentation

I know a lot of people have their own formulas (and sell their own information products to tell you about them) but I believe the formula doesn't need to be as complicated as others make it out to be.

  • Focus in an area (or areas) and consistently deliver value.
  • Figure out which segments of your community can be converted.

Now, before you flame me for writing something like “just do good work” and how ridiculous that sounds, let me highlight that I've bolded the term “focus” not “deliver value.”

Most people try to be a “one-stop shop” and in doing so, they fail at learning the value of focus. When you focus – focus on a target market, focus on an approach, focus on your deliverables and delivery – you learn to say no a lot.

But saying no helps you say yes in a more effective way. And if you're saying yes to the right stuff (where you can add value quickly and effectively, you'll stand out above the rest).

All that said, it's not enough.

The real fulcrum in the equation isn't the focus part. It's just a pre-requisite. The real power comes in the segmentation.

Now, don't go calling me a multi-level marketer, because I know how this is going to sound. But it's true. If just five people shift from being customers to being raving fans, what do you think will happen? And if one of those fans converts one of your prospects into a customer – and you turn them into a fan, what will happen?

Building Your Tribe

One way to think about these “fans” is to think about what others call, “your tribe.” It doesn't matter if you write blogs, create plugins, design web sites, or run a business integration shop – trust me when I tell you that having a tribe is the key to becoming known.

For the business folks reading – think of it as free marketing.

In the past four months, for example, I've attended several WordCamps. These are WordPress-related local one or two day conferences where locals meet to network, learn and share WordPress knowledge. I've spoken at several this year but that's not the point. The point is that the work I did last year (helping people think about their presentations, helping people with their business, etc) payed dividends this year. At every WordCamp I attended I watched (or heard) a speaker reference my work, my articles, or me directly.

That was my tribe up on stage – a free PR engine that had been unleashed. Simply by being consistent, focusing, and investing in the folks I thought might become fans.

Are you doing the same?

Are you really consistent?

I stopped writing code a few years ago. So when I decided to take a tiny little corner in the WordPress world, it clearly wasn't going to be as a developer. But I know a little something about communication (& presentations), and I have some deep experience in running businesses and launching products. So I made that information available. One way has been on this blog.

I write daily. Every. Single. Day.

Even when I don't feel like it. Even when I'm tired. Even when I'm sick. Even when it rains. (ok, it doesn't rain much in San Diego)

I write like golfers practice or runners run. Good ones do it all the time. That's what I'm challenging you to.

I want to push you because you're reading this whole thing saying, I do some of that. But do you really? If you're a designer, what do you design after your day is done? Sure you have larger and longer projects, but what did you do today that you can publish? If you're a developer, what snippet can you publish.

It's not about production. It's about consistency. It's about becoming a voice that people can find, and trust, and know it'll be there.

Once you have that, then I'd be glad to share with you some secrets on the kinds of segmentation techniques I use to determine who might become a fan and the tools I use to convert.

But not until you're consistently getting yourself out there. So go publish something. Now.