Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

How to Get Your Message Heard without Adding to the Noise

If we’re adding to the noise, turn off this song.

Everyone wants to be heard. They want to be noticed, embraced, accepted. In one way or another, we all want to belong. And for those of us who are communicators, we want to share our art and see our ideas spread. There’s just one problem.

Get Heard

Photo credit: Zabowski (Creative Commons)

There’s too much noise in this world.

Every day, thousands of messages inundate you. Advertising. Email. Phone calls. Maybe even a few faxes. These messages are so abundant, so overwhelming, that it’s hard to know what’s worth our attention.

What should we spend our time on? What’s worth noticing? What should we actually be listening to?

This is the world we live in today. The hard part for you, the artist, is that we may be missing your work. All because we’ve learned to tune out the noise. That is, unless you do something different.

What’s really worth people’s time

Most people buy stuff they have a personal connection with. They don’t believe corporations or mass marketing. They trust the niche, the small and local. The weird.

These people, people like you and me, believe what their friends tell them. They trust what’s authentic and true, what’s personally relevant.

So what does the undiscovered artist (i.e. writer, designer, actor, etc.) who actually has something to say do? How does she build enough credibility that people are willing to pay for her work?

Does she create something that adds to the noise? No. She does something unique, surprising, and completely counter-intuitive: She gives away her work for free. She practices generosity. This can be a song or an eBook or a cartoon. An idea or a business model. (Note: It has to be something you could charge money for and don’t.)

This is how you earn the right to speak to your audience. You create something of value and then give it away. Yes, it will cost you something, but it’s a small price to pay for permission.

How do you build a platform?

You may not have a TV show or a radio program. You may not lead an organization or be the heir of a famous tycoon. But that’s no reason to not make a difference. You can still have influence. You can still build a platform. Here’s how:

  1. Build a tribe by being generous. Try giving away something for free.
  2. Get permission to communicate with the tribe on a regular basis.
  3. Put people first; serve your way into greater influence.
  4. Ask people what they want, what they’d be willing to pay for (and how much). Then, deliver it to them.
  5. Rinse and repeat. (Continue being generous.)

This is the opposite of how traditional businesses and marketing strategies work. Usually, it’s product first, then promotion. Not so with this model. In this case, it’s people first, product second. Put the tribe first, then build something just for them.

Many successful businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists are making a difference by finding what people want and giving it to them. (It’s so crazy it just might work.)

No marketing gimmicks. No clever ploys or bait-and-switches. Just helping people.  

This kind of people-first mentality is made easy through the Web. Because it gives you unlimited access to millions of potential customers, fans, and friends — for free. This is how audiences are built these days: Bootstrap, serve, and scale. It’s very different and a whole lot of fun.

Good luck.

For more about how to get your message heard, check out this page about how to get published without trying.

How do you get your message heard? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.