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What you say and produce is incredibly important, but it’s important to take into consideration the environment that you find yourself in. It might be the kind of platform you use, the language you’re writing in, or the sort of market you’re selling your product to. Understanding what “surrounds” your brand and your message will make you more effective at reaching the right people.

Content is about resonating with the right message, context is about resonating at the right moment. You could have the perfect content, but without the right context, it might mean absolutely nothing.

In this episode, we examine the power of understanding the context surrounding your work and the methods you can use to become the expert in your context.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • You can say the same message in different contexts and have it mean different things.
  • Deliver the same message, but take advantage of different mediums.
  • Content is about resonating with the right message; context is about resonating at the right moment.
  • Position yourself as the person who answers questions that people are asking.
  • You have to ask your audience what questions they have.
  • If you’re not hearing from your audience, you’re either not reaching the right people or they don’t know you’re ready to listen.
  • When, where, and how you post is sometimes more important than what you post.
  • The best brands are the brands that listen and let their audience know they’re listening.
  • A well-timed blog post, email, phone call, or handwritten letter could mean the future success of your brand.
  • Be aware there are people reading your content who haven’t read anything of yours before.
  • Context is relevancy and relevancy is king.
  • If you say the right thing at the wrong time, it’s not going to be the right thing.
  • If someone asks the same questions all the time, it’s because nobody has provided a solution.
  • You’ll see a greater level of engagement the more relevant you are.
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Show Notes
  • 03:49 Cory: When you think about the words “context” and “content” those words seem like they’re similar because there’s one letter difference but it’s important to look at what they mean and how it goes into building your brand. When I say content, I’m talking about the content you produce—written content, video content, posts on social media, etc.—but it also relates to the products you make and the services you provide. It’s all about the message or thing you’re trying to get into other people’s hands or minds. I wanted to make sure people know that when we talk about content, we’re not just talking about blog posts.

Content is essentially anything you create and post publicly.

  • 05:04 That could be a product or an Instagram post. Content is “the thing.” Context is what surrounds an object, statement, or this thing. If you’re reading a book, anytime you read a paragraph, sentence, or word, the context is what immediately proceeds or follows it. If you’re reading a paragraph, it’s the paragraph before. If you’re reading a sentence, it’s the sentence after. What is the environment of that phrase or word? In spacial terms, it’s what surrounds you. My immediate context is a very messy office. In larger context, I’m in a house. In even larger context, I’m in California, on earth. You can narrow down your context, but you can also expand it too.
  • 06:23 Kyle: Context could also be being in a business meeting. There are certain things you don’t discuss during that kind of situation.
  • 06:48 Cory: I don’t know if your parents ever said this, but when I was growing up, we always heard the phrase, “It’s neither the time, nor the place.” When it’s the time and the place, it’s the appropriate time or place to say what you want to say and do what you want to do. It might also be helpful to think of the term “out of context.” When someone takes something you’ve said, cuts out the outer parts, and only says part of what you said, the meaning has now changed because it lacked context. When I was doing some research, I found out that “out of context” is actually a logical fallacy.
  • 07:38 A fallacy is where you can say something but logically it doesn’t make sense or can’t be true. For example, if someone said about Invisible Details, “Some people have said we plan to have sponsors on our show,” it’s not true. We don’t plan to have sponsors on the show. We’re on the seanwes network, we’re supported by the seanwes Community. Taking my words out of context would be taking part of that sentence, “We plan to have sponsors on our show.” It’s taking off the first part, leaving a completely different message, which isn’t correct. It’s interesting to think about context. What is the environment that we’re putting ourselves in? What area is your brand communicating in? What is the message or product? What is your thing?

Understanding Your Audience

  • 08:58 Kyle: You have to understand who your audience is. There’s a lot of situations where it’s logical for people to understand what context would mean for an audience, like if you’re a doctor, you want to deliver bad news in context. You want to be remorseful while you’re delivering that news because no one expects a cheery doctor to deliver that kind of news. It’s the same with your audience. It’s different in that it’s not a black and white issue of being cheery or not. Your audience is looking for a specific thing, that’s why they’re part of your audience. They’re wanting to learn from you or understand what you do. The way you approach that and them gives them the general context of your brand as a whole. Once you get to content, there’s context in delivering that message at the right time.

Everything you put out into the world as part of your brand has a context around it.

  • 10:25 If you’re trying to communicate things to people who are just starting with the career you have and that’s part of your blog, you don’t want to say something super high-level right up front because that’s not where they’re at. If you can dive deeper into where they’re at, you can understand the context.
  • 10:54 Cory: I really like those examples, especially the doctor one, because you can say the same message in different contexts and have it mean different things or have it be taken in a different way. It can also be perceived in a certain way, depending on what you said and in what context you said it. If you were the doctor who presented some bad news in a disrespectful or flippant way, you’re going to be known as the doctor who’s not kindhearted or compassionate. But if you deliver your message in the right kind of way at the right moment, then you’ll be perceived as a compassionate doctor who did all he could and was respectful of the family. It’s a similar message, but there were different means to communicate that message depending on the context.
  • 12:07 Kyle: Let’s say he walks in, says it, and walks out. That would be terrible, but he’s delivering the exact same content, but the context he uses to deliver that content is extremely important. I didn’t mean to pick a doom and gloom example, but it’s one that a lot of people can connect with. How it’s going to be delivered is extremely important. It could be the word-for-word exact same thing, said two different ways, and it has completely different meaning.
  • 13:01 Cory: It can also be the same message but with different words.

Should My Content Change With Context?

  • 13:10 Dameon asked, “Should the delivery of my content change based on the context of other platforms, or should it be constant throughout? Can it come off unauthentic if I’m bending to fit certain environments?” I would say delivery can change, but your message should stay the same. You can deliver the exact same thing in different contexts but you have to take advantage of the medium, the environment. You have to understand who’s receiving your message and then tailor your delivery to that particular audience or segment of your audience. Let’s say you write something you want to send out to your newsletter, but you also want to release it on YouTube. Written content and video content are similar, but you can take advantage of both mediums. You can link to stuff in your newsletter and use different kinds of engagement with a video. Engage with different types of audiences and different segments of your audience in different ways.

Deliver the same message, but take advantage of different mediums.

  • 14:47 Kyle: Twitter is a good example of this because they limit your characters. You can’t type what you would type for a blogpost on Twitter. You can remain relevant by distilling down the message and delivering it in a different way that resonates with someone enough to make them go read that content, or maybe you pull a piece of the content out to create your tweet. I don’t think you should change how you talk necessarily. We’re talking about a brand here so this is your professional environment and everything you’re sharing should b ein the same voice. It’s not like you go to work and you talk a certain way in one room, but talk another way in a different room. You’re the same person and you shouldn’t mold yourself to certain situations, because that does come off unauthentic.

Content is about resonating with the right message.

Context is about resonating at the right moment.

  • 16:25 Cory: It matters what you’re saying, who you’re saying it to, and when you’re saying it. They’re not mutually exclusive either. Some people think they need to write a great piece of content and get it out there, while other people think context is more important so it doesn’t matter what they write, as long they get what they write to the right people, but they go together! there’s plenty of buzz about content and context marketing, but the best kind of content fits in the best context.
  • 17:02 Kyle: It all comes down to listening and understanding who your audience is (Related: e003 Defining Your Target Audience). Listen to your target audience and understand what they’re struggling with. Why are you targeting them? That shifts and molds over time because you start to understand them more and more. I know there are people out there thinking, “My audience isn’t saying anything to me. They’re not reaching out to me. I’m sharing content that I want to be in context for them.” What happens when you aren’t hearing from them?
  • 18:04 Cory: A couple of things come to mind with that question. Where are you looking, and who are you asking? Is it people who are already subscribed? Is it people who are not yet subscribed who aren’t familiar with your brand? Are you finding people, or are you waiting for them to come to you? What is that particular context of not hearing from an audience? It also might mean the current audience you have is not the target audience you need. That’s an interesting juxtaposition because there might be people who are following you that weren’t in your target audience or maybe even shouldn’t be.
  • 18:50 All of this comes back to: what are you doing? We talked about this in the first episode and the 40 page guide you can get when you go to What are you doing? Who are you doing it for? Why are you doing these things? Then, asking: where are the people that you’re trying to reach? Are they on a forum somewhere? Are they on Twitter? Are they asking questions on The people you’re trying to reach are asking questions.

You have to position yourself as the person who answers the questions people are asking.

  • 19:36 That could be going and finding the people who are asking those questions and then answering their questions on that medium, but then also bringing them back to where you’re consistently answering those questions. As an example, I sent out a newsletter on Wednesday about how to know the questions your audience is asking. It seems silly, but you have to ask your audience what questions they have. I like to go on Twitter and type in “brand question” or “branding question” to look at the tweets with that wording that people are sending out. Someone had asked, “How do you create a stand-out brand?” No one had responded to it, so I replied to it with a quick value takeaway and a link to episode 5 where we talked about content marketing. I said, “You become an expert in your field and you stand out by producing as much content as you can.”
  • 21:13 That’s just an example of how I found the people with the questions I knew how to answer and then delivering the answer I had already created at that level. That’s a longwinded way to say if people aren’t asking questions, they may not feel like you’re asking them to ask. The first email people get when they sign up for the newsletter asks, “What are you struggling with right now with your brand?” and I asked it again on Wednesday. I’ve gotten a handful of replies from people who had already replied or didn’t reply previously. Constantly be on the lookout for people asking the questions you know how to answer and that are relevant to your brand.

If you’re not hearing from your audience, you’re either not reaching the right people or they don’t know you’re ready to listen.

  • 22:14 Even if you have positioned yourself in the place of listening, constantly invite your audience to ask more questions. Always be a person who says, “I want to give value and in order to give value, I want to know more about you.” The best brands are the brands that listen and let their audience know they’re listening.
  • 22:48 Kyle: In mentioning that, it’s also important to make sure your audience doesn’t feel like a big survey—to make sure they know you really want to answer their questions. You don’t want it to be a, “We’ve selected a few people to answer this questionnaire about how we’re doing,” type of thing. I see that on Twitter every now and then and I don’t do them because I don’t feel like someone’s listening to that. It’s not a one-on-one experience, it’s a mass polling of their user base. Especially if you’re a younger brand, or maybe you’ve even been around for a little while, remember to let your audience know you really are interested in them and you’re interested in understanding what they want to know. It’s not a blanket of poll questions.
  • 23:63 Cory: Those things have their place for sure, but it may not be right solution for what you’re trying to accomplish.
  • 24:07 Kyle: When you talked about asking the question again and getting responses from the people you haven’t heard from before, you didn’t send out a survey. You just said, “Reply to me and let’s talk about what you’re struggling with.” I want to highlight the difference there. It’s easy to send out a poll about something and it’s good to do every once in a while, especially if you have products you want to make sure people are satisfied with, but if you really want to get down to understanding what context your target is in, you need to hear from them.

When, where, and how you post is sometimes more important than what you post.

  • 24:54 Cory: When I say “post” I also mean create or produce. For example, imagine you have an email sales funnel, where you send your subscribers a 30 day email sequence. They either sign up for your newsletter or buy a product, and then depending on what their actions were, you can funnel them into a different sequence. There are a lot of different email providers that do this. At seanwes we use Infusionsoft. Services like MailChimp don’t really do this as well, but I think they’re trying to move in the direction of behavior-based emails.
  • 25:40 You have to understand that people who have only received one or two emails are in a different context than the people who have received all 30 of this 30 day sequence. If someone has received all 30 days, they’re in a different place in connection with your brand than someone who signed up yesterday. You can make soft sells for people who have only received a couple, but it won’t be as effective as selling to the people who have stuck with it all 30 days. Conversely, if you send the same kind of email all 30 days, you’re missing out on the opportunity to take the reader to a deeper level or another stage of sales. You get to the end of the 30 days and you say, “I’ve given all this value to you. I’ve mentioned this course I have and you seem like the perfect kind of person who would benefit from this next stage of value,” then you make the sale and that person has been prepared for the next stage.
  • 26:51 Understand the context of when you’re releasing content, who it’s being delivered to, and then you can figure out what you’re trying to accomplish with this email or blogpost. A well-timed blog post, email, phone call, or handwritten letter could mean the future success of your brand. I’ve gotten products in the mail after buying it and inside the package was a personalized, hand written letter. Because of that, I want to buy from this company forever. The context of how they presented the product to me was really personal and I liked that. It could make or break your brand.
  • 27:47 Kyle: Especially when you’re really interested in what it is. You were interested in the product enough to throw some money at it, so you’re already excited to receive it and on top of that, you receive a hand written note. That goes into context as well. Let’s say you purchased the product for a friend so you have it shipped directly to them. They get it and read the hand written note, but it may not have the same meaning and context it did for you. They may not have the same level of appreciation for what they received because they weren’t searching for that thing.
  • 28:49 Cory: That’s because the same message can mean different things in different contexts. You send out that letter or get that package in the mail and it says the same thing, but to someone else it could just be whatever. If you told me it was raining outside, as someone who lives in California in a drought for a long time, I would want to go outside and enjoy the cold rain. I would think it was glorious, but if you say the same thing to a guy living in Ireland, he’s not going to care because it rains all the time. In his context rain isn’t special.
  • 29:32 You have to know your audience, their struggles, their lives, what they’re asking, and what they’re concerned with and as you produce products and content, knowing what the context is gives it a great amount of power. I mentioned this in the newsletter I sent out on Wednesday. Yesterday I had a Community member say, “I felt like you were reading my mind,” about it. I was just responding to what people are struggling with (Related: seanwes tv027 How to Read Minds).
  • 30:41 Kyle: Keep in mind every time you share a new piece of content, that could be the first time someone ever read any content you put out. It’s a tough balance to keep because you’ve got these people who maybe followed you from the very beginning, so they understand you when you say certain things like “reading minds.” Someone who’s followed those seanwes tv episodes already understand what you’re talking about, but there’s other people who haven’t listened to that and don’t understand what you’re talking about until they go watch the content.

For context’s sake, be aware there are people reading your content who haven’t read anything of yours before.

  • 31:40 Either giving them context or not having all these catchy terms that only the long-time listeners know is really important, especially since you learn your target audience as you go. Even Cory is searching terms on Twitter. He’s trying to understand people more and he’s already been doing this for a while. Constantly trying to understand who your target audience is means that there’s new people coming to you. It’s not just the same people over and over.

The Four Tiers of Brand Language

  • 32:21 Cory: Language matters in context. Imagine I’m trying to reach a group of people who only speak Chinese, but I can only write in English. Now, my content is irrelevant because they can’t understand it. I could have the world’s greatest blog post, but if my audience doesn’t understand it, then it doesn’t matter. I call this the four tiers of brand language, where first you have people that are introductory. These are people who are just now becoming familiar with your brand or your niche. People in this introductory stage are interested but they might not be in your industry yet. The second tier is basic—basic readers have a general understanding of your brand and can read through your content at a consistent pace. If something is new or foreign, they can stop and look into it, but for the most part, they don’t have an issue with the reading process.
  • 33:53 Then, you have the next tier, which is advanced. These audience members aren’t quite fluent, but they’ve been a part of this particular scene a little longer. They’re experienced enough to read through the content without hesitation and they also might be in your industry already. The final tier is fluent. These are audience members who are so engaged with your niche, they have full understanding and comprehension of what you’re saying. They get the jargon and the slang. When you look at these four tiers of brand language—introductory, basic, advanced, and fluent—it can help you break down the context and figure out how you’re going to communicate. I like to recommend for people to start at a fluent level. Your first pass is to get it out of your brain and as you look through it again, you can simplify complex words or ideas so you can reach people on a lower tier.
  • 35:03 You’re not always going to be able to reach every single tier, and if you try it’s going to get mushy. It is really helpful to think of these four tiers when you’re trying to reach out to your audience because there might be people who are brand new and they don’t get the jargon. My brother texted me and said he listened to one of our episodes. He said he didn’t understand what we were talking about, but he loved it! There’s an introductory person to our brand. It’s definitely important to understand there are people at different levels and that you can speak to those people on different levels. You can speak to all of them at once, but you have to be careful of how you’re communicating depending on the context.
  • 35:59 Kyle: If there’s a term that needs to be used a lot and it’s jargon of your profession that’s easiest to use, then write some sort of content about that and reference it later. I wrote a blog post about target audience and how you can reach them, so now every time I talk about the target audience approach, I have a link to put in so someone can read a more basic blog post that explains what they’re reading throughout that post. Introductory pieces of content aren’t just for people who aren’t caught up with you yet, but they’re also pillars of what you’re producing and how you can be in context with people.
  • 37:12 For example, if someone walks into a room and you’re talking about a really high-level concept, you’re in context with the fluent people of your brand. But if these beginner people don’t understand what you’re talking about then you can point them to that beginner content so they can understand what you’re talking about. That’s a much better way of bringing them in and being in context with them. That link is so appreciated. There’s a website called Copyblogger–I believe they’re a part of Rainmaker—and they do a great job with links. Reading through their content was great because they would start talking about a topic I may not understand, but there was a link right there to read about what they’re talking about.

Structure your content in a way that beginners can reference your introductory content.

  • 38:09 I felt like Copyblogger wanted to help me and it creates a trail. You can easily get caught up in reading multiple posts by them because they create that trail. They want you to dig deeper and they help you along that path. They’re not just saying, “This is for advanced people. Sorry that you showed up today, beginners.

How to Work in an Industry That Doesn’t Have Your Values

  • 38:48 Cory: Hanna asks, “What is the best way to work within an industry where the culture doesn’t line up with the way you want to do business? The indie publishing world has so much scarcity and unprofessionalism in it. How can I use that context to my advantage when it just seems to result in having prices that seem to scare everyone away?”
  • 39:06 Kyle: If you’re thinking there’s an issue there, most likely there’s a group of people who may not be talking about it too. There may be a silent majority that want to have a more professional process and want things to be different. Look for the people who are questioning things. Maybe people going into the indie publishing world don’t know any different, they see what you’re sharing, and that starts to challenge their assumptions about the profession they’re going into.
  • 39:57 Cory: You can change the context. It takes time—Rome wasn’t built in a day. People are attracted to the people who sound like they know what they’re talking about. I’m not in the indie publishing world, but I would imagine that side of things is a race to the bottom. People probably think, “I don’t want to have to go the corporate route and split my shares. I want to do this myself, I don’t want to get published through a big publishing company because I want to have full control, but I want to do it at dirt-cheap costs.” That’s the indie world, right? You get everything done for a fraction of the cost so that you can have the same results.
  • 40:58 Even in the indie music world, these bands want to create music where they’re in full control but they want to see the benefits, sell all the albums, and play all the shows they would under a big label. The problem is you don’t have the distribution or the record labels who are making these things happen. You don’t have the mixers or professional recording studios to get you that sound. There’s a limitation, but you also have to get people on board with the value you’re trying to present. Instead of saying, “Hey, I’m a better indie book cover artist than anyone else,” talk about how to deliver more than what the others are promising and then deliver on it. You could say, “I work in the indie publishing word, this is what I do,” but create content based on reminding the indie publishers that what they’re looking for is getting their content into the hands of the people they’re trying to reach.
  • 42:10 If your contribution to that—like designing the book covers for that—is going to get their book into the hands of the people who need it at a wider level, then you need to communicate that. Say that it’s not about just doing it all on your own, it’s about getting to the people you want to get to. Everyone wants the world but you can’t do it at dirt cheap costs and you’re going to get what you pay for. Dig deeper into the hearts of the people who are wanting your services. Don’t just say, “I’m not as cheap as everyone else.” Point people back to the value you’re delivering, rather than how much the value you’re delivering will cost.
  • 43:01 Kyle: There’s this minute difference with people that want to do things on their own. Maybe they’re an entrepreneur or want to be an indie band—whatever context you want to put this in—but there’s a minute difference in people who go down that route. People that go down that route might say, “I don’t want to be stuck in this stuffy, corporate environment. I want to do this on my own and do what I want,” then there’s the people who say, “I want to be in control of what I’m doing. I want to do something people aren’t doing and I can’t do that in the current system, so I want to do that myself.” The second people want to be a professional about it. They want to compete with the higher level brands, so that audience wants to hear how they can incorporate professionalism in the world they’ve plunged themselves into. The context is people jumping into a swimming pool where everyone is doing back stokes, but they want to dive under.

There are people in every industry who want to do something that other people in their industry aren’t doing.

  • 45:02 Cory: How do you deliver the right kind of message in the right kind of context without compromising on your values?
  • 45:18 Kyle: I’m trying to piece together how your message or whatever you would like to accomplish would go against your values in the first place.
  • 45:28 Cory: Start with your values before you get to the message. If you’re trying to communicate to the indie publishing world, but you have a set of values based on the kind of work you will and will not do and the kind of quality you’re going to present—like not discounting or not working with certain people—start with those values. Then, that can tailor the message you’re wanting to present. You can’t say, “Here’s the message I want to get across and here’s the context, so I might as well fudge a little bit so I can get to these people.” You have to start with the values.
  • 46:18 Kyle: The way Hanna phrases this question is exactly that: what’s the best way to work within an industry where the culture doesn’t line up with the way I want to do business? There’s two different ways of going into it and it’s based on your values. You can either go in as a renegade type to rebel against the system and create crazy movements, or you can go in saying, “Here’s how I approach things,” and people start to latch onto that. There’s a subtle approach where it’s not offensive or culturally alarming, then there’s where you’ve started antagonizing them and the sharks come out.

Staying Relevant

  • 47:35 Cory: Emily asked, “What are some ways to use a backlog and context together? If something seems timely, should we rearrange the backlog to post it then?” I’m assuming that backlog means you’ve written a cue of blog posts, for example, and something happens or the context changes. And yes, rearrange the backlog!

Context is relevancy and relevancy is king.

  • 48:10 Content is about resonating with the right message. Context is about resonating at the right moment. You can say the right thing at the wrong time and it’s not going to be the right thing and nobody will care. If you say the right thing at the right time, boom!
  • 48:25 Kyle: I try to look at content distribution as each piece of content is somewhat of an experiment. You hear from people and you understand what they’re struggling with, maybe it’s only a vague understanding of it, but it’s enough to formulate this piece of content. You create the content, you put it out there‚hopefully you have some content lined up that you think would go in the right order—but someone might come back to you and ask you something you weren’t expecting. Maybe you didn’t think people would be at that point or you thought that wouldn’t be relevant yet and suddenly you have all these people wanting to know it. Push the content you have ready until the next week because then the people asking the question will be like, “Whoa! They knew I wanted to know about this next!” instead of posting it a month later when they’ve forgotten and their question isn’t hanging there anymore. It’ll still be relevant to them, but the context of being in the moment won’t happen if you don’t do it soon.
  • 49:47 Cory: I’ve seen so much higher engagement when someone sends me a question and I say, “I’m going to write a newsletter about that, expect it in the morning!” They get so excited that you answered their question. You’ll see a greater level of engagement the more relevant you are. That’s what you’re looking for! Also, it’s important to know it’s coming up because if something happens and what you had in the backlog for this week is suddenly inappropriate or doesn’t fit with what’s going on now in your industry, then you need to make that happen. Imagine getting an email from someone who asks XYZ, and then you say, “That’s a great question. I’m going to respond to that in a blog post in three months. Stay tuned!” Is that preferable or is, “I’m going to write about this tomorrow and I’ll send you the link?” That’s so much more powerful.
  • 51:47 strong>Kyle: A great example of this for what I do is that Apple is currently on iOS 9 and if they keep going on the same schedule, they’ll release iOS 10. I work with icons, so they might change icons. Maybe I’ve written a blog post on things that could change with icons in iOS 10 and I plan to publish that in a month because I don’t think they’ll release their new operating system for another few months, but suddenly we got a notice that Apple plans to announce the new operating system next week. If I haven’t written that yet, I have to go write all that, or if I stick with the schedule, I’m completely out of context.
  • 52:40 In a month, it will have been three weeks since they announced everything and I want to be ahead of that. I want to post that before they do their announcements. I want people to get my newsletter and think, “He already thought of these things!” You’ve seen where some company announces something and 10 minutes later there’s a blog post out there. It’s not a magical thing where 100 people are typing to get this blog post out in 10 minutes. They’ve probably already written a bunch of things about it and now they’re releasing it to be in exact context since there are a lot of people searching for that event or looking for people who have insights into what they just say, and you’re there for them.
  • 51:16 You can still create content in advance and still schedule it, but you can shift that around to make it in context. In fact, you’re probably better off that way because it’s already written. If you’re getting this overwhelming amount of questions and you’ve already written a post for next week with no other content, then you can’t share that next thing yet because you’ve put yourself in the position of only sharing the next thing you thought was relevant.

Asking Questions

  • 53:36 Cory: Timing can be everything. Keshna asks, “What if you’ve asked a question and they’ve never responded? Should you ask again?” She’s talking from the other side—not as the brand, but as the person asking the brand a question. Ask the question when the opportunity arises. You don’t want to come across as someone who’s annoying or like all you do is take. One of our best friends, Winston Scully, is a hand lettering artist and every time he posts on Instagram, there are people in the comments who say, “What pen are you using?” as if the pen matters. The tools don’t matter, but every time he posts someone asks questions like that.
  • 54:45 You can ask that question when the opportunity arises. If Winston were to say, “Ask me anything. I’ll do my best to get to your question,” then you could ask away about the pen or paper he’s using. Find the opportunity to ask those questions. You can ask different questions to a bunch of different people, but if you’re only ever asking a bunch of questions to one person, they’re probably not going to reply to you because that’s annoying. Read the room and look for the opportunities to ask those questions of those people.
  • 55:33 Kyle: As a content creator, I’ve seen this work for me many times. Sometimes those people that are asking that question are introductory, like we talked about earlier. Maybe they’ve literally just run across what hand lettering is. Maybe they haven’t been exposed to it yet and they’re interested, but they don’t even know what to use to get started. They’re searching to understand how this all works. I created a tool page on my site specifically for that reason. I wrote up a paragraph for each thing I generally use and how tools don’t necessarily make good design. It’s an information on the tools the I use.
  • 56:36 When someone asks questions about the programs I use and what I use to sketch things, which is often, I can send them to that page. If you’ve run across this person and suddenly you have a resource page, odds are that you’re going to reference it more than one time. Eventually you start diving deeper into what that person has to share because you understand it’s not about the tools, it’s about how you can start doing this thing better. You want to hear from this person more and their process. I say all this because it’s a pitfall to assume someone is being a nuisance.

If someone asks the same questions all the time, it’s because nobody has provided a solution.

  • 57:51 Cory: As content creators, take advantage of that. What are people asking? Answer those questions and present it. You definitely have to understand what side of that you’re on; are you the consumer or are you the producer? It’s easier for me to speak to the producer because you’re in control of the content that’s being put out, as opposed to asking the questions.

How to Utilize Live Feeds

  • 58:41 Eric asked, “Live, unedited feeds like Periscope seem to be gaining a lot of attention as of late. Would you suggest using these more in an off-the-cuff documentary style or actually preparing content to share on them?” It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. I’ve seen it done both ways. Some people have the Periscope set up with a teleprompter where they’re reading through what they want to do, or I’ve seen them producing another piece of content.
  • 59:12 Gary Vaynerchuck does this really well. He produces a daily video show called #AskGaryVee and while they’re recording that to release the following day on YouTube, they also stream live on Periscope so it becomes a behind-the-scenes exclusive thing. You can take people onto different levels of your brand with exclusivity (Related: e008 The Power of Exclusivity). I really like the behind-the-scenes, live aspect of Periscope because it makes me feel like I’m in the room with them, but it does depend on what you’re trying to provide.
  • 1:00:08 What kind of value are your viewers getting from your Periscope? What are you training them to expect? Are you telling everyone about the burger you’re eating at Burger King? If that’s going to become your persona, then you’ll be the Burger King guy. But if you want to deliver value and show people the kind of content you’re making, then absolutely do that. You have to figure out what your goals are with it first.
  • 1:00:40 Kyle: If it’s a main platform for you, you may consider upping the quality. Maybe it’s not the main thing you focus on, but it’s behind the scenes, then there’s a little room for slack. It goes back to your brand values as well—what are your content standards? What do you want to hold to and how does it fit in with these values? I think that’s more of what Eric is searching for: how does this fit into my values? That’s something you have to explore. What are you willing to compromise on and not compromise on? Are you willing to shift things? If so, what’s the reason and does that fit with Periscope?