One thing to focus on weekly is looking at what you are contributing to the community and what you are contributing to your online legacy. Your community is your contacts online, the people you interact with, share info, help and connect with. Your legacy is your body of work, what you create, what you develop and share with your audience. Most of what you share with people should be focused on your body of work, because that is the most permanent. That will provide you the most traction for advancing your creative career.
For years I have had various websites, email newsletters and podcast/online shows going in one form or another, it has been a way to get out information and convey to an audience what I was up to. The focus on keeping people in the loop built a following which kept everyone involved. Of course I do realize that doing something like a weekly show is work, but producing content on a regular basis is key to growing your audience.
Lets put it this way: you spend two hours interacting on social networks or you spend two hours doing some blog posts, maybe a video for your fans or updating your website. Both sessions involve some work, both can be fun and both have you contributing. But the two hours in social networking can be fleeting and not very permanent. 10 comments on a variety of blogs, chats back and forth on Twitter, checking out various links and images posted on Facebook, etc. You’ll get something out of it, you may catch the attention of some people, take part in a fun conversation, maybe find some new links and that will be about it.
Now think about two hours working on a blog update or doing a new video. Once you post those, its permanent and accessible. Every person you connect with can look back at the items, at any time, for years. It builds on your previous work, it grows the body of content you are pushing out to the masses. If anyone wants to see what you are up to, popping into your website is one easy stop. If your website has not been updated in weeks, it almost appears that you have not been making progress to the interested viewer. Show what you have been up to. Try to work to keep everyone up to date.
Lets take it to an extreme. You spent a year interacting on social networks, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. You’ve made some connections, got a lot of info and contributed to the community. But a few years from now, most of those items will be long gone. Say you spent a year updating your website or blog often, daily or even weekly, with video, images, opinions, tutorials, etc. A few years, even a year from now, you’ll have an amazing body of work that anyone can access at any time. And you can look back with a lot of satisfaction, you’ll suddenly start saying “wow…I did a lot” as opposed to “where did the time go and what did I accomplish to gather interest in my own empire?”.
Look at the people you really admire online. Chances are they are pushing out content on a weekly or daily basis. Chances are even better they have a large following. They do work the social networks, but the main difference is they have become a resource. They are a landing point. They are essentially putting on a show and more people are gathering around it. I am not saying to avoid building up your Twitter streams and Facebook pages, but keep in mind, you are building traffic and an audience primarily for Twitter and Facebook. Work more on your own site, your own house. Use Twitter and Facebook as secondary tools to keep people aware of what you are up to, but the focus is best if it is on your own website and domain.
It is important to take part in the community. Digital connections are vital. But if all you have are connections and interactions, with no content, your career may be much harder to build. You may spend more time going after people and clients, as opposed to building something that brings people directly to you.
Don’t fall into the trap of being very popular on-line but struggling to keep your business afloat.
You give someone your business card, they take it home and go to your website. How big is the world you want them to explore? How compelling is it? When was it last updated?
Really start to think about building up your empire online. Your digital legacy. Try building your own house, rather than spending all your time visiting other houses.
What can you do now that can ramp things up? What have you done lately?