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Getting in front of other people's audiences (OPA) is the key to growing your online community fast.

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

What if your inbound growth is too slow?

One of my favorite blogs, Copyblogger, ran this awesome post the other day — The Smart Way to  Use Other People’s Audiences to Build Your Own.

While this might not be a revelation for most of you following this blog, I really find this term useful: other people’s audiences. Or OPA for short. OPA is an acronym that I will start to use frequently in my work — and I think you should, too.

Here goes:

What if You Need fast Growth?

Most community managers I talk to are struggling with the same dilemma. And when I ask readers to share their number one digital marketing challenge with me, it’s often times the same story.

You passionately create great content and you publish it in a timely fashion. Everything is optimized to feel native to your chosen channels and platforms.

Your growth is steady, but far from explosive. When you do the math, you realize that it will take you a long time to reach any type of critical mass.

You tell yourself that you’re building your audience responsibly because you don’t want to build a community only looking for mindless giveaways and cheesy sweepstakes.

Still, the growth simply isn’t fast enough for you to contribute to the bottom line. Every hour you spend on a community that simply hasn’t reached a critical mass yet is an hour that will be difficult to defend internally.

Recognize this problem?

The ‘Epic Content’ Myth

Great content is … well, great. Some say, “content is king” and to some extent, I agree.

Without great content, what claim can you make in regards to taking up the valuable attention of others?

Unfortunately, many believe that ‘epic content’ alone will get the job done. But it takes more than a king (or a queen) to rule a kingdom.

Because here’s the truth:

Putting out ‘epic content’ will engage your existing community and attract more inbound traffic, engagement, and followers. However, great content is first and foremost what allows you to keep your existing community. And keeping (or converting) your community is indeed important.

Still, you need to reach a critical mass for your community to harvest the bottom line results you need for your business.

So how do we get there?

How to Use OPA to Grow Your Audience

These are my best tips for how to get in front of OPA (Other People’s Audiences):

1. Offer the Influencer Exclusivity

Exclusive is the way to go. This is why you need to create exclusive content. Some online influencers are reporting the news, others are providing valuable knowledge, but in either case — exclusivity will help your pitch greatly.

Examples:

When doing product shots, take some extra shots that can be pitched as unique content.
When doing video, do some extra clips for exclusive distribution.
Do variations of infographics with different focal points using the same statistics.

2. Use Your Own Traffic as Leverage

When pitching your content to others, remember that you yourself can drive traffic once it’s up. I always do this when public relations students pitch me their projects — I ask them to share my post featuring their content like crazy. It’s a win-win but not a no-brainer; I often have to ask pitchers to make this effort, otherwise, it doesn’t really happen. When you’re pitching, make sure to outline how you can drive new traffic from your channels to theirs — if they post your content that is.

3. Include the Influencer in Your Content

If you include the publisher in your content in some way, your chances of success will be so much greater due to the narcissistic principle. There are tons of ways to execute this and you can be really creative about it!

Examples:

Watermark your visual content with “Exclusive for …”
Make a podcast or a Skype interview with the influencer that they themselves can use.
Link to valuable archive content of theirs in the copy text.

4. Offer the Influencer a Lead Magnet (or Content Upgrade)

A lead magnet (also called content upgrade or opt-in bribe) is often some sort of downloadable content, like a presentation, an infographic in high definition, a template, an ebook or a cheat sheet. By offering this type of high-value content exclusively to the online influencer, they can offer it to their audience in exchange for their email addresses. For many online influencers, list building is a very critical component to their growth strategy.

5. Ramp-Up the Influencer’s Content

By including ramp-ups, you can help the published content to go viral. The easiest way might be to make key quotes into tweetables (see clicktotweet.com). Since you can use pre-written copy, you can easily include hashtags and usernames relevant to the publishers and by doing so giving their online reach a boost.

Examples:

Contest JavaScripts.
Widgets for tell-a-friend, polls etc.
Social and creative call-to-actions.

6. Provide Ready-to-Go Native Content

So you have some content to pitch to an online publisher? But are you providing them with different versions of your visuals that will make it easy for them to also publish on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube and so on? Don’t just pitch them a single piece of content, pitch them a full content package and even suggest share copy for various social networks.

7. Score some Easy SEO Points

Use a software like Scribe to make sure that your text content actually will help the publisher in their keyword strategy. I can assure you that savvy online publishers will appreciate this.

8. Continuously Build Your Network

Your chances of success will increase exponentially if the online publisher knows and respect you before you pitch. To get there, you need to help them grow their audience in various ways. Share their content, provide them with social proof through comments and sharing and recommend their work to others. And do this beforehand with an honest approach. It’s never too late to start.

9. Be an Online Influencer Yourself

I could list hundreds of ways on how to behave properly when pitching. But there’s nothing quite like being an online publisher yourself. You don’t need a massive audience to acquire the right mindset. With just a little bit of traction, you will get pitches yourself that are really bad — which will protect you from making the same mistakes yourself!

What are some of your best tips on how to get in front of OPA (Other People’s Audiences)? Please share in the comment section.

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.


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