One of the select email newsletters I receive is The Tilt. It’s for content entrepreneurs and has some good articles that always spark some new thinking or perspectives in me. Last Friday, they had a great new post on Grow a Community, Not Just an Audience. And they are soooo right.
The article begins:
Gregarious Narain, co-founder of Zealous, explains the big differences in his Creator Economy Expo presentation.
“An audience is a group of individuals who share a common interest in a creator’s content, typically consuming and interacting with it in a passive manner,” he says.
“A community is a group of individuals who are not only connected by a shared interest in a creator’s content but also through shared values, active participation, and meaningful engagement,” Gregarious says. “Community members often collaborate, contribute to content creation, and form deeper connections with each other and the creator, fostering a sense of belonging and mutual support.”
And in thinking about that in my marketing work, or even my “work” at the fire department, it IS all about community. Growing a participative group of like-minded individuals that work together the the betterment of the whole. Betterment… I don’t think i’ve ever used that word before! Ha!
Audience vs Community
Building an audience and cultivating a community are two distinct concepts, each with its own unique benefits and challenges. An audience, in its traditional sense, is more of a passive entity. You broadcast content to them, they consume it, and the interaction typically ends there. It’s a one-to-many relationship where the creator holds the megaphone, and the audience members are the listeners.
On the flip side, growing a community is more of an interactive and dynamic process. It’s not just about sharing content but also fostering an environment for dialogue, collaboration, and mutual support. Instead of a mere one-to-many relationship, here we are nurturing many-to-many relationships. In essence, a community is like a living organism where members not only consume content but also contribute to it, form deep connections with each other, and often collaborate for the betterment of the group.
In the world of marketing, while growing an audience and driving traffic is important for reach and visibility, cultivating a community can lead to higher levels of engagement, loyalty, and advocacy. So, whether you’re a content creator, marketer, or a firefighter, it’s not just about gathering an audience, but more importantly, fostering a thriving community.
Happy day building your community!