It’s amazing what a difference the words you choose to use can make in what you do. This is especially true when it comes to comedians who are trying to find their way through a sea of marketing buzzwords that may seem a lot more applicable to the business world than they do to your comedy.
To help you cut through the jargon and see the real value/meaning behind some of these terms, I’ve put together a few translations that you may find helpful.
1. “Blogging” means “Creating”
I talk a lot about the importance of blogging as a way to attract new fans, but I know comedians have a very specific (and negative) connotation of the word. They think of a blog as an online journal where they talk about things like what they had for breakfast or other minutiae of their day to day life that most people probably won’t care about. But that’s a wrong impression based on the word.
Blogging is really just another way of suggesting you create content and post it online – preferably on your own website. That content may be written, may be video, may be audio, may be pictures, and can really be about anything you want.
It’s easy to think “blogging” isn’t important to your career or something that fits what you do, but if instead you replaced the word with “creating,” I doubt you’d feel the same way.
2. “Social Media” means “Having A Conversation With People”
Here’s one of the most commonly misunderstood terms that’s floating around out there. Too many comedians think of social media as a promotional tool, as this thing you do when you have something you want to promote, sell, or otherwise tell people about. But it’s actually much more than that.
Social media isn’t just about you talking at people, it’s about you talking with people. Social media tools were created to enable you to have a two-way conversation with people as opposed to just give you a place to ask people to do things for you.
Think about it – way before social media became a big buzzword there were plenty of opportunities for you to promote your stuff to people via email lists, posting on websites, etc. The leap that social media enabled was the ability to converse back and forth with these people. If you think of your use of social media as “having a conversation with people,” you’ll likely start using it much differently (and more effectively).
Remember, the “social” part is more important than the “media” part when it comes to social media.
3. “Promoting” means “Providing Value”
One of the main reasons comedians feel uncomfortable about promoting themselves and their work is because too often they’re not providing value in what they’re promoting. If you’re creating content, shows, or products that truly provide value for a targeted audience that will enjoy them, then you shouldn’t feel awkward about promoting them.
If you think about promoting more in terms of providing value, you’ll also likely wind up promoting different things and doing so in a different way. Don’t think about how you can promote yourself and your career, instead think about what you can do to provide more value to more people. When you do, the rest will take care of itself.
4. They’re not your “Fans” or “Followers,” they’re your “Friends”
It’s very easy to get caught up in the language of Facebook and Twitter and obsess over your fan and follower counts. Besides being meaningless – it’s how many people that care about you that matters more than how many people follow you – those terms can mislead you when it comes to your approach to your fanbase.
Instead of thinking of the people that follow you as fans, with you on a pedestal above them, try thinking of them as friends. They want to connect with you and feel like you’re equal – they don’t want to be your fan, they want to be your friend.
Obviously, you only have so much time and you won’t be able to truly be friends with all of your fans, but in general you can approach them in that way. Treat your fans like you would your friends – care as much about them as they care about you. Invite them to participate in what you do and in your career. Let them feel like they’re a part of your life and like you’re a part of theirs.
The closer they feel connected to you, the more they will root for you to succeed and the more they will try to help you get where you want to go. Don’t keep them at arm’s length, which is too often what happens when you think of them as fans or followers.
As you can see with these four terms, adjusting your own definition of what they mean is a simple thing that can really have a big impact on what you do and how you do it. What other terms do you think are misunderstood? Feel free to post them in the comments below…