With the internet allowing ways to freely publish content to the world, becoming known while pursuing a passion has become easier than ever. However, it’s still not as easy as it sounds; otherwise, everyone would be known for what they do. We know that’s not the case, and it’s not because the content is not worth noticing, but because there is a certain way to effectively share content.
Before you begin sharing, you have to have something to share. Create exactly what you love to create, unhindered and without the constraints of trying to become known for it. If you’re really passionate about it, you probably already do this. However, if you haven’t begun yet, create on your own for a while. Make sure you’re actually passionate about it and your work isn’t being influenced by the opinions of others. Now once you’re ready to share your work with others, you must first answer the question: “why is this thing important to me?” The answer to this question needs only to be important to you. Don’t fall into the trap of pleasing others, or pursuing what is popular if it’s not something that matters to you. This is much better than being half-heartily appreciated by many, for something that you’re not passionate about.
As long as you know why it’s important to you, your work will most likely reflect and align with your beliefs. Subsequently, it will be appreciated by those who understand why it’s important to you. Try to embody those motives in everything that you do; make this message a part of yourself that you’re able to share through your work. Try to make this message clear, palatable, and tempting. Keep in mind that it’s not about spreading your idea; it’s about giving your idea the ability to spread. You want to make your idea a core part of who you are, and execute it so well that people talk about your idea, and share it with the people they know. Strong word-of-mouth referral is more powerful than any marketing campaign.
The second, equally important step to becoming known for your passion is publishing. Exhibiting your work in the public arena is the way you reach potential supporters, who just haven’t discovered who you are yet. This should be by both providing your valuable content locally to the people near you who know you personally, as well as remotely through the internet. The diversity of the different local and remote networks you utilize act as multipliers on the level of exposure to your work, and the growth of your audience. However, anyone can create and publish, and anyone can create a few things well. This is not what draws the right type of attention to yourself or the things you create. Gaining a loyal and supportive audience is obtained by three principles: Consistency, Curation, and Creating your Niche.
Whatever you make, make it consistently. Whether once a month, once a week, or once a day, publish that work on a consistent basis. Your content needs to be similar to a subscription, because people will treat your content like such, and that includes how regular they should expect content from you. Consistency in your work reflects the commitment and passion you have for it and your current audience. It also positions yourself as a knowledgeable person in the type of work you do. Even though I had known this before, I experienced this first-hand during my job as a camp counselor this past summer. Every day at camp, I created lettering in my sketchbook, and people began to notice that I did something every day. After several weeks of witnessing my consistent output, they had eventually associated lettering with me. Near the end of camp, there were special camp T-shirts that required someone to hand-draw names on the back of them. Out of everyone at a camp, the referrals for this honor seemed to unanimously point towards me. This was because I had established myself as an authority in lettering through my consistency, so well that I was in the forefront of peoples’ minds when they thought of lettering.
As you create consistently, be sure to curate what you share. Going back to the idea of treating what you share as a subscription, think about all of the magazines out there. Magazines require curation to be successful. A magazine about cars in general is not going to be as successful as a magazine about European sports cars. People want a specific thing, or at least know what to expect from you. When I was doing my lettering at camp, I had been publishing my work on my Instagram as well. All the lettering was done in my small sketchbook, which I included a daily story about a camp moment in my posts. By doing this every day, I built up a body of posts that consisted of hand-lettering pieces in a small sketchbook about personal moments at camp. This gave my audience and potential followers the expectation that my next post would most likely be the same type of content as the last. Anyone that was considering following me could take one quick look at my content and know exactly what to expect if they decided to follow me. Whatever it may be, project a single thing and do it well. You want to allow your potential supporters to clearly see who you are – make it easy for them to know what you’re about.
Lastly, you need to create your niche. Your niche is how your content will provide a type of value that is unique only to your work. It’s a way to provide a type of value that no one else can, compared to those who provide the same type of content as you. Using my lettering experience at camp once again, there were a few pretty good artists at camp, but I had separated myself by having a specialty in typography that no one else had. Camp is a small community, so I didn’t need as tight of a niche to separate myself from others. On Instagram, I highly doubt there were many hand-letterers posting daily journal pictures, from a summer sleep-away camp. I had a pretty tight niche on Instagram then, however, your niche doesn’t need to be complex. Just find a way to set yourself apart from the people who create similar content to you. Just keep in mind that a tighter niche is needed as you move to larger communities and networks in order to maintain your relevance within them.
Once you’re able to produce the work you’re passionate about, initiating the principles of consistency, curation, and creating your niche are the keys to becoming known for it. With these keys, the most important factor that binds them all together is time. You have to consistently publish curated, valuable work over a long period of time. Many people that understand the principles unfortunately lack the patience that is required to make it a reality. Don’t look at the time as a hurdle, rather appreciate it. The time is a special opportunity for you to improve your craft and to build meaningful relationships with the people that currently support your work. If you’re really passionate about it, the time will pass before you know it.
I’d love to hear from you!