Before you create a plan for expanding your audience and maintaining engagement, it’s important to know that what we’re discussing is actually marketing. The basic principles of brick-and-mortar business marketing can be applied. The 7 C’s of Marketing work well as a guide for audience development. This will help you determine where to put your energy and budget. It also serves as a reminder that the needs of your audience should be a top priority whenever you make business decisions. Here, we break down the 7 C’s and show you how to use the concepts for your own strategy.

Clients

The term “client” is mostly used to describe whomever you are selling your products to. For creators, the product is your content. The clients, in this case, are your viewers and followers. Since most online content is free to view, most of your revenue may not come from your clients. However, the ad revenue you receive is based on their views and engagement so they are still the clients and you’ll want to keep them happy. 

Convenience

Valkyrae merch store
Valkyrae’s merch store

In traditional business models, convenience takes a few forms depending on the product. If you sell clothing and accessories, having it available in shopping centers is good, but making it available online might be more convenient for your clients. You can take that to the next level by creating (or partnering in) a subscription service that sends new outfits monthly.

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We can apply this to audience development in the online content market, as well. Make videos available on your primary platform, of course. Then, increase the convenience by cross-posting to other platforms and encouraging viewers to follow you on all outlets. If you want to make it even more convenient, create a marketing campaign that will add it as sponsored content directly into their social media feed. 

Competition

When beginning to formulate a business plan, researching the competition is critical. It’s true in creator content markets as well. You’ll need to find creators that are doing what you want to do successfully. Also, look for those that have failed at the same thing. Consider what has worked well (or not) for others. Look for openings in the market where you can offer something special. For example, there are lots of travel channels. Some focus on obscure destinations and others focus on big attractions, some are created for specific audiences while others are generalized. Whatever you find when you scope out the competition, find a niche where you’ll be confident in your ability to bring strong content. 

Communication

Businesses communicate with consumers in many ways. The tagline or slogan is a great communication tool. Similarly, your “about” sections should be well-written, concise and clearly define what newcomers can expect from your content. It should inform them of how often you’ll add new posts and what inspires you to do what you do. Captions on your videos are another important aspect of communication. Not only does it help your audience development, but it also sends a clear message that you care about being inclusive.

Consistency

For most of his career, Pewdiepie has been known as one of the most consistent creators on YouTube. His consistency helped grow his channel to the size it is today.

Around the world, consumers expect consistency. For example, restaurants that serve breakfast should always be open in the mornings. If they sometimes decided to open at 10:30 am and other times open at 6 am, many customers would take their friends somewhere more predictable. For your online business, producing high-quality videos every week without fail can be challenging. It might make more sense to have new content on the first and third Friday of every month or to produce shorter content. Whatever you’ve decided, stick to it. If your audience finds that you’re inconsistent, they will quickly become inconsistent about tuning in to your channel. 

Creativity

Retailers understand the importance of creativity. It’s present in their advertising, window displays and merchandising. Apply this concept to your content as well. Having a creative niche will only get you so far. To keep your audience engaged, you must bring something new and interesting to them with every post. The goal is not only to hold their attention but also to be interesting enough that they share it with others. YouTube’s Creator Academy offers a tutorial on creative strategy.

Credibility

Many things factor into the credibility of a business, whether concrete or online. There are several things you can do to create and maintain your channel’s credibility. Focus on your area of expertise and use confirmed facts. Cite your sources so that your audience is assured. Avoid perpetuating rumors and be professional. As your audience learns that you care about these things, they will be more confident about recommending your content to their peers. They will also be more likely to give their attention to your future posts, as well.

Audience development is a marketing strategy

Following some of the guidelines used in traditional business marketing can help keep your audience growing and engaged. When you’re working hard to create polished online content, the need for a strong audience cannot be understated. After all, if you don’t have a highly engaged audience your content will scarcely be seen. There’s a lot more to successful audience development than sharing (and re-sharing) your videos and posts. Start with a solid plan that makes sense for your goals. Then, follow the plan you’ve created and enjoy the benefits.