Finding your audience begins with knowing yourself. The longer journey, though, is hearing the genuine voices of those that are finding you and finding your work.
Ralph Waldo Emerson inspired the saying,
“build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”
Perfect. So, after you have pushed through the work, solved the problems, and finalized all the steps – your creation is complete! Open the gates, so the masses can be enriched and enlightened.
Um . . . where are the masses? Where is that well-beaten path?
That old saying left out some important info, like, how did all those path beaters find out about the better mousetrap? And, how much feedback did the inventor need to finally land on the ‘better’ idea?
Old sayings aside, there are currently an abundance of opportunities to not only get your work in front of people, but also to have direct access to that audience. And, a potential key feedback point in your work is the direct response from the people consuming it.
So, who is responding to your content? And, what is their response? What usually happens in the beginning, as we are first putting our content out in an accessible place, is that we don’t get any response. Basically, no one is consuming the content.
No one is watching. No one is reading. And then, you have the one. That first one. The first reader, or watcher. But, no comment, no response, just the information that, yes, they were here. Your content was read, it was watched. But, by whom? And what did they think? Did they love it, or hate it? Or worse: did they even care at all? And possibly, you may have that cavalier attitude of, “It doesn’t matter to me if anyone watches it or reads it. That is not the reason I am creating, anyway.”
Ok, yes, as creators, we need to be vigilant around our original inspiration. We certainly need to be true to ourselves in the process of stewarding it from idea to final format. However, it’s what happens to our creation after it is released that holds the most potential for impact. I believe that we have the additional responsibility to listen for the responses from those who have found our work. Here are four questions we can ask which may help us increase our impact as creators:
- Who is my art speaking to?
Find out how old they are. What do they do? What shows do they watch, or what do they like to read? Are they active? Where do they live?
- What do I hear them saying about my art?
Listen to the specific words they use to describe it. Do they think something is missing, or something is too much? Do they look up to your work, or admire it as the thoughts of a peer?
- How do I feel about their response?
Does the feedback make you happy? Sad? Angry? Are they telling you something that you already thought of, or is it a new revelation of your work?
- Am I able to see a way that their feedback can help me make better art?
I am not talking about re-doing the work you have already created, but listening to the input and testing it as part of your process the next time around.