It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about all the things you could do.
As you’re thinking about structuring your content and your business, remember that Everything Good Comes from the Audience. VESPA will help you to stay focused and on-track with how you serve them, while allowing you flexibility to experiment and grow.
Values are the “water you swim in.” This is what sets the context for the community you’re looking to create. You don’t necessarily need to talk about them all the time, but you should be clear on what you stand for — and what you won’t stand for.
Robert Cialdini wrote about this as the “Unity Principle” — here’s my take, from Copyblogger, on what that means for us as audience builders: The Ultra-Powerful 7th Principle of Persuasion
The Power Question for this point is: What do I stand for?
The world already has more thin content than it needs. Expertise is your set of skills and knowledge that benefits your audience.
This is often your main topic — the practical (or even impractical) thing you teach or talk about.
Or your ability to make people feel like they’re at a great party with people who care about them, like Leesh Capeesh.
The Power Question for this point is: What does success look like (for them)?
Strategy is your own unique combination of audience-building techniques and business models.
You want to optimize your content to support the business strategies you’re working on today. That has a direct result on how much traffic you need, the kind of people who need to be in that traffic, and how you keep the lights on from day to day.
The Power Question for this point is: What does success look like (for me)?
Audiences engage with creators whose personalities appeal to them. You might be quiet or loud, funny or serious, humble or maybe a little cocky.
Don’t try to imitate creators who have big, over-the-top personalities, unless that’s actually what you’re like. Gary Vee is great, but one of him is plenty.
The Power Question for this point is: Am I being a big chicken? (In other words, what aspects of my personality am I hiding, instead of getting real and making a stronger emotional connection with my audience.)
Once you’ve got the first four points working (even if they’re imperfect), you’re ready to put your foot on the gas — what Brian Clark has called Acceleration.
Even the best content doesn’t magically find an audience. So when you have V-E-S-P in place, you’re ready to start using traffic strategies to grow.
The Power Question for this point is: Can anyone hear me?
There are lots of ways to accelerate your results by growing your audience, but some of the most successful are:
- Attention optimization (strong headlines and images, search engine optimization, OCDC)
- Ads (this includes “boosting” your content)
- Appearances (guest posting, guest podcasting)
- Allies (who else has the audience you want?)
When you use VESPA consistently, you have flexibility to experiment intelligently, without ever truly getting off-topic.
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