This article was inspired greatly by the work of KP & Kevon Cheung. Check out their stuff!
This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1 here.
After reading this article, you will never again run out of original content to post.
What’s more, content will be a byproduct of doing what you do best: Building.
Apply the principles below consistently, and you will get your first 100 customers online.
It's only a matter of time.
Whether you are an expert at building in public, or just starting out, there is something for you in this deepdive.
What we’ll cover:
- The mindsets necessary to continue #buildinpublic in the long term.
- Defining your niche and claiming a small piece of digital land as your own.
- Finding your voice: the channels, media-types and content that come to you naturally
- A longlist of #buildinpublic topics for inspiration
- Frameworks and blueprints to help you create content that tells a story
- Tips & tricks on form – aesthetics & emoji
- How to start building in public with little to no following.
Let's dive in.
Making starts in the mind.
It is a long term game with compounding results.
Which can make it difficult to continue to build consistently without loss of enthusiasm.
This is normal.
However, there are some fundamental shifts in mindset that will help you get the most out of building in public, and will let you stick to the process.
We cover those here.
Positive Sum Mindset
Something is positive sum when the more it is shared, the more the value it has for each individual.
F.i.: The more people have a smartphone, the more value you’ll get out of having one.
This is how we want you to look at knowledge and information as well.
I.e. your ideas and build in public content.
Ideas evolve when bounced off of other people.
Shared knowledge attracts knowledge.
The opposite of a positive sum mindset is a scarcity mindset.
If you feel you have to protect every idea, build it in stealth, not telling anyone about it because you are terrified of competitors and copycats, build in public is not for you.
Focusing on results when building in public you will kill your motivation real quick.
Instead, focus on giving: add value and create a continuous stream of original content.
People get too hung up on the likes, comments and RTs.
F– that. Use engagement metrics to help you listen what your audience responds to, not measure your self worth.
Service to Others
The basic assumption of #buildinpublic is that the value you put out there will return to you in multiples.
You first have to trust this truth, before you can create from a spirit of service to others.
If you focus on just this one thing, you will already be immensely successful.
No piece of knowledge is too good to share for free.
Create content so good people will pay for it, and give it away gratuit.
In return people will champion you, amplify you, and become your loyal fans.
Claim a small piece of digital land as your own.
We like to say: Your first 30 days of building in public don’t count.
You need them to piece everything together.
Your first 30 days of building in public are a learning experience on multiple levels.
You are not just learning the skill of building in public, it is also a search for your voice, and the development of your niche.
Your niche is a small space on the internet you can call uniquely yours. Your spot in the multiverse.
It’s an overlap of qualities that, when combined, define what makes you unique and what's your authentic message.
Being authentic is important, because "nobody can compete with you on being you". – Naval
It’s how you create something defensible that no-one else can touch.
A unique combination of skill, passion and market needs that only you can provide.
We will do a full deepdive on finding your niche at a later stage, but for now you need to understand that your niche is in the overlap of three things:
- Your Passion – What is the change you want to represent in the world?
- Your Unique Knowledge – What skills or combination of skills / knowledge are unique to you as a person.
- A Market Need – The answer to the question: What is the Market Aching for?
Nailing your niche can take some time.
When you find it though, double down on it and dedicate 90% of your content to it.
Every maker has a unique voice.
By that we mean the channels, media-types, and topics that work for you and your audience.
Your first month of #buildinpublic is also about finding your voice.
Your voice determines the tone of your content and whom it resonates with. Your voice adds to your uniqueness, so remember that authenticity still is key.
It helps people recognise your content, and helps new people discover it because it stands out. Even despite copycats, visualize value images immediately catch the eye.
When I read a tweet with a crackhead joke, I know it is Ed Latimore.
When its a bitcoin-take wrapped in a meme, you know Elon Musk has been celebrating 4/20.
The easiest way to find your voice is by coincidence.
The best way to shift coincidence in your favour is through experimentation.
- Experiment with different channels s.a. Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Substack, ... .
- Experiment with different media s.a. images, videos, audio, slides, products, ... (That's right, your products are a piece of content too. Especially in the context of building in public)
- Experiment with different Topics.
As Jack Butcher says: "Make noise, listen for signal."
A longlist of #buildinpublic topics for inspiration.
Unless you're the president of the USA, just tweeting out random thoughts won't get you very far.
It helps to focus a tweets around a specific topic.
There are no rules here – creativity rules, but there are some patterns we discovered in what the best public builders put out:
- Gratitude / Shoutouts
- Lessons learned
- Progress / wins
- Obstacles faced and overcome
- Next steps
- Ideas / insights
- Thoughts / WIPs / Top of mind
For more inspiration check out our #Buildinpublic Prompt Generator.
Some things do not need sharing.
Even though #buildinpublic's central feat is transparency, there is such a thing as oversharing.
People want to learn about your niche and are curious about the person behind the product, but at the same time they don't need to know what you had for dinner each night.
Furthermore, you are never under any obligation to share anything you are not comfortable sharing.
Transparency is central, but privacy is vital.
If you are super extroverted, leverage that, and create spontaneous videos TikTok-style.
If you are more of an introvert, perhaps stick to writing and go easy on the personal stuff.
It is OK to push your comfort zone, but don't overstep your personal boundaries.
Give your Content Context.
Create content that tells a story.
Below are some examples of frameworks we use to add narrative to our content.
- AIDA → Lead with value.
- Journey → Obstacle → Despair → Redemption
- Pitch: Promise → Problem → Solution (→ How to...)
AIDA stands for Attention - Interest - Desire - Action.
It is best used for content that has a call to action, and small pieces of value.
In a nutshell, it works like this:
- A – Lead with an attention grabbing headline or image,
- I – Make clear you are addressing something of importance, s.a. a nagging problem.
- D – Make a promise of value delivered that creates a desire for more.
- A – End with a call to action, such as: "Read the full article here", or "Check out our course".
AIDA works best when you have a specific call to action.
If your tweet doesn't require any follow-up, you can remove 'D' and 'A'. I.e. grab their Attention, and share something Interesting.
Examples of AIDA:
The Hero's Journey is the fundamental story-arc underpinning most books and movies. I
It is best used to describe parts of your own journey as a maker.
It goes as follows:
- Journey: Everyday ..., until one day ..., which caused the main character to embark on a journey (with a clear goal).
- Obstacle: On that journey, our hero faced one (or more) obstacle(s).
- Despair: As our story builds up to the climax, the hero is faced by such adversity that it causes a change in them, which leads to...
- Redemption: Our hero is a better / smarter / stronger / happier human now.
The hero's journey doesn't just work for single posts.
It can also be the larger arc underpinning your content strategy.
Take 100 Days of NoCode:
- It's a journey with clear goals and an outcome.
- People face and overcome challenges related to NoCode.
- Most participants lose hope at some point, or even quit (temporarily)
- Everyone comes out changed for the better.
Examples of The Hero's Journey:
The pitch framework is very problem → solution oriented and is best used for 'how-to' type posts. This is how to use it:
- Promise – Paint a picture of a valuable outcome your audience would wish to achieve.
- Problem – State a problem you will address.
- Solution – State the solution to that problem, f.i. in a 'How-to' format.
Examples of The Pitch:
Well-designed content stands out.
No matter which medium you use, people want something that's easy to look at.
Considering aesthetics might be obvious for images, but it is just as important for written copy.
People are lazy. You want to make consumption as easy for them as possible.
This means cutting to the chase. Getting to the point.
It also means formatting your content in a way that is digestible.
For images this might mean using contrast and whitespace to guide the eye to the core of the message. In it's simplest form, this is what visualize value do so well.
When writing, be aware that people are sensitive to rhythm and balance.
Vary short and long sentences. Avoid monotony.
Balance 'paragraphs' in your tweet in terms of length and weight.
Emojis guide the eye.
You can use them to lead the reader through your tweet.
Use them as substitute for bullets, or to draw attention to your attention grabbing headline.
Making video / audiograms digestible might be as simple as adding subs so people don't need to turn up their volume.
Also be sure to edit out any fluff that doesn't help to either 1) set the stage or 2) drive the main point home.
How to start building in public with 0 followers.
All beginnings are hard.
When Jelmer started building in public in Twitter back in September 2020 he had 135 followers – most of them inactive accounts belonging to high school friends.
He could have shared all the value he wanted, but without an audience it would have fallen upon deaf ears.
The goal is to share and be shared.
There has to be someone to engage on the other end.
So how do you get off zero?
You add value to somebody else's audience.
Gary Vee calls it the $1.80 strategy:
Leave your $0.02 in comments and Quote RT on 90 posts by other people every day.
Now 90 is extreme. We started with 3.
But we made damn sure those 3 comments were the most valuable, most thought-through and original comments one could make.
Also Gary's strategy focuses on LinkedIn & Instagram, but it works just as well on Twitter.
So start diving in the comments of the influencers in your niche to share resources, personal insights, and answers.
The effect? Their audience will become your audience.
People will start to follow you, anticipating more.
At that point it becomes a question of not disappointing them.
That's all folks! 👋
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