Andrea Kuchinski had no pretenses of being a great writer - she started blogging simply to keep herself accountable for her weight loss. By blogging, she reasoned, she was putting it all out there and taking ownership of her attempts, failures, and successes.
The more Andrea blogged, the more her audience grew. First, the blog grew into a business, and then a movement. Andrea discusses how it all came about on a podcast recording, and shares plans for the future of her business, From Thick to Thin.
There are three important takeaways in Andrea's story for every marketer.
- Be authentic
- Listen to your audience
- As you grow, don't give in to the temptation to be less real
Before we get into the details of these three points, here's a little more background on Andrea's story.
As Andrea blogged, an audience of women who could relate to her situation started paying attention to what she had to say about her struggle to lose weight. One of Andrea's frustrations was that the major fitness apparel brands did not have product for women her sized. What's more, she felt shamed by those companies, as if she was an unhealthy person who was unworthy of fitness apparel in which she looked good.
When Andrea wrote about her feelings of being left out by makers of fitness apparel, her audience responded. They, too, had the same feelings. They too had looked for fitness apparel that they would look good in, but couldn't find it.
Andrea realized a real demand was there, and decided to fill it by offering clothing in the right sizes with motivational slogans on the tops. Here are just a few of those slogans.
- We Are All Wonder Women
- Healthy Strong Me
Today, From Thick to Thin is not only a line of gym clothing for women, size Extra-Small to 5XL, it's also a mission to disrupt the status quo by showing the big brands that women don't need an ideal body to look great in the gym.
And here's why those three takeaways have been so important.
"Being real" resonates with people. Your audience can feel when you're telling your story straight from the heart and when you're faking it. Faking it might be good enough to improve your search engine rankings, but it won't help you attract and grow an audience.
This is true whether you are a solopreneur or CMO of a major B2B brand. Bots don't buy things, people do.
Listen to your audience
Once you engage your audience with content on your website and social media, listen to what they have to say. A continuous sales assault on them might help you sell five more widgets, but it's unlikely to help you understand what they really want or need.
Listening showed Andrea what her new business should be.
Can being a better listener enable you to improve your product line, launch something totally new, or improve customer service? You won't know until you produce content with an authentic voice and then listen to your audience's response.
As you grow, don't give in to the temptation to be less real
When you start a business (or even a department) as the sole content producer, scaling those efforts as the business grows is a challenge. There is a very real temptation to relax your standards and produce more generic, less authentic content. But losing your authenticity will cost you your audience.
Giving up some control does not mean that you have to give up your standards. Keep your content true to your brand. Make that the core of your content strategy.
Last word goes to Andrea
As Andrea Kuchinski says in the podcast, "It's the content that people want, they want to see the face behind the brand and feel the transparency."
Which leads to the question, how could your content be more authentic and transparent?