It’s been a few years since I’ve been up on stage as a musician. I’ve been in a lot of bands over my years and the last two were called the Pretzel Boys and Dough. The Pretzel Boys was a full band with drums and PA systems. Dough was a two-man acoustic band. The reason we called ourselves Dough is because pretzels uncooked are made of what? Dough. And “Dough” is two for the duo.

The biggest thing about being in a band is you learn how to read your audience. For example, we’d usually play three sets a night and it would be about a three-hour gig. The first set sets the tone of the evening. You get people warmed up a little bit, play some songs they know, maybe some songs they don’t know, and you pay attention to what they are responding to.

Not every band has the same experience every single night. If your band plays original music, you tend to have setlists. If you’re playing other people’s music, you have more flexibility to adapt. So if the audience liked The Beatles that night, the second set, we would modify it to do more Beatles. If they like Tom Petty one night, we would do more Tom Petty.

Adjusting Your Content

It was all about whatever the audience was responding to. And at the end of the night, you had your third set and you would always save your best for last. What this taught us, and taught me especially, was how to read the audience to keep them engaged and have them embrace your content. And we can do the same thing with our content online but it takes a little bit more work because you don’t always get a chance to see their eyes or their faces and watch them sing with you.

What you can judge are likes, comments, and shares. But even that’s not a hundred percent accurate because you don’t always see them until you go look at the information. “Oh, somebody shared this three times. That’s awesome.” When you’re creating content, you have to have a system behind you that allows you to test it as you go along. A lot of times, we try to create things and just finish them and then move on to the next thing. But some things need a little bit more tender loving care if you want your audience to embrace your content.

Bootcamp Re-Boot

For years, I’ve been doing LinkedIn Boot Camps. These are live events, four hours long, where I would stand in front of a group and teach them everything they needed to know about LinkedIn. But then the pandemic hit and the last one I did live was right before everything shut down. Since then a lot has changed. Not only has LinkedIn changed, so I need to update it that way but the way that people are using it is different.

People had to reinvent the way they were finding new businesses. “Hey, since we can’t go visit people live, I’m going to jump on social media and prospect there.” Well, that kind of changed the entire atmosphere on LinkedIn and a lot of people’s minds about using social media. So I knew I had to reinvent my Boot Camp from the ground up.

Part of the reasoning behind this was that I was contracted to do LinkedIn training for a group, and it was very specific to their needs. It really made me build it from the ground up. So after I taught the first class, I said, “Hey, I think I have something interesting here!” But I needed to test it. I needed to get this in front of a handful of different audiences and see what kind of response I got.

When I did the class, they loved the new perspective and they wanted more, which was great. That meant that people were excited to show up to the second class, and the third, and the fourth. But I wanted to take this a step further because I’ve set such a high expectation in that first class. I wanted to make sure that I was able to deliver that same level of excellence across all of the meetings.

Taking The Audience’s Pulse

The Mastermind

I created a presentation around what I was teaching and I had the opportunity to speak in front of an online mastermind group. I took what I did in that class and put it in front of this B2B based group. They loved it. The perspective for their audience, using LinkedIn, and the concepts I was talking about resonated with them. I made some great connections with some new people who really enjoyed my presentation. That showed me that it worked.

Affiliate Webinar

Then I hit up one of my affiliate webinar partners and said, “Hey, I got something here. You want to do a partnering webinar?” In affiliate marketing, usually, if you sell something, you give them half and you keep half, which is fine. But it was a way for me to test this in front of a different audience. This was more of a consumer-based marketing audience. And they had a smaller perspective on sales and the ROI of what I was presenting. It kind of fell like a dud. I did sell one person into it, but the vast majority of everybody who came just didn’t connect with what I was saying. And they didn’t feel like they would get the value, which is fine. This told me, “Hey, it’s not going to work in this niche.”

The Test Video

The third thing I did was take all of that feedback, put it together, and create a video. I did a condensed video that was short, about 25 minutes. Then I put it in front of a couple of mentors. Each one of them watched it and gave me feedback. They really beat me up and said, “You’ve got this but you really need to explain that better or take that out.” I need to massage the heck out of it. But the bottom line was, they were right. They saw it from a perspective I couldn’t see. And they helped me to optimize it again.

The On-Demand Presentation

The final thing that I did is create a new video based on all their feedback and shared it with them. I made a couple of small tweaks, then redid it one more time. And they said, “You’ve got something here.” So now I have this presentation and I put it out to the world with an email. I put it in front of my tribe and my 1500 people that are on my email list.

And guess what? It resonated with the people I expected it to resonate with and the ones that it didn’t were the same type that was in that webinar crowd. This meant that I was getting great feedback on which people in my audience were more slanted towards the B2B side of the business and the ones that were more consumer-oriented. That gave me some great feedback about the makeup of my audience based on who engaged with it. Now, I could even further segment the people on my email list.

Final Thoughts

Let me leave you with some final thoughts and some lessons learned.

In order to be successful, you have to be unique and explore new perspectives. Next, you need to share with multiple audiences, even when you think you know what the outcome is going to be, you might just be surprised. Third, make sure you’re putting it in front of a fresh set of eyes and be open to some heartbreaking criticism. It’s only going to make it better and make you better. Fourth, be willing to work hard at every stage to update and optimize your message. It takes time to perfect it. And then finally, know when it’s time to present to your audience. You have to get it to the point where you feel like your audience will respond to it in a way that you expect. That’s how testing and growing your content one, two, three, or more times can get your audience to embrace your content in a way that you never thought possible.

The lesson of being a musician taught me that at the end of the night, you always want to leave them wanting more. People would be screaming Free Bird but we would play American Pie. Why? Because Free Bird featured guitar solos. And at the end of the night, nothing went over quite as well as a drunk sing-along song.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about how to get your audience to embrace your content. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?