HOW DO YOU CREATE THE BIGGEST POSSIBLE REACH FOR YOUR MESSAGE, BOOK, OR CAUSE?
BECKY ROBINSON TELLS ME HOW?
Becky, thank you for agreeing to talk to me for my blog, Crossing my Bridges. I know you have just released your book. “Reach, Create the biggest possible audience for your message, book, or cause.” I found it practical as well as enjoyable to read. Tell me about this book and why did you write it?
Becky Robinson: Well, thank you for asking. I’ve always dreamed of writing a book. I started a marketing agency about 10 years ago and found that many of the ideas that I would share with clients and coaching calls were just a means of explaining the work I did in the world, and I wanted a way to capture those so that more people could benefit from them. In addition to just wanting to write a book for the joy of writing, I also wanted a way to bring my ideas to the world in a more concrete way to be accessible to more people than I can talk to on any given day or week or month or year.
Deryn: That’s an excellent reason to write a book because it does make it very accessible, and the price point is much cheaper than coaching calls.
Becky Robinson: Part of what drew me is also that I adore books and authors. I know how hard it is to sell books, having worked with others for more than 10 years. I really wanted to give authors and other creative people who have important messages a vision for the impact they can make if they’re willing to look at this from a long-term perspective and keep showing up with their work in the world.
Deryn: That is what you mentioned in your book, and it is over a more extended period. So, what is the best way to influence people for your work or your cause?
Try Not to become a person of Success but of Value – “Albert Einstein
Becky: I think it has to do with our willingness to create the same presence and content in our online lives as we do in our offline lives. I received a text message today from an author. She said, “If I go and speak, I can sell my book all day because I’m with people face to face. Should I stop doing my online presence?” The answer is no. If we only focus on the people we can connect with offline in our real-world environments, we’re limiting the reach of our message. But if we choose to show up online and share content, ideas, and value with others, we can expand our messages much farther than we could have in our offline lives. I’ve seen that evidenced in my own journey. I’ve been sending out a weekly email newsletter for some time. One of the people on my email list is a man from an African country, maybe Kenya. He sent me a note, I told him that I wanted to send him a signed book, so he put my book in his Instagram story this morning. I would never have the opportunity for my ideas to impact someone in Kenya or New Zealand, or another place I have never traveled to, apart from the fact that I choose to show up in online spaces and share value.
Deryn: I think that’s an excellent point. We’ve got such an opportunity with modern technology to do that.
Becky: It can feel overwhelming at times, especially if you’re just getting started. You feel that no one’s listening, reading, or no one cares. That’s why the long-term view is so important. Because if people know that we’re reliable, consistent, and have something of value to offer, they will start to follow us, listen, and learn from us.
Deryn: I think that’s a very valid point. You also mentioned in chapter 10 about the marginalized voices and how difficult it is for people who’ve got non-dominant identities to get their message heard. Coming from Africa myself, I appreciate what you said about that. Can you explain the challenges and how you can help address them?
Becky: Sure. It starts with understanding, recognizing, and acknowledging that creating Reach is hard for anyone. So anyone who has ideas to share may face barriers unless you were born into a famous family or famous yourself. Celebrities, politicians, and people whose names are household names. It’s much easier for them if they have a cause to promote or a book to write. If you look at the top 20 books on Amazon, at any given time, that are selling, you will see famous names. For those of us who aren’t famous, I want to acknowledge that it’s difficult for everyone.
But it felt vital to talk about the difficulties that people from marginalized identities face because I always want to recognize the responsibility for the privileges I enjoy. I have enough money to invest in spreading my message, and I have a network of people who will support that message. For those of us who have those extreme privileges, to appreciate and acknowledge them and then think about the responsibility that we have to help others’ voices be heard. I’m still trying to explore exactly what that might mean. Obviously, people who can hire my company and services are also people who come from a place of privilege. Sometimes people come, and they don’t have the resources. So, I look for ways to be generous and to think about ways that I could do work for free or at a discount to shine the light on a message that might not otherwise be heard or worth hearing.
Be Generous with people, especially those who are different to you.
I had a young man of 20 reach out to me this week looking for some help with publicity. Now he may have money and privilege, I don’t know. But he happens to have a terminal illness called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He wrote a book, so I think he has limited time to share his message. When something like that pops into my email, I get so motivated to think he has more significant challenges than most, and what can I do to help his important message be heard in the world? So whether it’s because someone’s a person of color, they lack resources, or whether they come from the LGBTQIA community and might not have their message readily received. Whatever the challenge facing that person, their message and story still matter.
So those of us who have a platform can be open to learning from them and realize that it’s not only the most popular, widely spread messages that are worthwhile.
Deryn: I agree with you because I like to amplify the voices of the marginalized too. I usually write a blog article on different types of marginalization, and that’s my theme this year of trying to amplify their voice.
Becky: Amazing! I look forward to learning from you what works. There’s also the danger of being seen as we are acting better just because we have a dominant identity. So really thinking about how we do it in a way that celebrates and recognizes the inherent worth of every human.
Deryn: You shared that you’re a Christian, and I think that is part of how we do that. How does that impact you and your view of the marginalized identity?
Becky: That’s a really excellent question. In some ways, this goes back to the stewardship and responsibility issue that I spoke about. Those of us who have privileges have a responsibility. There is a verse in the Bible, I can’t remember now where it is, that says, “Whoever has been given a trust must prove faithful.” When God gives to us in various ways, we need to use our gifts for the good of others. As a believer in Jesus, I want my life to emulate him, which involves loving others, welcoming them, including celebrating others. Then using the gifts that I have been given to help others.
Deryn: I like that word ‘others’ because I actually wrote a blog post on ‘others.’ Who are the ‘others?’ We look at people as ‘others,’ but we don’t actually see them, and we don’t see them as being part of us, and yet we are all one, we are all connected. As soon as you start saying ‘other,’ you are putting somebody in a different category than who you are.
Becky: That’s really thought-provoking and helpful to consider. I was also thinking about the humility potentially that comes from our faith. I was thinking about Philippians chapter two, where Paul talks about how Jesus didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped. He made himself nothing by becoming a servant. Paul calls us to consider others more. There’s that word about others again, but consider people more important than us. So, as it relates to amplifying people who might have marginalized voices. I wonder what might happen if we spent more energy and time, sharing others’ messages than our own or giving equal energy.
Deryn: No matter your identity, expanding your influence and cultivating your following is overwhelming for anyone trying to get their voices heard. Where do you recommend somebody starts?
Becky: So typically, where someone would start is to be clear about the value that they have to offer. Sometimes we use the word branding to describe that, but what I have found in working with creators and authors is that the clearer you can be about the value you hope to offer, the more easily people will recognize you as someone they might want to listen to. If you can distill your core areas of interest or topics that you plan to share, something that’s easily remembered and recognized. It will be far easier to attract people to your message. Identify what’s the value that you hope to add to the world. Secondly, building an online presence that can be valuable to others is to create a website that you own and control. This is where you want to share the best content you have. Start creating content and share it out there. Those are the important places to start, and it can take time to grow an audience.
I started blogging back in 2009, a long time ago, the blog that I wrote then is no longer on the internet, but all the archives of it are in a blog I started in 2011. So, we’re talking about a long time of building an audience. It might be two, three, or four people first who are reading, watching your videos, or coming to events. You want to share value so that people want to share it with others, then you can expand the reach of your work from there. One thing I didn’t say earlier is my definition of ‘reach’ is not only about expanding the audience but also about lasting impact.
Deryn: I think that’s very important. Perseverance. There are some books that you will still go back to and read years after publication because they had such value. That’s what we try to do, keep the value of the work that we present to the world.
We’re coming to the end of our little chat, but I’d love to ask you one more question. As a Christian, I’d love to hear about the unique ways the Lord showed up and carried you while you wrote and launched the book. Because I’m just at that point myself, I’ve got a book ready to go out. I want to know how it all turned out for you, to encourage me!
Everyday people can do great work in the world and create great impact
Becky: Sure. One of the ways that God shows up is through his people. I have a good friend who lives in Illinois, a few hours away from me. I’ve known her since I was in high school. One of the ways God showed up for me was with her consistent presence in my life, always encouraging me throughout the writing and marketing process. Jaime is someone who checks in on me every single day to see how I’m doing. She offers to pray for me when I’m discouraged. That kind of constant presence of a fellow believer, always showing up for me, God shows up through her. Another way that God has shown up for me. One of my favorite verses is from Lamentations, which says, “because of the Lord’s great love, we’re not concerned, for his mercies are new every morning.” One of the ways that God shows up for me is when I wake up each day, somehow, even if I was utterly depleted and exhausted the day before. God gives me fresh energy, just like the sun comes up every day. I find that amazing and miraculous. So those are probably the two most significant ways that God has shown up on the journey.
You know, there are lots of inflection points when you’re writing and publishing a book. You start to wonder, ‘Does my message matter? Is this book any good? Is anyone going to care? Is anyone going to read about it or read it?’ You ask yourself all those questions. When I first wrote the book, I felt good about it. Then I hadn’t really seen it in a while, and I started having doubts. I recorded the audio version of the book in January. That was the first time to return to the manuscript in a while. That opportunity to read my book aloud reinforced for me that I had done work that was worthwhile, and that had to be God’s showing up as well. To give me the encouragement at a time when I wasn’t feeling confident. Yet He renewed my confidence.
Deryn: That’s fantastic. We do need to have that encouragement now and then. God is showing us your message does matter. I believe we’ve all been given a job or mission in our place and time slot in the world and history. Why are we here for this specific time in history? We could have been born two centuries ago. We’ve got a message for today and for today’s people. I’m so thankful that you’ve written this book on Reach. I honestly would recommend anybody trying to get their message for a cause out to read this book. Or for marginalized people to get their message out and understand how hard it is for us and how much more difficult it is for them, so we can be more supportive of their efforts.
Thank you so much, Becky. I’ve so enjoyed our little chat together.
If you would like to get a copy of “Reach, Create the Biggest Possible Audience for your Message, Book or Cause,” by Becky Robinson you can get it on Amazon. She practices what she preaches with generously giving a huge amount of extra content by scanning in the QR Codes at the end of each chapter.
Bring the best of who you are and what you have into the world