Charting a New Course for Solopreneur Success
How to make the most of being part of someone else's community project
Online summits have developed a bit of a bad reputation in recent years. We've seen some seriously shady tactics, such as demanding a list size of a certain number, or obliging participants to promote the project with a prescribed number of newsletter mentions or social media posts.
It sucks, and completely goes against the grain of what these projects should be about - community.
That’s why the community project model is so much better. The best community projects are a valuable experience for everyone involved, not just the host. And it's the host's responsibility to make it that way.
Being a part of someone else's community project can be a fantastic marketing opportunity for you, but (as with so many things in life) you do need to be engaged, and view the experience as the opportunity it is.
Here are some great ways that you can make sure that you make the most of your participation:
Craft an awesome submission
This one goes without saying, really. This is going to be the first impression that people are going to have of your business, so make sure you create something valuable. Follow your host's instructions carefully, and make sure that you proof read and edit before submitting.
Oh and a quick aside - do your host a favor and get your submission in on time!
Engage with the project
It's not enough to just submit your contribution and then forget all about it. If you want to reap the benefits of the project, then make sure you're fully engaged. That means signing up to receive the emails, joining the group and introducing yourself, and commenting on posts as the project progresses. Show up and be visible.
Promote the project
Great community projects deserve to be talked about. You've shown that you care about the topic by agreeing to participate, so do your part to make the project great by talking about it with your audience, especially as the project goes on. Share the work of the other participants and get involved with the promotional side. Your host should have provided you with graphics or swipe copy, so it should be really easy for you to share.
The more the project is shared, the more eyes on it, and that means more eyes on you and your business as well!
Be active in the group
However your host is managing the community aspect of the project - in a Facebook group, for example - make sure you take a few minutes out of your day to like or comment. And be available to answer questions etc. in the group on the day your submission goes live. If people get excited about your submission, and then see you engaging in the group, they're far more likely to go and check out your work.
Use it to broaden your own network
By being a part of a community project, you are exposing your business to a whole new audience who may never have heard of you otherwise. Use it as a networking opportunity to reach out and connect with kindred spirits.
They might be other participants in the project, or someone you get chatting to in the group, either way be open to connecting with new people and developing some new relationships - you never know what might come out of it.
Before the project even kicks off I recommend following your fellow participants on Instagram or other social media and start engaging. This way you'll be able to get a good sense of who you'd really like to connect with further.
Make it easy for people to find out more about you
Make sure you send the host a descriptive bio and links to your website and most used social media. Be discerning, and don't send links to everything you've ever done or people will be overwhelmed and not click on anything. Similarly, keep your bio short and sweet - if your bio is longer than your submission then you might want to rethink your priorities!
If the host allows it, offer a killer freebie to tempt people over to your website. The best freebies will be relevant both to the project, and to your business. If you have an existing freebie, then it might be worth tweaking the language, or even creating a separate landing page just for the project.
Show off your involvement
If it’s a great project that you’re proud to be a part of, then don't be afraid to show it off, even after the project has ended! Add the project ebook to your own website (with the host's permission, of course), blog about the experience, talk about it on your Instagram stories etc.
Develop your relationships
If you've been talking to people and connecting in the group during the course of the project, then make sure you can stay connected to those people once the project has ended. Find them on social media, sign up for their emails, bookmark their websites, or invite people on coffee dates (virtual or IRL).
I guarantee that if you approach being a part of someone else's community project in this way, it will serve up business benefits for you that you can't even imagine.