We all know to run a business with longevity and profitability, you need a tribe of loyal brand advocates. To get that, you need to get their attention first, which is no mean feat in the very easily discriminatory digital world.

It was only a few years ago that we were all banging on about getting our content to “go viral”. But let’s face it, there’s only a few very clever marketers who will nail something so well it actually does. (eg. the Old Spice team!) These days, and understandably, it is all about building trust and loyalty with your tribe.

The only way you can build a loyal following of “buying” customers, is to develop a mutually respectful, trusting relationship with them. It works in real life, and given we are dealing with real people in the digital space it adds up that it works here too. And here are the best ways I have found:

1. Find your why

Everything is pointless if you force yourself to create content or to work in a field that doesn’t resonate with you. If you miss this step everything from this point onward is like swimming upstream. I believe that there has never been a better time to create a following around your passions. Blogging has been a great space which allowed us to talk about the things we loved and we had readers follow our stories. I believe that Simon Sinek’s TED talk on “Starting with your WHY” is a great starting point. Then read or listen to the book.

I know the key to success is always building from the right place. The place of authenticity. The place where you are most comfortable. The place where things come naturally to you. That is why I wrote the 5 Reasons you should do what you love and I genuinely believe that success sprouts from this point. And, while these reasons were great for inspiration, the awesomeness comes from the implementation. That’s why I believe that The 7 steps on how to get paid to do what you love is your next read.

Doing something about your purpose and reaching out to the people that would love to hear from you is the next step.

2. Organise your engagement

When you know your purpose, figuring out who you should serve becomes way easier. Usually these people you’d like to serve mirror some commonalities with you. Understanding these people, why they do what they do, what their problems are, what they do in their free time, what mistakes they constantly encounter and things that annoy them is all imperative. Start making a list and really start to think like them.

At this point you’ll understand how to best engage with them. Engagement, and understanding how to tell them a story that gets them to that “ah-a” moment where you don’t have to sell to them is crucial.

This whole process becomes easy only if you are coming from a place of authenticity. That is why step 1 is so important.

Let me give you an example: If you’re trying to get to high performing individuals who should be eating better for improved performance, then writing long articles about the subject might not be the best way to truly engage with them. Why? Because they are busy people and would love to consume content while doing other things. I believe that most people fall in this category. They would rather consume content while doing other things than by stopping what they do to consume it. That is why I believe that podcasting is the way forward.

After all my conversations with fellow podcasters, my research and past student success stories I know Why you can bet on podcasting and here are my 7 reasons why the podcast medium is going to explode.

3. Launch your systems

After you nail your purpose and how you’re going to engage with your audience, you need to make sure you get all your systems in order. These include your hardware and software recording systems – your marketing systems, your website plugins and your social media scheduling software.

If you are one of the rare few who don’t know how to find and listen to your favourite podcast, this is what you should do. Lifehacker has written an amazing article on the best podcast applications for Android. I use an iPhone, so I know a couple of things about how to listen.

Firstly, you already have the Podcasts app installed on your iPhone and you can’t delete it. So starting there and browsing would be brilliant, after you get a handle on how to search, and if you’d like better features I prefer to use the Overcast application.

These are 7 things you should never do when you start a podcast and this is my 7 step process to create a podcast. These 7 steps have helped my students get a lot of leverage on their podcasts and made their journey easier. These are the steps that I’ve used and have researched and spoken about to some of the legends in the podcasting game including Pat Flynn, Micheal O’Neal and John Lee Dumas.

4. Leverage your ROI

The idea of starting a podcast sometimes seems like a great idea, but where is the leverage? Where is the return on investment? These are important questions that need to be addressed, and ones you should consider every time you start any endeavour.

One of the most common questions, other than “what mic should I buy”, is “that’s great Ronsley, but where is the money in that“? So, I decided to address the “where is the money question in podcasting” head on. And, while these examples might be outliers to the general public, I think they are good examples to keep in mind.

5. Own your promotions

Understanding your people and your following in step 2 will make this bit a whole lot easier. There are a lot of stats to show that podcast listeners are very heavily tuned into social media. In fact, 56% of podcast listeners use social media sites at least once a day to several times a day. Which means that spending any less time promoting your podcast and its content through social media is a waste of resources.

From that point, you need to have call to actions within your podcast episodes, free courses, email opt-ins, paid courses, and promotions within your content to allow your audience to easily find what you have to offer. This step is key to make your podcast platform sustainable. You don’t want all your efforts to become a chore that you just do because you’ve started. This is the fun step and it is important that you identify the ways you take your listeners to a happy place by solving their problems.

6. Work your accountability

You have to remember that no person is an island, and having a community to support your dreams and aspirations are important. It is key to making the hard days easier, and the easier days fulfilling. You should find a bunch of people who you resonate with from a values standpoint, but they should think just a bit differently to you – the varying perspectives is always important.

When you have an accountability group, a mastermind group, a coach or even just a Facebook group, you put yourself out there more often. And, if I can weigh in on what the one thing most of us don’t do, it is putting ourselves out on the line.

Set yourself up to succeed. Get a bunch of people who will hold you accountable, week in and week out. This is the quickest way to getting results.