When you're building a brand, the point is to make people like you.
You want them to feel like your brand is something with which they can really make a genuine, human connection.
You want fans and followers, people who look up to your brand as a symbol that means something and reflects their values.
But naturally, not everyone is going to like you. That wouldn't be a realistic expectation.
Think about Apple.
They have a fervently devoted fan base, but at the same time, there's also an entire community of people who come together because of their hatred for Apple and everything it stands for.
Despite the existence of that second group of people, Apple is far and away one of the world's biggest branding success stories.
It's a staple of business and marketing textbooks, a case study on branding done right.
Having fans and allies can mean you'll also attract the exact opposite: haters and enemies.
That's not always a good feeling for a solopreneur who worked hard to build their brand, but it can actually be a good thing.
In a recent Whiteboard Friday post, Rand Fishkin of Moz explains why.
Before you create, ask yourself: Who will help amplify this, and why?
So you can see that these might not be things that you naturally think of as earning enemies.
But when you're creating content, if you can go through this exercise, I have this rule, that I've talked about many times over the years, for content success, especially content amplification success.
That is before you ever create something, before you brainstorm the idea, come up with the title, come up with the content, before you do that, ask yourself:
Who will help amplify this and why? Why will they help?
[image source: Moz]
One of the great things about framing things in terms of who are my allies, the people on my side, and who are the enemies I'm going to create is that the “who” becomes much more clear.
The people who support your ideas, your ethics, or your position, your logic, your data and want to help amplify that, those are people who are potential amplifiers.
The people, the detractors, the enemies that you're going to build help you often to identify that group.
The “why” becomes much more clear too.
The existence of that common enemy, the chance to show that you have support and beliefs in people, that's a powerful catalyst for that amplification, for the behavior you're attempting to drive in your community and your content consumers.
I've found that thinking about it this way often gets content creators and SEOs in the right frame of mind to build stuff that can do really well.
Don't Sweat the Haterade
Don't forget that if you're getting some Haterade for the content you create, a lot of people when they start drinking the Haterade online, they run.
They think, “Okay, we've done something wrong.”
That's actually not the case.
In my experience, that means you're doing something right. You're building something special.
People don't tend to fight against and argue against ideas and people and organizations for no reason.
They do so because they're a threat.
If you've created a threat to your enemies, you have also generally created something special for your allies and the people on your side.
That means you're doing something right.
You can read more about why you shouldn't be afraid to have strong opinions over at Moz.