Quick Tips to Test Your Idea Before Publishing

Before you start your next creation, you have to answer a very important question, "Will this project be for me, or will it be for my audience?" There's not a wrong answer here, as long as you keep your goals straight.

If it's a personal project, then you're after self-discovery: a chance to learn something new about your capabilities and who you really are. Maybe others will be interested, and maybe not. The outside audience is secondary.

If it's a project for your audience, then you must put their needs first.

Let's look at it from the example of blogging.

Finding the Draw

Though personal blogging has largely given way to Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and the all the other social media channels, the new writer will often start with his or her own experiences. Write what you know, right?

Well, not always. While journaling is a remarkable way to learn more about yourself, it's not always useful to an audience. I have different struggles than you do, and you have different struggles from your neighbor.

Not everyone is interested in writing as a way to share your ideas with the world, but this same basic concept can be carried over to a device manufacturer or someone who wants to start a nonprofit. Without gauging the interest of your potential audience, you could spend a lot of time creating something that people just don't want (or don't know that they want).

Before starting your communication or your building or your planning, take a moment to consider Why will your audience want this? Why should they care?

The questions may feel a bit harsh, but it's much better to ask them now than after you've spent your time, energy, and money on the project. After you've spent, you'll have much less energy for this type of reasoning.

I can't tell you the frustration I felt after going through this exact type of process. I failed to think of the audience enough, and I expected my personal interests to be universal.

Figure out what the draw is, and then highlight that piece of your creation.

Test It

Now we're off to the races, right? Time to get building?

Whoa there. Step back for a moment. So far, this entire process has been in your head. Maybe you even talked with a friend about it in grand, sweeping language, but too much remains undefined. We need some more data before building the entire thing.

How can you test your concept with your target audience? Can you develop a sampler? Can you create the advertisement that your audience would see?

If you're testing online, you can use advertising platforms like Facebook ads and Google ads to gauge interest and sign-ups for more information. Try Survey Monkey to get your audience's opinion.

Here's an important aside: your ideas don't have to appeal to a lot of people. Plenty of smart folks like Seth Godin and Chris Brogan have demonstrated the importance of speaking to a highly interested, yet smaller audience. You have the opportunity to become the voice of a niche group.

Finally... Build

Once you've built up your results, then you can build. It's not a guarantee that everyone will purchase or participate, but by learning the needs of your audience first, you can get closer to what people need.