After you have finished identifying who you audience is (Step 1) and what their challenges are (Step 2), your third step in creating a public platform syllabus is to spell out how you will help your audience through your public work. We’ve already talked a lot about how your content and syllabus should tell a story in which your audience is the hero and you are the guide. This part of the syllabus is the place where you will articulate what you will do to guide your hero through their challenges and empower them to reach the goals that you indicated in Step 1.
This element is extremely important to think about and communicate to your target audience. Donald Miller’s StoryBrand Framework, which we draw from heavily in the syllabus development process, wraps up with the hero doing two things: avoiding failure and achieving success. By having a clear idea of what your work helps your audience avoid or achieve and how, you can cultivate a loyal and passionate audience that benefits from your expertise.
At Public Platform, we talk through how academics can empower their audience in the following areas: personal growth, emotional support, career success, social status, and fulfillment. These five categories are a great jumping-off point to brainstorm what your platform is going to do for your audience, but they are by no means a comprehensive list. As you write your answers in each relevant category, refer back to what you already put down as the characteristics of your audience and the struggles that they face.
How does your audience desire to experience growth in their life? Do they want more knowledge in a certain area? Do they want to hone a skill? What values do they want to embody in their life?
How does this overlap with your expertise? How can you make your work digestible for your particular audience? In what ways can you help them become more compassionate, more disciplined, more knowledgeable, more competent? What do you bring to the table, and what impact will that have on your audience’s personal growth?
What insecurities, doubts, emotional struggles does your audience need support with? Are there areas in which they feel a sense of failure?
How can you translate your expertise into content that conveys empathy and encouragement? How will you create a supportive community around your content that addresses the concerns that your audience might have? What kinds of daily/weekly/monthly/annual rituals and events can you develop that brings audience members together?
Based on the area of work that your audience members are in (ministry, academia, journalism, etc.), what would they classify as success? How do they desire to improve as professionals? What hard and soft skills are they looking to develop?
What skills might they develop through your platform? How does your expertise help them improve their experience and performance in the workplace? What resources or career-related opportunities can you provide?
What kinds of social status does your audience care about? How do they want to be seen? What kinds of groups do they want to belong to?
What qualifications and identities make you an appealing guide for your audience? How much jargon from your field or industry will you use to communicate with your audience? How will your platform affirm or raise your audience’s place in society?
Fulfillment is the ultimate goal for your audience members. In what areas is your audience desiring to stretch themselves and achieve something?
What experiences, pieces of knowledge, forms of recognition, or feelings will help them to achieve what your audience wants/needs/deserves? How can you give your audience a safe space to voice their opinions and express themselves? How will you ensure that your audience sees that you are receptive to their input about your work or about your topics of interest? What tools will you give them to enable them to challenge themselves, be a part of something outside of themselves, or achieve a goal?
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