Four thousand years ago, in Ancient Egypt, the Nile River was life. Not only did the seasonal flooding enrich the banks for miles with precious nutrients, the flowing waters were essential for trade and travel. Control over the Nile was critically important to Egyptian rule.
Which meant that the river needed to be defended. Warring tribes from the South and West routinely staged savage attacks, particularly on the sparsely defended villages, far South of Cairo and away from Pharaoh’s seat of power.
During the rule of Senusret III, steps were taken to fortify a series of villages stretching up the Nile from the southernmost border of Egypt. These weren’t pyramids like what we typically think of when we think of Egyptian structures. These villages were more mundane. The Egyptians simply built fortresses and walls. The problem was, the fortresses of the day weren’t particularly advanced. Senusret III needed an approach to defending these villages that would have been practically impenetrable to invaders.
You see, the Nile River is reallllllly wide. Technically, you really can’t defend the river from the riverbank. Yes, the Egyptians could shoot arrows and things at a barge or boat floating by, but only if they weren’t already busy defending themselves from attackers on the bank. Attackers could distract fortress defenders and keep them occupied while other attackers floated up the river.
But if there was a way to keep defenders safe and undistracted from attackers, that would not only let them focus their attention on where it mattered most, it would also serve as a beacon to others in the area. Come live in Buhen where it’s safe and prosperous.
So Senusret III did what any of us would do. He turned to his Viceroy and said, ‘Hey, how do I make my villages feel safe?’ And fortunately for Senruset, his Viceroy was Joseph… that Joseph… from the Bible… the guy with the multicolored coat.
And Joseph had a reputation for thinking outside the box; and outside the box thinking is what you want when you need to come up with a solution for a box fortress. So Joseph thought about it for a while and he was like, well, we’ve been building our villages along the riverbanks and we’ve been building walls on three sides because the river, the Nile River itself, is a formidable barrier.
So… what if we figured out how to use the power of the river to defend the entire village? So they dug a channel around the entire village and they built the wall behind the channel. He created a moat around that village. Nobody had ever thought about that before. And when the attackers came in from the land while their boats were coming up river, they were completely stymied.
They were like, I can’t get across this moat. I can’t get to the wall. And the villages were well defended. The warriors in the villages were able to focus their attention on the boats and their fortresses had become impenetrable. The Pharaoh went on to become one of the most powerful members of his dynasty because he built these moats around his villages.
Just like brands today can use community as a moat to protect themselves, to protect their brands, to protect their audience and their community.
And I don’t just mean having a literal community like a Facebook Group, though of course that’s part of it.
It’s about realizing that all those who are familiar with and amicable toward your brand can be a part of your larger, global community. Whether they’re a follower on LinkedIn, subscriber to your blog, or simply a customer.
When you treat them as though they are truly part of your community, they are more likely to stand up and defend your brand. They’ll stick with you when times are tough. And they’ll see you as a beacon.
Because, let’s face it, the last few years have been trying times. No one has come through this period unscathed, but brands that fared the best had built strong communities around themselves. Strong moats to protect them from recession, inflation, competition and more.
So how do we focus on building strong community around our brands?
There are a number of ways to approach this, both strategically and tactically. And we’ll unpack a lot of those in the coming weeks.
But my first piece of advice is to focus on creating great content that truly resonates with your audience.
And we’ll go into more depth on what that means and how to do it in the coming weeks as well, but first the Why.
Who is your best friend? That ride-or-die buddy that you know you can depend on in the thickest of situations, and they know you’ve got their back no matter what?
Picture that person in your mind, ‘k?
Now think about why they’re your best friend. Think about all the things you know about them, all the things you two have in common, from interests to shared experiences.
It’s through that knowledge and experience that you’ve developed rapport and come to care about them. And hard as it may sound, brands can and should work to accomplish the same thing.
Sometimes that entails actual face-time with our audiences at events and conferences. But more often, it involves creating content our audience can consume that’ll help them know more about us and relate better.
That means educating them about our business and what we do, but also giving them information that will help them understand who we are, as people, and how we can help them.
- Case Studies
- Behind The Scenes
Create content like that, share it to your channels, and use it to build connections and community with your audience.
If building out a community for your brand is one of the Big Problems you want help solving, that’s what I’m here for. Learn more about how I can help you as a Fractional CMO.
Want to learn more? I have an entire course on content marketing and blogging, and it’ll help you build a plan, then execute it, for creating tremendously valuable content. Imagine how much else you’ll learn and improve after going through the entire course!
- You’ll create content faster.
- You’ll create better, more effective content.
- You’ll have a complete content marketing plan for 2024.
Check out the Blogging Brute’s Blogging Bootcamp here (and learn why I’m called the Blogging Brute if you don’t already know).