“Connecting with your audience” is the buzz phrase in social marketing and there are hundreds (if not thousands!) of people eager to sell you their coaching, consulting, or technology services to help you achieve it.

But what does it really take to connect with and maintain an audience? It’s not hard and you don’t need a coach or fancy service to help you do it:

Provide Value: Give your audience something meaningful that’s relevant to them. Preferably for free.

Be Reliable:  Set a realistic expectation for frequency, then deliver on that promise. How many blogs or podcasts die out after a dozen or fewer posts? Most, unfortunately. It’s a lot of work to be a regular and dependable part of your audience’s day.

Be Truthful: We’ve all read a newsletter or listened to a “real life” story that was clearly baloney and intended only as marketing propaganda. Chances are, you were annoyed and might have unsubscribed. Telling stories is wonderful, fun, and engaging; telling lies is a huge turn off.

If you’re having trouble connecting with your audience, ask yourself these questions: Am I providing real value? Am I making and then delivering on a promise to be reliable? Am I being truthful in my content?

If any answer is less than a resounding, “YES!”, then you know where to start improving.