A primary reason Weight Watchers works is that it is inherently social. You are encouraged to show up to a group meeting for a weigh-in, to chat with other members, and the Weight Watchers staff. This process offers encouragement, you learn how others are finding success in losing weight, and you build powerful relationships with those who have similar goals. Over time, you may want to lose weight not just for your own sake, but to ensure you don’t let the group down. Your purpose has become communal, and you feel a sense of accountability.
If you are a writer trying to grow your audience and develop your platform, there is so much to learn from the Weight Watchers model. Here are three lessons:
You Need a Team
It is hard to find the time and ability to grow the audience for your writing. When you bring others into the process, it can provides so much benefit. These relationships may be informal: friends, colleagues, those you meet at conferences or on social media, mentors, etc. But when you check in with different people on a regular basis, they become a part of your team.
This is the team you need to help work past challenges, brainstorm ideas, align tactics to you goals, and ensure you stay motivated and accountable. This process helps you build positive habits – it is harder to get off track if you have to speak to a mentor or a colleague once a week to check in on progress. You can even work with other writers with similar goals.
Differentiated Learning Matters
We all learn differently, and build behaviors and habits differently. In education, this is called “differentiated learning,” and is meant to provide multiple avenues into course material to ensure that students with different educational styles can effectively learn. Another way to look at this is the 9 types of intelligence, of which we all leverage in different ways.
All this to say that: Weight Watchers offers multiple ways to be a part of their program. Some prefer to follow along online instead of in-person, others focus primarily on managing points, whereas others find the meetings and weigh-ins to be the primary driver for staying in the program. Either way, Weight Waters developed their program to ensure it works for different types of people.
When you develop your platform and try to grow your audience, you need to consider this for yourself. How do you take strategies and tactics and personalize them to fit your style, personality, and goals?
The Value of a System that Keeps Improving
Weight Watchers has points system for food, giving you a model to follow. Different food has different points, and rules around what you can consume to be on track in their system. What is neat about the program is how much flexibility is built into the many ways of using points. Instead of becoming something restriction, it allows the point/food relationship to become part of your lifestyle, not a separate activity that you need to squeeze into your already busy life.
When you develop your author platform, you need to do so in a way that is sustainable. Iteration is often key to this, that you are always learning and improving what works in growing and engaging with your audience.
It is always inspiring for me to hear about people’s experiences in programs such as Weight Watchers. I see how life-changing it can be, and the ways it has positive effects in many other areas of peoples lives, such as family and relationships.
When I develop my courses for writers, I always try to remember the lessons listed above. That my courses need to be accessible to those with different learning styles; that it needs to provide a system that is flexible for different types of writers; and that the courses need to provide a team that helps writers grow and engage their audiences. What is most amazing to me is the long-term relationships that form in these courses and groups.
If you have been through programs that have positively shaped your life such as Weight Watchers, I would love to hear more about your experience.