When you have a great message, an idea, a system or framework, that you know is helpful to people… and you want it to spread as wide as possible… The first step is thinking, “How can I build a community around it?”

To make your audience feel like they belong to something. But when you want to bring that idea or message into the mainstream culture and impact it globally, you need to go one step further.

You need to create a movement around it.

Remember the ice bucket challenge? It spread so fast and wide because, First, there was a clear purpose and a great cause behind it. And second, people were asked to take action. To do the video, tag themselves and report back. If that was limited to a standard petition for raising awareness… or if people would dump buckets of ice over their heads inside a closed Facebook group… it wouldn’t become a “thing”. There would be no hashtag culture around it, and it wouldn’t have an insert on Wikipedia right now.

Because, you see, there’s a huge difference between a community and a movement. Community is passive. You join, you’re there, and there’s nothing else you need to do. A movement, on the other hand, is active. People DO stuff. They take action, and they report back. A movement is a “living” thing, and that’s why it’s got the potential to go viral. And so, the first step to creating a movement is, to begin with, the end goal in mind.

Ask yourself:

What’s the action you want somebody to take? And what can you attach to your message to encourage people to take that action and report back on it?

Because, in reality, what you’re doing is… you’re creating a new category, a subculture for your cause. So you need to define what it is and what it means. And that will help you to figure out how to amplify it, make it spreadable and bring it into the mainstream.

For more on the power of movement, head over to the podcast.