April 14

Building an Audience Doesn’t Start With Strangers on the Internet

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When people start online projects like blogs, podcasts, etc,. They try to build their audience by seeking attention from strangers on the internet. It's a bit like walking up to a stranger in a coffee shop and asking them to read your book. It's a bit weird.

People joke that their mom is the only person who reads their blog. They fail to see it's valuable to have your first reader, even if it is your mom. I'm pretty sure my mom was my first reader. My second was Geri Jbara (who arranged my study abroad in Brazil).

One reader at a time is not an efficient way to build an audience. But what Individual creators have over the media companies is the ability to build a direct relationship with their audience. As the media landscape becomes more fragmented, this will not only be a necessity. It will be a competitive advantage.

But we are afraid to share our work with the people we know. If a stranger on the internet loves or hates our work, it doesn't matter nearly as much. We lick our wounds and move on.

It's more vulnerable to share with friends or family members. But they're also the people you already have a relationship with. They're the ones who already give a shit. You've earned their attention.

Your mom might be proud regardless of how good your work is. Another relative might think your work is a waste of your education. MY dad concluded that I couldn't draw after my 30-day drawing project. He was right.

I didn't let that stop me. I still can't draw. But my love for visuals had a huge impact on the Unmistakable Creative.

I meet aspiring writers all the time who have been working a book for years. They haven't built an audience. They don't have a relationship with any readers. They buy into the myth of being discovered.

If you're starting or struggling to build an audience for your work, email 100 friends or family members. You might not like everything you hear, but it's the first step out of lingering in obscurity.


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