“Your talent is a seed; cultivate it, and in no time, you will harvest success.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo
I don’t know if it’s because Spring is in the air, or what, but a theme has sprung up organically within my posts from May to June… creativity, the artist, the startup and content creation as artistry, cultivating fans, and finally, reaping the harvest (a.k.a. gettin’ paid ya’ll).
Okay, clearly it’s the weather (mixed with a lot of allergy meds), but it also has a lot to do with the inspiration gained from what I’m consuming lately. Recently it was Michael Hyatt’s Platform – a step-by-step guide for anyone with something to say or sell. Next it was Jeff Goin’s Real Artists Don’t Starve – timeless strategies for thriving in the new creative age. In fact, our last blog post – Strategies to Help you Thrive as a Creative – was dedicated to lessons learned from Jeff’s new book (today, by the way, is actually the last day to pre-order and receive over $200+ worth of free bonuses here).
What I’m really excited about next is taking these lessons to another level with an online course to essentially 10x your fans (or “10K” as it were – but more on that later…)
Build your Fan Base
As a content creator, your “fans” are your lifeblood, your support, your tribe.
A “fan” is relative to the art, or content, you create. Fans could be listeners (of your music), viewers (of your show/performances), followers (of your social media), etc. As an article on a blog, in this context and for the rest of this post, we’ll refer to fans as “readers” (of your blog, ebook, novel, etc.).
If you’re just starting out as a writer – or even if you’re a pro looking to grow your reach – you are likely always considering who you are writing for, and the size of that potential audience. Building a loyal following of readers is the best, no wait, the only way, to find success as a content creator. So where to start?
Start small, but have a goal.
Your readership starts with a handful of people, and it can be a lot of hard work just to get past that. It might begin with only with your parents cheering you on. Then a curious co-worker wants to know what you’re up to. Then a supportive cousin signs up for your newsletter. A small, unsteady flow of fans begins to trickle in, gathering around your work. Then you turn to social media – reaching out to family, friends and acquaintances on Facebook – that’s when you might really start to gain some traction, albeit still from your existing network.
But that’s okay. It’s a start.
Growing your Fans by 10X
It has to start with one. As noted in our last post, Jeff Goins calls this the “Rule of the Patron”, which essentially states that before you can build a huge following of fans, you have to learn to please just One.
But gradually 1 becomes 10… and 10 becomes 100. Then 1,000… 10,000… and yes, if you keep at it, 100,000 or more. Heck, there’s over 7.5 billion people on this earth (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves).
You’ve likely heard the reference that 1,000 true fans is all you really need to remain profitable. This idea was first introduced by Wired magazine’s founding executive editor Kevin Kelly (unfortunately no relation ;), where he demonstrates that the support of 1,000 true fans is more than enough to sustain a career. Check out Kevin’s original article here – Tim Ferriss is quoted as saying this is “the only marketing article you’ll ever need to read”.
While not easy, 1,000 is certainly a reasonable number – IF you’re willing to put in the work, by giving those fans something worth following.
Finding your First 10,000 Fans
Almost any number of fans is possible, if you set a goal and take action to get there. Start with, say, 1,000 followers, and then reward yourself before turning that into a goal of 2,000. Of course you wouldn’t want to stop there. Who wants to actively limit their own success?
“Shoot for the moon. If you miss it, you will still land among the stars.” – Norman Vincent Peale
Your major goal should be to find 10,000 fans, or people to read your work. That’s often the tipping-point – the magic number where your base of fans and followers will start to grow itself.
Great, but how do you find those first 10,000 readers? In a word: marketing.
One of the greatest lessons writers can learn is that they also have to market their work. You can’t just sit in a dark room and write post after post, or book after book. To get readers, you have to commit to, well, actually getting readers. To do that, you need to use some of the same techniques that marketers use to find and connect with the people who will be your fans.
If you’d prefer to focus on your craft, and don’t want to have to figure out the whole marketing thing, don’t worry. There are professionals who’ve figured it out – been there, done that, and simplified the process – who can give you the secrets to gaining those first 10,000 members of your audience.
Bestselling author and expert marketer Nick Stephenson has developed the course “Your First 10,000 Readers” that will give you the power to grow your readership and your career as a content creator. Though Nick has many more tips and tricks, here’s a few ways you can start to build your readership and make moves toward that goal of 10,000 fans:
- Use the power of the internet. You have the most powerful marketing tool in your back pocket. Email, social media, blogging – all of these things can help you reach out to new readers and connect with existing readers to build your success.
- Draw them to you. Instead of chasing after your audience, you need to find the things that they want and need. When you promise to solve a problem they have, they will come to see what you have to offer.
- Make a connection. Though using some marketing methods is good, you also shouldn’t just preach to your audience. You need to create a meaningful connection with your audience by sharing things, giving important advice or information, and fostering a conversation.
- Write smarter, not more. Don’t just churn out more and more writing in hopes that they’ll find you. Spend your time writing marketing materials like emails or social media posts that will draw your readers to you.
Looking for more specific ways to get those first 10K followers?
Since I know Nick, and will be taking his course soon, he’s letting me share with my audience a free copy of his “Reader Magnets” ebook:
“Reader Magnets” covers the exact audience-building strategy that Nick used to add tens of thousands of targeted readers to his mailing list. The best part is, once it’s all set up (and the ebook will shows you how to set it up), this system will keep on working in the background. Leaving you free to work on other things, like focusing on your craft and creating more content.
Grab your free ebook and get a head start on 10X’ing your fans!