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The key to success is actually quality AND quantity. Yes, the former is more important but it takes both—which requires hard work over time.

In this goodness-packed episode, we cover building your audience from zero, getting traction, the benefits of scheduled output, the kind of promise to make, what to do if you break that promise, why going viral is not the goal, how to grow your email list, where to place your opt-in box, what kind of content to put in your newsletters, and why word of mouth is the best kind of referral. Whew!

Show Notes
  • Why I’m Redesigning My Website
  • 07:29 I share plans for a big redesign of seanwes.com.
  • 11:15 The challenges of catering a website design to meet the needs of multiple audiences.
  • Growing Your Audience
  • 15:37 Talking both to those who are starting from scratch, as well as those who want to increase their existing reach.
  • Key: Schedule Consistent Output

  • 17:21 Don’t let yourself think that the lack of visible results indicates that you’re not doing the right thing.
  • 18:11 As you grow an audience, it’s easier to continue to grow an audience. The hard part is getting past the initial friction.
  • What Happened When I Got 500,000 Views in 24 Hours
  • 19:22 “Going viral” is not the best way to grow an audience.
  • 20:44 It’s not about getting a “big break” or getting retweeted by someone with thousands of followers, or noticed by someone important or picked up by a big publication.
  • Schedule Consistent Output
  • 24:11 You have to have a schedule for putting out content. You have to be putting things out consistently.
  • 24:27 People want consistency, People want to know what they’re going to get—they want to know what to expect before they follow someone. They’re following out of expectation, so what are you going to deliver to them?
  • 24:46 You want to make a promise. You want people to know that you’re going to be putting something out regularly. Yes, you can say it, but it’s much more effective to actually do it. This is what will truly communicate your consistency.
  • 25:08 You have to have a regular output. Even if you’re not able to put out a large amount, consistency is the most important factor. It would be much more effective to have a consistent output of once a week (or once a month even) rather than do something every day for 7 days and then just stop.
  • 25:28 There are millions of blogs with 1 post. It’s the classic blog failure.
  • 26:22 Benefits of having a scheduled output:
    • Keeps you on track.
    • Makes sure you produce content.
    • Challenges you.
    • Enables you to generate more than you normally would.
    • Builds loyalty.
    • Builds followership and subscribers
    • People come to expect it.
    • Even non-subscribers know you have new content every [certain day].
  • Consistency builds loyalty.

  • The TV Show Example
  • 31:04 Don’t underestimate the power of expectation. Just like TV shows gain popularity from consistent output, your regularity will build an audience.
  • 33:00 TV shows would not be as popular if they only put out an episode whenever they felt like it.
  • 33:15 Even though people aren’t always watching on the day that it comes out, they KNOW when it comes out, and they may watch it the next day. They KNOW that it’s going to be consistent. If they take a trip, they KNOW that they’re going to come back and there will be 3 episodes to watch.
  • 33:49 Look at the shows that have 6, 7, 8, or 9 seasons. That’s dozens upon dozens of episodes. Yes, those shows have 9 seasons because they’re popular, but they’re also popular because they have 9 seasons. This is why it continues to be easier to grow an audience as you build it. The more content that a show has, the more it grows. When people who have never seen the show come across the full collection, they think, “Wow, they’ve got this many shows? And so many people are already watching it? This is probably really good.” Then you have exponential growth.
  • What to Do If You Miss Your Scheduled Output
  • 34:35 “If I’m not able to meet my consistent output schedule, should I put out something that is a smaller version of what I normally produce, or nothing at all?”
  • 37:01 First of all: Be consistent. Stay on schedule. No excuses. Stop looking for excuses. Do the work. That’s the point of having a consistent schedule. Sacrifice something. Give up something else you want to be doing and stick to your schedule.
  • 37:33 In the event that there really is a legitimate emergency that is outside of your control, you should have a backlog of content saved for such an occasion. You owe it to your audience. You shouldn’t let a natural disaster or an emergency stop you from providing value.
  • 37:59 Prevention is huge. It’s an investment, and it takes work up front, but it will save you.
  • 38:14 If you don’t have a backlog, still focus on providing value. Let people know that you’re not able to hit your deadline. Acknowledge that you have a schedule and lament the fact that you’re not meeting it. Still try to find a way to provide value in a small way. Be creative. Switch it up. Maybe show some behind-the-scenes work or thought process that you can put together in a shorter amount of time.
  • Email Lists
  • 42:05 Content + Consistency + Capture
  • 43:49 Don’t just rely on social media. You can’t control external platforms. At the end of the day, the only thing you have control over is your email list.
  • 44:52 Email gets 20x the engagement of Twitter.
  • The best place to have your email opt-in box is after you’ve provided value.

  • 45:04 Put your subscribe box at the bottom.
  • 45:46 I put my subscription box at the end of a 6,000-pixel-tall page and I was getting 105 subscribers a day (Related: e060 How Learn Lettering Made $80,000 in 24 Hours With the First $10k in 30 Minutes). Don’t give me that “above the fold” crap.
  • 47:07 Having a box that just says “Subscribe for updates” is not going to do very well. You want to MAKE A PROMISE of:
    1. What they will get.
    2. When they will get it.
  • 47:37 Lead magnets.
  • 48:07 Podcast Newsletter Subscribe Box Example:
    • What: “You’ll get thorough episode show notes and links from the seanwes podcast…”
    • When: “…delivered to you every Wednesday and Friday morning like clockwork.”
  • What Do You Put in Your Email Newsletters?
  • 52:16 Two lines of thought:
    • Full content.
    • Excerpts with links to full article.
  • 52:46 I like to write original content for the newsletter. I want to give my subscribers some level of exclusivity.
  • 53:08 Most people treat their email inbox as a to-do list, asking themselves:
    • Do I need to read this?
    • Do I need to reply to this?
    • Do I need to ignore this?
  • 53:24 Most people don’t read long-form in their inbox. It’s a mindset and context thing. They’re in their inbox to get things done. It’s not “read and relax mode.”
  • 53:39 Give them an excerpt. Make it quick and digestible. If they’re interested, you have the “Read the Post” button so they can open your article in a new tab and return to it once they’ve concluded their inbox session. They can then read it in the browser or add it to their read later list to consume on a phone or tablet.
  • 54:14 Also provide original content they can’t get anywhere else. Your newsletter should have behind-the-scenes content or insights. Always provide extra value and give your subscribers something exclusive.
  • How Do You Start When You Literally Have 0 Followers?
  • 55:39 “How do you get people to see your work even to consider whether or not they want to become a part of your audience?”
  • 56:19 There’s no proven timeline. Whatever advice I give or you hear from other people is subjective. It’s going to be different for everyone.
  • 56:44 The goal shouldn’t be to reach a certain status level (i.e. “Once I get 10 views a day,” or “Once I get 100 followers,” or “Once my tweets receive 20 retweets.”).
  • 57:17 This is what you should measure:
    • Did I make what I said I was going to make on time?
    • Did I meet the output goal?
    • Did I stay on schedule?
    • Did I do the thing I was supposed to do today? If so, that’s a win.
    • Ignore the exposure, ignore the metrics, ignore the visitors, ignore the followers, ignore the subscribers.
  • The goal is to build an audience. Not “be seen by millions.”

  • Getting New Followers & Treating Them Right
  • 01:00:53 Don’t worry about choosing the right hashtags, or optimizing your tweets, or finding the right link aggregation sites to submit to. That’s 5% of it. 95% is doing the work. Focus on that.
  • 01:02:29 When you do get those first few visitors that interact with you and leave a comment, make sure to engage with them. Those initial people are gold, and you want to give them your full attention.
  • Word of mouth is the best kind of referral.

  • 01:06:34 Ask yourself:
    • What are you doing to be remarkable to those people?
    • What are you doing to be memorable to those people so they tell others about you?
    • That’s how your audience will grow.
  • 01:06:55 Some days you’re going to show up and no one is going to come, and that doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. Your success must be determined by adherence to the commitment that you made.
  • 01:09:40 The kind of people who are going to follow you through word of mouth are way more valuable than the kind of people who are going to follow you because of a hashtag.
  • 01:11:54 The Big Awesome Full of Good Stuff Business Podcast.

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