Class is back in session.
This time around, I’ll be sharing ways in which you can develop your audience.
Create Content Consistently
Content is the currency of the internet. It’s a noisy marketplace where a sea of advertisements and updates flood various timelines. Add to the fact that people’s attention spans are getting shorter by the second, there’s a chance that some things are bound to get lost in the process.
People are fickle. That one follower you gained today may not be there tomorrow. That one person who liked what you posted on Monday may leave because of something you posted on Tuesday. So you have to be willing to present your content on a consistent basis to a potential different audience. You never know who is watching, so consistency is key.
I recently decided to put this principle to practice on my blog by starting a series called “Wednesday Writes.” For now, I’ve only shared poetry. But I may expand into stories, think pieces, advice, and whatever else happens to cross my mind that week. So as you figure out how you choose to express yourself, be sure to consider how consistent you choose to be and what strategies to implement. Set aside one day to create as much as possible and another day to posting what you think is worth sharing. That way, you’ll always have something to share
Paid or Free?
People also love free stuff. So if you’re starting out, it would be best to start out with offering free content. A newsletter, picture, illustration, blog post, and any other content that you are capable of producing on a consistent basis. You don’t want to force people to pay for something that they don’t feel compelled to invest in.
Yet if you’re looking to eventually make income from your work, then you will have to charge people for your work. There’s plenty of ways of doing this. Whether it’s subscription-based (like Patreon), one-time donations, or selling exclusive content, it’s important to have these options available once you want to take that next step.
I wouldn’t worry about this until you have an established fan base that will gladly support your platform and vision. Which brings me to my next point.
Make friends with your fans
Before I continue, I want to make a clear distinction between followers and fans.
Followers simply click a few buttons and call it a day. They may be intrigued by your content, but not invested enough to stick around. Therefore, they are quick to leave once they get bored and you wonder why they bothered showing up in the first place.
Fans, on the other hand, will actually interact with you. They will support you directly and encourage you to keep going. These are the people that you should focus on cultivating. Given the recent social media algorithms, it’s difficult to maintain your followers. So there’s no need to focus on gaining numbers, but rather building relationships that last. One easy way of doing this is to respond to comments. A simple “thank you” or a thoughtful response can go a long way.
After all, it’s better to have a supportive fan base than passive followers.
Don’t expect immediate results
If I’m honest, this is something that I still struggle with. I’ve talked in depth before about my slow growth, especially with my blog. On the rare times that I would actually post something, I felt empty whenever I would see little to no engagements on my stats. Then I would read an article by someone more established and feel like I could never reach their level of influence.
At times I’ll get email alerts about how to gain more e-mail subscribers, how to build a better blog, and why it’s important to join their exclusive group. While I’m sure they mean well and their methods do help struggling writers, I believe that there is no set formula that works for everyone. There are a myriad of factors at play and a majority of them cannot be controlled through motivational blog posts or watching a live Q&A video. Helpful advice can only help for so long.
It’s easy to feel both inspired and intimidated by those above you. It took me a while to realize that solely learning from the greats will not make me great. I have to put in the work myself and wait. Wait for my content to reach the right people and resonate with potential fans. Wait for the fans who will support me financially.
It’s difficult to wait on an audience that isn’t growing. But as long as your growing, you will find people that will grow with you.
If you made it this far, then you deserve a special treat:
Let me know what you think of this doodle. I’m thinking about using this as the new Class Notes logo.
Until the next class session.