Why Build an Audience?

February 23, 2011
posted by sheric

More from REWORK, this time on building an audience.

This page and half chapter covers something I have discussed here previously; the need to build your own audience so that you are not starting over again every time you release new work. Starting over is extremely expensive, it is the Hollywood way. Every time they have a film to release, out comes the wallet and millions are spent on pushing that advertising message, often to people who don’t want to hear it. What a waste! It is expensive AND unreliable. You don’t have that luxury I bet, so you’ll need to take the slower, cheaper method (much like you did for making your film). Build up a strong group of enthusiastic fans who can’t wait to see the finished project. They will return time after time to see what you are working on next if you engage them regularly. If they like what you have to say, the valuable knowledge you are willing to share and genuinely enjoy the comaraderie with others on your site, they are much more likely to support you financially when you need it. Just make sure that is not the only reason you talk to them.

The book cites 37signals own experience in doing this. They have a popular blog that has built up a following of tens of thousands of readers every day. The blog doesn’t only talk about 37signals products. They cover design, usability, psychology behind the users of their software, the industry at large. When people get value from what they are sharing, you can bet that leads to financial return for the company. They could have spent millions on advertising in newspapers, radio, trade publications, direct mail to reach many millions of people who largely don’t have the slightest interest in their product, if they have that kind of advertising budget. Even if they do, why should they waste it like that? By building up their own audience, people give them attention, they don’t have to buy it. When they have something new to say or a new product available, their audience is already listening.

So tweet, blog, post to Facebook whatever your strength is. Go build up your own audience.

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