Hold onto your hat – I think you’re going to love this!
If you want to build a large and extremely valuable content marketing list, today’s post is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.
I was inspired to write this, after a reader emailed me. He explained that he had just read this post. Then he made an excellent point. And it highlights why most small business owners fail to get the content marketing results they want. Here’s what he said, along with my response.
He said that if his newsletter had lots of readers, he’d make time for it. he’d take it a lot more seriously. He’d publish regularly. He’d invest in a professional newsletter distribution service. He’d make it a high priority business activity. But he can’t justify the time now, because his readership is too small.
Overcoming the biggest challenge with list building
Every small business owner with a newsletter, podcast, blog or vlog started off with a tiny audience (or list). Just them and their friends. Mine started off with 6 readers. And one of them was me! However, there’s one massively important difference between those who build a huge list and those who don’t.
- Those who build a huge list put the time and effort in, in advance, so that it grows. They do their best work and turn up regularly, when they have just 10 people. Because they know that’s the only way to build an audience of 1,000 people or 100,000 people.
- Those who fail to grow their list, also start off with enthusiasm. But their enthusiasm drops, if their list isn’t growing as quickly as they expected. So, they commit less time to it. And things slow down even more.
The cornerstone of building a great list
The only way to successfully grow an audience or list, is to treat your work as if you already had the numbers you wanted. I wrote with as much passion, commitment and energy when I had 6 readers, as when I reached my first 10,000 readers. And I write with that same commitment today.
From day one, you need to invest the time and effort required. Here are some examples of what’s needed, plus a few tips.
- Put in the effort. It’s work… not something you fit in around work. Put time aside specifically for developing and publishing.
- Turn up often. If you have a newsletter, which you only publish once a month, it will take a lot longer to build your list, than a weekly newsletter. If you have a blog and you only publish once a week, it will take a lot longer to build your audience, than if you publish several times a week.
- Learn what kind of information your marketplace needs and wants. A great way to do this, is to look at questions they ask in relevant forums or on social media.
- Learn how to become a better (and better) communicator. Whatever content marketing channel you choose, learn from the best.
- Make your work easy (and interesting) to read / watch / listen to.
- Make it easy to share. This is essential if you want your list to grow.
- Never add anyone to your list. Seriously, don’t. That’s not content marketing. That’s spamming. And spamming sucks.
- Avoid content marketing tricks. Tricks have a predictable habit of backfiring. Just commit to doing the work. That has a predictable habit of succeeding.
I know what you’re thinking. That sounds like a lot of work. And it is. However, the rewards are disproportionately huge if you’re willing to commit to doing the work.
Here are a few more posts I’ve written on this subject.
I hope you find this useful. More importantly, I hope it inspires you to improve your content marketing, so you achieve the outstanding results you’re capable of.