Joe and I have recently had the privilege of being invited on as guests on a few other podcasts, and have had a blast being on the other side of the microphone! While we make no claims to be experts by any means, we do feel like we, as guests, can provide some valuable insights to a certain audience. One of the most recent podcasts we were interviewed for really got me thinking about the various paths people take, and why I feel we made the right decision in the path we took.
We were welcomed on as guests of the Project Passive Podcast, hosted by Freddie Mixell of ProjectPassive.com. After a great interview, the final question Freddie posed to us was, “What advice would you give to anyone just starting out or thinking about starting?” It is a very innocent, and a very common question. About as generic as a question can get, but also as open ended as one can be as well.
My answer was simple: create content. Whether you have an idea, like we did, and begin immediately putting that idea into action, or don’t have a clue but just start putting that pen to paper, I think getting the ball rolling is more important than anything else. And yes, that includes being more important than building an audience first.
This type of opinion often times brings the critics out of the woodwork with statements such as, “You’re wasting your time blogging about what you ate for dinner,” or “If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it…” I call these negative and discouraging opinions hogwash, especially when guiding someone who has never created anything.
My thought process is twofold. First, I think that “analysis paralysis” is something that many beginners are susceptible to. There are so many “great ideas” and convincing courses being pitched in our space claiming to be the next big money idea. With all of these ideas floating around, it’s easy to fall prey to reading and following many of them without ever taking any action. Speaking from experience, once you get caught in this vortex of consuming without producing, it becomes difficult to break free.
Quality Over Quantity
The bigger reason I stand firmly behind the idea of content creation before building an audience, though, is because of the quality of audience you can attract when you create the content first. Now this one applies to someone a little further along than a daily bowel movement blog, but I can imagine anyone reading this aspires to do more than that. I see this as first doing something that you have interest in and a desire to pursue, and then once that content is out there, you can see who is consuming it, and analyze their behaviors and opinions. This will let you know whether you should push forward, pivot, or cut bait.
When you do this and find something that works, you might start with a very small audience and build it up slowly, but that audience is going to know and love what you do, and they’ll be by your side for the long haul.
Compare this to spending months building an email list of people who are not even really sure what you plan on doing. Maybe you attracted them with great copy on a landing page, or had a catchy name and logo for your free eBook you’ll trade them. Imagine you spent months putting all your effort into building this “audience,” with grand stories of magical things that they will see in due time. In the background you are meticulously working away to develop a great library of content. Or maybe even worse, putting together some sort of course or program that you will unleash on the world when launch day comes!
Where Did Everybody Go?
Yet that is what you’ve done, and it’s finally here: launch day! Ten thousand email addresses captured, and you can’t wait to share your months of hard work with the masses! You send out your email letting everyone know that the time is now.
Unfortunately, your standard 10%-20% goes to spam or gets caught in Gmail’s ridiculous new email eating system. Another 15% forgot who you were, and why they signed up. They either unsubscribe, or, *GASP*, mark you a spam! 25% read the email and delete it without ever acting. 30% actually head on over to inspect the masterpiece, but decide that what you’re doing is not really what they expected. They leave, never to return. How many more percentage points do I have to eliminate here?
Obviously I’m going over the top, but my point is: how can someone justify putting in all of this work without knowing if anyone will give a sh*t? Why would you not have some level of testing to validate whatever it is you’re doing? I’d much rather put a month into a blog or podcast and find out after that month that I need to pivot or cut bait, than put MONTHS into building this so called “platform,” only to find out it was all for nil, and THEN I have to start over.
So Content Creation?
Back to where this all started, the question from Freddie Mixell. About halfway through explaining my advice I’d give to someone just starting out, I realized that I was speaking out directly against what Freddie was doing. If you haven’t checked out ProjectPassive.com, Freddie is doing some really neat things. Specifically, he has an insider type area where he is showing a select few a “behind the scenes” look at how he is building his content library, as well as building his audience for his launch.
I think this is a very cool idea, and is definitely something that could set him apart from others and could build the “know like and trust” relationship with his audience. However he is doing all of this without any “preview” of what it actually is that he’ll be doing.
Freddie has some experience in internet marketing, so he is not new to the space overall. However if I were to give him, and anyone else set on this audience first content second method, I’d advise at the very least to release some amount of content on the front end. Consider it like a weather balloon, sent away to learn something other than what you already think or know, and to send information back to you so that you can make better decisions in the future.
As you can probably tell, I can get rather long winded (long fingered might be more descriptive, but it doesn’t sound right) when I feel passionately about something. But I think the main takeaway that I would advise anyone looking to get started in this space is to not be afraid to create something.
Even if one of your first goals is to build a massive email list and following (which absolutely SHOULD be one of your first goals, by the way), do yourself and your future followers a favor: give them something to wet their appetite now, to validate your idea, and to build a firm foundation that will last.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Are you on the side of good, encouraging those to put the pedal to the metal and create something? Or do you side with the evil empire, and speak out about the trees falling in the woods? Let me hear from you below!
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Author: Dan Franks
Dan Franks is a full time CPA, and moonlights as a podcaster, blogger, and professional wrestler. He considers himself an all around good guy!