Growing Followers

Your blog and newsletter (oh, please tell me you have both!) are where your fans get to know you as a person and develop the connection which will ensure their fandom for life.

List-growing is all the rage. More more more. Ask these folks “Are you looking for more followers, or better followers?” and they’ll universally say “Both!”

Consider the concept of focus: it’s not possible, with our eyes or our mind, to focus on two things at once. That’s just not what focus means.

photo of crowd by michael lorenzo; photo of glasses by Alfonso Romero

If you want both, focus on the best quality listees. Time will give you the quantity. But adding names quickly just leads to churn, and unconsciously, when you see 100 new names and don’t know who they are, this teeming horde upon your shore, you will, without realizing it, broaden your approach and write with less edge, less opinion, because hey, now that they’re here, let’s not drive them away, right?

But supposing you manage to keep your laser focus in your writing — many who just signed up for your freebie or jumped on the bandwagon will flee from the fires of your passion. They weren’t looking to join a mission to change the world, they were looking for a free lunch. A few will stay, become insiders. Many will see themselves as outsiders. Some of those will leave. Most, though, will become deadwood on your list.

And week after month, you’ll wonder why your open and click rates are at the industry average. You’re not average; how come your list is average?

My listees are about 90% people I interacted with personally before they signed up. I taught them something, and explicitly or not, let them know I had a newsletter.

My personal approach gives me open rates 3X more than the average and click rates about 4X. My small list engages.

We are not the Persians, coming to take Greece. We are the Spartans, defending the pass. Small, focused, changing the world so it won’t change us.

6 thoughts on “Growing Followers

  1. Good advice. You are a marvel to interact with so many people. (I’d need a maid.) But then you have a lot of professional info to share.

    You mention “deadwood on your list.” Perhaps you can explain why so many people are, according to their blog, “making money online” and following other sites. I have dozens of people following my blogs whose front page is “Click here to watch this video about how to make money blogging.”

    Being suspicious by nature and knowing there’s only so much money to go around in this old world, I really wonder what they are up to. How can so many people be making “thousands” online? Copying posts for translation/resale in Timbuktu? Just hanging out? Any insights? I’ve seen a dozen shut down by WordPress, but next thing they have a .com and are following again.

  2. There’s a lot of multi-level-marketing going on, and some of it really is “pay me $50 and I’ll give you the secret” and the secret is “do what I did.” Maybe not precisely, but almost.

    Nobody is making money blogging unless they’re an employee being paid to blog for someone else, or getting paid subscriptions.

    But many bloggers make money. Chris Brogan. Seth Godin. Leo Babauta. But they don’t make their money blogging, they make their money selling their expertise in the form of training, books, etc.

  3. A number of these people say they’ve given up their day jobs and life is now a permanent holiday in the tropics.
    I haven’t dared click on “Click here” for fear I’ll get spammed big time.

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