2 ways to build an audience

Some context about audience building

Over the past few years, I’ve managed to build a wonderful audience on Twitter (76k) and LinkedIn (20k).

It has seismically shifted my life and ability to make money.

But here’s what you saw:

Wow, that Blake Email guy grew on Twitter so quickly. Seemed so easy, I wonder what hacks he used to shortcut that growth…

Here’s what really happened:

  • I started writing on LinkedIn 7 years ago
  • I mostly wrote bad stuff that got no traction
  • I had to unlearn school-style writing
  • I engaged like crazy with others to learn and build relationships
  • I failed at building a Twitter audience 3x before finally doing OK
  • Even when I started doing OK on Twitter, I wanted to quit
  • Wrote 15 tweets per day for months before hitting 5k

There’s no silver bullet (at least there wasn’t for me.)

But I did walk away from it all with a key framework that has finally accelerated my growth. And I discovered its opposite as well.

Today, I’m gonna share both sides of the coin.

These are both completely viable ways to build an audience FYI.

Just make sure to pick the one that fits you the best.

Let’s dive in to framework #1 👇


1. Pick a niche and run

Long-form first, short-form later

This is the most common way that people try to build an audience.

And for good reason: if you nail the strategy, you can grow much more quickly.

The framework is pretty simple:

  1. Identify your key skills and interests
  2. Pick 1 and commit to writing about it every single day
  3. Find ways to turn your knowledge on this topic into value for others
  4. Post a long-form piece every single day and multiple short-form pieces daily on top of it all
  5. Analyze what formats work
  6. Make adjustments
  7. Create more content

Here are the “Pros” of this strategy:

  • You can grow faster
  • There is less analysis
  • You have greater upfront focus
  • Virality is more common

And the “Cons”:

  • If you picked the wrong nice or topic, you have to start completely over
  • It’s harder to analyze what really works if the topic is always the same
  • It’s harder to sustain because your 1 topic can become boring to you
  • Early virality can often become discouraging when you’re unable to replicate it
  • Virality is overrated unless it happens on hyper-specific content
  • You’ve only posted 100 times over the course of a few months
  • You have no idea what posts have a chance to “hit”

This approach is great for people who:

  • Need quick wins
  • Already have a proven niche from another platform
  • Are extremely strong writers from the jump

Plenty good and bad here. Again, this is the approach most people start with.

This is not the approach I went with.

Let’s look at the other side next 👇

2. Let your audience pick your niche for you

Short-form first, long-form later

I’ll say it upfront, this one if probably harder.

It will weed out those who are serious about audience growth, and those who just want 15 minutes of fame.

That’s why I love it so much.

Anyone that really applies this will almost certainly grow a decent audience.

Here’s the framework:

  1. Identify 10 topics you know very well and are interested in
  2. Commit to posting once per day about each topic (min 10 posts per day)
  3. Analyze performance of each post after 24 hours (engagement, response, emotion)
  4. Begin finding reasons why certain topics and formats work or not (take religious notes and go deep here)
  5. Eliminate clear losing topics that people don’t care about
  6. After 3-4 months, narrow down to only 3-5 core topics
  7. Repeat the process for another 1-2 months
  8. Find the 1-2 topics that people really want based on data and go all in on long-form content for those topics
  9. Post a min of 1 long-form piece per week plus multiple short-form posts daily

Here are the “Pros” of this strategy:

  • More manageable and sustainable growth
  • Don’t have to make the exact right decision on topic upfront
  • You know what topics and formats will reliably hit after a few months
  • You can go deeper as you learn more by writing
  • Your writing becomes much better, and quickly
  • You’ve posted 1000s of things over a few months

And the “Cons”:

  • It takes longer
  • It requires an analytical mindset
  • It requires you to generate a lot of ideas

This approach is great for people who:

  • Start off as weaker writers but want to learn
  • Have multiple interests but no clue what to focus on
  • Have a data-driven approach to content and growth

Conclusion

Look, there’s no sole answer here. Obviously, I like the way I approached things, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right method for you.

But I hope you see a clear path to STARTING now.

That’s the step that matters most.


👇
Lemme know in the comments which method you prefer or plan to take