We live in an information age. People want to learn. More than anything, people want a world-view to get behind. Hence, the genius behind Apple's marketing over the years is that their marketing wasn't based on their products, but on their values (i.e., passionate people can and do change the world).
If you are invisible on the internet, you will have a difficult time competing with those who have learned how to build an audience and brand. Consider these words by marketing expert, Richie Norton:
As a consumer, who do you trust more? The company with zero online presence, or the company with a verifiable, credible online presence? If you're anything like the millions (or is it billions??) of people searching for stuff on the internet, you're going to go with the company that has a strong presence online. The irony of today's day and age is that virtual reality (online presence) is what we use to confirm actual reality (physical presence/competence).
Here's what I learned building an online audience from 0 to over 20,000 in 6 months:
1. Utilize Other People's Platforms
Like most people, when I started blogging, only my wife and a few friends would read my work (if I was lucky).
If you don't already have a lot of traffic coming to your website, why make that your primary place for putting your content? The internet is a black hole. Most stuff gets sucked into the vacuum, never to be seen again.
Many companies and high profile people (e.g., celebrities, politicians, etc.) have moved their blogging content onto Medium.com. This article details further how I used Medium to go viral, get published on top-tier outlets, get a book published, and become a professional blogger.
Medium.com is great because anyone can publish there. However, you also want to pitch your content to credible platforms with big audiences.
Tim Ferriss doesn't do what he thinks will make him happy. He does what excites him.
Although his overarching vision remains consistent, Ferriss doesn't have long-term plans. Instead, he does 3-6 month "experiments," which he puts all of his energy into. He has no clue what doors may open as a result of these experiments, so why make long-term plans? He'd rather respond to the brilliant and best opportunities that arise, taking him in now unforeseen directions.
I've recently adopted Ferriss' concept of doing short-term experiments. This has changed my approach to my work. I decided to perform an experiment to attempt creating an article that would get 1,000,000 social shares. The result was this article.
To be sure, this is no easy task. My process was this: Do something I've never seen before. I've heard articles longer than 3,000 words are most likely to go viral. Also, listicles are very popular. So, I wrote an 8,000 word listicle, filled with the most actionable, high-caliber content I could muster.
Throughout multiple channels, it's possible this article has been shared over a million times by now, if not close. Here's an image of it sitting at #1 on imgur.com.
Additionally, the article brought several thousand new readers (including some of my favorite authors & researchers) and subscribers to my blog. Lastly, it brought on several new coaching clients.
That was just one short experiment that took a week to perform. Experiments are a fun way to pursue goals because they allow you to get innovative and bold. Experiments are short-term --and thus relatively low risk --thus, they should be "moon shots."
Why play small? What's the worst that could happen, you waste a few months and learn a lot while doing it?
3. Invite People To Subscribe
This may seem obvious. But very few people do it. I once wrote an article that went crazy-viral (like millions of views in just a few days). After a few days, I was surprised the mass traffic wasn't converting into subscribers.
So I edited the article and at the end wrote, "If you liked this article, please subscribe to my blog. You'll get a free copy of my ebook." After doing that, I went from like 10 subscribers to 3,500 in one day. Of course, it helps to have a free give away like I had.
I did it. I'm doing it. And you can too.