Three Keys to Building an Audience

You’ve heard that every writer has an audience.

Have you found yours yet?

Maybe you’re saying, “Frank, that sounds great. But if they’re out there, why haven’t I found them? Where are they hiding?”

Build your audience
Photo Credit: Web Summit Flickr via Compfight cc

Yes, it’s frustrating to pour your heart into your work and publish to an empty house. If it happens often enough, you wonder why you ever picked up a pen. Why bother when nobody cares?

The most important question you need to answer – especially if you’re new to blogging – is this: “How do I get people to read my stuff? And better still, how I get them to care?”

You don’t need a PhD in psychology. You don’t need to be a mind reader. You don’t need to know the latest social media tricks. All you need is a little insight into human nature.

Here are three truths that will draw people to you and help you build your audience.

Your audience is as self-absorbed as you are.

The other night thunderstorms shook my house.

The wind howled and pounded my walls. Rain flopped on my roof like an avalanche.

At one point, I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

I prayed. And prayed. And prayed again.

I thought about places I could hide, and came up empty.

I began making funeral arrangements in my head.

When the winds finally quit howling, it dawned on me I was still alive.

Then I started thinking.

I’m praying for God to save me, not my neighbors. “God, if you’ll get me out of here, I promise to be good forever. Please keep us alive. But if it’s time to go, I’m thankful I know you.”

Nobody curses God in thunderstorms. We just plead for him to get us out alive. Readers want out of their storms, too.

Does your writing rescue readers from their problems? Does it give them hope in the midst of their storms?

If it doesn’t, maybe you need to go through a storm.

The key to someone's heart is knowing they're as selfish as you are. Click To Tweet

People respond to those who do them favors.

Robert Cialdini introduced me to the power of reciprocity.

If you’re not familiar with the term “reciprocity”, here’s a simple way to understand it: “If you do a favor for me, I feel I owe you one.”

This exchange happens daily. When you say “Hello” to someone, she’ll say, “Hello.” When you hold a door for someone, she’ll say, “Thank you.”  When you smile at someone, she’ll smile.

It also helps you build an audience.

I recently did a book review for my friend Mike Loomis. You can read it here. After I published, I tagged him and shared it on Facebook. I shared it on Twitter. I shared it with my writing groups.

I did it because I like the book. I believe it can help writers who want to build their audiences.

That’s it.

In exchange, Mike shared my post on his social media channels. He offered to check my brand. He gave me an action plan to make my brand better.

Favors work for you in many situations including:

  • offering a freebie to grow your email list
  • reaching an influencer by doing him or her a favor
  • solving a problem for someone without any expectation of reward

If you just ask for stuff, you’re a moocher. Do favors first. Don’t expect anything in return. Let the power of reciprocity do its work. Good things will come soon enough.

If you want attention, do a favor for someone. Click To Tweet

Act like you’ve got answers, then prove it.

Do you want people to trust you?

They won’t do business with you if they don’t.

If you offer coaching services, tell your prospects what you’ve accomplished. Make sure it’s something that connects with their deepest desires. Do that and you’ll have as many clients as you could ever want.

For example, if you want to write better articles, wouldn’t you want to work with someone who has written 1200 already?

If you want to sell your eBook, wouldn’t you want a coach that has already sold over 25,000?

If you want to make speeches about your book, wouldn’t you want to work with someone who has made speeches for 30 years?

Of course you would.

The successful person can better help you succeed. He knows the obstacles, the challenges, and the fears you’ll experience. He knows how to persevere through all that and come out a winner.

People buy solutions. If you want readers, solve their problems.

People don't buy products and services. They buy solutions. Click To Tweet

Do This Now

Are you ready to get some attention?

  • Do a favor for an influencer in your niche.
  • Solve one of your reader’s problems in your next blog post.
  • Give away something valuable to build your email list.

When you focus on service, people will pay attention. Do a favor and you’ll create a debt. Do it enough and people will do anything to pay you back.

How can you use what you’ve read to build your audience?

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