There's a recent piece about a musician who has built a huge online following by simply focusing on those who care enough to interact with him online. I can't find the article now but the theme of focusing on those who care, rather than amassing large numbers of likes and whatnot from those who are simply aware of your existence, is a recurring one that recently appeared in two tech posts featuring musical examples.
The piece I can't find, though I think it came out in the last month, gets better and better in my mind. It was an amazing tale of a man who chose to release his music online, maybe via Facebook, and instead of promoting it he just began to chat with people who responded and from there built an enormous Facebook (or related social media) following that would simply astound you.
Or something similar. But I do know it was a strong example of a musician building a following by communicating directly on an ongoing and deeply engaged basis with the people who cared about his music enough to connect.
Prioritize Those You're Connecting With Right Now
I was reminded of this piece by Paul Jarvis, a creative individual, who advocates giving up growth concerns and prioritizing the people you are actually connecting with right now...Even if that’s just one person."
Using an example of how his band's music had affected a single fan, Jarvis argues:
We beat ourselves up too often for not reaching enough people, especially when we’re starting out. We ignore the fact that we are reaching people."
Oddly enough, as the guy whose story I can't find illustrated, focusing on reaching and connecting with people, no matter how small a number, is what will build a larger audience for your work.
And Build An Audience
On a related note, Jeremy Bencken recently wrote about the difference between traffic and audience using the sneaker blog NiceKicks.com as an example.
Since I described this as a musical example, I should clarify that back when I was writing about the hip hop industry, sneakers were an important part of the scene and NiceKicks.com a leader in sneaker blogging.
Bencken discusses NiceKicks.com as a website that has great traffic but focuses on building an audience. The blog provides exhaustive, in-depth coverage of sneakers and extended time-on-site by audience members is the result.
The idea of focusing one's energy on those you've reached and building an audience rather than Facebook Likes is not a new one.
It's the same kind of thinking that's inspired by 1,000 True Fans.
So stop stressing over those numbers and start building an audience.
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