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I had an interesting question the other day about why a person’s podcast stats were not growing and how to think about the lack of listens. Her question also applies to bloggers. I answered my friend’s question in my Life Over Coffee podcast, which you can listen to here: 17 things to know to do a fantastic podcast.
If you are a blogger or podcaster and want to grow your audience, then it’s important you make two important evaluations: (1) the kind of person you are and (2) the kind of people you want to reach. Evaluating yourself is easy. There are only two kinds of people in the world, famous ones and the rest of us.
If you are famous, then you can say or do most anything and people will listen. That’s not necessarily a good thing but it’s a true thing. People want to know what famous people have to say no matter what they are saying, for the most part, with a few qualifications. John Piper and John MacArthur are two of those people. When they speak, people listen.
For the rest of us unknowns, you have to figure out the audience you want to reach. After you define your target audience, you have to learn how to say what you want to say and then hand-deliver your message to them. There used to be a day when people would come to you (your website). That day has passed.
Let Me Illustrate: I’m not a famous person but I can get people to listen to me under specific and tight conditions. They will only listen if I say things that speak to the lives they are living. That means I have to talk mostly about marriage, parenting, and spiritual issues. That is how I’ve built my audience. As long as I talk about those things, they will listen. Why? Because they want help.
If I talk about podcasting or blogging, for example, they will not listen. I have not established myself in that market. I am not “the guy” in that space. I can reach 20K to 40K people when I write articles on how to take your thoughts captive, how to overcome the opinions of others, the angry dad or the presidential election but only a handful will listen or read about how to podcast.
You’re probably like me–a nobody–as far as a public figure is concerned. People are not interested in what you have to say about anything unless (1) you are speaking to their interests, (2) the way they want to hear it–the medium, (3) how they want to hear it–the platform, and (4) when they need what you have to say.
You have to “T” it up for them perfectly or they will not give you the time of day. You must not make them work for it. You must hand-deliver it to them. This is important. Do not think, “If I build it, they will come.” They will not.
If you’re interested in blogging or podcasting and you want people to listen to what you have to say, then here are three more things you must do:
On Personal Blogs: If your goal is to speak to your family and a few close friends exclusively, then you can carefully talk about yourself. Carefully. It is generally considered a bad vibe to talk about yourself, as you know from God’s Word (Matthew 22:36-40).
We have a family blog that we do not share. It can be found if you knew what to look for but we don’t send it out to folks. If your goal is to reach the world for Christ, then you must understand what loving God and others mean in the blogosphere.
On Steve Jobs: Learn the lesson of Steve Jobs. He mastered giving the customer what they wanted. He never made it about Apple Corp. but always about the customer. He was so in-tune with what the customer wanted that he was able to create something that did not exist (iTouch and iPad) and make people want things they did not know they wanted.
On Thirsty Horses: The saying is you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. That’s not necessarily true. You can lead a horse to water and make him drink if you put salt in his oats. The question you have to answer is, do you know how to create a thirst in people? Jesus knew how to create a thirst (John 7:46), speak to the thirst He created (John 4:14), and satisfy that thirst (John 7:37).