Most creators see Building in Public as a way to let everyone see what you're working on all the time. The focus tends to be on "sharing", but actually sharing is only one part of the whole equation.
If you want to generate results from your Building in Public activities and achieve your goal, here are the things you should also focus on.
1) Find yourself an audience
We talked about the different channels you can explore to share your content. Once you’ve identified the channels, a common mistake is to share a lot ... but to no one.
And you start to feel like you're sharing and talking to yourself. You’re discouraged. You want to give up.
Let me share a personal story about how I gave up because I didn’t have an audience.
Back in 2018, I was taking a career break and wanted to do something creative. Making videos had been a hobby, so I started creating YouTube videos. My topics? You probably guessed it: parenting, relationships, and raising kids! They're still on YouTube, but I hope you don't find them.
Week after week, I spent about 20-30 hours a week making one video. I kept filming, editing, and sharing. I had zero subscribers on YouTube and a few hundred friends on Facebook and Instagram to start with.
After 6 weeks, I gave up after making 6 videos. What went wrong? I didn’t feel that I was making any progress because not a lot of people were viewing my content (508 views after 2 years - sad).
The truth was I never spent time thinking about who my audience was. I simply uploaded them on YouTube, put them in front of my friends, and hoped for the best.
If you are frustrated about having no significant progress, you should review whether you’ve found your specific audience.
Let me share a tip here.
If you have created a piece of sharing that is helpful to people, you can go to forums, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, and read posts by other people. Type your thoughtful reply directly there. Near the end, you can mention you’ve spent some time creating this piece of content that helps other people on this topic. This way you are putting your content directly out there.
Remember. This can come across as spam, so you only want to do it when it is highly relevant and helpful. And never just leave a link as a comment.
2) Amplify the compounding effect
In Chapter 5, I talked about using multiple channels interchangeably by remixing content to share. Now let’s take you to the next level.
When you're new to audience building, you tend to think you have ONE audience: everyone who follows you, that your Twitter followers, your website visitors, your newsletter subscribers, etc. are the same group of people. The truth is, they're not.
People have different behaviors and habits, so your Twitter followers could be people who have never been to your website. And to increase your chance of getting your sharing into their hands, most creators set up a growth loop in their sharing, like Kaleigh Moore.
When you tweet, mention you also have a newsletter that they can subscribe to.
When you send a newsletter, mention you have a popular blog post.
In your blog posts, mention a guide or get them to subscribe to your newsletter.
This is a growth loop to grow each of your channels and increase your entire audience base.
3) Make a lot of friends
The online world is a whole lot like the real world, in which having friends can help you be successful. Alex has a great tweet about making friends.
You should never wait until you need their help to establish these friendships. At the very beginning of your journey, take time to have conversations with people online, take it to the next level by having a video call, and even offer your help to them first. Remember: give > take.
A few quick wins you can do:
- Retweet their tweets or help them share their content.
- Engage with their tweets, tag others to loop people in the conversations.
- Answer their tweet questions. Solve their problems.
The word "audience" is a little misleading. It implies a one-to-many relationship where you talk to your audience, but they never get to talk to you. In fact, to have a great audience is about finding belongings, friends, and trust alongside people.
4) The deeper you go, the more eyeballs you get
A lot of creators believe that Building in Public means sharing often. They’re concerned about how active they need to be.
Yet, sharing more often doesn't differentiate you from the rest, sharing deeper stories does.
As more and more people are now Building in Public, the standard for stories will only go up. What sort of sharing is receptive? Things that most people are too afraid to share publicly:
- How a creator programmatically creates hundreds of web pages to drive SEO traffic
- How a founder handles letting go of 100 people
- How an Indie Hacker rejects a $1 million dollar acquisition offer
If you're just starting out, you aren't sure whether you have crazy stories like the examples above to share. That's okay. You don't have to compare yourself to people that are way ahead of you.
Think hard about what you're learning in the last few weeks that can benefit people around you. A small lesson to you often is amazingly valuable to someone else.