“An audience returns often—on its own”

Marketing & Writing

This is one of my favorite pieces of marketing wisdom from Jason Fried and DHH. It comes from their book Rework.

They did “content marketing” before it was cool — and they hate the term. For them it’s only and always been about sharing. Doing or thinking about something cool, telling people about it. Not the made up stuff—the real stuff.

What they noticed is that, when you do this, over time, you build an audience.

But even that word has been co-opted by marketers today. An “audience” is a blurry crowd of people whom you can manipulate into consuming your thing. To get them to do so, you need lots of fancy tricks.

Not for Jason and DHH.

In their own words:

Today’s smartest companies know better. Instead of going out to reach people, you want people to come to you. An audience returns often—on its own—to see what you have to say. This is the most receptive group of customers and potential customers you’ll ever have. How much would it cost us to reach those hundred thousand people every day the old-fashioned way? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? And how would we have done it? Running ads? Buying radio spots? Sending direct mail? When you build an audience, you don’t have to buy people’s attention—they give it to you. This is a huge advantage.

You want to know something very interesting? There’s a lot of people I loosely follow on the Internet.

But there is one—literally, ONE—person who I intentionally seek out almost every single day to see if he’s written something new: Jason Fried.

I don’t do it because I have to. I do it because he’s the only person I follow who is so unique, original, and frankly interesting that I have don’t have to be reminded to check on what he’s written lately. Sure it pops across my X feed if I’m in a doom-scroll, but even that is so rare for me that sometimes I open up X only to go to his profile and see if anything new has come out. And I guarantee I’m not the only one.

That’s an audience.

Jun 26, 2024

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