People often ask me how to grow their audience. They say the best way to learn something is to find someone who did it well, and do what they did. When it comes to growing an audience, I think there is one marketing plan that sticks out above all others. No, not the “plop-plop fizz-fizz” Alka-Seltzer commercial from the 1970's. That is the message of Jesus Christ (I'm a big fan and mean no disrespect). Even if you're an atheist this is true. He had phenomenal, life changing content. He went to find his audience. He befriended them. He got to the point. After making friends with them, he told them his message. He made it easy. He loved his audience. It appears to have worked. How do we do this?
Go find your audience:
Twitter, Face book, meetup.com, comments on blogs, blogworld.
Make friends with them:
Avoid the need to spam twitter, Facebook, and get to know people on a personal level. Jesus did not show up going, “Hey people check me out I just did some kewl miracles check em out the whole town is talking about them.” He put out great content, and let his audience do that.
He Told Them His Message – and was himself.
Now that he had their attention and trust, he told them his message. He had LIFE CHANGING content (OK, my atheist friends may have a different opinion). He did not say what everybody else was saying. He stood out.
Jesus Got to the Point
If you read the scripture around “the Lord's prayer” Jesus is saying, “God (the audience in regards to prayer) doesn't want long drawn out content. Get to the point, pray like this – and then he gave a prayer that’s about 30 seconds long.
He Was Consistent
Jesus never changed his message. People relied upon him. When things got tough (like a storm when they were in a boat that was probably going to sink), his audience turned to him for help. With this in mind, plan a publishing schedule (weekly, daily, bi-weekly, monthly) and stick to it. It makes you a trusted, reliable, friend that people will turn to when they need help.
He Made Deep Relationships
He hung out with his audience (the apostles) who then spread his message through word of mouth. Be sure to answer every email, reply to every comment, and address every voicemail. These people who are listening/watching could be your disciples who help carry your message.
He Applied Relentless Marketing by Telling Everyone
Jesus spoke to everyone. EVERYONE. This included tax collectors, women, etc that in theory was “not cool” at the time. This goes back to him knowing his audience and knowing who needed to hear his message. Bottom line he told everyone. So have your business cards, your sample CDs, your posters and your website ready and after you make friends tell them all and give everyone your message. Give your business cards (that point to your website more than give contact info) to your family. They are dirt cheap. Put them everywhere. Tell the world. Make a flyer and save it as a PDF and let your audience hang it in their neck of the woods.
Make It Easy
The Old Testament had a gazillion rules on what not to eat, how to cook, when to do this and that, Jesus brought a message of EASE. You should do the same. Be sure to have iTunes links, and other RSS options that make it easy to subscribe. Have an email list for those who want it. Always think of your audience, and ask if there is a way to make it easier to consume your content. Is your message above the fold or below the fold on your website?
Love Your Audience
While the podcast may be inspired and started on your passion, in the end it should be about your audience. While I'm not crazy about being crucified for my audience (you will receive the occasional bad review in iTunes, etc), I will turn off the air conditioner in July to make it quiet. I will think about them and wonder if my topic is something they need to hear. It's all about your audience.
Grow Your Audience the Jesus Way
Create life changing content
Go find your audience
Make friends with them
Tell them your message while being yourself
Get to the point.
Make deep relatinships with those who follow you
Be relentless about telling everyone
Make it easy to consume your message
Always be thinking of your audience.