I recently met with a friend who was ramping up her marketing outreach. She had everything she needed: an updated marketing kit, a list of contacts, and an action plan. Yet, she hadn't actually submitted the marketing kit to anyone other than a handful of close acquaintances and business friends.
While she was discussing the marketing kit with one of her mentors, she expressed her concerns that of the few people she had reached out to, she had been turned down. Her mentor turned it around and gave her some great advice: Get a hundred nos. Essentially, the laws of statistics start to work their way in this scenario. For however many nos you get, you're going to got a few yesses, as well. It's all about persistence and perseverence.
The same goes for when you're trying to get followers to your blog, podcast, social media, YouTube video, etc. If you set out to start a podcast and your first ten episodes are only consumed by relatives, close friends, and business acquaintences, you need to remember that it takes a little bit of time for those folks to spread the word and for your message to start to populate into the main content streams.
Think about it this way. When did you start listening to your favorite podcasts? Were you one of the first hundred subscribers? Or did you learn about it from your co-worker, who learned about it from her cousin, who learned about it from his friend, who learned about it during a conversation on a cross-country business trip from a random traveler in the seat next to him on a flight? If you do the math on this scenario, we've already gone through four levels of randomness for you to find that podcast.
The same stands true for social media. When you sign up for a social media account - whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc., one of the first things it asks is for access to your e-mail addresses. This way, it can connect you with people you already know. It's easier to network on social media networks that way. When you start out with your new Twitter account, it's easy to become friends with a few people. As you interact with those people, you discover new people. Those new people, in turn, discover you. That's how your network develops.
While we would all love to be an overnight sensation, building your network takes a little bit of time when you actually sit down to work on it. Remember that four degrees of separation scenario for how we found a podcast? Let's put it into a realistic timeframe.
This part is going to be a little timey-wimey, but if you stick with it - it adds to the point I'm trying to make in more ways than one: The business traveler we started with in our example learned about the podcast through an iTunes search. He was looking for a podcast talking about something that interested him. We'll use international cuisine as an off-the-wall topic for this example. He was traveling to a foreign country and wanted to learn about what foods he would be eating for his business trip. When he searched iTunes, this was one he happened to stumble upon. It had a number of episodes, so it was something he could listen to during his very long flights and transfers without running out of episodes. While he was sitting on his flight, the person seated next to him was traveling for an interview for a job in a new restaurant. Through the course of introductions and reasons for travel a commonality for discussion was food. The international traveler mentioned this new podcast about foreign cuisine to the cross-country traveler through the course of discussion. The cross-country traveler starts listening to the podcast, and thinks his friend would be interested in it. He refers it to him. He starts listening to it, but isn't really a fan of it. He is talking with his cousin a few weeks later about podcasts, and mentions this one that he checked out but wasn't really into. The cousin asks about it, out of curiosity, and decides to listen to a few episodes. She is excited to check out the podcast and tweets about her plans to binge the first few episodes so she can really decide whether or not she likes it enough to listen to it. One of her twitter followers happens to be the co-worker, who checked out the link and downloaded the podcast. The co-worker was so excited about one of the dishes recommended by the podcast that she found a recipe and tried it out. It turned out really well, so she made it again for the company potluck where you happened to try it and asked where she got the recipe. And, she tells you and a few other co-workers who asked about it. While you may not be interested in checking out the podcast, the couple of co-workers she also mentioned it to may have downloaded it and will continue the cycle of introducing a spiderweb of followers.
Now, how long did it take you to read that paragraph? As long as it was, it brings into perspective how long it takes for things to have a visible effect. Think about how long it actually took for the podcast to travel from the international traveler where it began to your co-worker bringing in the recipe for a company potluck. It could be a few weeks. It could be a few months.
If you're going to listen to a podcast, do you listen to one that ended new releases over a year ago? Or, do you prefer a podcast that continues to have updated content? If you fall into the latter category, it is possible you never would have heard about the podcast from our scenario. Had the podcaster stopped recording podcasts before the business traveler stumbled upon it, he never would have found it, and you never would have heard about the podcast from your co-worker's potluck. Similarly, if the podcast had been cancelled between the time the coast-to-coast traveler downloaded the podcast and the time your co-worker found out about it, there is a likelihood your co-worker would have not invested the time and resources into a podcast that was already finished - opting instead to go with one with current episodes.
Your podcast, or website, or video, or social media can be the one someone chooses to start consuming today - because you have current content that is updated regularly versus choosing to listen to something that may be outdated and stale. Don't let your project be the one that becomes outdated and stale because you gave up on it too soon.