How do you quickly grow an online audience?

Here's how I've helped folks do it.

A mix of writing, marketing, and startups:
One audience building approach:

• YouTube/Twitter for viral distribution
• Blogging for SEO distribution
• Newsletter for maintaining relationships
• Podcasts for deepening them

Twitter gets the word out.

Newsletters keep people around.

Podcasts help them better know you.
A question to ask when building an audience:

Are they following you for your mind or your labor?

• Labor: You're COLLECTING good content for them
• Mind: You're CRAFTING original content

Mind-followers are extra loyal. They're with you no matter what you do in the future.
One way to measure the value of an audience:

Audience value = Size * Affinity * Goal fit

• Affinity: How much attention they pay to you
• Goal fit: Their ability to act on your goals, such as:

• Buy from you
• Vote for you
• Share your ideas
• Take social action
How to grow a YouTube channel:

• Pitch the video's value in the first five seconds
• Ask a question you don't resolve until the last five seconds
• With YT algo, 1 amazing video > 10 good videos
• Quick cuts don't give people time to ask if they're bored

—Mr. Beast
How to grow a podcast:

• Be YouTube-first; do video interviews
• Split eps into 8-25min YouTube clips with SEO’d titles
• Get guests that are searched for on YouTube
• Swap eps into other shows' feeds
• People come for content and stay for rapport, authenticity, charisma
Podcast interviews are boring by default.

I'm guessing 99.5% of podcasts are listened to by no one?

The holy grail: Unfiltered conversations between charismatic storytellers.

Listeners stick around when it feels like they're catching up with interesting friends over dinner.
How to improve newsletter growth:

1. Offer something for free to capture emails
2. Use newsletter plug swaps to cross-promote yours with others
3. Link from your Twitter bio and at the end of tweets

Once you're big:

4. Referral incentives
5. Paid ads → CPM sponsorship funnel
Common newsletter formats:

1. Editorial deep-dives
2. Web link roundups
3. Inventory updates like Zillow, cheap flights
4. News headlines like Morning Brew

Choose whichever format you can most consistently generate high quality content for and that serves your target audience.
What's the benefit of starting a newsletter?

• No one can take your subscribers from you
• Dedicated eyeballs; you're not lost in a Twitter feed
• Intimate for deepening audience relationships
• Get people to click your plug links—whereas links on Twitter/YT perform poorly
PSA: You don’t have to send your newsletter every week.

Send it as often as it’s actually interesting.

I haven't seen evidence that you must "stay top of mind" at a high frequency.

In an era of content saturation, quality—not frequency—keeps you relevant for the long-term.
Newsletter tip:

Instead of just giving newsletter subscribers the option to fully unsubscribe, you can also offer to reduce email frequency.

For example, let them click a link to go from weekly to monthly. Now they might stick around.
How to grow a personal blog:

• Publish when you have something to say. Novelty > volume. Be known for signal over noise.
• Distribute posts via your newsletter and your friends'.
• Post to Hacker News and reddit.
• Learn the basics of SEO.
How to grow a Twitter audience:

Maximize retweets.

Retweets put you in front of non-followers. A percentage of them then follow.

What people retweet:

• Ideological alignment
• Referenceable advice
• Clever humor
• Elegant articulations of how the world works
A simple Twitter growth tactic:

Be quick to respond to viral tweets with insightful and actionable advice of your own—add a complementary perspective.

People will see your thoughtful responses and follow you too. Happens all the time.
People often use Twitter bios to describe their identity.

But, most people don't care if you’re a "2x founder" or "Ex-Google."

To increase follow rate, you can rewrite your bio to explain WHY ppl should follow: which topics you cover and from what perspective.

My bio: @Julian
I post threads like this once per week.

Follow along as I deconstruct marketing, writing, and startups—and share my learnings along the way.

My past threads are here: @Julian

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More from @Julian

14 Jun
If you worry about your startup's competition...

I overcame that anxiety by writing this essay.

How to beat competition:
I used to worry about three competitive dynamics:

• What if competitors turn my business into a feature?

• If I don’t build this feature now, a competitor will and I’ll lose my headstart.

• What if my competitor's market dominance makes acquisition costs unsustainably high?
I reduced these anxieties by realizing this: 

*Customer retention is the antidote to competition.*

Because, when fearing competition, you're often fearing:

• Unsustainable economics
• Losing customers to competitors

The second one caused most of my stress. So I tackled it:
Read 15 tweets
11 Jun
What’s the most beautiful piece of writing you’ve ever come across?

Bonus points if you can screenshot a paragraph and share it below. I’ll consider including it in my writing guide.

Props to anyone who takes the time ❤️
I'll start with some great ones from last time:

From @amamyyang Image
From @VCFryer Image
Read 7 tweets
10 Jun
I've now written 30 Twitter threads.

I use them to log great ideas and everything that surprises me.

Here are my 9 best threads (on startups, writing, marketing):
Read 11 tweets
8 Jun
Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, and Drake generate non-stop hits for years.

What are they doing differently?

Thread: How to generate way more ideas
I was watching a documentary on songwriter Ed Sheeran. In it, he described his songwriting process.

It struck me as identical to the process that author Neil Gaiman detailed in his Masterclass.
Here's the thing.

Ed Sheeran and Neil Gaiman are in the top 0.000001% of their fields. They're among very few people in the world who consistently generate blockbuster after blockbuster.
Read 17 tweets
19 May
10 of my realizations about writing well:
Your goal isn't to build a writing habit. Your goal is to fall so in love with interesting ideas that you can’t not write about them.
Don't wait for an idea to be fully formed before writing. You write in order to think through the idea. The act of writing compels your brain to connect the dots.
Read 11 tweets
7 May
If you suffer from procrastination when writing...

I eventually overcame it.

How to make writing easier:
To start, I write the worst draft possible as quickly as I can.

Because almost all the work happens during rewriting anyway.

The greatest friction is in putting ideas down in the first place.
It's your first major hurdle: get a bad draft #1 done so you can spend 95% of your time rewriting.

That means, in my bad first draft, I use placeholders any time I'm stuck:
Read 22 tweets

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