Earlier this month, one of my LinkedIn posts took off:
120,000 impressions, over 2K likes, and 500+ new followers.
Trust me, it's less exciting than what they tell you.
In fact, this post didn't yield any direct results:
➕ Zero engaged leads
➕ A lot of “empty” followers
➕ An inflated ego for a day.
In this email, I want to share with you why these numbers aren't the key metrics to chase, but, they serve a purpose.
That's why I'd like to introduce:
The superfan funnel
Many of you will be familiar with the "1,000 superfans" principle Kevin Kelly wrote about:
A creator can make six figure income by getting 1,000 super fans to pay $100 a year.
Sounds pretty cool, right?
If that's the end goal, we can reverse-engineer how our content drives people up the funnel:
- Reader — a person who reads your work
- Follower — a person who follows your work on social media
- Subscriber — a fan is who you can speak to when you want
- Customer— a fan who showed you solved a problem for them
- Superfan — a fan who will likely buy most of what you charge money for
Important to know: while monetization is the end goal, it's not the goal for every phase.
Let's unpack each phase one by one:
The easiest way for someone to engage with your content is by reading it.
Besides their effort and time, it doesn't cost anything.
To bring in readers faster, you want to opt for free content in this phase.
Social platforms are your place-to-be.
Use free content to grow an audience, attract more people, and most important: talk with your readers.
Get to know them and watch where it leads.
It will change your creator's life.
When readers resonated with your content, they can decide to follow you.
It does move people up your funnel, as followers will get updated when you post new content.
Often this happens through the feed of the platform you create content on.
Whilst seeing your follower count grow is nice, they don’t pay the bills.
Again, followers and likes don’t pay the bills 🤷♂️
You want to do more.
Subscribers are already stronger members of your audience.
They paid to be part of your audience.
Perhaps not with money, but certainly with their personal information (e.g. their name and email address).
Besides an email list, a private community in Slack or Discord might be the right format for you to deepen the connection with your audience.
You want them to become part of your inner circle:
They know you and you know them.
They trust you to show up in a private part of their space (their email inbox) and you have a direct line of communication with them.
Pretty cool, right?
"Readers and followers come for the content, but stay for the connection."
The easiest way to convert readers, followers, and subscribers into customers?
Reply to direct messages.
Both the positive and negative messages:
Think of it this way.
Comments often contain critics.
Direct messages often contain readers who love your writing.
Make your audience feel heard and understood.
I get followers all the time that say “Wow, I never expected you to reply and thought you’d be too busy.”
That’s the case for most creators.
To stand out from most creators, you need to do something totally different.
You never know what's come from a conversation with a follower.
The transition from private messages to customers you might ask?
People pay for content that solves an urgent problem.
You find those urgent problems by writing and gaining feedback through comments and direct messages from your audience.
Go talk to your subscribers.
This is someone who:
- Wants authentic interactions with the creator.
- Is willing to pay a lot for these interactions.
In his book, The Art and Business of Online Writing, Nicolas Cole states that “you should only monetize the last 1%.
And in that last 1% should be just as much, if not even more value than the other 99%.”
An excellent strategy: You don’t need to be heard by millions to make money.
The reason why the 1% model is a viable solution is that the way writers make money is changing.
The exclusivity economy is booming with platforms like Patreon or paid newsletters.
You can charge a small fraction of your audience a subscription.
This segment of your audience is what I call your “superfans.”
They love everything you do and are fearlessly loyal.
They will beat a troll over the head with a baseball bat in the comments section for you without you having to say a word.
All you need is a small audience of readers to make a full-time income as a creator.
We're living in an age where you can build a six-figure creator business from superfans alone.
It all starts with content.
Create fantastic content that drives readers all the way up to fans, and eventually into superfans.
Fans want to stay in touch with you and you want to stay in touch with them.
Stop complaining about views.
Start caring about creating superfans who do the marketing for you.
I hope this was helpful to you.
If so, I'd appreciate it if you shared this email with a friend.
As always, thanks for being here.
Your Personal Creator Guide,