This is an actionable post.
In my ultimate guide to grow your audience I outlined the high-level strategy necessary to build a following, but now it’s time to get specific.
Here’s a concrete plan to produce valuable, relevant content that attracts and grows your target audience in just five weeks.
The plan includes 10 content prompts you can use to inspire blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, or even social media status updates —it’s flexible enough to work on whatever platform you choose.
All you have to do is create content based on each topic and share it with the world. I recommend two posts a week for five weeks, but you can tweak the frequency to fit your own situation.
Let’s do it…
Post 1: Introduce Yourself
To kick things off write an introductory post to explain who you are and what you’re about to do.
Tell people you plan to publish two new pieces of content each week for the next five weeks and (this is important) give them an easy way to follow along with the journey.
Suggest they subscribe to your email list, YouTube channel or relevant social network to get each future piece of content and follow along.
The most important thing to do in your introductory post is explain how the content you create will provide value to your audience.
Give them a reason to care and remember — what you create needs provide value to your audience.
That’s how it will ultimately provide value to you.
Post 2: Why You Do What You Do
Write a post that tells your story — explain why you chose to pursue your profession, why you’ve created your product, or what first drew you to your cause.
Be open and honest about your background and how you got to where you are — even if you just started out.
You may not think it will be interesting to people, but if you’re honest about how and why you became who you are and do what you do, it will resonate.
The purpose of this post is to build an emotional connection between you and your readers — it will humanize you and make your audience more likely to care about you and your work.
This post can also be repurposed as a great About page on your website or used as a bio that tells your story in a more compelling, meaningful way than the typical bio.
Post 3: Share A Controversial Or Strong Opinion
What’s the strongest opinion you have about your work or industry that many people disagree with?
It’s time to express that.
Write up your opinion and explain why you feel that way and why it should matter to your audience.
Your opinion doesn’t have to be controversial, but the more disagreement there is about it, the more likely it is to get noticed.
This post is your opportunity to position yourself and show not only what you believe, but how what you believe makes you different from others in your field.
It’s a chance to show you’re unique and others who share your outlook, the people who will ultimately become your most valuable customers or fans.
Post 4: Admit Something You’ve Never Admitted Before
Vulnerability is an asset.
Dig into your personal life or background and share a story about something you’ve never publicly shared before.
It can be something that happened to you, a lesson you’ve learned, something you believe, or something people would be surprised to know about you.
When you write it up, don’t forget to tell people this is something you’ve never shared before — it will make it more compelling and draw them closer to you.
Post 5: Interview Somebody
Find somebody relevant to your audience to interview.
It doesn’t have to be somebody famous or somebody you don’t know — what matters is that it’s somebody who can provide value to your audience.
Choose somebody relevant to your niche and bonus points if that person has an audience or social following of their own because they they can promote your finished interview to their audience and get you additional attention for it.
Make the questions you ask as unique and interesting as possible — don’t just ask the basics.
Not sure what to ask? Check out these interesting questions to ask people.
Post 6: Explain How To Do Something
You’ve got expertise to share — this is the time to do it.
Posts that explain how to do things (like the one you’re reading right now) provide value to people and often they tend to be posts that are just as valuable a year after being published as they are the day they’re first published.
If you have limited expertise in your field, then choose a relevant skill you have to explain.
For example, let’s say your audience is sales professionals but you have limited sales expertise to share.
Identify some other knowledge you have — like maybe your college philosophy degree — and write a post explaining how it relates to sales.
For example, a post about “What Ancient Philosophy Teaches Us About Why People Buy Things” would likely interest an audience of sales pros.
Post 7: Share Your Best/Worst/Craziest Experience
Whatever it is you do, I’m sure you’ve got some interesting stories about it.
Pick one and share it with people — but write it in a way that will resonate with your target audience and showcase the emotional aspect of the story.
Choose something funny, scary, inspiring, crazy, or even tragic that the people you aim to connect with will either relate to, wish had happened to them, or be relieved they haven’t experienced.
Post 8: Share Five Valuable Videos On A Topic That’s Relevant To Your Audience
YouTube is your friend.
Go on a deep dive about a subject that’s relevant to your work and your audience, and collect five incredible videos around that theme.
Then, share them in a post with brief writeup of your thoughts about each one.
This kind of curation (it can also be done with articles or pictures instead of videos) is an easy way to provide value to your audience — for example, I do it every week through my For The Interested newsletter.
I’ve also done it with videos in this post.
Post 9: Recommend People To Follow On Social Media
Spend some time on your favorite social media platform (or all of them if that’s how you roll) and compile a list of people your target audience should follow.
Choose people that provide value and include a mix of big influencers in your space as well as lesser-known people who share great content.
When you write up the list, include a brief summary of each person and why they’re worth following.
As an example, check out my list of 25 newsletters that will inspire, educate, and entertain you.
Once you post your list, share it on social media and tag the people you featured to make sure they know you included them.
Some of them will share the post with their own followers and get you more exposure.
Post 10: Write An “Open Letter”
You know how publications sometimes feature an “open letter” from somebody written to a well-known person or brand? Do that yourself.
Pick a public entity (a person, company, or organization) you have a strong feeling about and write an open letter explaining your position or asking them to take a particular action.
Make it about something other people might agree with you about and that might lead them to rally behind your expression of the idea.
For example, if your target audience is freelance journalists and you write “An Open Letter To Business Insider About How You Treat Freelancers,” that’s likely to be of interest to freelance journalists who may want to support your opinions.
BONUS POST: Write A “What I’ve Learned” Post
Now that you’re on a roll, why stop at 10 posts?
Here’s a great 11th post idea for you.
Borrow the Esquire magazine What I’ve Learned column format and share a list of things you’ve learned in your life or about your craft.
An alternate take on this is to share a list of things you learned from implementing this content plan for the past few weeks.
If you do that, let me know — I’d be happy to share it with others!
One more thing…
Each week I share a collection of 10 ideas like this to help you learn, do, and become better at your work, art, and life.
You can check out previous issues here.