64. Five hundred followers – and so what?

I just hit my 500th follower on Medium. Woohoo!

This means that five hundred people are reading what I write, gleefully devouring every word like ravenous beasts, right?

Well, no.

In fact, I don’t think that anyone who is used to the way to the ways of the internet thinks this is the case. We know that subscribers and readers aren’t the same. In my case, definitely not.

When checking the statistics on my posts, I’ve found that very few of my “reads” actually come from Medium. Less than 10% on almost all posts, and on some of them only a few percent are from here.

Most come from facebook. I always share my posts on my personal wall, and sometimes they travel from there.

Yet, I’m still extremely motivated by the rise in my number of followers. Even if it doesn’t necessarily lead to increased readership, it tells me a couple of things that I really want to hear.

  • Someone out there has read something that I wrote, decided “Hey, I want to hear more of what this guy has to say.” and acted on it. That’s incredibly validating.
  • Every one of those 500 followers has the potential to read a blog post I write. Maybe it’s different ones each time. Who knows? But with each extra person, there’s a chance that THAT specific individual will read something.
  • Just because facebook gives me most of my reads doesn’t mean that my posts spread from my personal fb wall. Maybe somebody reads a post on Medium due to being a follower, and then shares it on a personal facebook page. That’s definitely possible.
  • The higher, the number, the easier it is for me to convince others that I’m worth listening to. 500 Medium followers may not be much in the great scheme of things, but I can remember when it was 100 instead.
  • We’re still not at the point where I’ll mention the number as a way of establishing authority, but that day may come. When I see that someone has 16,000 followers on Medium, I’m impressed. Hell, I’m impressed at the 500 I have. 500 people is a lot!

It’ll be interesting to see what this means for the. number of views/reads on my posts. Most get 200–500 views (fewer reads!), and the most I’ve ever hit was just shy of 5,000 views and 2,700 reads. But of course, I was being a bit controversial there, and that always helps.

Honestly, it’s probably not.

But if you’re a writer, podcaster, vlogger, or any kind of producer of content, then you’ll know that it feels good to be heard/seen/acknowledged. And reach matters. If you do something and it reaches 100 interested people, it’s usually (but not always) more motivating than if it reaches 20.

That’s not exactly rocket science, but here’s a few tips that I have found useful for content creation. They have led me to 64 blog posts, around 100 podcast episodes and countless texts and posts in various formats. I know that it varies immensely from person to person how this works, so these tips may be as wrong for you as they may be right.

  • Produce when you have something to say, and don’t schedule. If all I did was blog, I would probably do a blog post every other day. Now that it’s more of a sideshow, I do it when I feel like it.
  • Don’t overthink it. Get it out there. You’ll be better by episode/post #20 than you are at #1, but you need to actually get stuff out there to get to twenty.
  • Accept that some people will not only disagree with you, but actively dislike you because of the content you produce. It’s natural. Live with it. Just as some people like you, because of what you write, except that’s much nicer!
  • Grind. Few of us are brilliant enough to produce impactful, viral content on Day One. Keep on going and build a base of interested people. It’s slow going, but has a better success rate than trying for that One Hit Wonder.

Thank you for reading. Whether you’re one of the 500 or someone else, you’re the most important thing for this blog. Without you, it would never get written.

And for that, you have my thanks!

If you like my writing, and want to throw money at me to write more, you can do exactly that, using Patreon.


Director at The College of Extraordinary Experiences, Coach at McKinsey & Founding Partner at The Global Institute For Thought Leadership. Author of 31 books.

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