Take a good look at this picture. It shows the map of all the folks who read this blog.
It’s a fun statistic. On the same page, you can see a number of other stats: the number of followers, shares, comments, page views…
Traffic, they call it.
But that’s you, if you come to think about it. One of those numbers is you. If you’ve commented a few times on my blog posts, your name appears in another statistic as a top commenter.
Are you a statistic? Just a number?
Aren’t you an actual person?
Aren’t you just like me? Like the person who commented before you?
Yet, somehow, it’s so damn easy to forget that our followers are real people.
And that’s when you make all sorts of mistakes. And that’s how you screw up. Big time.
The numbers always lie.
No one ever starts a blog with the goal of having one reader. Just one.
And that’s a big problem, because, you see, you write your first blog post, you publish it, and you get that first follower.
But you don’t celebrate at all. You want another one. You don’t even see that reader as someone who thought your writing to be good enough to subscribe. You just see a number.
This is why no amount of followers will ever be enough. Because you see them as nameless, faceless, voiceless entities, when in fact each and every single one of them has friends, has a voice, a life, a story.
Funny… we never focus on the one. On that one follower. On each and every single one. On our ideal reader.
And it’s ironic, because a long time ago, someone believed in my blog post that they shared it on their Twitter. They had close to a hundred thousand followers, I had a hundred.
Just one person. But their share meant that over a thousand people read my blog post in less than twenty four hours.
You see, if you chase followers, you will have a few problems, such as:
1. No number will ever be big enough.
When you chase numbers, it’s not possible to reach the end. Numbers keep going forever. You just keep counting. The 1 millionth follower will feel no different than the tenth.
There is no finish line, there is no satisfaction.
2. A follower will forget you.
Do you remember that first follower? They could have been a lifetime fan. But did you care enough about them or did you neglect them to chase follower number two, number three, and so on?
The enormous irony is that when you chase followers, you really will attract people who want what you have. Don’t ignore these people.
3. There’s no time to develop relationships.
Here’s the thing: if you are constantly chasing followers, you never have time to stop and ask yourself if what you are doing even makes sense. Or if your readers actually resonate with your content. Or what type of content they like best.
There’s no time to do anything but chase more followers.
Whenever you find yourself thinking about this faceless crowd you call an audience, stop and think of your ideal reader. Think of someone walking up to you and telling you that they feel like they know you because you the words you have written. Better yet, they sometimes feel like YOU know them because of the words you write.
Don’t chase followers. Make friends.