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How to get slowly famous

I’m writing this post for someone who has a book to promote, but is horrified by the idea of being a self-promoting marketer. He does a lot of writing and a lot of the right promotional things, but they aren’t adding up to a big hit.

Here’s the secret: Make it easier to be a fan, and make it easier for fans to share.

  1. Every time you find a fan, let them sign up to be be notified of the next thing you do. The easiest way to do this is with a blog and an email newsletter.
  2. Everything you publish anywhere (print, web, social media, etc,) should point people back to this single site with a polite reminder that they can sign up for updates.
  3. Everything you publish anywhere else should be re-posted to the blog, and then emailed to the people who signed up.
  4. Pick a few social media sites to be good at, and re-post all of your content to all of them. This lets you gather followers on each of those sites, and lets people get your updates from the medium they prefer. (Don’t try to be everywhere. Choose the sites where 1) your fans already are and 2) your stuff fits naturally.)
  5. Make it easy to share. Include simple links for fans to share what they see. (You don’t care how people share, you just want to make it easy for them to do it in the way they like best.)

Repeat until you’re famous.

Why does it work?

  • You’re building an audience.
  • Once you have an audience, every future thing you do has a head start, so the next work has more impact.
  • Fans share, which brings more fans. Over time it gets huge, like compound interest.
  • You only need 1000 true fans. It’s surprisingly easy to get 1000 followers, and 1000 followers are enough to snowball anything into a word-of-mouth success.
  • It’s not marketing, it’s customer service. You’re not pushing anything at anyone. You’re giving your fans the updates they’re waiting for. You’re helping them by making it easier for them to reshare it with their friends.
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