You can’t reach everyone in the world.
Why? Because a lot of people are so incredibly different from you.
Some people really like fancy sports cars (I wish my superpower was the ability to stop all car traffic for a 1-mile radius around my current location,) other people really want to destroy the environment (I really wish we could save it.) still other people like going to garage sales and buying tons of junk they’ll never use to fill up their house (well, duh, I don’t do advocate this.)
The specifics of what I’m trying to say don’t really matter, the reality is that if you say anything at all that has any consequence, someone will have the opposite view of what you’re trying to say.
How to be uncontroversial.
So 80% of the people who are creators (especially on blogs) solve this problem by never saying anything specific. They don’t want to offend anyone, so they try to be safe and not say anything that matters.
They dumb down their writing until you could buy it off of a grocery store magazine rack.
The problem is that if you stop saying anything important, you end up saying nothing much at all.
Then no one cares.
The real reason why I turned off blog comments.
Recently I made the controversial decision to turn commenting off on this blog.
I listed seven reasons why you should invest your time instead of commenting on my blog, and the first reason was “write about what I said on your blog.”
So a whole bunch of people wrote on their blogs about how I was stomping on their freedom of speech by turning off comments on my blog.
The funny thing is, these people followed my advice that I listed in that original article. They proved that there was something better they could be doing than commenting on my blog.
Also, when they wrote about what I said on their blog, I actually had time to read what these people said.
Why? Because instead of reading dozens of comments a day, I only have to read the blog posts that pop-up on my google alert for my name.
(To be fair, around an equal number of people wrote about how awesome it was that I turned off my blog comments, and are considering doing it themselves once they have an overwhelmingly large following.)
Turning comments off isn’t a new blogging strategy.
What I’m saying here isn’t anything new, people have been turning off comments on their blog and upsetting a small fraction of their readers since the beginning of time.
I’m sure when Seth turned off his comments there was an earthquake somewhere simultaneously.
The truth is that any conclusion that you come to has the potential to make any person unhappy. If you stop saying anything important because you’re afraid someone will be mad, then you’ll never connect with the people who truly support you.
How to find your true fans.
My number one mission since my blog rocketed into the global spotlight has been to slowly close down the ways that people interact me until I have time to really contribute value to a small group of my true fans.
I’m under no illusion that all 70,000+ readers of this blog actually like what I’m saying. In truth, 70% of these people bounce after the first minute of reading.
Others send me emails telling me to stop writing what I’m writing because I’m contesting their ideas about consumption.
“I just want to go to Walmart, spend my money and not have anyone question that what I’m doing is wrong.”
This is the way it is for most blogs. Most people are just wandering around hoping they’ll find something to read that will make them feel good.
“Why isn’t your blog about Lady Gaga or Lindsay Lohan?”
Do you think Coca Cola likes what I’m saying on this blog? If you drink a coke once a day and drive to work, chances are you don’t like what I’m saying either.
But somewhere in the soup of readers that the Internet brings there are people who resonate with what I’m saying here.
- The people who actually live with less than 100 things
- The ones who are striving for a location independent lifestyle
- The people who want to stop consuming and find freedom.
Maybe these people aren’t you, but they could be you. I’m just laying a foundation for what is possible.
Three strategies that I use to find and identify my 1000 true fans.
1. Interview people who you admire.
The #1 reason that my blog has grown so fast is because I’ve systematically interviewed everyone who I admire. Interviews are the #1 way to make powerful people aware of your existence. Most people have time to do an interview, because it contributes value to both the interviewee and the interviewer.
Also, if you’re someone who used to really like commenting, an interview is a much better way to focus your energy. You’re welcome to ask tough questions. You could even ask me one tough question.
2. Write about work that changes the way you think about reality.
When I see something that really changes my thinking, I write about it here. This is why I’ve been able to recently connect so well with Gwen Bell recently. I wrote about the fact that she checks email once per day, and about her digital sabbatical — thus sending her blog noticeable amounts of traffic. The next thing you know we’re tweeting free business consulting advice at each other. Awesome!
When you spread the work of others, they will do the same for your work.
3. Write un-apologetically about what you actually believe.
I have opinions about things that matter. They may not really gel with your ideas about reality, but that’s okay. This blog isn’t for everyone — as we saw above, it isn’t for most people. I understand that only a select few are on their way to creating fully automated minimalist businesses.
I understand that only a few remarkable individuals are actually living with less than 100 things.
If you want to write a blog that people pay attention to, you need to say some things that will offend a certain group of people. You can’t make everyone happy, that’s okay. Say what you believe.
You’re still totally welcome to read if you aren’t doing these things, I’m just saying what is true. Not everyone is up for this challenge, mostly because they have more important things in their lives to worry about.
However, a select few people are changing the world. I’m so proud to among a group of people who laying the foundation for the shape of things to come.
Will you join me?
Write about the people that matter. Interview the people that matter. Say things that matter.
This is how you make a difference.
Speaking of Interviews, I have one coming up with Vagabonding author Rolf Potts next week. Want to find out how to travel around the world without any luggage? Don’t miss out! Sign up for free updates via RSS,email or follow me on Twitter.