Own Your Distribution
- From @david_perell
The Internet has become hyper-centralized. The vast majority of our attention is devoted to the major social media platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. But instead of leaning on these platforms, you should own your distribution.
Don’t let the major platforms control your relationships with readers when you can build a direct relationship with them.
Instead of leaning on these platforms, own your distribution.
Here’s an example of a platform that will seem to help but will actually hurt you. When you first start writing, you’ll be tempted to write on Medium. Yes, the platform will give you quick traffic and short-term dopamine hits. But when you write on somebody else’s distribution platform, you aren’t able to reach your audience when you need to.
I learned about the downsides of writing on Medium the hard way. Thousands of people were reading my articles, but after they finished them, they followed the Medium recommendations to another article by another writer. Now, when people visit my website, they are much more likely to stay and read multiple articles at a time.
I made this mistake so you don’t have to.
Own your distribution. Build a simple personal website. Then, create an email list and ask people to subscribe with a button on your website. Email is by far the best place to build an audience because your list can never be taken away from you. It’s 100% yours.
As Angel Investor Naval said: “Building a following on [Twitter, YouTube, and Medium] is building a castle out of sand, as the implacable tide shifts in and out. Invest in the free and open web — blogs, podcasts, newsletters.”
Today, my email list is my single most valuable asset. Day-by-day, its compounding growth continues. My list isn’t just a database of emails. It’s a world of relationships I’ve built with thousands of people who share my interests and trust my expertise.
Building relationships with intelligent and interesting readers is the best part of writing online. But you shouldn’t expect people to magically visit your site, no matter how good your writing is. Look, I get it.
It’s not fun to write into the void. Writing online is like a gym routine. Getting started is the hardest part, but the habit becomes a routine once you start seeing results. But if you want to build an audience, you need to focus on distribution.
As a writer, it is your responsibility to find your readers, not your readers’ responsibility to find you. And in the next email, we’ll talk about how to do that.
Get your writing done today,