Why every startup founder needs an online audience
And how to start building yours
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I was talking to a friend this week.
She’s an executive at a venture capital firm who invests in and supports startups.
We were discussing the value of founders and startups building audiences online.
I want to share a few of my thoughts on this for the founders in this community.
Every startup has a distribution problem.
In order to become successful and scale — “cross the chasm” in startup speak — it needs to push an idea into the marketplace.
That idea is the startup’s product or service.
The marketplace is its target customer.
So, how do you do that?
You can knock on doors.
You can run advertisements.
You can cold call your market.
You can do traditional marketing.
You can leverage your friends and family.
There are unlimited ways.
The problem with most of them is they’re expensive in time, money or both.
Enter the internet.
Of all the reasons startups fail, obscurity may be the biggest one.
You need users, customers, revenue, partners, employees and other resources to build a successful company.
But before all that, you need to become known.
Becoming known leads to those resources.
Our world is becoming only more digital and internet-driven, not less.
How do you become known in a digital world?
Create content on the internet using social media.
Over time, that content attracts an audience on those platforms.
You now have a built-in distribution channel.
This channel compounds and grows over time, only becoming more powerful.
Invest in building up front, and reap the rewards for years to come.
So, why aren’t ALL startups and founders doing this?
Social media has been around for a while, but I think we’re still in the early days of entrepreneurs and companies fully realizing and adopting its potential.
There’s still a stigma that comes with the term “personal brand” or “building your brand” online.
It can feel narcissistic and ego-driven.
And I understand that.
But there’s another way to think about it.
We already have a “personal brand.”
It’s our reputation.
When someone mentions your name, there’s an identity attached to it. You’re “known” for something.
Building your audience online is the digital version of this.
If you’re a startup founder, it’s no different than going to meetups, conferences or incubator events.
In both cases, your goal is to connect with people and share what you’re building.
Creating content online is the same thing, just on the internet and at scale.
There’s a massive opportunity ahead for the startups and founders who go all in on building their audiences online.
Founders should build their personal audiences, and startups should build an audience on company social media accounts.
Companies should also support its employees in building their audiences online, which will further accelerate the growth of the company.
Many leaders and companies won’t do this due to lack of knowledge, lack of commitment or unfounded fears about building personal brands online.
But the ones who do will dominate the next decade.
If you’re a startup or founder, think about how you can start building your audience online.
Forget any preconceived notion you have about it.
What message do you want to get into the marketplace?
How many different ways can you share that message?
How can you do that in a way you feel good about?
Then start doing that on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.
If you need help, let me know.
Work with Teddy
Consulting: I'm looking for Startups and Founders who want to take their social media marketing and audience growth to a new level. I'll work with you 1:1 or with your team. If you're interested, please reply to this email with "consulting."
Speaking: I'm doing some speaking in 2023 on digital writing, digital media and building online audiences and communities. If you're interested in having me speak to your team or at your event, please reply to this email with "speaking."
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