The Startup
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The Startup

Stop Trying To ‘Build An Audience’ — Focus On Just 1 Person

As I scroll through the list of people coming to my webinar next Tuesday (82 and growing!), I’ve noticed a striking pattern in the data.

More than half of them are my “digital” friends.

I read their articles on Medium, and have built up a relationship with them spanning several months (even years for a few).

It’s incredible.

It got me thinking..

We spend so much time trying to build an audience of thousands that we end up forgetting the actual faces in the crowd.

We start seeing numbers instead of human beings.

This is incredibly hollow to be honest.

I hate people that aren’t real. I hate fakeness. I really try to get back to every comment, email, and message on social media.

I LOVE that connection with you guys and I legitimately want to help you on a personal level if I can.

I have this person who emails me links to articles they wrote every few weeks (which are fantastic pieces, by the way).

They start off with a personal intro (nice touch), mention something I’m actually doing, then they get right into what they’re REALLY here for (shoving their article down my throat to share on social media).

It’s fake.

All the personalizing in the world won’t get me to share their stupid article.

You gotta be real.

1 Is Greater Than 1,000

I mention this story because their email is almost certainly some cookie-cutter template with a section at the top that says [Insert Personalized Paragraph Here].

This person is playing the long game before they’ve even taken care of their first 10 true fans.

That’s why they’re mass-sending that email out to anyone who’s ever highlighted their damn article.

That’s why it comes off as fake.

You got to secure 1 true fan before you ever get 1,000. And you shouldn’t be doing the “grunt work” because you want the 1,000.

You should be doing the “grunt work” because building relationships online is fun! This is ACTUALLY the most fun part of it all.


You know what would’ve made my friend’s email from above work?

If they gave a damn about me every now and then.

If they commented on my article out of the blue. If they downloaded my podcast, if they just asked me how I was doing.

Be real.

1 real fan is better than 1,000 semi-attentive ones, because 1 real fan will buy from you, share your content on social media, and always be there for YOU.

Everyone else will just be flaky.

Living In The Comments > Writing 5 Articles Per Week

I’ve come to realize, guys, that you don’t necessarily have to write more articles and flood Medium with your content all the time.

You just have to respond to every comment, read one of the commentor’s articles, and write their name down so you don’t forget to KEEP reading their stuff from there on out (I’m forgetful).

Michael Thompson is a LEGEND at doing this.

Read their stuff because it’s fun.

Read their stuff because it’s exciting to see people change over months and months at a time. I’ve seen it, and it’s beautiful.

You won’t be able to get ANYWHERE as a blogger without people — whether that’s other bloggers, your readers, or even your family.

You can’t be an island to yourself.

You can’t look at people with dollar signs in your eyes. Speaking of dollar signs..

Building Relationships Is The Best Way To Sell

A lot of people who blog only do it because they love writing. Some blog because they eventually want to make some money one day.

For those who want to make money, a small portion will actually be good at selling courses, ebooks, etc.

It’s tough, I understand.

So should those who feel dirty selling throw in the towel?


You should DOUBLE DOWN on blogging, actually. Use your kind heart to provide tons of value FIRST before you ever even whisper about selling anything.

Don’t even put selling in your mind. Just try to build relationships.

By the time you are ready to sell something, you won’t have to feel guilty because you know, deep down, that you really love the people who are listening to you.

You aren’t just seeing them as dollar signs. You see them as people.

And ironically enough, it’s this very fact that will make you more financially successful than the ones who were playing the long game from the start.

Focus on one fan instead of 1,000. The best part is, that’s a goal you can accomplish RIGHT NOW, and it’ll be fun on both a professional AND personal level.

I Want To Meet You!

For anybody who wants to meet me and build a relationship with me, WELCOME. I want to meet you too.

You can email me at, respond to this article, OR you can sign up for my free 5-day email course called “Your First 1,000 Medium Followers” that will teach you how to build an audience here on Medium!

Sign up for it right here. I’d love to teach you a couple things.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 325,962+ people.

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Tom Kuegler

Tom Kuegler

Travel blogger. 28 years old. Currently in Mexico. Get my free 5-day Medium course via email →

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