Starting an online journey can be daunting, especially when staring at zero followers, zero likes, and zero comments. But what if we told you that you don’t need an existing following to make a significant impact online? Meet Phil Agnew, a creator who started from scratch with the most difficult format possible – a podcast called Nudge – and has since built an engaged community around his content.
Tips and Strategies for Growing an Engaged Audience from Scratch
Building an online presence like Phill’s with a format like Nudge’s does not have the makings of an overnight success story. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Consistency and patience have been my allies. It took time, but the community I’ve built is engaged and genuinely interested in what I have to offer,” he shares.
Curiosity and Emotional Connection
When it comes to creating content that attracts and engages, Phill has a unique approach that sets him apart – curiosity about why we do what we do, also known as buyer psychology. His interest in the field sparked his journey as a creator, so he understands how to apply psychological principles to content creation. “You have to get into the consumer’s head, understand their pain points, and then offer a solution that they didn’t even know they needed,” Phill says.
Phill believes that creating an emotional connection with the audience is crucial. “People don’t just buy products – they buy feelings. If you can make someone feel seen or understood, you’ve won half the battle,” he explains.
Leveraging Psychological Triggers
One principle that Phill uses to boost the connection with his audience is the “labor illusion” principle. By giving a behind-the-scenes look at how much work went into what he’s created, he adds authenticity and increases the perceived value of his work.
Another successful psychological trigger that Phill often employs is the “Zeigarnik effect,” also known as Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). By creating a sense of urgency or exclusivity, he keeps his audience engaged and coming back for more.
Lessons Learned and Evergreen Tactics
Not all of Phill’s experiments with psychology principles have succeeded. For example, he learned that asking TikTok users to switch to a 20-minute podcast was a big leap. However, the beauty of Phill’s approach to content creation is that the principles are evergreen. They’re rooted in human psychology, so they’re applicable across platforms and formats and are easily repeatable.
Collaboration and Cross-Promotion
The most effective strategy Phill mentioned is cross-promotion within the podcasting community. By going where your audience is rather than trying to pull them into a new space, he maximizes the impact of his content.
Consistency and Time Management
To keep up a consistent schedule, Phill keeps the adage, “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” at the forefront of all his work. He always has a content calendar planned out at least a month in advance. Additionally, he dedicates specific days to content creation, allowing him to have a content reservoir to pull from.
Providing Value Upfront
Phill emphasizes providing value upfront, whether it’s a useful tip, an interesting fact, or a solution to a common problem. Giving something valuable right at the beginning can hook the audience.
Other Evergreen Tactics
Some other evergreen tactics Phill employs include the 80/20 rule, content automation, flexibility and adaptability, and understanding your audience and their interaction with different platforms.
Community and Collaboration
Phill emphasizes the power of community and collaboration. Building a loyal audience that values what you bring to the table is just as important as growing your numbers. He advises creators to align themselves with brands or individuals who share their ethos and to leverage the unique strengths of each partner in collaborations.
Day Job as a Catalyst
Many creators struggle with maintaining a day job while pursuing their creative passions. However, Phill sees his day job as Senior Product Marketing Manager at Buffer as a catalyst rather than a hindrance. It provides him with a stable income and enriches his skill set, which he directly applies to his content creation.
Time Management and Strategic Thinking
Phill manages his time effectively through meticulous planning, productivity tools, and intentional time blocking for content creation. His disciplined approach ensures that neither his job performance nor his content quality suffers. He applies the strategic thinking he has learned from his day job to his content creation, resulting in targeted audience engagement and data-driven decision-making.
The Continuous Journey
Through Phill’s online journey, it’s clear that building an engaged audience takes time and effort. But it’s a journey worth taking, filled with invaluable lessons, meaningful connections, and personal growth.
Start Now and Value Your Audience
Phill encourages creators to start where they are, use what they have, and do what they can. Waiting for the perfect moment or the perfect audience is a mistake. He also emphasizes the importance of community and valuing the audience because they are the reason creators are here.
As for what’s next, Phill is optimistic. He’s got big plans, and he knows that the community he’s built will be with him every step of the way. “Because at the end of the day, it’s not just about me; it’s about us, growing and learning together,” Phill concludes.