Should You Build Your Own Audience or Focus On Guest Posting?

build your own blog

“How do I build an audience? Should I try guest posting or focus on building a community on my own site?”

I asked myself those questions when I started blogging. I’ve learned that there are three types of options when it comes to building an audience:

  1. Post your articles on every platform that allows publishing (LinkedIn, Medium, Facebook, Tumblr). Some argue that it will increase your traffic.
  2. Only post your articles on your own site, and drive visitors exclusively to that site. Some argue it’s better for SEO traffic.
  3. Find a balance between the two above strategies (which is what I do, but more on that later).

You can be successful with all strategies. Some successful writers publish everywhere and syndicate their articles to a bunch of outlets (James Altucher). But other bloggers only stick to their own site (Mark Manson).

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How To Start A Blog Without Knowing How To Code

A 3000+ word guide that contains everything I’ve learned about starting a blog: In 10 simple steps.

When I started my first business in 2010, I asked a few people and companies for estimates to build a website for me.

And like most starting entrepreneurs without much cash, I thought, “are you kidding me? 10K for a website? I’ll do it myself!”

Of course, that’s flawed thinking. It cost me a lot of time. But fortunately, I had a lot of time back then.

I also made a lot of mistakes that cost me additional time to fix. For example, I had to learn the hard way that you need to back up your website regularly.

One day I made a mistake and poof, my whole website was gone! I had to start from scratch–again. This happened to me twice. Not funny.

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Being Different Beats Being Better

I always thought that the best wins at anything. That might be true for sports. But not for life and business.

If you’re trying to build a profitable business or stable career, you might be approaching it all wrong. At least, I was. And I think that the common belief about success is also totally wrong.

I get it when it comes to sports. There’s only one place at the top. And to get to the top, you have to be the best. I only applaud that. In fact, I’m inspired by athletes like LeBron James, Christiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams, and others.

But business is different. Instead of being the best, you must strive for becoming the first. Al Ries and Jack Trout put it best in their classic marketing book, The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing:

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How To Create Products That Sell For Decades

Every single book that I’ve voluntarily read in my life is because someone else recommended it.

That’s true for most of us. Think about it. What’s the last book you finished? Why did you read it? Most of us read books because others told us about them.

It’s a great way to learn about good books. Because no one goes out to recommend a bad book or product.

When I think about how I found out about classic non-fiction books like How To Win Friends and Influence People, The Intelligent Investor, Man’s Search For Meaning, I must say that I read these books because others told me about them.

These books still sell well, decades later.

Any creator that hopes for that type of lasting success must accept that it starts with creating something that’s worth it. Why is not everyone making great products? The honest answer is that it’s hard.

Ryan Holiday, the author of Perennial Seller, and who has written six books, put it best:

“To be great, one must make great work, and making great work is incredibly hard.”

But it’s also not impossible, as I’ve learned from Ryan. In his latest book, Perennial Seller, he outlines his system for creating books and products that stand the test of time.

Because who doesn’t want to create something that people love? Or write a book that thousands of people read? And more importantly, who doesn’t want to make something that sells for years to come?

Ryan’s process for making a perennial seller goes like this:

  1. Adopt the mindset of a creator that makes classics
  2. Create a great product that stands the test of time
  3. Perfect, package, and position into a compelling offering
  4. Promote it through different marketing channels
  5. Capture an audience and build a platform that stands the test of time

To learn more about the above framework, listen to my interview with Ryan Holiday:

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I was impressed with Ryan’s mindset. And he inspired me to set even higher standards for my own work. I truly enjoyed this interview and learned many useful things about entrepreneurship, marketing, and the act of creating.

Ryan is excellent at simplifying what it takes to be successful. And I think this interview is a must-listen for every entrepreneur, creator, and marketer out there.

Subscribe to Ryan’s The Reading List Newsletter here.