How to find more followers by NOT posting about your latest work

Billy Connolly is perhaps my favorite comedian. I’ve been watching him for decades and I simply adore the man. I think he’s wonderful. In one of his sets from about 20 years ago, he referred to himself as an old broken radio, always on broadcast, never on receive. That analogy resonated with me because it reflects a pattern that we can fall into ourselves. We can get caught up in constantly outputting without taking the time to listen or seek input. And that’s what I want to discuss today.

We often find ourselves in a cycle of constantly thinking about the next thing we need to write or the next hot take we want to share. Now, I recently talked about using our taste to create new content. Of course, we still need to produce and share our thoughts and opinions. However, it’s equally important to not only seek attention but also be open to receiving it.

Imagine the trope of the zombie apocalypse where someone finds an old, battered radio that barely seems to work. Now, picture that person constantly yelling into the radio, desperately seeking help and connection. They never think to stop talking and listen for incoming messages.

Unfortunately, this is a pattern we often fall into. It’s something we can control and do, and I’m all for taking action and being productive. However, listening might not always feel productive, even though it truly is. In the scenario I mentioned, when we ask for help, we’re also asking people to do something. We may have value to offer, but we also need to be receptive to others who have something to offer in return. If we’re constantly broadcasting, we can’t receive.

When we do receive a message from someone saying, “Hello, I’m over here, I have this and you need it,” that’s an opportunity to connect and collaborate. Creating these connections is the essence of this discussion. The more individual connections we make, the more we can scale our impact. It may seem contradictory, but engaging in one-on-one conversations with people can have a significant impact. These conversations can be public, allowing others to witness them, but they also establish a personal connection that can make others more invested in our work. When someone has experienced even a glimpse of what it’s like to work with us, they are more likely to support and share what we do. It’s not entirely selfless, but it’s far from selfish. It holds tremendous value.

So, the next time you “pick up your radio,” whether it’s through Twitter, Medium, LinkedIn, YouTube, or any platform you use, think about how you can inform people about your latest creation, whether it’s a song, a standup set, an illustrated children’s book, or anything else. But don’t just turn off the radio. Or if you do, turn it back on later and keep it on receive. Take the time to explore and listen to what others have to say.

One effective platform for this is LinkedIn. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “LinkedIn person,” you can find like-minded individuals with whom you resonate. Engage in conversations by responding to their posts and interacting with others who respond as well. Simply being present and adding value to the conversation is enough. You’re welcome to join and contribute. Social media allows us to jump in and share our thoughts and insights. It doesn’t always have to be about disagreeing with someone; it’s about adding to the conversation. It costs nothing and can make a significant impact, especially considering how algorithms work, particularly on LinkedIn. When someone interacts with your comment, whether they like it or reply to it, LinkedIn will show them more of your content. It’s that simple. So, while there may be some self-interest involved, as long as you genuinely contribute with fun, interesting, valuable, insightful, or whimsical content, you will build meaningful relationships.

After tapping the mic and sending your message, keep the headphones on and listen for incoming messages. Keep exploring and seeking new voices on your metaphorical old broken radio. Make sure you can hear the messages from others who may have food and shelter to offer, ready to swap resources with you.

How well did this episode perform?

Get the honest, unvarnished truth about what it takes to grow a creative business. Every month I share what I’m doing to produce an impactful podcast and build a dedicated audience.

Go Backstage, from £5 per month

Add your response

Get weekly love letters to your creative spark, and no spam from me.
Privacy policy

If you liked this, you might also like these

Grow your network exponentially from the sofa, with a glass of wine

I used to attend an event called the Birmingham Social Media Cafe. This was back in the day when it was partly organized by someone who now works at Bloomberg. So, you know, I used to associate with some fancy company, or at least I did back then. We would go to this cafe to socialize and meet people we knew online in person. I remember one day when two friends and I were sitting at a table, a woman came by and placed a business card on the table, saying that Jeff would be joining us shortly.

17 things I wish I knew about networking before I was 40

Building relationships is a complex, but crucial part of the creative journey. This episode provides a comprehensive guide to meaningful connection, starting from understanding your own values and needs, to finding potential fans, and even to dealing with the challenges of networking as an introvert.

In-person networking for introverts

About 11 years ago, I decided to go to a conference in Poland, which was all about a web internet framework that I was using at the time. The first day went well, and I had a decent enough time. They had a party afterwards, so I got to speak to a few people and made a couple of friends. It was quite nice. However, on the second day, I don't think I spoke to a single person.

Unconventional ways to network without social media

I remember when social media was actually social. Forgive me for a moment as I get a bit nostalgic. Back in the day, people used to hang out and have conversations on social media. They were still doing their creative things while having fun, but they were also engaged in meaningful interactions. It wasn't just about broadcasting, and there wasn't an overwhelming number of people telling us how to do creative work or make money. The gurus say we need to use social media to promote our art and creativity, but what ends up happening is that we just keep shouting louder than the last person. We're told to do what others do, but do it more, say what they say, but say it quicker. We're constantly pushed to be better, faster, stronger, and it's exhausting. At some point, it may be time to opt out.

What word do you want to be associated with?

When we think of the phrase "spark joy", Marie Kondo often comes to mind. She started encouraging people to ask that question about their belongings when decluttering. Her book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," was published in 2011 in Japan and translated into English in 2014. Since then, she has sold over 11 million copies of her books. That's a lot of joy being sparked!