B2B businesses only need 10 true fans

Tuesday teardown – In summary: 

  • How many readers do you need to get a great return from a business blog? The answer is a surprisingly small amount.
  • If you can build just ten people who love your content, that’s a strong foundation for success over the long term.
  • Focusing on a small number of highly engaged readers means you’ll produce better content, build the processes to attract more, and earn better returns.

Websites referenced in this teardown:

Transcript of this teardown:

Hi, I’m Steve Pell. I’m here to do another one of our Tuesday Teardowns where we look at practical ideas that can improve your returns on digital and content marketing.

Today I’m going to start off with a simple question: How many readers do you need to get a great return from a business blog? The answer that we’ll work through is a surprisingly small amount.

As I’m going to talk about, you can get great returns in a B2B blog with ten engaged readers. You can see much, much better returns with ten engaged readers than with one thousand moderately engaged or one million disengaged browsers.

Let’s talk about why that is. We’ll start with this idea that comes from Kevin Kelly which is an article he wrote a few years ago called 1,000 True Fans. This has been really influential across all creative industries.

You may have seen this before so I’ll just talk about the high level concept. If you’re a musician, you can earn a lot more money by building a fan base of 1,000 true fans or advocates, than you can from a million Spotify listeners who never buy your album. These 1,000 advocates are the platform for building a living in a creative industry.

In B2B CEO blogging, I say that number is much, much smaller, that it’s down to about ten. If you can build just ten people who love your content, that’s a strong foundation for success over the long term. There are three reasons for doing this.

Reason one: You’ll produce better content

The first is that if you can build just ten people who love what it is you’re producing; you’ll always have them in mind when you sit down to write an article or produce content.

Like when I sit down to record one of these videos, I know who my ten most engaged followers are. They are the people who’ll read everything we produce, they’ll talk about our content to their colleagues and on social media. Chances are I’m producing this content for one of them, or with one of them in mind. Now, that makes really personal content that engages with a need or problem that those people have. It’s a great way to produce really good content by having those ten people in mind.

(For more on this topic see: Why you should blog for your existing clients first and How to build customer advocacy in B2B)

Reason two: With 10 passionate fans, you’ve built the processes to attract more

Reason number two is if you can build ten passionate followers, ten advocates, you’ve almost certainly put in place the processes, just by default, that will lead you to build more. You’ve found good topics, the right tone of voice,  you’ve found a great publication schedule, you’ve done all of the things that will lead you to much greater success, by building those advocates as your starting platform.

Reason three: 10 passionate B2B customers can be worth substantial $$$

Number three, and probably the most important here, is that just ten advocates in a b2b space can translate to fantastic returns. If I told you that you could have a blog that only would ever have ten ASX100 CEOs reading it, I’m sure you’d take that opportunity any day of the week. You don’t need a huge number of readers in a B2B space to get great returns if they’re passionately engaged and if they’re the right people. So definitely focus on quality over quantity to start with.

(If you’re just getting started with CEO blogging, you might find this valuable: 3 detailed steps to get started with a CEO blog)

That’s the key takeaway for today that you can get fantastic returns, see fantastic results, and build yourself a really strong platform from focusing your efforts on getting those first ten passionately engaged fans or brand advocates. That’s all for today. I’m Steve Pell and that’s been another one of our TLP Tuesday Teardowns. Thanks a lot.