Create a Following, Not Traffic

Create a Following, Not Traffic

At the risk of offending someone, let me say it like it is…

“Generating traffic” is a gigantic waste of time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that you need eyeballs on your articles, eBooks, courses, or whatever you might be shilling.

But if you approach the problem the wrong way, and build your business on shaky foundations, you will suffer the consequences sooner or later.

I’ve seen it, and it gets ugly fast. You don’t want to end up there.

So, here’s the problem and the solution.

The Problem with “Generating Traffic”

If your business revolves around driving traffic, then here are some of the problems you’re sure to encounter:

Tunnel Vision

It would be in any creator’s best interest to create traffic from one channel before worrying about adding more.

Most experts, even your online heroes, generally aren’t good at more than one or two channels.

Seth Godin? Blogging.

John Lee Dumas? Podcasting.

Ralph Smart? YouTube.

Take them out of their element, and they do not command the same authority.

Most businesses get their traffic from content / SEO first and social media second. So, it’s very easy to conclude that publishing like crazy is the answer.

But any chucklehead can now generate half-baked AI content and post it all day long…

And that’s what you’re competing with now.

Getting too focused on one channel to the detriment of all others is single-source dependency at its worst.

Getting too focused on one channel to the detriment of all others is single-source dependency at its worst. Click To Tweet

You need at least one backup channel should one fail you. And remember – one or more channels will fail you eventually.

The same can be said for monetization. Many businesses rely heavily on advertising and affiliate marketing (how many times have these revenue streams been impacted by changes from high up?) and haven’t built other revenue streams.

Complete Lack of Relationship Building and Audience Nurturing

When you’re focused on “traffic,” you’re focused on numbers.

300 visits today. 100 visits tomorrow. 400 visits the next day. And so on.

And the thing we forget is that there are real people behind these numbers.

I’m preaching to myself as much as anyone else when I say this, but:

If you don’t take the time to build relationships, nurture your audience, and genuinely care about the people you’re serving…

Your precious “traffic” will start looking for alternatives. People have too many choices nowadays.

Author Dan Kennedy says the greatest sin in marketing is being boring.

So, in your audience nurturing efforts, you can’t afford to be sending nothing but “Hey, there’s a new post on Conceited Guru Self Aggrandizing Fest .com). You’ve got to mix things up and keep it interesting!

And if you don’t have a passion for the audience you’re serving, please, do us all a favor and find yourself another business.

I know it’s hard to start over but understand that there are plenty of people who are more than deserving of the spotlight and have a genuine passion for the niche waiting in line to be noticed.

No Intent

You can create content around every relevant keyword under the sun.

The question you’ve still got to ask yourself is…

Is there any business value in the keywords you’re targeting?

Is there any business value in the keywords you’re targeting? Click To Tweet

Some business owners I know gave up on the idea that the audience they’re targeting would ever respond to aggressive call to actions, so they’re perfectly content driving people to their site that may or may not take any action.

And when I say, “perfectly content,” what I really mean is they are shaking in their little booties wondering whether their precious businesses are going to collapse.

This is an easy problem to solve if you focus on personality rather than content, but we’ll talk about solutions later.

For now, let’s talk about the problem with no personality…

Zero Focus on Establishing Your Personality

Look, you don’t need to be the face of your business…

But someone or something does.

At the very least, you need a mascot.

Many creators get a little too focused on riding the content hamster wheel…

While doing nothing to establish their unique personality, interests, talents, strengths, and weaknesses with their fans, followers, and subscribers.

In a world rife with AI-generated content, humanness is going to reign supreme.

In a world rife with AI-generated content, humanness is going to reign supreme. Click To Tweet

In a world where people can read, listen to, or watch anything from home, real-life experience is going to reign supreme.

Does your plan include human connection? Pressing flesh? Loving on your audience? Hosting live events?

Are you the kind of person people even want to meet?

No matter how hard you try, you can’t fool anyone. You’re not a superhero. You’re human. That’s what makes you relatable.

People are tired of hearing smart people ramble and would prefer to hear you speak authentically from the heart.

If you have no personality to share with others, of course, you’re going to end up having to rely on generating more traffic.


Sabotage is not as rare as you might be inclined to think.

Sure, casually disguised phishing emails are easy to ignore (although the scammers are getting cleverer)…

But if someone wanted to, they could launch a botnet attack against you, and you would have no way of tracing it back to the instigator (this happened to me).

It’s crazy what a little money can do.

Plus, any chucklehead could launch a negative SEO campaign against you, linking to your site from low-quality Private Blog Networks (PBNs) that Google has already blackballed.

If all your eggs are in one basket (e.g., SEO), you’re at greater risk than you might think. Because sabotage usually has a significant long-term impact.

Why Building a Following Needs to be The Focus

Building a following solves most if not all the problems “traffic businesses” have. Here’s why:

You Don’t Have to Hit the “Content Ball” Out of the Park

Many newbies think better content is what’s going to get them noticed.

True, you’ve got to focus on the content (specifically on your unique approach to it), but I have seen far too many entrepreneurs disappointed with the long-term results of trying to one-up their competition’s content to believe this is the way.

(Especially if they are copycatting content without adding any of their SOUL to it – Stories, Opinions, Understanding, and Lessons.)

The great thing about growing a following is that you won’t need to hit the “content ball” out of the park anymore. In the eyes of your audience, you can do no wrong.

There will be those who want to hear what you have to say, on just about any topic, simply because it’s coming from you.

People can get a “top 10” listicle anywhere…

The one thing they can’t get anywhere else is YOU.

You’ll Know What to Create Next

If you have a following, they will tell you what they want from you next. At times, you won’t even need to ask!

Imagine not having to guess what your audience wants from you. Imagine not having to spend untold hours setting up a sales page or creating new offers only to be met with crickets…

And instead taking dozens or even hundreds of pre-orders on your next course because your fans, followers, and subscribers have told you what they want!

One of the reasons “traffic businesses” have trouble staying afloat is because their offers are based on what they think their audience wants, not on what audiences have specifically asked for.

How do some entrepreneurs make bank on small lists? This is how. They listen to their audience and act on the information available.

Reduced Risk

Virtually everything that’s a threat to a traffic business isn’t a threat to a “following business.”

Consider the following:

  • Tunnel vision? Not a problem, because people want to follow YOU, and they will follow you on their favorite channels. Even if one of your accounts gets deleted, you’ll have others to fall back on.
  • No intent? It’s all good. Not every piece of content you create needs to be focused on intent. If you prioritize relationship building and audience nurturing, your followers will buy from you, even if you don’t do content perfectly, sometimes without prompting. Trying to sell too aggressively might even hurt you.
  • Sabotage? It’s okay, you’ll get by. Even if your website goes down during a launch, your followers will be like, “Oh my god, her site got flooded with traffic and it shut down!” You’ll become a legend. Your followers will DM you via social media and check in to see if everything’s okay, which is another valuable touchpoint you can leverage.

Concluding Thoughts

Don’t think in terms of traffic. Shift your mindset. Think in terms of people, of human beings, of individuals just like you who have wants and needs.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. So, orient your marketing message around the people who are taking time out of their days to check out your stuff.

Remember – everyone wants to feel important. Everyone wants to feel like they matter.

In a time when most people are struggling with health, finances, and relationships, if you can be a beacon of light, you will build a business that matters to others. And that will solve your traffic problem.

Why Personalized A.I. Podcasts Will be Utter Crap

Why Personalized A.I. Podcasts Will be Utter Crap

In a recent conversation with Marie Forleo, Seth Godin (love you both) said it won’t be long before there will be A.I. generated podcasts personalized to the individual:

A.I. will be so efficient at the task, says Seth, that podcasters will be made irrelevant.

I think he’s right.

But I don’t think it will be any good.

Here’s why:


People made a big fudging stink about disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, many not realizing that the mainstream media was one of the biggest proponents of propagating and perpetuating blatant lies.

(If you haven’t heard of controlled opposition, look it up.)

Were we dealing with a lot of bad information? Sure. Were we panicking and scared of a potentially fatal virus? Absolutely. Did we have all the facts? Not even close.

And I mean no disrespect to people who were impacted by the pandemic (realistically, though, everyone was impacted in some way, shape, or form).

But remember – we were also dealing with a man who self-appointed himself the god of “Science” and claimed he was right regardless of what you believed (and he was verifiably and quantifiably wrong many times over).

Do you really want to trust Artificial Intelligence to deliver accurate, timely, relevant information to you? Even if it knows your preferences, likes, and dislikes, guaranteed it will deliver what it wants you to hear, not what you want to hear.

Media is already the most powerful form of indoctrination there is. Custom, personalized content stemming from the same branch? That’s brainwashing.

Lack of Creativity

We’re still NOT dealing with sentience. And I wonder why people are constantly glossing over this fact. We’re quite loose with our interpretation of “Artificial Intelligence” currently.

So-called “A.I.” is an article compiler, voice generator, image masher, etc. It’s not self-aware, and it’s not creative. It can’t think for itself. It can’t bring you fresh, innovative, life-transforming insights. All it can do is draw upon the information that’s already out there, which might give the impression or illusion of being valuable or transformative.

That might be fine for the daily news, which we know is the best propaganda and fearmongering machine available, but I don’t even like the idea of A.I. pretending to know things and interacting with it as though this were true. All it’s doing is taking from other people’s blogs and papers, summarizing them, and passing them off as its own.

I find other people’s content useful because it brings fresh perspectives to the table. There are many things I would have had trouble learning, such as the pentatonic scale, if I didn’t have a tribe of mentors.


I have no reason whatsoever to read or listen to A.I.-generated content. I’d rather throw a pickle at the neighbor’s fence (at least that way I might laugh, and laughing is good for you).

I don’t care how well-written the article is; I don’t care how enthusiastic the voice is. If it wasn’t created by a living, breathing, human being with real emotions and a soul, it’s all a counterfeit experience. And I did not sign up for a counterfeit life.

With so much A.I.-generated content, the internet will become a very boring, stale, pointless place. No one will make things, because they will be crowded out by A.I., which can generate moderate (and that’s being generous) quality content at a faster rate than a human being.

It’s too bad – I rather enjoyed this thing we had going with the internet. Now I have a better idea what the search engine guys were so excited about at the ground floor…

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, I know most people won’t exercise this degree of critical thinking in choosing what they listen to.

So, if Seth is right, human-hosted podcasts will be made redundant regardless of my opinion. It doesn’t change the fact that it will be crap.

Say Something Nice

Say Something Nice

I read Derek Sivers’ post on saying something nice about someone and I made a quick list of people that came to mind:

  • Richie Kotzen. Your prolificacy inspires.
  • Nuno Bettencourt. I’ve never seen you more candid in interviews. Thank you for being you.
  • Kip Winger. There would be less head-banging around here without you.
  • James Schramko. Thank you for being the kind of man I can see myself becoming.
  • Seth Godin. Without you, there would be no me.
  • Dan Kennedy. The principles you teach changed my life.
  • Russell Brunson. If I’m ever short on marketing ideas, I turn to your content. You make me believe it’s possible.
  • Pat Flynn. You got me excited about passive income and affiliate marketing.
  • Tim Ferriss. For helping me see that most communication is not urgent.
  • Todd Henry. For the richness and depth, you bring to the world.
  • Kevin Trudeau. For leading me to a better feeling space.
  • Marie Forleo. I love your interviews.
  • Paulo Coelho. For The Alchemist. Wow.
  • Fredrick Tamagi. Words cannot express my gratitude to you.
  • JonTron. For all the ways you make me laugh.
  • Will Smith. For crystallizing the idea that what happened to you isn’t your fault, but it is your responsibility what you do with it.
  • Mom. I owe it all to you.

And now it’s your turn!

The Flawed Thinking in “I Don’t Like the Game Because it’s Hard”

The Flawed Thinking in “I Don’t Like the Game Because it’s Hard”

While working out, I was watching a YouTube video in which the host talked about games everyone apparently loves, but he hates.

His main argument for hating one very mainstream Action RPG game was the fact that he had trouble solving the quests and found many of the solutions a little too obscure.

It’s such a good metaphor for how we approach the game of creativity or business.

Our blood, sweat, and tears go into our art and our products, only for them to be torn apart by the world upon their official release.

I recently shared a sample from my latest book with a friend, and he didn’t like the writing style. But I learned something from that – 1) that if I’m going to share my creations with people who don’t really know my work, I should only show them the highlights, and 2) some people simply don’t understand speed of delivery, the value in having your audience experience something even as you’re developing it. They value perfectionism over shipping, and they may never ship themselves. It’s easier to hide behind perfectionism than it is to endure criticism and rejection.

It’s easier to hide behind perfectionism than it is to endure criticism and rejection. Click To Tweet

And it’s not a matter of right or wrong. It’s a difference in thinking.

But it’s a fact of life the game of creativity or business won’t always be easy. You may know that you have something valuable to share with the world. You may even have awards and credentials and testimonials to back it up. But there will always be those who disagree.

Some challenges are difficult to solve. On your path to success, you can run into financial and personal issues of every persuasion.

Assuming you learn something from the impasses you encounter in-game, you can hatch a scheme to overcome them. You can level up your experience.

But if you give up on the game because it’s too hard, you’ve got a mindset challenge. You don’t need to work on your art or make a better product. Leveling up your mindset should be your priority.

I understand that the game can be frustrating when it’s hard. But it can also get very boring when it’s too easy. We need challenges to rise to.

Don’t quit the game because it’s too hard. Quit the game when you know you never stand a chance at becoming the best at it, as Seth Godin shares in The Dip.

You will leave opportunity on the table if you give up just because the game is hard.

You will leave opportunity on the table if you give up just because the game is hard. Click To Tweet
It’s Serving a Purpose All Its Own

It’s Serving a Purpose All Its Own

Why do I post daily?

I’ve shared about how I’ve probably always wanted to do it, just that I’ve been waiting for the permission to do it.

That’s a lesson. Never wait for the permission to do whatever it is you want to do. Simply go and do it.

But when I heard marketer Russell Brunson talk about how if you published daily for a year, all your money problems would be solved, how I could I not give it a try?

Publishing daily for a year didn’t do that for me… but it wasn’t without its benefits.

After 22 months straight of daily blogging, I took a bit of a break from May to November 2022, but eventually got back on this crazy train. It kept whistling at me.

But I have been feeling for a while that I need to consolidate my business activity. I’ve got too much going on and I’ve probably made it harder on people to follow me than not.

So, I started coming up with a plan. I was starting to think of merging Music Entrepreneur HQ with this site. Honestly, I might still do it. Consolidation is coming in some way, shape, or form. It’s just that it may not look how I originally thought it was going to look.

In evaluating my approach to business and with a renewed commitment to take an inside out approach (instead of the outside in approach I’ve been taking), I figured it might be high time to stop publishing daily and set myself behind a layer, as I did in 2018 – 2019.

I felt this issue of publishing daily also needed to be re-examined. It’s not taking up a ton of time, but it is taking time, nonetheless.

But in listening to Seth Godin again recently, I’ve begun seeing publishing daily through a new perspective. It’s not about traffic or money at all. It’s about sharing observations and being useful to others.

The daily blogging is serving a purpose all its own. It might not be growing my business. But it’s keeping me in the habit of showing up daily and being generous. And that’s enough. It’s serving a purpose all its own.

I don’t need to force this website to become anything more or anything other than what it is. That’s freeing. It’s a relief.

Now I can concentrate on sharing my observations.