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Have Subscriber Aims Not Just Lead Generation Goals

Having something valuable in mind for your subscribers and not merely using them to chase leads changes the landscape your business sits in.

If you are investing in creating a content programme, think about what it can provide you with in the future, over the longer term, rather than just what it can deliver right now.

If you produce work that matters and not just work that focuses on what you sell, you’ll find that people will care far more. This makes your content proposition completely different from being one that concentrates on sourcing leads, keeps subscribers at arms length and is only concerned with finding and converting the next lead. 

This article highlights the importance of having subscriber goals. 

My Biggest Lesson In 2020

The biggest lesson this year, by a mile (and it’s all here), is the importance of building a space before you need it. By this I mean creating somewhere from which you share your work that not only helps people get to know you but also makes them feel they belong to something that’s bigger than just your business. 

It’s building this sort of community that makes it easier for you to then introduce new initiatives that may then also translate into new revenue streams for your business.

This is different from a lead generation-focused approach:

Subscriber goal – work that matters, that people care about (and stay)

Lead generation goal – work that sells designed to get people to buy (and go)

To give some context: You Are The Media has been an ongoing project for seven years. 

Similar to many people, with the advent of the pandemic and lockdown, my anxiety levels and worries about the future rocketed while my confidence took a hit. However, I had YATM and the community that I’d created around it. I was able to reach out to others, encouraging them to try out a new online space for YATM (notably, You Are The Media Lunch Club Online). People felt ok about stepping into this new space – we all did it together. 

So, when I say “build a space before you need it,” it means once you have that audience on board you have more options – almost anything becomes possible.

Lead Generation Is Often Seen As The Goal

To many businesses, lead generation is given priority as a way to find new customers. The emphasis is on driving traffic that can then be sold to.

According to the latest annual Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report from The Content Marketing Institute there is a greater focus on leads and brand awareness than there is on building an audience of people that have subscribed to you. Hence more focus on leads than subscriber goals. 

Things have changed so much in 2020. Having people feel they’re a part of You Are The Media and seeing what this then enables, makes me recognise how important subscribers are to an audience-building programme. They are the people who you feel comfortable with and who feel comfortable with you, whatever may be going on in the wider world.

The pandemic and its consequences reveal how important it is to have this sort of ‘protection’ in place. Quite simply, without subscribers, you struggle to make revenue yet, hand on heart, I don’t see many companies setting an audience-building strategy as a business goal. 

The business objective that drives a subscriber-led audience-building strategy is connecting with and bringing people closer to you. Being clear about how you help is crucial to you becoming a fixture in someone’s week or month and makes it easier to draw people to you and start building a dialogue. 

The difference between subscriber aims and lead generation goals is that one is centred on proximity to the people who want to be with you (subscribers) and the other is aiming for quantity, attracting as many people as you can in the hope they’ll become interested in a product or service (leads). However, when you do this and make reaching out to as many people as possible your priority, you become mediocre and create mediocre work. No one wants that, do they?

A Long, Long Time Ago


When you dedicate time to your craft, the future can reward you with delivering a huge return. George Lucas wrote most of the first six Star Wars films on a desk made of three doors (you can read this in How Star Wars Conquered The Universe). He would write for eight hours a day, with a goal of five pages before the evening arrived. In 2020, the Star Wars franchise’s total value was estimated at $70 billion.

To gather people around you and get them to enjoy your work, you have to put time and effort into the creation process and, rather than sounding like everyone else, make sure you inject your own slant into you content.

When you create something that others can readily relate to, have some familiarity with and feel an affinity for, they move in closer. For instance, Star Wars is a Western, a war film and a fairy tale. 

When you have subscriber goals, you put your effort into one space to draw people to you. It works like this:

Recognise what you are going to produce 

Chris Brogan highlighted in a recent Sunday email (30th August), ‘We’re tired of trying to fit in. People want to go where they feel they belong.’ You have to know what you are going to do and the main reason for what you are going to say.

Decide what your space is going to be 

Recognise the media you are going to concentrate on. You Are The Media’s source is the website/blog For you, it may be a podcast or even a video.

Know how you are going to deliver 

You can’t just have a place where your message sits that you post on and then walk away from. You have to reach out so people get to hear what you’re saying. You need a regular space to bring people to and more importantly get them to leave their details (read more on getting your first email subscribers here).

It all works by creating an experience that enables your subscribers to connect with you and your message. 

Give it time 

When lead generation becomes the focus, a rapid timeline becomes the priority ie. a three-month campaign around a sell. When you have subscription aims, it becomes about the consistency of message, familiarity with your audience and the ability to connect with them. It is something that is ongoing with the idea of an end goal not entering the conversation, as you are invested in the wider development it brings.

Lets Round-Up

Being up close to your audience (and not just in the geographic sense) is going to become the differentiator as many businesses adjust to new ways of navigating the world in the coming months.

It feels far better (and is far easier) reaching out to an established audience and asking for feedback, making adjustments and being able to continually produce work that delivers for them. 

Having subscriber aims takes your content beyond being just a lead nurturing exercise that takes people through steps to purchase (albeit creating revenue is still a part of this).

By building a space for others to come to, you focus on creating an audience that cares and is happy to stay with you for the long term. And they also become advocates of your work, sharing and spreading your message, and recommending you to others.


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