Talking Growth #07: The Lighthouse Strategy & The Future of Media and Social

November 10, 2020

First and foremost, welcome to the new subscribers of Talking Growth. After last week's success of The Creators Database, I've been hard at work brainstorming what's next. While I haven't narrowed in on what that exactly entails, It did give me the much-needed validation to focus my attention on an area I'm most passionate about, the Creator Economy. With that said, I built the Creators Hub. A tracker for creators and makers to get a better view of their business.

Lastly, I'm testing something new by sending a newsletter on Tuesday and Friday. Tuesdays will focus on what I'm building, how I'm growing an audience, and marketing strategies/tactics you can use. Fridays will be news from around the web and content from other creators. If you hate this idea, please let me know by replying to this email.

🌱Talking Growth

Creators Hub - I'm working on a new project with more news to come, but in the meantime, the early-stage of my vision starts with the Creator Hub. A tracker to help give Creators and makers a better view of their business and help them connect the dots.

One of the challenges I faced as a Creator is having to sift through multiple tools in order to keep track of everything. My goal with the Creator Hub is to help solve this. This is a paid resource and it's version one of my larger vision, so if you're looking to get a better grasp on keeping track of your business and content creation process, check it out.

The Creators Database - Last week I launched the Creators Database and added over 75+ Creators that are building in public. That number continues to grow and I'm going to start sharing work that was submitted in future posts. In the meantime, check it out and submit what you're building if you haven't done so.Audience Learnings/Insights of the Week

To recap, I started my audience experiment a little over a month ago and the results speak for themselves. My numbers are up across the board and it wouldn't have been possible if I didn't make a deliberate attempt. For context, I've been able to connect with other creators, grow my email list, and most importantly, get a better idea of where to focus my time and effort.

While my Twitter following isn't incredibly large, I'm happy with my ability to go from 0-77 followers after months of never taking it seriously or caring to build an audience. My goal is 5,000 by January.

TikTok growth slowed down this week. I'm definitely feeling a bit burnt out and posted some mediocre videos. Growth so far has gone from 796 followers to 1,000 meaning I can go live. I'll be hosting live AMAs on TikTok, so if you have any marketing questions, come ready and I'll help you out.

I recently joined a TikTok creator club on Clubhouse (sounds even funnier out loud) and got some new ideas for content, so let's see how it goes this week.

📊Talking Strategy - The Lighthouse Strategy

Last week I posted a thread to a common question on how I got my first few clients. I left the strategy name out of this thread but I call it The Bull Horn Strategy. While this strategy applies to getting clients for b2b brands, I believe it's also a great method that can be applied to b2c brands.

Before I landed my first few clients I barely blogged, I had no audience outside of some friends on IG, and a small network. I regretted this instantly because it would have been much easier to tap my network or audience if I previously had them. Things get harder when you're trying to build a business, plus an audience and network. Here's how I got my first few clients and how you can apply the same approach to your service business or b2c brand.

Everything starts with leverage. Regardless of your business, you need leverage. Leverage is expertise, network, product, etc. The leverage I had was expertise (i.e. marketing) and given my time on both the agency and brand side, I knew the challenges companies faced. So, my strategy was that by providing value/free consulting via social and my email, I gain more clients.

The question now was, where can I find people in my target audience? Around this time I discovered Jason Calanacis Slack group as well as the Entrepreneur subreddit. I lived in the growth hacking channel on Jason Calanacis Slack Group as well as the Entrepreneur subreddit and did AMA style marketing advice for free. I made sure I was the first to respond and give advice on how founders, CMOs, and other brands could improve their marketing. This did a few things, it showed expertise, it built trust, and helped build my email list. From there, some people became clients, some became subscribers and others became friends. Across the board, this was a win and something I recommend.

Regardless of your industry, your goal is to get customers. In order to get customers, you need to develop a rapport that you know your customer or client's pain points. Create content for them, be there for them when other brands aren't, ask them to engage. When you do these things consistently and correctly, you establish yourself as an expert in your niche.

The strategy gets its name because It's like being a lighthouse in a sea of others.

See an example of this here:


This isn't an email of me asking you to move me into your primary inbox (but you should). This is the news version of Talking Growth.

As a reminder, Tuesday's email covered my latest social stats, the release of The Creators Hub., and my lighthouse social media strategy.

Today's email covers a very large and recent acquisition of a popular newsletter, how media is going private, how much virtual influencers are racking in, and gems from other creators.

📰Talking News

Morning Brew for $75M - The ink is dry and now it's official. Morning Brew was just acquired by Insider Inc, the parent company of Business Insider for $75M. The company launched in 2015 with a little funding and leveraged a brand ambassador campaign that consisted of college students which helped them go from 0-200 subscribers. They were able to break a million subscribers through referrals and meme ads.

This is a big win as the newsletter space continues to heat up. It also shows the growing change in the media landscape. The media companies of the future aren't necessarily large co's. It's decentralized entities tackling subjects of their choosing and adopting a DTC model.

Glen Greenwald of The Intercept Goes Solo - There's a massive shift going on in media. I mentioned it above but more and more journalists and content creators are going solo. The latest starts with Glen Greenwald of The Intercept who recently launched his own newsletter.

Shopify x TikTok - Social commerce is coming and with competition between Facebook and TikTok heating up, TikTok shows they're taking another step forward to ensure advertisers keep spending with the announcement of shoppable videos. This a big opportunity not only for creators but brands as attribution and ROI become clearer.

🤳Talking Social

James Clear AMA - James Clear is one of my favorite writers and given his audience of 300k Twitter followers, I'm not alone. Yesterday, James Clear hosted an AMA on Twitter and it's a must-read for anyone on entrepreneurship, building an audience, and being a full-time creator.

Virtual Influencers Are Cashing Out - last year I wrote a blog post on how virtual influencers are the future. They're easier to manage, you own the entire communication and content strategy, plus, they're scalable. Scalable in the sense that you could create numerous influencers that cater to your audience's needs and backgrounds. With the help of the lockdown, virtual influencers cashed out.

I'm bullish on virtual influencers because you don't have to worry about the need to manage a physical person. Physical influencers tied to your brand can do great damage (e.g. Jared from Subway). With virtual influencers, you control every aspect of them. Additionally, virtual influencers bridge the gap into the metaverse, making it easier to infiltrate new communities on platforms such as Fortnite.

Tory Lanez, 21 Savage, and Meek Mill join Clubhouse - The future of social media is private and paid. Clubhouse is an incredibly interesting platform as it gives the opportunity to connect with celebrities, VC's and the influencers you wouldn't necessarily be able to connect with on other platforms. Minus the issue with moderation, Clubhouse shows social media doesn't exactly end and begin with platforms such as Twitter, TikTok, and IG. The future of social are private rooms paid chat sessions and the infiltration of in-game and 3D worlds. For example, you meet up in a private room on the Clubhouse but you're hanging out in a virtual world (e.g. Fortnite).

👷‍♀️👷Talking Creators

Janel and Newsletter OS - Janel, a creator featured in the Creators Database, put together an amazing resource on leveling up your newsletter O.S. I highly recommend it as well as following her as she shows what's possible when you build in public.

Get Cho Grind Up - As you know, I've been focused on building my personal brand and audience with TikTok being the platform hosing my largest audience. Get Cho Grind Up also known as Declassified College on TikTok recently went from 0-100k followers within a month of being on the platform. Additionally, they were able to skyrocket their podcast downloads. This is a prime example of not only how to leverage TikTok for building your brand, but also the type of storytelling/content that resonates incredibly well on the platform.

🏄Things you might want to know

  • A peanut butter company did $500k through TikTok influencers.
  • The Chapelle show is coming to Netflix and no one is safe.
  • The Knowledge Project interviewed Chamath yes, that Chamath, and you need to hear it.
  • Ariana Grande just released "Positions" I don't listen to her music but my girlfriend does and apparently, it's good, so give it a listen and don't tell people I recommend it (I can't lose my street cred).

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