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How to build a following

with David Gaughran

Welcome to the Story Artists Podcast. And I'm really glad to have David Gaughran today on my show. David has been very successful in building his own online platform, highly successful in this marketing blog for authors. He has several books out there, which I absolutely love, and also started doing YouTube. 

David Gaughran on how to build a following

We will talk about

  • how to build a following online
  • the three essentials of an online following and platform
  • how to define platform even
  • email marketing and all the mistakes you can make with email marketing
  • blogging, Google, SEO, YouTube
  • and also Chris Nolan and Sylvester Stallone

Let's dive into the episode. 

- (this is a transcript from an audio episode) -

An Introduction

David: I'm an Irish writer. I'm actually living in Portugal now. I moved off from Dublin last October and I'm living here in a little fishing village, just North of Lisbon, which is absolutely perfect for a writer. And I have an office now after running my publishing empire from the kitchen able for the last 10 years.

And productivity has gone through the roof now. So something I wish I did years ago, but I'm very much enjoying it.

In his newest book "Following", David says that creatives and authors only need three essentials to build a successful online platform.

David: The reason why I tried to strip that to the real essentials is that I think some authors, not all authors, but some authors will start thinking about building their platform and it's just very confusing for them. They don't know where they should build their platform or what type of platform it should be, or even what that platform should do.

Over my 10 years as a self publisher, all the advice that I hear handed down at conferences, especially from agents and editors and people that work in traditional publishing, because I think traditionally published authors can't do a lot to proactively market their books. So they're told to build a platform. But agents and editors tend to know nothing about Facebook or marketing or the internet or all these kinds of important things. So they just throw that kind of vague advice at people.

And that advice has just kind of solidified now in people's minds that they just need to build a platform. They need 5,000 Facebook likes are 20,000 Twitter Followers or whatever. And when I started off as a self publisher, I, started making some of those mistakes. I was just chasing numbers. I was just trying to increase the amount of people following me on Twitter or without actually trying to create deep and meaningful relationships with those people, actual connections.

And that's a huge mistake.

Maybe we should circle back a little and define what a platform really means for you. A platform is a place where your target audience is and where you can forge meaningful and real connections with them. And we're talking about authors here specifically , but I know that there are some creatives where their audience is actually on Instagram, for example. 

But even with that, you should aim to not only see them as numbers, but to forge meaningful, real connections with them. So that even when there's another huge social media platform that they will follow you there as well, so that you don't lose your following as soon as the channel just disappears from the radar.

David: And what you really should be doing is, is having a much more focused platform. So I want to try and get writers to focus on the elements that are most important for selling books, right? Because there's lots of things you can do with a platform. If you're all you're interested in is some kind of fame or celebrity then it doesn't really matter where you build your platform as long as it's big, right?

But if you're actually interested in selling books, there's only some aspects of a platform that will actually help you with that task. And there're certain platforms that are better at that, quite frankly, than others. Like for example, I have over 25,000 Twitter followers, and I can't say that's a very important part of my platform when it comes to selling books. It's useful for things like networking, but when it comes to actually selling books and making, you know, a meaningful difference to my bottom line, Twitter doesn't do that.

I have five or 6,000 likes on my Facebook page and that's infinitely more important for me in terms of selling the books. I think there's something like 10,000 authors now that have signed up to my mailing list and that's a hundred times more important than Twitter is in terms of actually delivering sales and, and also looking after your customers, because any business person will tell you that one of the most important things you need to do is look after your existing customers, because it's much cheaper and much easier to keep a customer than to find a new one.

So taking all this together: what I want authors to really focus on are the elements that will actually help you build an audience and will actually help you sell books and deepen the connections that you have with your readers. And when you strip it down to those essentials, all that authors really need is

1. A website 

2. A mailing list

3. A Facebook page

 So, what we want to do here is building a focused platform.

How to build. focused platform

First ask yourself, what do you want to do with this platform? What are your products? Do you want to sell books? Do you want to sell audio courses? Do you want to sell corporations with others and so on? How do you want to make money from your content creation business? And from then on you strip your platform to the essentials that will move the needle for you.

Narrow down your focus and strip down your platform because if you don't do this there's a real danger waiting for you.

David: Now, once they nailed down those elements they're free to bolt on other aspects. Because there's a real danger of diluting your resources, like your attention, your expertise, your money, and you really need to focus on the core elements. And really what is, what is most important if you were to pick one single thing that an author needs to focus on first it's their newsletter.

And in fact, like I would argue that when it comes to websites, the most important thing a website does is sign readers up to your newsletter. And even if it did nothing else, it would be doing a good job. I see authors spending a lot of time, you know, worried about the look and the branding and all that stuff is useful and important, but they spend very little time comparatively with the signup page for their newsletter, which is the most important page on their website. Probably more important than all the other pages combined.

Now that's a statement. So should we really focus on only building our email list without being on any social media platform at all ?

Thoughts on Social Media

David: I think authors are taking the wrong approach to social media in general. It's such a hard slob at the start. And I actually got some hands on experience with restarting again in January because I relaunched some of my fiction under a slightly different name, and I had to build a new Facebook page from scratch. So it really gave me  experience of being a newbie again, in many ways. And those first few posts like those first 10 likes on your Facebook page are so hard to get. The first 50 are so hard to get getting going between 5,000 and 6,000 is so much easier than getting that those first hundred likes.

So I have a lot of sympathy for people who are at that position at the start. It often feels like the chicken and the egg where, you know, people are saying, the best way to grow your mailing list is to sell more books. And the best way to sell more books is to grow your mailing list. And the best way to grow your Facebook page is to grow your mailing list. But you can't do that unless you sell books and you can't do that without a Facebook page. So it's hard for people to kind of break that notch. Because it is such a slog at the start, people tend to reach for easy solutions. And sometimes they're really bad solutions like buying emails for your list or buying likes your page, which is always a terrible idea. And sometimes it's less obvious things that can really hurt you, like sharing memes or pictures of puppies or whatever. When it comes to attracting readers who are actually readers in your genre, you need to have a very narrow beam of content.

The structure of social media is such today that it's very easy to post something of general interest and that will hoover up the likes and shares and comments and all sorts of engagement. And then you'll feel like you've cracked the code. I just need to start posting puppies everyday or funny memes.

And you will build a big audience, but it'd be an audience of people copies and funny names. It won't be an audience of people who like thrillers or romantic suspense or whatever it is that you write in particular. So I recommend with your Facebook page and your entire social media presence and your newsletter and everything in fact is to always have that narrow beam of contact that focus. And it will be a slower build, but this is the right way to do it.

What should the website do?

We're moving deeper into those three essential elements of platform building. And we're starting with the website. Essentially, I have one question burning in my mind because I've been thinking about it a lot in the recent times. And I really wanted to ask David about it because in his book "Following", he says that blogging is a waste of time. And I wanted to know his opinion on whether blogging is dead by now.

David: Well, I don't think it's dead as such. I still have a blog and I still use it. Blogging is kind of how I got my start in 2011. But what I learned over time, and I think I mentioned "Following" that I built several big platforms that weren't very effective at, you know, generating income or driving book sales or whatever. And the blogging audience is one of them.

I had a huge blog audience. I haven't so much walked away from it, but I have transformed that audience into something else. So basically I've cannibalized my own blog audience and gotten as many of those people onto my mailing list instead. And what I do now instead is I, I email my mailing list once a week, and that's not private, it's not publicly available on my blog. Any author that has tried any kind of promotion will tell you that nothing converts like email, like even if we look at the biggest promo tools available to any authors today, if you look at something like BookBub right, the reason why a BookBub featured deal will convert way better than any other form of kind of advertising or promotion. And one of the main reasons is because delivered by email.

There's something inherent in email which is intimate and personal and it just converts way better. Like the conversion rate on something like a feature of deal is crazy. It's something like 50%. Once someone clicks on that deal in the BookBub email, around 50% of that traffic that will arrive on Amazon will actually purchase the book. And you will not get numbers like that anywhere, not even close. There's something about email that just really converts.

And just on a psychological level. It's much more rewarding somehow to send out an email and get a lot of personal replies back than it is to get comments on a blog post. The problem with blogging, I think you've got a lot of drive by traffic and, and those people just won't convert, whatever, you know, you want them to sign up for your list or buy your books or like you on Facebook, you get a lot of traffic that doesn't stick around. Whereas email is much stickier.

So the real value of your platform lies in your email list because no other audience, be it on the blog or on any social media channel, will convert in the way your email list audience will convert. No other audience has such a personal connection to you and is able to build such a personal relationship than the audience in your email list. But what about blogging for discoverability? What about blogging for SEO ranking on google and having the traffic in order to get those people to your email list ?

David: Well, I think this is mostly only for nonfiction authors. So I just make that distinction before I answer you properly. Fiction authors I don't think should ever be blogging. Nonfiction authors can find blogging useful, and I think being strategic about it is very important. And this is something I've gotten a lot better at personally in the last couple of years.

I make sure my mailing list always gets everything first. New release announcements, news of a sale, any kind of discount, any kind of, you know, advanced reader copies, anything going, I want that to feel like an exclusive club. I want them to feel like this genuine benefits from signing up beyond the weekly emails and just make it feel like a club that people want to be part of.  I have books that you can only get if you're a part of my men in this, for example.

When it  comes to the website, there is the value, as you said, of SEO and discoverability, like an email won't go viral and it won't improve my page rank, it won't bring in people from Google search everyday.

So when I have a topic, I'm sending out emails every week and then maybe one out of every month or two, I'll see has a genuine potential for good SEO and bringing in good traffic from Google are a potential maybe to go viral on Twitter, and I will take those posts sometimes a year later, sometimes a month later, it really depends, and I'll convert them into a blog post. And I'll just edit them slightly for better SEO, and then I'll publish it on my blog. And now those blog posts will only get 500 views or a thousand views or 2000 views or whatever, but over time it will bring in that SEO traffic, and it'll improve my discoverability.

You can work both ways. Because the think about SEO is it doesn't necessarily need to be fresh. If you want something to go viral, sometimes freshness is important, but for SEO, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if this was an email a year ago, especially cause Google can't see that and it won't be downgrading my rank based on that, because the emails are privat. So you can actually get the best of both worlds while still treating your mailing list like the VIP part of your audience and getting all the benefits from Google too.

books on how to build a following

And here's one of the most important ideas I took away from David's book "Following". And this idea is something that I will implement into my own content creation schedule. Because I was really overwhelmed. I'm writing fiction, I'm writing blog posts, I'm creating online courses in several languages and I'm doing YouTube and photography - because I'm a creative and I'm interested in so many different things. But this idea actually changed the way I look at content. So listen in.

Content Recycling and why it could save you

David: I sat down and had a long conversation with myself a couple of years ago that I was doing too much work for too little benefit and I wanted to reorganize my working life. So I might have an idea or a piece of content, and that could start off as a blog post, or it could start off as an email to my audience. It could start off as a talk I'm giving it a conference or an idea that comes up in a podcast or anything. And then I can convert that to multiple uses.

It can start being a series of emails that isn't just rewarding my existing audience, but I can also dangle it to new subscribers saying, Hey, I've got a free 12 part series on Facebook ads, which you'll get access to if you sign up to my mailing list. So I'm able to do things like that all the time. And then I might pull like one of those episodes that I think has the most viral potential and then turn that into a blog post. And then start pushing it in social media, and using that to drive signups as well further. At the end of the blog post, I might say something like, you would have gotten this information six months ago if you were on my name.

So you can use everything to feed into each other. I try and do that constantly so that it helping to grow each other rather than kind of cannibalizing each other.

Listen up guys, this idea is golden. It changed the way I look at content because your content is valuable and you should use it on multiple channels, serving multiple purposes, driving traffic, serving your existing audience and even earning you money. Think about content that can serve several purposes and that you can repurpose on several channels to serve your audience in the best way possible.

How to do email marketing the right way 

Okay, now let's get back to your most valuable asset as a content creator - your mailing list. Nowadays, at least I feel like even my mailing inbox is overcrowded. So how can we even get through the noise in the email inbox of our audience? What's the best strategy? And there are so many out there like emailing every single day with a short email, leaving cliffhanger so that the people open on the next day, or emailing weekly or emailing monthly.

And I love David's weekly emails that land in my inbox because they're filled with both value and entertainment. And I wanted to know David's take on the different strategies in email and what we can do to get the attention of our audience.  

David: There's a couple of trends right now with email that I absolutely despise. So thank you for giving me the opportunity to stick the boot in here cause I've been dying to do it for awhile.   I hate the trend of emailing daily. I think, you know, this is the approach that some people take where they're more interested in quantity and quality. And I think you've gotta be very careful in taking advice from the whole kind of internet marketing world, because they are pursuing a different business model. Often I mean, bad end of the spectrum, more than the good end of the spectrum, it's a pure numbers game for them.

They want to get as many people as possible on their list. They don't care if they lose 30% during onboarding, they don't care if they lose another 20% every time they send an email because they're just constantly pouring more people into the funnel and working them as hard as possible and squeezing that lemon. I respectfully suggest to authors that they take a very different approach. They should be seeking to put value in every single email. I don't know how anybody can put genuine value in 365 emails in a year. I don't think that's possible for anybody.

And any kind of tricks where you're like doing a cliffhanger or you're doing a bait and switch or you're promising this something, and you're not delivering it until the next email that comes, I think any of those are playing games with your audience. You might see short term benefits. You might see excellent short term benefits. But I think the long term you're going to corrode trust with your audience. They're going to realize that your emails don't have value.

I signed up to a few people just to, just to follow the strategy and you can see them using more and more crutches as they go along. Probably because their open rates are falling constantly and then they will come out with statements saying like everyone's open rates are down. Mine aren't down because I make sure to put value in every email.

Like I emailed every single Friday, but some weeks I'm like, I've got nothing to say. This will happen three or four times a year where I'm like, I've actually gotten nothing. So I just won't email. I just won't email. I'd rather not waste someone's time with a half baked idea.

I want them to know that every single time that they see an email from me in their inbox, it's worth opening and it's worth opening right away because there's something of genuine value in there. And I strongly recommend that authors take that approach.

And by the way, just in case any fiction authors are listening to this and, you know, pulling their hair out, I don't think that fiction author should be emailing every week either. I email every week my nonfiction audience cause that's that works for me, but I think monthly is fine for a fiction author. And I don't see any real need to, you know, speed up the schedule  outside of a release or something like that.

Let me make a quick insert about email right here. Because I know that there're so many strategies and many people feel really strongly about different strategies. But what I think is worth pointing out is that you have to make sure that there's both value and entertainment in every single email. 

David didn't mention it, but his emails are really entertaining and there's a lot of voice in them. And this is why I love his emails and his books, because he has a very strong voice that is fun and genuine. And this is the key. However you choose to email. I, for example, prefer to run the middle ground, I'd say. Don't have like huge emails because people don't have time for that. Long emails are overwhelming, short emails don't provide, the value that you need because after a while they start to get repetitive. If you have a lot to say, split it into different emails, for example. And if you don't have to say anything at all, you can skip your email instead of fabricating something out of nothing. The key is to find your voice to entertain and to provide value.

Email Marketing for Fiction Authors

And I want to get deeper into emailing my fiction list because I know that David has a fiction email list, too. With fiction, I sometimes really struggle on how to decide what to share with my audience and what is valuable for them.  

David: It is difficult and it's harder to click into that mindset of what is what is valuable to a fiction reader. And what you've really got to do much more than the nonfiction side is really dig deep and put on your fan hat for a second. I'm trying to imagine the type of content that you would like to receive, you know, if the roles were reversed.

And once you do kind of click into that mindset, you will have a nonstop stream of ideas, especially when you only have to email once a month. So basically you only need 12 good ideas a year, right? And you can plan that ahead. Yeah. And I do actually recommend doing that especially more for the fiction side where it doesn't need to be as fresh sometimes as the nonfiction side.

So for example, for my historical fiction list, I often just email them like a little quirky story from history. It might be about 800 words long. It might be set adjacent to the worlds of my books, and sometimes directly in the worlds of my books. But it's the kind of thing that a fan of the kind of historical fiction that I write with gobble on. And often it can be something like a deleted scene from a book or can be totally unconnected.

And I recommend actually leaning more towards stuff that's not directly related to your books, otherwise it might seem that you're just kind of doing a roundabout by form of promotion non-stop.

And I will mix it up with , on this day in history and interesting facts and all that kind of thing, historical fiction nerds would just love. And if it was space opera, there might be stuff about, NASA and  the latest photographs of one of the moons of Jupiter. There might be  some schematics that you've got an artist to draw off the space ships to help your imagination along while you're writing the books. It might be review of your favorite book. If I was writing time travel romance, you could be doing a recap of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. You've just got to think, what will a genuine fan of this genre, what kind of content do they like to consume? And then once you click into that mindset, it does get quite easy, but it just takes a little bit of a mindset shift.

So many ideas in this one for fiction authors. And now another crucial mistake that creative content creators can make with their email lists.  

David: That's another mistake that people make with their email lists that they're always either promoting themselves or their books. Or they're trying to be kind of diplomatic about it and try and just, you know, dress it up as kind of news about their book. That stuff is interesting, but you've got a space it out. With email in general, your default should be giving rather than asking. And then when you do have an ask like a launch or you have a sale, or you need reviews on a book, you'll see the response is so much greater because you've created this relationship where it's not like they owe you, but if you're constantly asking for things all the time, then people will start to resent that the relationship just becomes unbalanced. And they might even be able to articulate it, but they just will start having kind of a negative association towards their relationship.

Especially if you're only emailing them when you have a new release cause you're basically only turning up to their house when you want money, you know. And that's what you got to remember. We always think of a new release as a gift to our audience. But it's really an ask. You're asking them for money or you're asking them for a download or a review or a like whatever. And you've always got to remember that if you really want to get a good response and not turn people off.

We established the essentials for an email list. Let's recap: value, entertainment, and not promoting yourself, but providing real value for your audience, giving more than you ask, because when you ask the response will be overwhelming.

How about YouTube? 

Now, let's circle back to social media because in this book "Following" David recommends having a Facebook page. And in talking about Facebook and all the different biases, we just established that you need to be where you think the most people of your audience are. At least on one platform. So I took the opportunity and asked David about his recent YouTube channel and what he thinks about being on YouTube .

David: YouTube, but certainly a big deal. Again, I think this is more applicable for nonfiction authors. You do see a few fiction authors now and then experimenting with it. And some of them doing okay out of it. But I think in general, for the kind of effort it takes to get set up and to learn video and start growing your channel, it's only going to be useful to certain type of nonfiction author.

And only then if they, you know, spend some time really thinking about how YouTube works and how to get the maximum benefit from it and how that kind of fits in with the rest of your platform. So that's something I'm only starting to do now, only just started my channel properly about a month ago. And I haven't even posted a video for the last two or three weeks. So I'm a very bad YouTuber, cause I've been launching all these books. It's interesting wrestling with that kind of format and just seeing what kind of information plays well. The kind of things that people are searching for.

It's all very different to Amazon and Google. It's a whole different world. But the benefits certainly are pretty obvious, like even in, just in terms of SEO, one thing I noticed, I used to have an excellent SEO on my website and then the last update or two I took a massive hit and part of that was down to the lack of video content on my website. There was zero video content.

And if you look at Google now for certain searches, you're sometimes getting a whole page video results before sending texts. You certainly almost always get two or three videos, right at the top of search above any kind of blog posts or articles or whatever. Even though video isn't the way I consume a lot of things, if my audience is there, I have to be there, too.

 I think it was when I was renovating my apartment and I noticed how much I was looking up YouTube and wanting to see six minute videos on how to do everything. You know, like how to repair the tiles in your bathroom. I was like, I don't time to read a blog post. I'd become the person that I was annoyed about, who he didn't have time to read one of my blog posts. I just wanted a five minute video.

And then I realized, okay, like even I am changing here. So I've really got to change with the times.

So much in here. And I know that many content creators, especially those who have been around for a long while and who still prefer the form of a blog post, really wrestle with the new trend of audio and video. But like David said, if your people are there, you have to be there too, and you have to change with the times. Is it safe to say that audio and video have become the new blogging?

David: I think it was Jeff Bezos that said the currency of the internet is attention and video is a very good way to get attention right now. And I'm, I'm trying to use everything. I'm trying to make sure there's a lot of synergy between everything. So I will take a topic that I think it's a good overlap between what people are searching for on YouTube and kind of less competition on that particular search. And then I'll record a video on it, but then I will tie it to a blog post on my site as well.

So in the description, it will say something like, if you want a more detailed take on this topic, go here. Like at the start I was recording like 28 minute videos on YouTube? Like all these complaints saying, like, you know, I don't time to watch this can give you the eight minute first. It's so frustrating. Like, you know, we spent like a week trying to put a video together and somebody wants to make it shorter. You're like, okay.

But that's what the audience wants and you can't swim against the tide too, you know? So what I've realized now it's much better to do that eight minute video that people want and then link to the blog post underneath. And then on your blog posts, you can insert the video. Again, you're getting both audiences to feed into each other.

This again, is the idea about 1. recycling your content, but 2. also having this business web where everything feeds into each other and helps each other grow. And grow where? You want your people on your mailing list. Even with YouTube and every piece of content, your aim is to get those people who are interested in more to your email list.

Strategies to grow your email list

And here's the crux of the matter. How to get more people on this list? How to grow this important email list ?

David: Lead magnets number one, and then like content specific upgrades is something that I'm just starting to explore and getting a lot of joy from. Fiction authors, especially can be kind of reticent about giving away a free book. I only started doing that a couple of years ago, and I wish I'd done it 10 years ago because my mailing list grew something like 600% and in about a year, year and a half, when I started doing it properly, because before I had tried that strategy, but I hadn't really committed to it fully.

And I think the lead magnet or reader magnet strategy is something that you've really got to commit to fully to get the most benefit from it. I think it was two years ago when I totally changed my approach to email after reading that brilliant book by Tommy Liberec "Newsletter Ninja". I've decided I was just going to do everything she said, instead of like, you know, quibbling with certain bits or arguing against certain points, I was just going to shut my mouth, listen to the expert and just do everything she said. And I did and worked at brilliantly.

And one of the things I had to do was write a brand new book from scratch. Something that I knew I could make a lot of money from, and this book, Amazon Decoded, that like I knew if I stuck, even though it was short, if I had stuck four 99 on that, I knew it was going to sell like hotcakes and make me a lot of money. But instead I just gave it away to my mailing list. And people couldn't even buy it if they wanted to. The most important thing about a lead magnet is exclusivity. Well, first it has to be something that people are interested in. So it has to be attractive to readers, but also has to be exclusive. And if you make it the only place people can get your book is by signing up to your list. And if it's something that's highly desirable, those two things together will just like turbocharge your signups.

And talking about strategies and reader magnets and values and all this kind of stuff, I think we tend to forget one thing that David excellently points out .

David: I think all of their sales copy is never forget that you're a storyteller. And readers sign up to your list because they want to hear stories. And this is doubly important for fiction authors. And this is a trap that I always fell into where I was good at doing the hype email, the sales kind of like, like getting people to download.

But when you're talking to fiction readers, especially, you've got to talk to them in a different way. You've got to tone down the hype and just make sure that you're telling a story with every email. When I'm emailing my as historical fiction audience, I might be telling them a story about the history of the guillotine, but it has to be a story. It has to have a beginning, a middle and an end. It has to feel like a story for it to be most effective. And if you look at even marketing outside the world of publishing now, it's all about storytelling. And they're actually hiring writers and storytellers to teach them how to tell effective stories to their clients.

But this is something that authors really already know how to do. We all hopefully are good storytellers. I really think author shouldn't be scared of things like content marketing, because it's something you're actually naturally good at.

Never forget: if you master the craft of storytelling and learn to practically apply it, it transcends to every piece of content that you create - emails, blog, posts, podcasts, YouTube videos, even a Facebook or Instagram post, and of course, Books. So the power of storytelling is something worth mastering.

And now the last question I always ask every guest on my show, which is: what is your favorite story, and why?

And this answer actually made me like David even more.   

David: I love the movie Memento, the Christopher Nolan movie. That actually started off as a short story by his brother, Jonathan Nolan, who went on to have success himself several years after his brother. And I don't think either of them had any success yet at that point. And they drove down because they didn't have very much money and they had all their stuff with them.

So on the journey there, just to pass the time, Christopher was like, Oh, what are you working on at the moment? And he goes, Oh, I'm working on this short story called Memento or Memento Mori I think it was at the time. And he told them the whole story on the drive. And then Christopher Nolan said to him, well, do you mind if I make a movie out of it, but he didn't make the movie from the actual short story itself cause that's actually didn't get published until after the movie was released. And he got it published in GQ magazine or something. So Christopher Nolan was just working off his memory of what he was told in the car journey. You can go to GQ magazine and read the original, short story as it was meant. And it's actually quite different. And it's really interesting, just seeing two completely different expressions of the same kind of artistic vision.

Diana: Yeah. And I think, Christopher Nolan sold the script for $1 on the condition that he could be the director. It's just also a brilliant move.

David: Yeah. Yeah. That's Sylvester, Stallone did something similar with Rocky. He was totally broke, I think he might even been homeless. He was certainly like in very bad financial straits and they wanted to buy the script off him, but he refused. He said, unless he gets to direct it as well. And the people don't realize that he actually produced a direct to the original Rocky and it won an Oscar.

Interesting how brilliant stories have brilliant stories behind them. And I think it's really inspiring to not give up and search for that story that will get you closer to where you want to be and tell the best story possible, however, you're telling it as a content creator.

And now, where can we find everything that David does and check out his brilliant books content and of course subscribe to his email list .

David: Well, I actually bought the domain marketingwithastory.com, because if I say my name, if I say go to DavidGaughran.com and people won't know how to spell it. So you can just go to marketingwithastory.com and that'll redirect you to davidgaughran.com, where you can sign up to my list.

I've got a bunch of books available right now. A couple of them are free, too. I'd actually just launched the latest edition of "Let's Get Digital" which is my selfpublishing-guide, and that's free on all the retailers. And then you can pick up the book "Following" as well when you sign up to my mailing list, also for free.

And if you're a book author, you should definitely sign up to his mailing list. And what David didn't mention is his free course "Starting from Zero", which is absolutely brilliant. The world of marketing is just overwhelming – paid ads, freebies, giveaways, how to navigate yourself in this overwhelming book marketing world. This is a course for you. And I'm not getting paid to say this. I really, really loved David's products and his content. 

This episode has been full of useful information. So let's recap.

First of all, there are three essential to your platform. Your website. Your email list and a presence on social media platform, ONE social media platform where your audience hangs out. Define platform for you. How can you move the needle for your creative content business to also make a living from it? We want a focused platform that is narrowed down.

The email list is the most important asset because it has a conversion rate like no other, and also offers personal connection to your audience. With email, you have four main points. Provide value and entertainment. Find your voice. Give more often than you ask and promote others, not just yourself.

Everything else you do should be driving people to your email list, be it SEO blog posts on Google. YouTube and so on. Create an ecosystem. Where every piece of content is interconnected, recycled, and feeds into this important channel of building your email list.

And always tell a damn good story like Sylvester, Stallone and Chris Nolan did.

And in the spirit of that, I have an excellent freebie, a free ebook and a free video course with downloadable audio for you to consume on the go on my website storyartist.me. The ebook is called "Storyteller's Blueprint - how to find your tribe and change the world". And I don't think I'm promising too much with it. So check it out on storyartist.me and I see you or hear you in the next episode. 


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