How to Build a Meaningful Audience With John Lee Dumas


John Lee Dumas
We’re going to deliver, today, how you can build a meaningful audience for yourself. If you’re looking to become a self-sustaining entrepreneur, who has a viable business and multiple streams of revenue, you need that.

Building the Right Audience for You

We, in this day and age, have a great opportunity.  We can produce content, and we can produce content in many forms.  Of course, we have video, audio, written content, and great social media channels, like SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, you name it…Fill in the blanks.  There are all these different content-producing platforms.

So, if you want to build, not just any audience but the right audience for you, you’ve got to come upbuilding audience with a content marketing plan.  Like, how are you going to deliver free, valuable, and consistent content to an audience? That’s then going to become your audience because they are going to know and trust you for providing that free, valuable, and consistent content.

Once you have started to build that audience, and have gotten that consistent momentum, it’s all about, “Hey, how can I communicate with this audience?  How can I actually reach out and say, ‘Daniel, can you jump on a quick Skype call, or a quick 10-minute Google Hangout, so that I can just ask you  little more about yourself?'”  Where are you coming from, why are listening to my content, why are you reading my content, what are you struggling with right now?  That way, Daniel can tell you all of their pain points, his challenges, and his struggles.

Then I, the person Daniel likes and trusts, because of that content I’ve been producing and they have been consuming, can create a solution for them in the form of a product, a service, a community, and/or all three.  That’s the beauty of creating that marketing content and that, again, free, valuable, and consistent manner.  And, if you build that audience, that audience will sustain you for years to come.

content marketing planComing Up with a Content Marketing Plan

If you want to come up with a content marketing plan, you’re going to say, “What’s the medium that I resonate with?”  Back in 2012, I was like, “I don’t like to write.  I’m not a good writer.”  I personally don’t think talking head video is very valuable for anybody because, why am I going to stare at a screen where there’s just two faces talking?  That was my mentality, so I said, “Why not just go for the audio content?  That resonates with me; I get it.”  I like to consume content that makes sense for me, when I’m going on runs, when I’m driving my car, I can consume that type of content, and then I can build an audience around that as well.  So, I decided to go forward with the audio-only podcasting content.

Frankly, it was a rough start because I wasn’t good.  I didn’t know what I was doing.  I had no interview skills.  I had no podcasting, broadcasting, entrepreneurial skills, whatsoever.  But, I was putting myself in the right position every single day, to do that thing, to get a little bit better.

I can even say a couple of years ago I made that same commitment to writing.  I was never a good writer.  That’s why back four years ago I didn’t start with a blog.  I started with a podcast.  But, once I nailed the systems down for that medium of podcasting, I started moving to writing next.

Now I write an email every single day.  Some of the emails are long, and some of them are short, but a lot of people come back and say, “Wow John!  Who is your content guy?  Who writes these emails?”  And, I’m just like, “Wow!  Nobody has ever thought that I was a good writer before, and now a lot of people do, but it’s only after writing 1,000 emails that I’ve gotten to this point.”

I wrote a lot of crappy ones and a lot of “okay” ones.  Then I wrote a lot of pretty good ones, until every now and then, I do come across an idea where I am able to write a great email.  But, it always comes down to doing that thing, and that’s been really important.

Once you’ve found the content your resonate with, start working on the other area you’re not as good at.  If that’s what it takes to build the business you want.  I mean, maybe you get to that point where you’ve mastered that one medium, and then you look around and you say, “Wow, I have a great business!  I get great revenue.  I want to continue to focus, and double-down, and dominate this medium in my industry, in my niche.”

Then you can just stay there.  You just stay in that zone with what you’re in right there.  You don’t have to bolt on this or that because a lot of times people do, and then they look back a year or two years later and say, “I just created exactly what I did not want.  This business that now consumes me, instead of me controlling the business.”

You know, I would be very intentional about bolting different things on.  For me, I made a very intentional decision, two years ago, to add writing as something that I wanted to improve upon.  I wanted to make that part of my business.  But, that was after a lot of thought, and we were already growing  a large audience in the podcasting area.

Tips on Choosing the Right Content Platformcontent platform

You have to know who you are.  Again, I knew I wasn’t a good writer.  So I said, “I’m not a good writer.  I don’t like to write.”  I’m not necessarily a good interviewer, but I do have a much easier time talking, and having conversations, and asking questions in a conversation-type format…in an audible type of format.”  So I said, “Let’s try podcasting.”

The funny thing is that if podcasting hadn’t worked after a couple of months, I might have shifted and tried something different.  But, that was just the initial knowledge of the strengths that I had, even though, again, I wasn’t strong as an interviewer or as a podcaster at the beginning, but I was stronger than as a writer, or a social media guru, or whatever else there might have been.  I just looked at something that I enjoyed and was stronger at than other areas, and I went forward with that.  I think that’s a good place for people to start.

Some people may ask, “Does it come down to persistence?” Persistence, actually, is a word that I would use with caution.  You can get into a position where you are digging in a whole.  Yeah, if you’re persistently digging in that whole, you might strike gold in the end.  But, at the same time, you might just be digging a deeper hole, and there might be no gold underneath that.  So, you should be persistent to a level, to a degree, but you should always be evaluating every shovel of dirt that you are taking and asking, “Is this still the direction that I want to be digging?  Is this still the area that I want to be living in?”  If it’s not, then step out of that whole, and shift, and go another direction.

It’s consistency that’s key.  What are you consistently doing to produce content, to produce free, valuable and consistent content to an audience that you’re growing?  And, that’s in any form, in any medium.  Again, for a long time, I was being very consistent with Instagram and with Facebook, but I didn’t get any of the traction that I got in those that I got immediately when Snapchat came to light, with their stories.  I immediately shifted from Facebook and Instagram, which was my main focus, to Snapchat.  And, that’s where I’ve grown a really cool, awesome, large audience that watches my stories, and my rants, and my quotes on a day-to-day basis.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Instagram launched Instagram StorySo, now I’m leveraging my knowledge of how to tell stories on Snapchat back into Instagram. Which before, to me, was not really a great platform because it just didn’t allow me to communicate the way that I wanted to, which are in short 10-second bursts of content, ranting, and stuff like that.  To me, anybody can post a photo of a quote and get a bunch of likes, but that doesn’t distinguish.  My distinguishing factor is my personality, my take, my thoughts, my rants, which  a lot of people love and agree with, and a lot of people hate and disagree with.  But, you know, it’s that differentiator, and I’m able to be consistent with the producing of that content.

audience buildingEvaluate as You Go

You always want to keep your finger on the pulse. And, “the finger on the pulse” in these scenarios that we’re talking about is your audience.  It’s the people that are consuming your content.  So, you need to be looking and interacting with the comments you’re getting on Snapchat, with the social media mentions you’re getting on your podcast, with the emails that you’re receiving.

You have to really have your finger on that pulse. A lot of people are scared to because, “I don’t want to set the precedence that I’m going to be responding to individual comments, or emails, or this, or that, because that’s not scalable, that’s not leverage-able.”  Well, that’s not, but the information, and the knowledge, and the value that you get from those interactions is scalable.  It’s what is going to allow you to create a product, a service, a community, that you can then do 5, 6, 7-figure launches with, like Podcasters’ Paradise came to be.  It was because people were asking me so consistently about how they could create and monetize their own podcasts.

I never would have thought to launch a podcast and community if I hadn’t had my finger on that pulse, but I did, and that was 3 years ago.  Now we have over 3,000 members and over $4 million in revenue, and that was because I did the un-scalable, unleverage-able thing about having those conversations, about listening, about really caring about what my audience was saying.  So, that is always going to have to be part of the equation if you are looking to build a business in this content marketing arena.

Next Step in Audience Buildingpodcasting

Now that you’ve created free, valuable, and consistent content, now that you’ve kept your finger on the pulse and heard what your audience is actually saying, you’ll want to go ahead and say, “I’ve had the content produced for you.  You’ve listened to the content, you’ve engaged with the content, you’ve given me your pain points, your obstacles, your challenges, your struggles, and now it’s me, as the person you know, like, and trust, to create the solution, to create the products, the services, or the communities that are going to solve these issues that you’re telling me that you’re having.”

Then you actually go ahead, and hopefully with the help of your audience, build out a product, a service, a community that’s going to be of value to them.  That’s how Podcasters’ Paradise came to be, Webinar on Fire, The Freedom Journal.  That’s how all of these products and services came to be.  It’s because I listened to that audience who was telling me their pain points, their challenges, and their obstacles, and I just handed them the solution in the form of whatever I thought would be the best form to provide that solution.  And if it wasn’t right for them at first iteration, I’d just pivot, adjust, and make that move until it was.

Let’s say you already have a platform built up, but you really want a massive audience. The step is…You already have that current audience, so you’re not talking to them enough, because if you were talking to them enough, if you were doing things that didn’t scale and didn’t leverage, like scheduling 10 back-to-back 10-minute Skype calls with your audience on Skype, and asking them the real questions, then you would know how to build your audience more.

You would know about where that audience heard about you, so you could amplify those areas to make sure they’re working.  You would hear what they don’t like about your show on a consistent basis, or you could, maybe, pivot or adjust that.  Then, you would have that idea of what you could create for them that could grow your product suite in the right direction.

Then you produce the product, service, or the community, and you offer it to them for monetary retribution.  You say, “Hey guys, I created content for you.  You loved it, and you listened to it.  I asked you what you were struggling with, and you told me.  I came up with a solution for you, and now, here it is on a silver platter.”  “You said you wanted it, and now here it is.”

Have them start engaging with that paid product, which is something that they have now actually financially invested in.  Now you’re really going to be just working with the cream of the crop.  That real audience.  That 5 percentile of people who are your core audience, and that really do want to take things to the next level and get more access to you, or to your ideas, or to your courses, or to the communities that you’re creating.  Then, you’re going to be looking at them and saying, “Okay, how can I add to this?  How can I find more of these 5-percenters? People that actually bought?  How can I add more people to this buyer’s pool while not focusing on the 95% of people that are just consuming the free stuff, but never upping into that next level?”

Connecting with the 5%

All we have is time as entrepreneurs.  So, we need to get to the point.  When we’ve done all of the steps that we’ve talked about thus far, then we’re now identifying where our time is best spent.  Then, we allocate the vast majority of our time in those directions and taking that time, that we used to spend in other areas, that aren’t the best use of it.  So, it comes down to an evaluating principle, and it’s always tweaking, and adjusting, and pivoting, and trying new things, but learning every step of the way in order to get more efficient, more productive, and more focused on what works for you in your business.

Connecting with John

All the magic for us happens at  We have great free podcasting courses at  We have free webinar courses.  We just have a lot of great free resources for entrepreneurs at, and the biggest success that I’ve seen entrepreneurs have are when they know how to set and accomplish goals.  So, my passion project, that’s now live and available, is a physical, stunning, hardcover journal called The Freedom Journal:  Accomplish Your #1 Goal in 100 Days.  It became the 6th most-funded publishing campaign of all time at Kickstarter ( at $453K in just 33 days, and it continues to sell in massive amounts every single month.  You can check out more about how you can accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days at


John Lee Dumas – The Freedom Journal:  Accomplish Your #1 Goal in 100 Days

John’s Podcasting Community – Podcasters’ Paradise


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About the Author ()

Daniel Hall is a bestselling author, speaker, publisher, nurse, attorney and host the Real Fast Results podcast. He is also the creator of other highly popular “Real Fast” brand of training products. He left law practice 10 years ago to build his publishing business and has never looked back. Daniel is a true serial entrepreneur and his list of URLs is longer than a piece of paper, so you can check out Daniel’s hub at or the podcast right here on this site!

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