How to Build an Audience of 1000 True Fans in a Noisy World

Srinivas Rao
11 min readJan 20, 2020

Building an audience for your work is easier and harder than it’s ever been. Thanks to the fragmentation of the media landscape, the principle of 1000 true fans is more relevant than ever. It’s easier because we have the tools and resources to create our work, and the distribution channels to spread that work.

  • Every aspiring author doesn’t have to wait for a publisher because they can self publish their books on Amazon. It’s the most valuable thing aspiring authors can do for their careers.
  • If you want a TV show you can record videos and post them on Youtube.
  • For a radio show start a podcast and distribute it with iTunes.


It’s harder than ever to build an audience because there’s a scarcity of attention. Most people spend a few minutes on dozens of websites instead of several days reading the books of one author. The only viable strategy to build an an audience for your work is to focus on mastery instead of metrics.

Catering to the lowest common denominator might give you a large audience. But, it’s worth considering if those are the people you want to serve. Jerry Springer did. Oprah didn’t, even though Jerry was getting better ratings. Sometimes you have to start with an audience of one to reach an audience of millions.

The proliferation of tools has fragmented the media landscape. There will never be another Oprah because the system is no longer designed for it. Media for the masses is a commodity, while media that serves the smallest viable audience is not. The new systems don’t reward compliance, waiting for permission to be extraordinary, or waiting for a gatekeeper to approve. As Seth Godin says,

“The internet is an amplifier of people who pick themselves.”

If you build an audience of true fans, you won’t have to spend a fortune on advertising or keep implementing growth hacks. Instead, you’ll have a much more sustainable way of growing. You have to serve people:

  • Who love what you do
  • Become your biggest fans,
  • Who spread the word
Srinivas Rao

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