Imagine that you are going about your day and suddenly crossed paths with someone new. They strike up a conversation – you really get a feeling quickly that you guys can get along.
They invite you to a party! And you say yes – because you're excited to get to know this person even better.
Then, later when you show up to the party, this person doesn't remember you. They don't spend any time talking to you and they generally seem totally disinterested in you.
In fact, the only thing they seem to actually care about is meeting new people and inviting them to the next party...
That would feel like a let down, wouldn't it?
You probably would change your optimistic, positive impression of that person pretty quick?
That's what I see happening all the time online.
Creators are so obsessed with getting new followers, new subscribers, new attention that they completely disregard and take for granted the people who have already given it to them.
When you don't show genuine care, curiosity, or appreciation for the people who engage with your work, how do you think that makes them feel?
We're all busy. Tending to every single comment, reply, or DM is not possible at some level of scale (guilty) and luckily, people have some empathy and understanding for that too.
But how long would YOU try and engage someone in conversation before you give up?
When you take the individuals in your audience for granted, they'll stop showing up to your party. You'll notice a decline in "engagement" metrics like replies, likes, etc. and you'll think, "I need to get in front of new people!"
You may even be successful in doing so!
But if you continue the cycle of attract and ignore, you'll hit a plateau (or worse).
The creator landscape is obsessed with attention attraction. But what if you were obsessed with attention retention?
When you're able to not only attract attention but maintain a relationship, you are building on a solid foundation. You're not just trying to tread water or stay afloat, you are creating a groundswell of support.
Retained attention grows your non-social media channels – email, podcast, communities, or SMS.
Retained attention creates owned distribution.
And owned distribution creates freedom.