You probably haven’t heard about Austin Mahone. Well, you may know who who is if you have a teenage daughter. He’s apparently the next Justin Bieber or perhaps even someone that has had a more impressive beginning than Bieber.
Girls go crazy for Austin wherever he goes. He’s a sensation with his cover songs and even original songs.
So what does this have to do with blogging?
Well, Austin Mahone has built his career up to this point in similar fashion to the way brands are building their businesses with content.
I first read about Austin’s story in the article Girls Love Me. It was very interesting and I need to give all the credit to Longreads for finding the article for me. If you don’t yet subscribe to Longreads please do. It’s well worth your time and the curating service even inspired me to start a similar service – Interview Scope.
Let me pull out a few key details from the article about Austin Mahone:
Pretty much everything Austin Mahone does—sing, dance, smile, smirk, wink, wave, laugh, sigh, cough, breathe—drives girls completely nuts.
In the past year, his YouTube channel has received more than 70 million views.
Austin is already, in many senses, a rising star. At press time, more than 650,000 people were following him on Twitter. (By the time you read this, that number may well be a million.) And yet in Nashville, he was getting a crash course in how to do the thing that has traditionally been a prerequisite of musical stardom: live performance.
There was a time, not long ago, when a singer like Austin Mahone would have had years to develop his skills before a music label presented him to a large audience. That time has passed. These days, a performer doesn’t need a label; he can reach a massive fan base on the Internet and then build that popularity into a modest business.
After the group watched some of Austin’s videos, she [Austin’s Mom] offhandedly remarked that she wasn’t sure what to do with the mailing list she had amassed. It had two million addresses.
Do those numbers stand out?
They should because they’re incredibly impressive for a kind that started out by making music videos of his favorite songs for YouTube.
There are a few aspects of Austin’s rise to semi-stardom that I found perfectly paralleled what businesses are trying to do with blogging and content strategies.
Focus on the Content First
This is not a new concept. Brian Clark of Copyblogger talks about this with his business all the time. Austin focused on creating content. In his case it was cover songs of popular pop songs on the radio. Girls found his videos on YouTube and after a lifetime of working on his passion and a few years of slowly building his content archives he started to gain some traction.
It seems the focus for Austin has always been on the content. He focused intently on his videos. He made sure they were great and something people would enjoy. Now, not everyone will enjoy his songs and videos, but there is a certain group of people out there that love it. That’s one thing to keep in mind. You’re not making content for everybody. You’re making content for segments of everybody. Some will love it. Others won’t care. Some might even hate it. Focus on the ones that love it and hopefully it’s a big enough audience to profit from.
Build the Audience
Austin’s audience built slowly over a few years and in the recent months it appears to be growing faster and faster. I keep hearing that’s it’s difficult to get from 0 to 50 subscribers and difficult to get from 50 to 500 subscribers, but the more you get the easier it becomes to add to your list.
The list is important. It’s crazy to think that this 16-year old kid has built a list of 2 million email subscribers. He wasn’t even really focused on building lists. He was focused on creating the content. The people subscribed once he had the content in place. You can focus all you want on the placement of your email sign up for and things like that, but you need content people find interesting. If they do they’ll find your email sign up for even if it’s buried in the footer of your website.
Austin was smart enough to realize he needed an audience. I give him (and probably his mom) credit for building his followers and subscribers.
Profit off the List and Attention
Now Austin is profiting from his lists. He’s selling various things including merchandise and tickets to his shows. He still provides content via his subscription channels, but now he’s also able to market to these people.
Blogging works exactly the same way for businesses. Focus on the content, build your list, and ultimately market to the list to profit.
If a hard working 16-year old can do then it’s certainly possible for you.