What is the secret to building an audience?
There are a lot of entrepreneurial-minded folks who ask me how to go about building an audience.
The secret: a heckler
Having an opposing view from the audience and having a debate engages people, rather than it being a one-way broadcast. In fact, it isn't your content, but your heckler that brings engagement to the topic.
Honestly, it will also train you to think on your feet and widen your perspective (even though you'll never succeed in convincing the heckler to change their perspective).
It isn't something everyone is comfortable with but is what it takes.
You have no enemies, you say?
Alas! my friend, the boast is poor;
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes! If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
Nick Huber's Twitter following blew up when the so-called veteran SV investors started tweeting what startup advice can a real estate guy give. That's your heckler.
Why does this work? Engaging content needs two things - tension and release.
Most content creators aren't natural storytellers and unlike youtube creators who can script a 2 min tension and release cycle, content creators can't control it - you could be reading this at your leisurely pace and i don't control the tone or the pace at which you read.
The heckler brings in that tension and release cycle - bringing to what is static, monotonous content that sense of to and fro and pace like a tennis match between the world's best players. That, makes it engaging.
There is ofcourse the extreme version to it - in the off chance that you have no control over the content (such as news and facts), sensationalising it grabs attention. Suddenly the roles are reversed and it no longer requires hecklers, but the average person who is shocked and reacting helps build the tension. Arnab and Trump are/were masters of that art form.
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