What Should You Build First: an Audience or a Product?

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What Should You Build First: an Audience or a Product?

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/96547648@N00/2731954464/

Have you ever wondered what your first move should be?

Do you build a product first? Or do you build an audience first?

If you read a few blogs around the web, you have heard so many different advice about this topic.
Some experts advise you to build an audience first, some others say that you should build a product first…

Everyone explains his point of view, but no one tells the entire story as it is, so you probably are just more confused than before.

Because of this I decided to show you the whole picture with this post.

You Can Build an Audience First or You Can…

…build a product first!

You can choose either of the two, it will work – by putting it into action in the right way.

So, your question may still be there: which of the two ways should you prefer?

The short answer is: it depends.
The long answer is…well you have to read the entire post ;)

When You Should Build an Audience First

You should build an audience first when you don’t have a clue about what are the problems you’re going to solve with a product.

Let’s say for example that you are a business expert, and you want to help people with their businesses.
The problem is that you don’t know which are people’s specific problems about businesses.
You may have built several businesses and probably you have encountered many problems, but you may still not knowing what are others’ most common problems.

In this case you build an audience and then you ask then what are their problems.

Very simple.

Once you know on what specific problem(s) you have to focus, you can build your product.

When You Should Build a Product First

You should build a product first when you already know the specific problem you want to solve.

For example, if you are a fitness expert and you want people to lose fat as fast as possible, then you’ll create a product to help them, and then you’ll build an audience interested in your stuff.

You have to have clear ideas, no doubts are allowed.

Pros and Cons

Both these strategies has pros and cons, so even though the above suggestions work well, you may need to think more about the strategy to use.

Pros of Building a Product First:

  • You can build your product before you start building a blog (which is time demanding), so you have more time.
  • You already know the topic that your blog will cover once your product is ready.

Cons of Building a Product First:

  • You need crystal clear ideas about the problem you want to solve.

Pros of Building an Audience First:

  • You’ll know if your audience will like your product or not before you even make it.
  • You know what are your audience’s problems, so you can build one or more products about those problems.
  • You don’t have to know what specific problem your audience has beforehand.

Cons of Building an Audience First:

  • You’ll have to work on your product and your blog at the same time.

In Conclusion

Both strategies can work very well, so you just have to choose based on your personal situation (and preferences).

You may also want to try both of them and see which one fits best with your persona.

Mauro D’Andrea

Name: Email:

Comments

  1. I build a product first and it’s very successful. I hope everyone will choose a suitable choice. Thanks for sharing this post. Look forwards to reading more useful articles from you. Great job!

    • Hi Hang, I’m glad that you liked it. And thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  2. Thu Tran says:

    Thanks a lot for your writing. It’s very useful for me and everyone who read it, I believe. Your structure with great information brings me a variety exciting experience. Hope to read more helpful writing from you. Happy new year!

  3. Mauro
    First time on your blog… Looks interesting. Seems like I will be back more often here :)
    If you asked me, I’ll always go for building audience first before building the product.

    Years ago, I created an ebook and once I launched it I was selling about 1 ebook/week. If I had built the audience first, I would have selling 1/day.

    Thanks for the great post buddy :)

  4. Happy New Year Mauro

    Well, as always your article got me thinking.

    1. How can you build an audience without a product? If you are not dealing with real problems that people are having, why would they come to your blog in the first place – to discuss the weather? I suppose they would if the problem was climate change.

    2. Nobody wants an audience – not even you. If you only wanted an audence, you wouldn’t ask for comments. We all want dialogue and dialogue only comes from participants. Ash Ambridge put it brilliantly. She said “No one writes because they want to be read. They write because they want to change the world”. Which would you rather have: 100 people who participate in your blog or 100,000 who just read it, forget it and go on about their daily lives?

    Many Thanks for helping me clarify my thinking – keep it up

    • Thanks Phil, Happy New Year to you too!

      1) You can build an audience around the topic you discuss on your blog, yet not having a product. The product may come later or not coming at all – there are many bloggers who make a living without selling products.

      2) Sure. As an audience I refer to a group of people who are listening to you. That is just the first step to engage them. If people don’t listen to you, they won’t take action.

      You’re welcome ;)

  5. zyf says:

    the best way for launch a blog: collect email via a coming soon page for a few months and during this time you can work about your product.
    (im french …so sorry for my poor english :) )

    • Sure, but you have to drive traffic to that page anyway…which means you have to work for it :)

  6. Great Post Mauro!

    I would go with building an audience first. However, for that, it is important to have some kind of a monetization plan, so that once you build the audience, you can quickly monetize it by selling products. This requires a lot of patience and mental stability though, which unfortunately most people don’t have. Most of them want to quickly jump onto converting their ideas into products without wanting to go through the hardship of talking to customers and their real pain points.

    Also, when you build an audience first, you can monetize them MULTIPLE different ways (Take CopyBlogger’s products for ex.). On the other hand, if you build a product first, you’re stuck with that one product.

    • Thanks for sharing you thoughts with us, Syed.

      To tell the truth, if you build your product first, no one will forbid you to add complimentary products or expand your niche so that you’ll have more problems to solve.

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    eyelash, but as soon as a girl wears a mini skirt and
    some clear heels the whole world has to splash holy water and cry “Sodom and Gomorrah. Also, there would be the rise of an popular dvd series called High School Musical. If you shop online, you will have many choices from Marie Antoinette to Bat Girl.

  8. Would I be correct in saying that you really need to know what your audience’s problems are before you create a product?

    I find it hard to not imagine having some sort of connection with an audience/potential audience in order to discover their problems or issues. In which case they would be among the first I would try to get to use or try out the product once it has been created.

    Apart from asking questions on forums and conducting surveys how else would you go about discovering a potential audience and the needs of an audience?

  9. Hi!
    I like what you said about Procrastination. As it has been like that with alot of ideas as they never became a reality due to lack of confidence and some because of procrastination.

  10. Thank you very much to write a book, build an audience, I think the first is necessary.

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