📊 ClassNotes 002: The Siphon Strategy

📊 ClassNotes 002: The Siphon Strategy

You are one of 934 awesome people reading this newsletter.

This week I want to share 2 big ideas based on the chart below that will help you:

  • Face the hard truth about winning with content online
  • Set up a "siphon" to unlock automated audience growth
red bar chart on black background
This chart shows which brands have the most fan-created pages on Fandom.com, an entertainment-focused wiki.

Big Idea #1: More content = more fans

Why is Marvel as massive as it is? They produce content like no other.

Over the last 84 years, they've created:

  • 27,000+ comic books
  • 32 films with 11 more scheduled
  • 446 television episodes across 38 different shows

None of these numbers include their mountain of merchandise, theme park rides, and brand partnerships.

They offer audiences a near-infinite number of entry points into their universe. And once inside, those fans have limitless options to continue the relationship.

👉 Audience size is a byproduct of content volume.

If you don't have as many fans as you want, you simply haven't published the volume of quality content required to get there.

Big Idea #2: Leveraging established fanbases is a growth cheat code

When you siphon off, you pull a small amount from a larger source. In movies, it's often used to pull gas from a car into a container.

This same technique can be used to gradually grow your own following on autopilot. I call it The Siphon Strategy, and here's how it works:

The Siphon StrategyCreate a version of your content that directly satisfies an established fanbase.

  • Hazelnuttygames is a YouTuber that publishes World of Warcraft news. Instead of uploading general gaming news content, she narrowed her approach and tapped into the 8 million people who play the game. As of writing this, she has 327,000 subscribers from the 1,939 videos she's published.
  • Ancient Indigo is a tattoo artist located in Cincinnati, Ohio, who went viral on Instagram for her Lord of the Rings series of flash tattoos. Granted, 98% of the artwork she tattoos is her own creation. But marrying her style with an established property brought her the attention and demand needed to grow a multi 6-figure operation.
  • WaitButWhy by Tim Urban is one of the most famous long-form blogs on the planet, with posts climbing past 35,000 words in length. One of the tipping points for his growth came in 2015-2017 when he wrote a series on Elon Musk (we're talking peak Telsa & SpaceX period). Elon's growing fanbase was hungry for content, and Tim used that to achieve an email subscriber base of over 601,000.

It's worth noting that for this to be effective, you have to be authentic. Trying to tap into audiences you don't understand or fanbases you aren't a part of will do the opposite of what you want.

Lean into your particular type of nerdiness! 🤓


1. Creating more content will lead to more fans.
2. Siphon from established audiences to grow faster.

Next week, I'll show you why trends aren't all they're cracked up to be (and how AI is the perfect example). If you feel like you're always playing catch-up, this one is for you.

— David

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