Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Get More Followers By Breaking the Rules

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. If we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

You’ve launched a blog or finally gotten on Twitter. You’re trying to figure out this whole Internet thing. And now, you’re wondering: How do I get more followers?

Graffiti: Get more followers by breaking the rules

Photo credit: Adrian Boliston (Creative Commons)

The truth is, you already know the answer. But you won’t admit it. Because it has to do with breaking the rules. And this scares you.

Which it should.

Everybody wants more followers

From social media enthusiasts to politicians and preachers, leaders are looking for influence.

Maybe you’ve been blogging for years or you’re just getting started, and you’re thinking: “Can I grow this thing? Can I really increase my platform?”

The answer, without trying to sound like an infomercial or Barack Obama’s speech writer, is “Yes, you can!” And you can do it for free.

But you probably won’t.

I hate saying that. Because I hope that you’ll do what it takes to grow your audience. Not for the sake of the followers or an inflated ego, but for the sake of doing it. Because it will liberate you from the doldrum of creating mediocre content.

But most of you won’t do it. And here’s why…

You have to say something dangerous

That’s how you get more followers.

Whether in a blog or a speech or a conversation over lunch, you need to make a statement.

Don’t just say anything. Say something.

Do this or even this (warning: links include profanity), and see your followers skyrocket.

Break a rule and see who follows

In other words, be Tyler Durden. Take a risk. Buck the system.

Compare it to the usual reactions you get to your otherwise anesthetized, everyday drivel. And I guarantee you there will be a difference.

Do yourself a favor and answer the following questions honestly:

Are you really saying what you want to say, what makes you come alive? Or are you saying what you think won’t get you into trouble?

If it’s the latter, run. Time to get out — now.

It’s easy to be boring

Boring is safe. Boring is popular (to other boring people, at least). Boring doesn’t get you fired.

Boring is what scared people choose — nearly every time they’re given a choice. Boring is, quite frankly, the coward’s way.

Boring doesn’t make you come alive. It doesn’t give you purpose (although, it may provide a paycheck). And it doesn’t change the world.

So knock it off, already.

Stop choosing the middle of the road

There are way too many lame messages out there. Way too much crap for you to play it safe. We need you to be dangerous.

Pick a side. Stand for something. Some will love you for it, and others will try to stone you.

But. Please. Say. Something.

You can be remarkable, or you can be mediocre. There is nothing else. (You might want to tweet that.)

You can tickle ears, or upset the status quo. You can infuriate, or earn passive dismissals. One will make you average; the other will make you a hero.

But you have to choose.

Who’s following you… really?

Look around and see who’s following you. Are they, really?

Take a quick mental inventory of how you felt the last time you said something dangerous. Did you feel alive? Were people engaged in what you were saying?

Maybe it’s time you broke a rule. Maybe it’s time you picked a side and said something dangerous.

I’m not saying be contentious, but stop being afraid. And start changing something. You have a voice; use it.

What about you? When was the last time you broke a rule? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • I’d love to check out all the blogs you guys have posted, but instead of being lazy… how about you DESCRIBE what your blog is about. Talk about what one can expect when they “check out your blog.”

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    Sorry, this infer is just bull**** I can’t tell you how many people have done this and failed. Let me guess – buy your book, download your video for more information. Been there, done that.

  • Sohan Ahmed

    The article is relevant and useful for growing followers, I loved the way of the process. We are following the same oath here buildplays

  • Philipa GleesonPayne

    Yes Yes Yes! This blog post is vital. Definitely on my motivational board for the week.

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  • Great Article Jeff!

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  • Jenny Devereaux

    Great advice, thank you!

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  • This is really good advice, and something I’m definitely going to take to hear. There are too many people out there who try to fit in cookie cutter type molds of what they think people want. We need to live our own lives without the fear of always trying to please other people. Constant comparison will kill your happiness. Thanks again for the insightful post!

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    Awesome post! Brilliant writing, with great advice! I would love for you (and all of you other commenters out there 😉 to check out my blog at https://mmessickblog.wordpress.com – thanks in advance! If any of you would like me to check out your blog, simply reply to this comment – teamwork makes the dream work! 🙂

  • Kate

    Good ideas! I will give it a go on my blog exult.design

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  • Jaimie Eck

    I SO LOVE this! I’ve been holding back, trying to be PC, not piss anyone off, all the while grinding my teeth and cursing in my head. I have so much I want to say but don’t. Maybe I should let some of that craziness out into the world… I’m currently working on a post about my five favorite writing gurus and Jeff – you are at the top of my list!


  • I think this is what you mean: cultureshiftforlife.com. Be unafraid. Be unashamed. Be unrelenting. Most importantly, be the change you seek in this world.

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  • This is one of the best posts I’ve read from you Jeff. Break the rules! You’ve got to be either hot or cold, ’cause lukewarm doesn’t cut it.

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  • Stacey

    Interesting article, a good read!
    I just started my new blog yesterday, it’s going to be more general regarding real life/daily situations. I’d love it if you guys would check it out https://ohmisshayes.wordpress.com

  • GingerHouseRules

    Just what I needed to hear. You try so hard to not upset anyone that it is boring. Even upsetting people will get interaction. I will be doing my blog differently now. I want to hear what people think. We need to get the conversation going.

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  • Jeannine Cristina

    Thank you Jeff!

    It’s NOT too late and I don’t hold back!! The election has provided!!
    They don’t call me the Miserable Redhead for nothing!
    I’m going to check out your book. Check out my blog.



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  • Mary Grace Faulkerson

    Oh courage, I need to have much of that, thank you for sharing your insights.

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    Inspired me to make my own blog —-

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  • Armiami Arais

    If you can find 1 way in which I’ve stuck to some kinda rule on my “still virgin like” blog I’ll send you my favourite teddy bear

    Not that I was actually trying to break any, I just don’t play by any kinda rules other than mine .. so I wonder ….

    Where I am on the ruler scale 😜