059: How to Get People to Care About Your Work [Podcast]

The creative journey requires courage. When we launch our work into the world, it’s easy to feel discouraged when nobody notices. But that’s not the end of the story.


Sometimes the work of a creative person can feel like the tree that falls in the woods and nobody’s around to notice. Does it make a sound? Indeed, it does.

Getting people to care about your work in the middle of a consumption-driven culture is one of the greatest challenges you’ll face. The opportunities to fail are all around. But one thing we should fear more than failure is irrelevance.

You have to fight to earn people’s attention. It doesn’t just come.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Andy Traub and I talk about honoring the reader’s attention, the strategic value of generosity, and why you should measure quality over quantity. Listen in as we discuss the path from free to paid work, and how to use the creative process to reach a distracted audience.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you are reading this via email, please click here).

You can also listen via iTunes or on Stitcher.

Audacious generosity creates amazing results

Oftentimes, we think too small when creating. This happens all the time. A person builds a body of work in a vacuum, and then sits back, waiting for the audience to come. And when the world fails to notice their genius, they’re baffled.

It’s a broken process.

There’s nothing wrong with creating for the sake of creating. But if you want people to care about your work, you have to understand how to deliver value. Of course, you can’t force people to care. But you can earn their attention through radical generosity.

By consistently giving people content they care about, you create value. And if you do this enough, you establish trust.

To discover what resonates with an audience, you have to go beyond the vanity metrics of retweets and shares, and dig deeper into who resonates with your message. When someone takes the time to respond, comment, or email, you’ve succeeded in sparking a human connection. And that’s what it’s all about.

But if no one is listening, then something needs to change.

Show highlights

In this episode, Andy and I discuss:

  • How to get people to show up and care about your work
  • Thinking strategically capturing a reader’s attention
  • Awareness of what resonates with your audience
  • How to create value to convert customers
  • The struggle of creators being heard amidst the noise
  • Helping people by effectively sharing your passion
  • Measuring the right metrics to drive action
  • Which audience engagement style is most valuable
  • The choice between a stingy or generous approach
  • What it takes to sell 100,000 copies of a book
  • The art of capturing attention with words
  • Why it is dangerous to bend a reader around your writing
  • Time-tested copywriting principles

Quotes and takeaways

  • Your voice is what happens when you discover how your passion intersects with what your audience cares about.
  • Be consistently generous with the content you create.
  • Measure what matters to you. Don’t measure something that isn’t going to lead to some sort of outcome.
  • Demonstrating generosity the right way communicates value and creates a need.
  • We give our way into attention. Free becomes paid over time.
  • If you give enough, people will start giving back to you.


Do people care about your work? What can you do differently to earn their attention? Share in the comments