Building and Engaging a Loyal Community From Scratch: How Danny Iny Scrambled Up the Firepole

Less than a year ago, I happened upon the blog of Danny Iny. He and I became online friends. I wrote a post for his site Firepole Marketing and he wrote a post for Write Speak Sell.

Climbing the Pole

"Danny Iny"

Danny Iny

Little did I know that I was engaging with a shooting star of social media. Danny has blown me away with his strategy of engaging and building a loyal community of followers.

He went from zero followers in less than a year to hundreds of thousands who have read the dozens of guest posts he’s written for his own site and for ProBlogger, copyblogger and many other top-ranked blogs.

Danny’s Story

Danny tells the story of how he did it his new book Engagement from scratch, in which he has enlisted leading authors and bloggers to contribute chapters on audience building. I highly suggest that you read it if you are trying to build an audience. I’ve certainly learned a lot.

In his foreword, Danny says, “My partner and I had just launched a promising new venture called Firepole Marketing that offered a marketing training program for small businesses, entrepreneurs and non-marketers.

We had already built the training program, and just launched our brand new blog. We had no readers, no subscribers, and no relationships with the big players in the industry.”

Danny and his partner started out by launching a contest to promote their training program. As he recounts, “So what were the sales results? Nada – we didn’t sell a thing.” He learned that first you need to build your audience before you make a sale.

The Four Stages in Growing an Audience

Danny also learned there are four distinct stages involved in growing an audience online that every blog and website has to go through. He says:

Stage 1. Truly Awesome Content.  Know who your audience is, and create something extraordinary for them.

Stage 2. Build Your Community. Connect with other people who can help you along the way – not just the big players that you look up to, but also your peers, who are trying to do the same thing you are.

Stage 3. Be everywhere. Do the work to become ubiquitous in eyes of your audience.

Stage 4. Get viral. Harness the formula that I outlined earlier (in the book) to generate some real virality and growth but only we’ve got the critical mass for it to work.

What the Experts Say

Luminaries such as Guy Kawasaki and Brian Clark write about general principles of engagement and building an audience. Other authors tackle tips on developing content and using social media, steps to take and lessons learned.

Just this month Danny was an “expert” panelist on a webinar The Business Blogging Teleseminar organized by Tom Treanor at RightMixMarketing. The panel also included blogging guru Denise Wakeman.

Wow, Danny, way to go! Excuse me while I go implement the advice of you and your experts.

For more information about Danny Iny, visit Firepole Marketing. His book “Engagement from scratch! How super-community builders create a loyal audience and how you can do the same!” is available on It can also be downloaded for free at

Leave a Reply


  1. Jeannette, thank you so much for your kind words, and for sharing my book with your readers. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege getting to know you online, and I’m looking forward to even more exciting interactions in 2012. 🙂

    A couple of things to add:

    1. My book is free for anyone who wants to download it at

    2. Tom Treanor at RightMixMarketing organized the telesummit, and Denise Wakeman was kind enough to participate as one of his experts. 🙂

    I wish you and your readers a wonderful holiday vacation,

    • Danny — my pleasure and thanks for pointing out that your book can be downloaded for free. I’ve change the organizer of the telesummit to Tom Treanor at RightMixMarketing, so he gets all due credit. Happy holidays!

  2. Wait! Stop right there. How dare you send me to such a compelling story. it’s 8:43 in the morning and I have work to do!

    Joking aside, I’ve run through the first 30 pages of Danny’s book and it’s a fascinating read. It reminds me that success is a combination of perseverance and an inquiring mind.

  3. Just got to download the book, Jeannette, and the host of really useful freebies. Thanks so much for letting me know about this. It’s such a useful resource material for bloggers regardless of their level.

    • Dennis — we all like to think that the most successful people got there without making any mistakes. Not true as Danny points out in his post.

  4. Some bloggers are truly awesome in creating great content that speak for itself. Developing a community involves nourishing your followers with exceptional content and they naturally get involved.