It may be easy to make a domain name, set up a social media account, and write a post or two, but actually growing a social media presence is much harder.
Take it from me: I’ve been blogging as a side hobby for almost two years now (still hard to wrap my head around) and am just three months into taking that hobby into action. Little did I know how much more work is involved when you actually want to make blogging into a true “side hustle.”
Today I’m shedding some light on the tips I’ve learned as a blogger that have helped me stay motivated to keep making content and continue growing my audience. The first weeks and months and even years of blogging are definitely the most challenging, but when you have some tips to keep you grounded, hopefully you can push forward and meet your goals.
1. Make goals for your blog and content.
Which leads me to my first tip: as with any accomplishment you want to achieve, you cannot just will yourself overnight to make things happen. It takes time, patience, lots of hard work, and determination to get there. Don’t beat yourself up for not getting over ten views on your website per day. Trust me, I’ve been there and can honestly still be there depending on the day.
When making goals for yourself, be realistic. I recommend first setting a schedule for yourself on when you want to post and how often to your website and social media accounts. If you’re consistent, people can know what to expect coming to you. My subscribers and followers should know that I post to Instagram every morning around the same time, and I publish blog posts Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the same time every week. You don’t have to follow this schedule to a T, but do what you feel comfortable with.
Now let’s think about the long-term goals we might have. Most likely this will entail having a certain number of people or views every day or on every post, and maybe you’ll want to be making some profit from what you’re doing. First off, if you’re pursuing blogging and content creation for the money, don’t do it because that won’t keep you motivated. My own long-term goals definitely involve reaching certain numbered milestones so I continue growing and moving forward, but they are not the reason I do what I do.
With that said, have long-term goals that include the content itself and the message you wish to make. Why are you writing about what you are? Why should people care about reading and seeing your content? Answer these questions, and you’ll want to keep striving for thoughtful content that falls into these goals.
2. Find your niche.
Since being your own boss and having the freedom to work on your own time is so attractive, a lot of people are trying it out. That means the world of blogging and content creation has become quite congested, everything begging for your attention and support. It can be super overwhelming, especially when you’re just starting out.
My biggest tip here refers to those questions I just asked you. We can all write about whatever random things come to mind, but you should have a consistent niche that your content falls into. Maybe you’re all about fashion, or beauty, or DIY crafts, or whatever else tickles your fancy. Make sure the majority of your content fits into that.
As overused as this term is, your content defines your aesthetic, the aura people feel when seeing your website and social media. People are less interested in falling those without a clear focus and drive in what they’re doing, showing off a random hodge-podge of ideas. I suggest for all the content you share, plan in advance what you want to show and say. I’m planning my blog posts a month in advance, and my Instagram photos at least a few days ahead to make sure all I do is high-quality and aligns with what I aim to represent.
Give yourself grace in figuring out what that niche might be. For my first year or so blogging, I basically wrote about whatever I felt like. Only recently have I narrowed in as a wellness blogger. Try things out, see what you like best, and then hone in on it.
3. Focus on one platform.
A lot of tips for blogging involve getting your foot in the door on every single social media platform that exists. But if you want to have high-quality content, chances are you cannot juggle everything at once and still be doing your best work. I’ve tried, and while I’m sure many people can do it, I sure can’t.
I suggest having accounts on whatever you find useful to you, but really focus your attention on posting to one account. For me, that’s been my Instagram. Maybe you want to create a Facebook community, or you really strut your stuff on Twitter, or Pinterest, or YouTube. Do what feels best to you.
When you have one platform you really pride yourself on, then it’s much easier to consistently go back to it and build up a community. You can focus your interactions, meet others in your niche, and make a name for yourself and your blog. And since many platforms are becoming increasingly dynamic with features like Stories and live-streaming, you can make the most of a single platform by utilizing a plethora of options to share your content. Quality over quantity.
4. Be authentic.
You’ve scrolled through the internet, and you’ve probably felt like you’ve seen the same “blogger” or “content creator” a million times over. Everyone starts to begin looking the same, and they just blur together into blogging “noise.”
How do you avoid that for your own content? As easy as it is to compare yourself to more established bloggers and use their ideas and style for yourself, avoid becoming a photocopy. You are YOU, and people visiting your profile and blog aren’t going to remember another face in the crowd. It’s cliche, but be yourself. There might be millions of other bloggers and content creators out there, but there is only one YOU who’s blogging.
That doesn’t mean you have to be super outlandish, use clickbait titles, or put on a persona to “win” people over. If you know anything about me, then you’ll know that is the complete opposite of who I am and what I stand for. I’m soft-spoken, and even in person feel like I can fade into the background. But when I write and speak and share my thoughts, I just do it without thinking about how I sound compared to others. I’m honest, and I don’t hold back my true self. What you see is what you get.
Some people will never be sold into your content, and that’s okay. But seeing a real person online, just living their life and doing what they love, is refreshing. I follow those people, and I care about what they say. Again, give yourself time to find your voice as a writer and creative, but once you do, utilize it.
5. Keep learning.
When we feel like we’ve found our groove and routine, how easy is it to just keep doing our thing and calling it good? Yeah, too easy.
The world of blogging is constantly growing, and there is always something new to learn and discover. Beyond just researching what you might be writing about in an upcoming post, stay up-to-date on what you can do to improve your website and content. Are there new plugins available on WordPress? Is there a growing small business you want to support? Are there different avenues you want to take your content, like making your own products or making new kinds of content like videos or podcasts?
I think the fun of blogging is that there are so many opportunities available. Bloggers are becoming the new celebrities, endorsing brands and products, publishing full pieces of work, and so much more. Not only should we celebrate the growth of others, but we should always be open to how we can each try new things and explore different options. That will also keep you inspired with new ideas to share, maintaining and growing your readership.
I know I’m still a small blogger. I’m not full of completely new ideas. But I’m driven and passionate about what I do, and I hope to help others find that within themselves in whatever they choose to do, even if it’s not blogging. If you have any other ideas to share, please do so in the comments!
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie