May 10, 2017

First of all, I can't believe I've actually written 400 blog posts! Well, ok, I guess I've written 399 to date - this is number 400. But still... that's crazy to me!

If you don't know my journey, I started this blog in January of 2013, on a whim. I wanted something "fun" to do as a hobby. I had no business plan, no strategy, no expectations. Just a free site and a bunch of ideas in my head.

Little did I know what would transpire since then!

From literal obscurity, I collaborated with, and surrounded myself with other successful bloggers. I learned what worked and made note of what they did successfully. I built up my blog repeatedly and consistently. And, by early 2014 (yes, in just over one year), I was awarded the title of being a Top 10 Social Media Blog by Social Media Examiner. I retained that title for 3 years in a row.

I had 2 million blog views in less than 3 years, and I currently average about 3000 visitors a day to my blog.

Believe me, these were always accomplishments that surprised me and which I didn't take lightly. I know how hard bloggers work to achieve reach, loyalty, and success. I still refer to my "little blog" because I don't have the capacity to consider myself at the same level as those I admire... even though, statistically and realistically, I know I'm there. Although, I honestly think this is one reason for my success, which I'll talk more about in a sec.

So, how did I do it? What did I learn?

I've learned a few things along the way... and hopefully they'll help you on your journey too.

I should point out though that none of these things is technical. They have nothing to do with the length of your blog posts or the platform you use to publish or the types of images you use or anything else you might expect.

It's a Business, Treat it Like One

You wanna know what really sets successful bloggers apart from those who aren't? It's all about how much you respect your blog.

To be honest, all of the following points are important. But none of it matters if you don't do this!

The reason my blog is successful is that I commit to it - every. single. week. Like clockwork. If it means staying up until 11:00 pm on Tuesday night to crank out the next morning's blog post, I do it. If it means eating chips from the bag, at my desk, for dinner so I can finish a post, that's what I'll do. Yes, I've done both these things multiple times.

Because it's my "job" to get that blog post out each week. And I treat it with the respect that it deserves as a business, in and of itself.

If you blog when it's convenient. Or put other things as a priority. Or don't strive to create the best content your audience deserves. Ok. That's your choice. But it will show. And your blog will not grow as successfully, nor as quickly, as you want.

You get to choose the priorities in your business. If blogging is one of them, then make it one. Period.

Know Who You're Talking To

I didn't really know it at the time, but I actually had a target audience well defined in my mind.

I started my blog to help other business owners who didn't understand social media. I wanted to help them overcome their fears and inhibitions about social media and see it as a valuable tool. So, I started writing that kind of content.

I didn't realize it, but I was mostly talking to entrepreneurs and small business owners over the age of 40. And with my personality and penchant for fashion and style, I was attracting more women than men. They were business savvy but not necessarily so tech savvy. They like to be efficient and don't want to waste time on things that aren't going to get the job done. But they are fun loving, family oriented, and super supportive of those around them.

And you know what? That's still who my audience is today! Not to say there aren't outliers to this description. But, in general, this is still who I attract as loyal blog readers.

The great thing? Many of my blog readers "graduate" to other blogs and resources. I do cover a lot of 101 and intro style content. I don't get into crazy analytics or technical stuff. That's not for my audience. But when my audience has learned the basics and are ready for the higher level education, they move on to those other resources - and I couldn't be happier!

You have to realize who it is you're talking to and create the content for them. If you try to be everything to everyone, you won't get anywhere.

Have a Personality

I already mentioned my penchant for fashion and style. If you've followed me for five minutes, you know that 😉 I'm also a strong personality. I know what I want, and how to get it. I am a self-proclaimed diva and not ashamed to admit it. I'll spend $700 on a pair of shoes but dang it, I'll use a coupon on salad dressing when it's on sale to save myself that extra 80 cents! I'm frugal too 😉

I'm a teacher by nature. I love to help others learn and like to create content to facilitate that.

I hate people wasting my time - that's why I don't like watching videos, because I have to sit through all the random crap before and between learning points. Blog posts and books - those I can read and skim to get what I need directly.

I talk kinda crazy sometimes. And, yes, I use words like "kinda" and "gonna" and "amazeballs". Cuz that's what I say in real life. So why wouldn't I say that in my blog posts?

One of the best compliments I receive when people talk to me in real life is that I'm exactly what they expect from reading my blog posts.

Why? Because I am unapologetically me.

My personality. My style. My examples. My experiences. And people can relate to that. It connects with my target audience. It makes them feel comfortable and welcome.

You have to know your personality and let it shine through in your blog posts. Whatever that is, find a voice and embrace your personality. Stay true to that and your audience will rally around you.

Have a Damn Opinion

Seriously, there's absolutely no need for one more blogger repeating the same regurgitated crap that the "big names" are saying.

You are a human, with a brain, capable of individual thought. Use it!

One of the main reasons I'm successful is that I stand by what I know and practice. I go against the norm if I need to. I'm not afraid to be the first person to talk about something. I'm also not ashamed to admit when I'm wrong.

I've absolutely called out people on my blog. Never to intentionally hurt them, but to question their methods or logic. To disagree and offer a different opinion. To stand up for what I believe is right for my audience.

If you are a sheep, repeating all the same internet buzz as everyone else, why should anyone listen to you?

Do your research. Stand behind your opinion. Learn from others and formulate ideas of your own. Take a stand. It doesn't have to be catalytic or political. Just have something to voice and a reason to voice it.

Stay Humble and Work Hard

Finally, remember how and why you started. Remember what it was like to be a "little blog". Embrace the characteristics of being personal and individually involved with your blog readers.

You are only here because people choose to show up every week and read your content. Without them, you're just spewing random thoughts into open space. Humble yourself to the value those readers provide.

I still work on my blog as though I'm starting out. I forget that I have that many viewers or that much traffic. I'm fighting like I did the day I started.

You need to work your damn ass off!

Post consistently. Even if that's only once a month. Just be consistent.

Insist on quality content that your audience will value. A grammatical mistake or two can be overlooked if the entire post is full of value. An image that doesn't load can be glanced over if everything else in the post is keeping their attention.

Obviously, we all want perfection and to create the best content. But you have to work at it. Over and over and over.

Reward your audience with your devotion and personal interaction along with quality content, and you have yourself a winning blog!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Congratulations on completing 400 blogs, Jenn! I follow you on all social media platforms (hmm almost all!) I myself a digital marketer in India and empower many people with my tailor-made 4 months course. I train people on SEO, SEM and SMM. Would love you get your feedback for my blog Also, would love to know about the blog post frequency. How many blogs to post in a week?

    1. Thank you Bhautik! I appreciate all the support you give 🙂
      Blogging frequency is entirely up to you, so long as it’s consistent. I used to blog 3 times a week, then went to twice a week, and now I blog once a week. If you have the time, and enough to say, then blog multiple times a week. If you can only post once a week, or even once every other week, that’s completely fine! So long as the content is quality content and consistent.

  2. Awesome work Jenn! I’ve been blogging since 2011 and after publishing 800+ posts, I just finished doing a massive purge. Yep, deleted hundreds of irrelevant and outdated blog posts. The number of published blog posts that now remain in my WordPress dashboard is 140.

    Trust me, I had to sit and reflect on that choice for a long time before making it. All-in-all, it was many of the lessons you mentioned above that led me to that decision.

    Kinda makes me want to dig through your archive and read through some of your first posts just to see how far you’ve come.

    You’re an inspiration girl! Keep it up!

    1. Thanks Dustin! You are one of those bloggers I have looked up to since I started. You have been so supportive along the way and I am so grateful for that.
      I can’t believe you purged so much content from your site! That’s a LOT of time 😉 But I’m sure your content is so well represented now.
      If you do find the time to dig through my old stuff, I’d love your thoughts… Every now and then I go read an old one and it is fun to see how my posts have evolved. But also how some things have stayed consistent.

  3. Congrats, Jenn! Your point on personality really resonates with me. It’s tough to shake off the instinct to write ‘professionally’, and communicate in a more conversational style. I glaze over when I read a blog post that’s all stats and no personality, and I bounce away forever if the post is all fluff and no substance. So I have some understanding of where the sweet spot lies (and I think a lot of people are similar), but applying that balance of personality and substance is tough!

    1. Thanks Patrick! And, yes, this is such a hard balance to master. I’ll even admit that I struggle to leave “conversational tone” in some of my posts when I know “proper” English dictates a different structure. But, it comes down to knowing my audience and letting my “voice” shine through, not always the best grammar 😉
      Constant practice through consistent blogging will help solidify this voice and style for you.

  4. Bam, 400! Nice work, Jenn.

    Completely agree on the personality, opinion, and humility points. So few blogs let the personalities of the authors shine through (or give themselves enough time to let themselves find that voice in their writing) and the result is dry narratives that may have valuable insights but are tough to read. And even better if you can nail both the confident opinions with a dose of humility as well. I feel like that admission of “hey, i could be wrong but here’s what I think” goes a long way toward building a community of readers.

    1. Thanks Gregg! And, you’re totally right. Admitting you’re wrong, or don’t have the answer, or another level of admission can go a long way in building trust in your readers. No one knows it all, on every topic, so to act like you do leaves you looking foolish 😉

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

How I Maintained My Blog Traffic – Even Though I Didn’t Blog For a Month

As I’m sure you know by now, I recently had a baby. I know, I’ve talked about it everywhere  But, because I

Read More

How I Tripled My Email Subscribers in 3 Months

Let me start off by saying, yes, you read that right. In the last three months, I have successfully tripled my

Read More

How to Create a Community Around Your Blog

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know how much I love to blog and how much I

Read More

How Important is SEO – Really?

If you write a blog, run a website, or pretty much do anything online, you know about the value of SEO

Read More

Your Blog Post Image Sucks. Does Your Blog Suck Too?

Your blog post image plays a huge part in your blog's success. If your blog post image sucks, it could be

Read More

My Blog Post Is Longer Than Yours… So What?

You know what drives me crazy? When people/experts/gurus tell other people how to do their jobs. Yes, there are general guidelines

Read More

Join The Newsletter

Sign up for once-monthly updates on all things Instagram and social media. It's your one-stop-shop for staying on top of social media in today's changing landscape.

Join the thousands of other marketers, business owners, and agency personnel who rely on this newsletter to keep them on top of their game with one easy resource!