Hey friends! As you can tell from the title of this post, it’s been 365 days since I launched this blog.
I thought about writing this post when I published averywalts.com and what it would say. Would I talk about all I had set out to accomplish? Would I still be writing for this blog? Above all, I knew if I got to this point, and could write this post, I wanted to be honest in an effort to share my wins and struggles with you all.
Before we get any further, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for following along. To anyone who’s read the blog or left a thoughtful comment, I genuinely appreciate you. We all live busy lives, so taking two minutes out of your day to read what I have to say is pretty crazy. I can’t wait to see where this blog goes and I hope you stick around.
So here we go. Here’s five things I’ve learned from the past year of blogging, the good and the bad.
Don’t Expect Your Following to Grow Overnight
Growing an authentic following is no easy feat. It takes time and care to cultivate an audience that consistently engages with your blog and/or social media accounts.
I knew building a following wouldn’t happen overnight, but there were and still are points along the way where I’ve felt frustrated. I’ve definitely played the comparison game and wondered why I wasn’t building a following faster.
But the blogging world is built on quality content. And to me at least, that’s what builds a true following. As long as you’re producing quality content you’re proud of at the end of the day, the following will come.
It may not be in the time you’d like, but it will happen.
Create Genuine Engagement
We’ve all read this tips about engagement. ENGAGE. ENGAGE. ENGAGE. But how do you actually do it effectively?
I’d like to say I’ve found a solid answer, but Instagram and Google are powered by algorithms and you’ve gotta play by their rules.
With that being said, there are a few things I’ve practiced in the past year to build a small, but loyal following.
–> COMMENT THOUGHTFULLY
I hate to sound ungrateful, but it kind of annoys me when I write a thoughtful caption and someone comments something simple and short about my outfit. Obviously you didn’t read the caption.
I get it. We’re all guilty of this sometimes, but come on! Writing thoughtful comments elicits thoughtful replies, and that’s where true (and consistent) engagement happens.
–> SHARE OTHER CONTENT
Cross-promotion benefits both parties and is absolutely free. It takes nothing to share something you like that a fellow creator has made. And chances are they’ll do the same for you.
Reply to stories. Share other accounts. Spread the word on people you admire and you’re guaranteed to make a lasting impression beyond a fleeting comment.
–> GET YOUR FOLLOWERS INVOLVED
Ask your followers questions in the caption or pose a challenge. Getting your followers involved in the comments will make them feel more engaged with you and give them more of a reason to follow future posts.
I love asking my followers what they’re doing on the weekends, how they deal with certain situations, or about their favorite movie.These kind of answers give you better insight into your followers and allow each of you to get to know each other better and build a real community.
Share Real Stories
This tidbit is making the rounds on “how to improve your Instagram engagement” type blog posts, and it couldn’t be more true.
I’ve found over the past year that the blog posts and Instagram captions I write about real, honest experiences I’ve had create the best engagement. People want something they can relate to and something that validates their own experiences.
Share what you’re feeling and mean it. It can put you in a vulnerable space, but I’ve found it to be worth the reward of hearing others’ responses.
Making New Friends Along The Way
One big thing that I’ve learned the past year is the ability to take online friendships offline. I’ve met so many amazing women this year because of blogging and it’s come as a complete and amazing surprise.
It’s nice to have people to bounce ideas off of and shoot photos with that have the same goals as you. And more than that, it feels great to know you’re part of a community.
As I get older I have fewer friends, so it’s been a nice experience to make new friends I otherwise wouldn’t have made without my blog.
It’s Okay to Not Know How to Do Everything
And last but not least, the thing I’ve struggled with the most. It’s okay to not know how to do everything.
In journalism school I was taught to be a jack of all trades. I’ve carried this with me into my professional career and in blogging. I still don’t think it’s incorrect, but I do think it’s okay to ask for help.
If someone knows how to take better pictures than you, ask them for help and improve your own skills. If someone knows how to build a website, ask them to lend you a hand. There’s power in learning and reaching out in order to build your dream.