At this point, I’ve been blogging for 3 years. It’s so crazy to think that it’s already been that long.
When I first created my blog, I thought that I was going to hit it big!
I really thought that within a year I would be able to leave my job and I’d be making 100,000 a year MINIMUM from just my blog.
Take a look at my 2018 goals if ya don’t believe me!
But boy was I wrong.
It’s now been 3 years and I finally feel like I’ve gotten to the point where my blog is starting to take off.
I’m getting more traffic to my website.
My Instagram followers FINALLY broke through that 2,000 follower mark. Something that I’ve been sitting at for 2 years.
And my YouTube channel is started to get traction, more subscribers, more views, and… make me money!
So what happened? How did I go from completely stagnant for about a year and a half to now crushing it?
Well, let’s dive in because I’ve got a lot to share.
I’m not going to make you read this whole blog post to figure out my top secret ingredient to success.
Simply put, it was making a better connection with my audience across all platforms and changing my attitude.
Now, I’m hoping that you don’t click out of this blog post now that you know my secret.
Because really, there is so much more to it.
If I’m going to say that this strategy leads to dramatic growth, then I need to show you the growth.
So let’s take a look at my analytics.
For Instagram, guys, I really don’t have any good analytics. But just trust me that I gained over 300 followers in a matter of 2 months. When my Instagram account didn’t gain more than 20 followers in over a year and a half, I consider that a big jump.
The biggest growth happened within my YouTube channel.
Let’s take a look:
You can see the shift from stagnant to actual growth started in May. Just a few months after I made the change which I’ll mention here shortly.
My stats actually more than doubled from May to August!
And my analytics are still on an upward slope because of this change.
So now let’s get into it!
I’m going to be honest with you guys because my raw honesty is what I’m known for. And something that I’m incredibly proud of.
I’m not afraid to tell you guys the mistakes I made and the wins I’ve had.
But this… this was a big mistake.
When I started my blog, I had a terrible attitude toward everything.
Really, I was at a bad point in my life and everything was negative.
But when it came to my blog, that attitude carried over.
This is embarrassing to admit but I thought that I was better than a lot of other bloggers.
Because I was coming from the digital marketing industry, I thought I knew exactly how to blog, get traffic, perform SEO, blah blah blah.
And don’t get me wrong. I did know a lot about the digital marketing industry.
More than most beginner bloggers know when they go into it.
But I was a bit stuck up if you will.
I thought that I was going to be amazing from the beginning and get traffic right away.
And I was building my blog off of something that I had no actual results from yet.
I was trying to help bloggers grow on Instagram and tell them how to write content that would rank on Google. But I didn’t even have content ranking on Google at the time.
But I didn’t let that humble me.
Nope. Instead, I acted like I knew everything.
Bad move, past Cathrin.
It’s no surprise that influencers and bloggers are successful because of their audience.
Without people reading their content, liking their content, and supporting them in what they are doing online, there really isn’t much success there.
Bloggers and influencers can’t make money if they don’t have the followers there to support them.
And I knew this. But I didn’t think about the impact that it really would have on my own blog.
Again… what the heck was I thinking?!
So I would create content and I would respond to comments, but not all of them. I would read all the DM’s I received on Instagram, but again, I wouldn’t respond to all of them.
I was still very much so on my high horse and treating my audience in a way that didn’t show them that I cared about them. And that I truly valued their support.
The shift happened when I felt this myself from someone else.
There is a blogger/YouTuber that lives in my city that had about 3,000 followers at the time and I was following her for a while. I realized that she frequented the same coffee shop that I go to every week.
Shout out, Glen Edith.
After she shared a few posts at that coffee shop, I sent her a DM saying that I loved Glen Edith too and that I would love to meet over coffee to talk about all things blogging and YouTube.
She responded at first. But when I asked her for her availability to meet, she ignored my message.
Not a big deal, right? I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
So a few weeks later I was sharing some of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow and I included her account.
Now even at this point of my poor behavior with my own audience, I would always thank my audience when they gave me a shout out or even shared one my blog posts. I would pin and tweet my followers content whenever they mentioned me!
And I would give them a shoutout if they included me in their IG stories.
So really, the only thing that I was expecting from this blogger was a thank you. And I was also kinda hoping that she would realize that she missed my message before and set up a time to meet.
But instead… all she did was add it to her own IG stories.
Now, this was still very nice of her! I’m not ignoring that!!
But she didn’t message me back…
She didn’t say thank you for including her account in my favorites. And she didn’t acknowledge that I had sent her a message about setting up a meeting.
So I knew at that moment that she was clearly avoiding me since that message was right there.
That small experience really opened my eyes. And it made me realize that your reputation and the way you treat your followers is truly everything.
And it made me realize that the way I was treating my followers wasn’t true to who I was as a person and who I wanted to be as a blogger, role model, and business owner.
So I made the change.
Back in March, I made the shift.
And it wasn’t just with the way that I communicated with my audience.
Of course, I now respond to almost every single comment on YouTube. And the ones that I don’t respond to are typically because I don’t see them (some don’t appear in my notifications which is a pain!) or it’s because I think that a like and heart is a sufficient response.
But really, that doesn’t happen that often.
I also respond to every single message I receive on Instagram even if they are just sending my heart emojis responding to an IG story. I will still respond with emojis myself or heart their message so they know that I saw the message and acknowledged it.
Instagram comments, again, I try to respond to every one of them.
Emails, same thing.
And whenever someone asks me a question, I take the time out of my day to give them a well thought out answer.
I don’t push people off and say that they should sign up for one of my paid product to get the answer. Or that they need to pay me for a consultation if they want me input.
I give them what they are looking for!
Because that is what’s truly going to make an impact on people and what they are going to remember me for.
And although the change in my direct communication with my audience changed, there was also a change in the type of content that I created for my audience.
I started to share more content on my YouTube channel that I found truly helpful.
So not just fluff strategies like ‘Just do this, this, and this. It’s so simple just do it.’ Or videos that shared the concept of things without any real valuable information.
I decided to look at my YouTube channel like a place where I could spill everything!
I shared how I made my first $1,000 blogging, exactly how I make money, and what I use to run my business. My analytics, the strategies that got me to where I am today, and honestly things that I would share with my clients or coaching students.
My goal was the break open the door that had all the good stuff.
I didn’t want to keep anything from my audience. I wanted to share it all!
Because if I was truly helping my audience, then that’s how I was going to grow.
If they saw results from the content that I was sharing, they were more likely to share my content with others. And of course, they were more likely to keep coming back for more.
My content transformed from what everyone else was sharing to sharing things that no one else was sharing!
Truly being raw and transparent about my blog, my strategies, my life, that changed everything.
Oddly enough, my audience noticed almost immediately.
I receive messages every week saying that my content is like a breath of fresh air. It’s real and different.
And it’s actually valuable compared to most content that is more click-bait than truly valuable.
And this, this is what I want to be known for.
I don’t want to be known as the girl that ignores her followers. That doesn’t care what her followers think or want.
That’s not a way to truly build an amazing following and business.
I want you guys to know that I truly care about you.
And that without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s all because of you.
You have a bigger impact than you could imagine.
So if you are at the point where you’re trying to grow your blog and you can’t figure out what’s wrong… why you aren’t retaining followers or readers.
I would take a look at the way you are treating your audience and the content that you are creating.
Are you responding to your comments and DM’s? Are you treating your audience with respect and giving them what they want to see from you?
You should be creating things that you are not only truly proud of but that you know your audience will enjoy and find helpful.
If someone asks you to create a piece of content, FREAKIN DO IT! If someone asks you a question, FREAKIN RESPOND TO IT!
And the last tip I have for you is to treat your audience like they are your best friends.
How would you treat your best friend? Hopefully, you wouldn’t ignore them and act like they don’t truly matter to you.
Cathrin (Cath) creates content that encourages bloggers & online entrepreneurs to be themselves, chase their passion, and create their success online. 1 year after started her blog (TheContentBug.com), Cath left her full-time position working in the digital marketing industry to pursue her dreams of being her own boss. In weekly blog posts, sporadic YouTube videos, and constant talking on Instagram stories, Cath hopes to spread her story and be an inspiration to others who desperately want to change their lives.