I wrote this article after someone asked me what I wish I knew before starting my blog or podcast. Enjoy.
1. Getting listeners takes time.
Everyone expects that they will instantly hit 1,000 listens the second they drop their show. Truth is, unless you are already “Insta-famous” or have a big following, that won’t happen. It’s a slow and steady growth. The best thing you can do is to keep networking and marketing your show. Always look for opportunities to promote and grow your show. I’ve found success in connecting with my audience and those outside. You have to promote in unconventional places. I promote my show each week on my Instagram, which is still growing, but then I go into my other Facebook groups (Some of them are Boss Girl Bloggers, Help a Blogger Out, Becoming a Blogger, and my own group, Women in Instagram Marketing) and promote there (when I am able). For example, my podcast hosting site, Buzzsprout Podcast Community, (more on this later), has a phenomenal Facebook support group with over 4,000 people. There are always opportunities to trade show links or post on their Monday share threads. Get creative… There are so many untapped markets at your fingertips.
2. It’s going to take time to make money and get monetized.
Again, unless you have lots of followers and brands that want to support you, it’s going to take time to build your following enough to land sponsorships. Start out small. Throw in the occasional affiliate link, on both your podcast and blog. (Don’t forget the disclaimer statement). So, here are some of the affiliate links I use as a blogger. I am a faith, hearing loss, and lifestyle blogger. I want to find affiliates and products to promote that are within my niche. For example, I promote Day Designer as an affiliate under my “lifestyle” audience. Again, choose products that are within your niche. Don’t promote things just for the sake of it. Truly have a connection with the product and the company. Love their products genuinely. To find affiliate links, go to all your favorite websites and scroll alllll the way to the bottom in their footer. Some websites will say “affiliate” or “brand ambassador”. Click there! For more information on monetizing your brand, head to my Facebook group to learn more.
3. You need to practice time-management.
I made the habit of sticking to posting one blog post per week. In between the craziness of my schedule, I made sure to carve out time earlier in the week so that I can edit and schedule it by Thursday afternoon at the latest, for uploading on Friday. I get into a good groove of blogging when I am inspired. I will put on a podcast, YouTube video, or music that is motivational or upbeat. It puts me in a good mood. If you aren’t getting into a good flow, then get up and move around and come back to it. Sometimes I will actually go though Pinterest and Facebook to draw inspiration from. There is no perfect way to blog – do what works for you!
4. Be YOU
There is no one else like you. I know this is cliche, but it’s true. I can’t be someone I am not on the internet.. And I don’t want to be. If fashion isn’t your thing, don’t force it. Otherwise, you’ll just end up feeling bad in the end when your content isn’t consistent or it fails to meet your expectations.
5. Consistency is key!
This is something I had to learn. My brand is three things – faith, hearing loss, and lifestyle. I can’t throw in things that don’t fit my brand. Your audience is your audience because they want consistent content! One of the best tips I found in defining my brand is knowing my strengths and my audience. What is something you are passionate about? I have a writing resource for you to define your audience. Click here to check it out. Three things I am passionate about are faith, hearing loss and lifestyle. I am a Christian, and it plays a big role in my life. I am also deaf, so speaking about hearing loss and all that comes with it is easy for me. And as for lifestyle, I love fashion and business stuff, so that was again easy for me to speak about.
6. Schedule, schedule, schedule!
I know it seems tedious, but in your down time, sit down and plan out weeks and months of content. This has saved me so many hours of frustration in front of a blank computer screen with impending deadlines. Each month of mine has a theme, and I plan my content around that. I have a podcast and blog, so sometimes I will cross over content, but thanks to my handy-dandy planning system, I’m set up for months 🙂 I use Google Calendar to plan out all my content. In addition, Hannah Ashton, a Youtuber, has a phenomenal planner that I use to plan. Google Calendar is so convenient and easy to use – I color code all my events so it’s easy to see! And I always have it on the go. I did a planner review on my blog here. In terms of scheduling apps, I’m a huge fan of Tailwind. They have free and paid plans, and you can schedule both Instagram and Pinterest posts! Tailwind has a mobile app and desktop website, so you can work from anywhere! They analyze your Instagram to give you the best time to post. And in addition to that, Tailwind can either send you notifications to post, or just auto post for you! Another big resource that I alway refer people to is Block Scheduling. Watch my IGTV on it here.
7. Choosing the right platform
In regards to podcasting, choosing the right hosting site was a hassle for me. I read up and researched for days before I found one that I fell in love with. I can’t rave enough about Buzzsprout. Here is a link to get a $20 amazon gift card after being on a paid plan for two months. Buzzsprout is phenomenal. Their support system is amazing and responds within minutes (during office hours). Their facebook group is insanely supportive and has the best community members. Their payment plans are extremely affordable and the site is just all around easy to work with and use. I highly recommend!
8. Growing your social media is so important!
If you are really serious about wanting to grow your podcast or blog, you need to also grow your social media! So turn your Instagram page to public (you can follow me @sophialebano) and be ready for followers to pour in… Or not. Make sure you are engaging with people in your niche and network. It is been said that it is better to have 400 real followers than 10k fake followers. Something that brands often ask and look at when you are looking to collaborate is your engagement rate. Talk to your followers in the comments. Always ask a question at the end of your post to get them to engage! In this day and age, the only true way to build a following is through connection on social media.
I also use hashtags a lot. I don’t ever post the hashtags in the captions, only in the comments.
One other tip that I have again is to go into Facebook groups of your niche and participate in the engagement groups there.
9. Quality over quantity.
You don’t need to have 1,000 blog posts to be considered a “blogger”. It would be better to have 10 really good quality posts and really engage your audience, then have 1000 poorly written ones. The same holds true for podcasting. Stick to being yourself and producing quality episodes, and you’ll be good to go.
10. Take the time to learn SEO.
SEO is search engine optimization. I wish I learned about this before I started my blog. If you want to learn more about it, go to HubSpot Academy and take their SEO course. There are so many resources out there. I still have a lot to learn about SEO and all the ins and outs of blogging!
I first began my blog and podcast in August of 2019. I made the decision to leave college because it was unsupportive of my hearing loss. I wanted to find a way to channel all my emotions, so I turned to writing. Eventually I found myself buying my domain name and my blog was born! One obstacle I did come across was that I didn’t have much of a following when I started. That didn’t hurt me, per se, but I didn’t know as much as I did now. I probably gained about 1-2 followers per week. Now that I am branching out and becoming more experienced with podcasting and blogging, my following has nearly doubled.