Social Media for Writers: 7 ways I took my blog from 4k to 40k views a month

January 06, 2019
In 2018, my blog had over half a million views - compared to around 30k the year before. In this post, I go over some of the things I did to achieve that level of growth.

Something a little different today on the blog... my Social Media For Writers series is back! 

Some context for the series, for those of you unfamiliar (which, I imagine, is most of you): I started getting quite a few messages about how to use social media to promote yourself as a writer, and it's something I'm really interested in anyway, so I wrote up several blog posts about it in 2017. You can find all the previous posts at the tag on my blog here.

The reason I'm bringing it back is not just because I think it's something really interesting, but because last year was a bizarre one for me in the world of social media. I saw some of my followings go through the roof, way higher than I ever would have imagined them. 

And in this first post, I want to focus on my blog, and how I took it from an average of just 4,500 views a month to 43,400.

Some background to my blogging career...

I've been blogging for years - having started out on Tumblr in 2011 with a blog to promote my online profile as a writer, starting the Writing Wednesdays series not long after, a quick foray into Wordpress, and finally settling on a move to Blogger with this blog in March 2017, with my first post going live in the April. 

I transferred the bulk of my blog posts from Tumblr to this blog, rebranded everything, and launched a new series - The Twenty-Something Series

Some crazy stats

In 2017, my blog had a total of 33,190 views - making a monthly average (excluding Jan and Feb, before the blog was live) of 4,568.

Now I don't know about you, but I thought that was pretty good. Using Google Analytics, my Tumblr only ever had a couple of hundred monthly users, on a good month. I'd been pleasantly surprised with how my blog was doing in 2017.

2018 blew that completely out of the water.

In 2018. my blog had a total of... 521,570 views. That makes a monthly average of 43,464 views, increasing on the year before by almost tenfold. 

Which is CRAZY. And more than half a million views in the year?

Aside from one crazy month (which I'll discuss in another post in a few weeks), this was pretty consistent throughout the year. I was particularly surprised to find that I still had around 10,000 views a month through the last few months of the year, when I posted next to nothing on my blog. 

(Hey, I guess evergreen content is always good!)

I keep track of all my social media stats each month, which is all well and good, but a little analysis would be even better. So in the hopes of my blog being just as successful this year - if not even better - I decided to do a little digging into what exactly made my blog so popular last year.

What I did to make my blog more popular:

1. Promoting it on my other social media channels

I guess this one might sound like an obvious thing to do, but it's what I do with each blog post. I've automated this (using If This Then That) so every time I post something, it goes on one/more of my Pinterest boards (where I not have around 30-50k users interacting a month), my Twitter and my Facebook. Something that I don't automate is sharing it on Instagram, but I tend to do that too - at least via Instagram stories, where I can now use the 'swipe up to follow the link' function.

My followings grew a lot last year on my social media - especially Instagram, where I get a fair bit of traffic from my blog - so I can attribute that to part of the growth in my blog audience. I include the link to my blog in all my social network bios too, so if anyone visits my profile this is where they'll end up.

2. And sharing content from my other social media channels on my blog

You may have noticed that my actual blogs just seemed to drop off the face of the earth from about July onwards last year - but the strange thing is, my monthly views continued to be high. I think something that helped here was that I automated (through If This Then That) all my Instagram posts, captions included, to appear here as a blog post. 

They're not exactly my most popular posts, or what attract people to my blog, but they have driven a lot of traffic - so there was always some form of fresh content when people visited my blog. I also posted a few YouTube videos last year, which were also automated to be shared here on my blog.

3. Having evergreen content

Oh, evergreen content, that blogging buzzword. (Buzzwords? Buzzphrase?) 

Here's my point: if people came to my blog from looking me up or finding the link on one of my social media profiles, they'd find plenty of content they could read that was still applicable. Things about The Kissing Booth movie, writing advice, being a twenty-something - the vast majority of my content is evergreen. 

For those of you who aren't sure what I mean by that, I mean that my content doesn't really 'expire'. It's not usually around something popular in current events, doesn't follow a short-term trend: instead, most of it is something you can read months or years later, and still find some value in.

4. Capitalising on events and news

You know I'm talking about my movie here. It came out in May, blew up online, and I took full advantage by blogging about it with more behind-the-scenes content. Things you missed in the movie, how I felt about the casting - things like that.

I also blogged around events like when I was out in Brazil and New York, and when I was doing a Twitter giveaway or watch-along on my Instagram. People were excited about the movie coming out and that was the kind of content they were responding to - so I made sure to post a lot of it.

Which is probably why I had a massive spike of nearly 350,000 views in June alone. But again - I'll go into more on that in another post in a few weeks.

5. Re-branding

When I was blogging on Tumblr, I looked more into how to blog better. I read that having graphics on posts tended to improve levels of engagement - and figured that made sense, I could even make a Pinterest board so people could find exactly what kind of writing advice they wanted much more easily.

The original graphics for Writing Wednesdays were horrific. I mean, genuinely. They were gaudy and cluttered and had no colour scheme and like four fonts just splashed about incoherently. I did try to find them so I could share them with you, so you could appreciate how much the blog has grown, but I can't find them anywhere. (I probably deleted them all years ago for the sake of my own sanity.) 

I made a different image for each new post, which wasn't sustainable. I then re-made them so I could just change the title. They were still horrible. I soon discovered Canva and found some beautiful stock photos, and have settled on the images I have now. I made similar ones for my Social Media For Writers and The Twenty-Something Series - making them all similar enough that you could tell they were all part of my blog, but each with a distinct colour scheme and background, so you could tell which series the post was a part of. 

Or that's what I hope is the case, anyway. Feedback is always appreciated.

I also re-branded across all my social media channels, using a new, cleaner header image for my blog and replicating across my other profiles too. I wanted to create a more cohesive experience, and having cleaner, clearer (and frankly, prettier) graphics for my blog posts is something I feel has been a big part of what's helped my blog grow. I feel it's got a more professional feel than it used to and generally has a nicer experience for readers.

6. Understanding my audience

My audience are made up of readers, writers, and above all: young women. Obviously, I know that's not my sole audience, but it is the bulk of it, and I needed to recognise that. 

I started the Writing Wednesdays series to accommodate what I saw as a popular demand - based on the number of messaged I was getting from people asking me for writing advice, it seemed like a good idea to make a blog series from it. I'm happy to continue that, as long as I have relevant and (I hope) helpful content to share, but when I started this blog, I had another think.

I know a lot of my audience are young women, between about 13 and 30-ish. (Based on the stats I can get and the profiles of people who typically engage, at any rate.) I figured I liked to see content about adulting, travel and lifestyle, so it seemed to reason that would be the kind of thing my audience might like to see on my blog, too. I've made an effort to try to be honest and personable online, to connect with people better, so the whole Twenty-Something Series didn't seem too far removed from the kind of content I would want to share anyway, in some form or other. 

The posts did well, so I continued to work on the series, and I don't feel it's failed me yet - especially if those stats are anything to go on. 

7. Having a movie out didn't hurt, either

Because, let's face it, it really didn't.

I know that I fell off the blogging wagon the second half of 2018, but I put a lot of effort into the posts I've created and what the user experience is like on my blog, and I've worked to understand my audience. These are all things that I've gone into more detail about above, and I feel all contributed to this massive growth in my blog's audience last year.

I made it one of my goals for 2019 to get back into blogging (because I did miss it) and have currently planned out posts until March, with ideas for content going beyond that, so it's looking good so far. I'm just excited to see if this year will be just as good for my blog as last year, and indeed, if it will be even better!

What are some of your best practice tips for growing your audience for your blog? I'd love to hear, so please share in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. I love the way you write, I completely fell in love with The Kissing Booth. Honestly I would love to read the sequel, and if possible watch the movie. Keep trying like this, a lot of success !!!


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