10 lessons I learned after 1 year of blogging
Do you want to become a blogger?
I was like you a little over a year ago!
In December 2018, I launched this blog on digital marketing.
The context was very different from what it is now.
I was in charge of the online advertising campaigns (Facebook, Adwords, LinkedIn, etc.) of the startup.
Every Monday, I had to do some “reporting” and be proactive about my analysis of the results. The following days, we went back to test new things.
It was like that every week.
The problem was that I knew that I was not going to continue in this box and that in July I was going to be forced to look for a new job.
I do not want to look for a new job; I want to start my project!
You may know this speech of the young man, a little naive and full of energy.
It was me!
Last year, I was very much influenced by Gary Vaynerchuk, the social media guru.
He talked all the time about creating content and developing his branding. He looked really, but then really convinced by that.
In his books, he shared stories of young people who managed to find a job, develop a business or become an influencer through social media.
Motivated and convinced by his ideas, I decided to create my website, all by myself as a big one.
I’m passionate about digital marketing and social networking, so I thought I’d blog on it first, once a week ( no more ).
As I was sure of nothing, I opened to 2 possibilities:
- Either this blog helps me find a job more easily
- Either this blog helps me to develop a marketing consultant activity
(Failure was not one)
I must tell you that because, from the start, I thought that money would not be a motivation for me.
ESPECIALLY, I did not want to do like the others of my generation and monetize at all costs with paid training like “I regurgitate information that I found for free elsewhere” (I will return).
I was very uncertain when I started.
I had doubts, and I asked myself questions like this:
- How will I make this blog known? (I had almost no budget to invest)
- Am I legitimate to write about marketing?
- Will it be possible to find a place among the “big” sector?
- Is not it more interesting to become Youtuber or stripping me on Instagram (it’s a joke!)?
I exceeded all his questions that I had.
I wrote about thirty invited articles (articles on other blogs).
To write so many articles has made me progress in every respect.
I write faster, I organize better, I communicate better, etc.
The icing on the cake, my blog allows me to practice a profession that I like, where and when I want.
Yes, I have constraints like everyone else, but it’s mainly thanks to my blog that my clients find me. For me, it’s a real success.
Today, I want to share with you what I have learned in one year of blogging, both at a human and a professional level, as well as some lessons that will be useful if you produce (or plan to produce) web content.
1) Publish quality content regularly
Having a blog is also being regular.
The beginner’s mistake is to publish every day while waiting for the traffic to appear all of a sudden.
The problem is that the novice blogger is discouraged very quickly because he does not get or few results.
It’s normal. He is not severe.
He publishes once in a while and is afraid to promote himself.
Blogging is a real job (not well paid, but a career anyway).
It’s hard; it takes time and promoting on social networks when nobody knows you are a real challenge.
So, what to do?
Publish less and do a lot of promotions?
Post more and do fewer promotions?
None of the 2!
I will say that it is to publish quality content that will become VIRAL regularly.
I bet on this strategy.
I am talking about an article that solves an urgent problem. A section where I did my research includes examples and statistics, anecdotes, etc.
I did this almost every day, and I invested a lot of time and energy in their promotion.
But do not tell me what I did not say: publishing less does not mean that you will have better results.
In fact, in blogging, the more you publish, the more results you will get.
According to Hubspot, companies that publish more than 16 posts per month receive almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that publish between 0 and 4 posts per month.
The Orbit Media study also shows that bloggers get better results by publishing more.
As you can see, bloggers who publish more than once a day get the best results.
If you are starting out, it is almost impossible to keep a daily publication pace. You may run out of time and ideas.
What you need to remember: Publish once a week a very high-quality article and spend as much time promoting it as time it took to write it.
2) Do not stay in your corner
Already before blogging, I had discipline. Working hard was never a problem for me.
So much to tell you that I had no trouble publishing regularly.
On the other hand, I am not one to go naturally to people.
As a blogger, you have to put your pride aside and go to others (bloggers, influencers, companies in the sector, etc.). It is obligatory; otherwise, you will always remain alone!
You need to communicate, build a network and develop relationships.
Be careful, do not make the mistake of going to people to ask them something …
For sure, we will not answer you.
When you make contact with someone on the Internet, have a generous attitude (give rather than ask).
I know what I mean!
After a year of blogging, I already know and meet many bloggers and influencers of digital marketing.
How did I do?
It’s simple; I gave them all the value.
I wrote several times on their blog.
I showed myself generous in the effort by treating their blog as if it were mine.
Another way to develop relationships with the “big guys” in your industry is to congratulate their work.
On the Internet, you can retweet their articles and add a small comment. Also, you now have 280 characters per tweet!
You can also link to their articles and warn them (do not ask for a sharing in exchange, you are generous do not forget it).
I sent hundreds of messages like this one during my first months as a blogger.
I can tell you that it works.
That’s how I knew Catherine Daar, an expert on Facebook Live.
I’m not saying that to boast, but to explain that it’s essential to build your network by going to people.
What you need to remember: Do not stay in your corner! Comment, tweet, blog in others, and send emails on LinkedIn. Always have a generous attitude.
3) SEO takes time
I do not write about SEO, but that does not mean I do not know how it works!
At first, I recognize that I knew (almost) nothing.
I blogged without any SEO strategy behind.
What a big mistake!
I told you that I was naive at the time.
Content marketing (writing articles) is SEO.
Yes, you read correctly. When you do content marketing, you are doing SEO indirectly.
SEO creates demand, while content marketing responds to this demand with useful content.
A good content marketer will target the right keywords and position themselves on those keywords using SEO strategies.
I only integrated SEO in my strategy in June 2019.
I let you see the evolution of my SEO traffic in one year.
I started having SEO traffic in October 2019 after writing some guest articles that boosted (a little) the authority of my young site.
Aware of the SEO potential of my site, I invested my time in SEO.
( Note: I’m not the type to brag about the traffic generated on my site Traffic is not essential in itself, revenues are, I want to show you that it’s possible to acquire traffic quickly).
In outline, here is what I did to get his results:
- Optimize my articles for a keyword (some examples: Facebook algorithm, Facebook pixel, Facebook advertising price, etc.).
- Blog more often on a specific subject. Google prefers niche sites since the update Hummingbird (guess what my site is specialized on Facebook!).
- Write catchy titles. A significant click rate tells Google that your content is exciting and relevant. Over time, you will go back into the search results.
- Write long and useful articles (at least 2500 words). Items over 2000 words are better positioned on Google.
- Emphasize the user experience: fast site, optimized for mobile, no ads, no input pop-ups, etc.
And the backlinks?
Yes, they are essential, but it is not the only ranking factor of Google. I have harvested a lot in a year, but I can tell you that it is not everything.
For competitive keywords, I position myself better than sites that have much higher authority than mine.
The articles I wrote on the subject are longer, more complete and have more shares on social networks. These are factors that strongly influence your ranking.
Backlinks are not everything.
What you need to remember: Think of SEO right from the start, but do NOT just write for Google! Yes, seriously. Write useful content FOR your readers. Optimize your content based on one keyword and always think about the user experience on your site.
4) Develop a community
I am proud of the community I have developed over the past 12 months.
Every day we are more and more, and I hope it will continue like this.
Things would surely be different if I had not actively promoted my Newsletter and taken so much time to animate my Facebook Page and then my Facebook Group.
The first three months, I developed my readership through my newsletter. Unfortunately, a newsletter is not enough because your subscribers can not interact with each other.
Moreover, the initial rate of emails is far from high ( between 20 and 25% on average ).
Then, I gently pushed content on my Facebook page, but we all know that Facebook Pages managers get less and less organic reach.
If you are not ready to pay, it is tough to develop a community on Facebook from a Page.
The solution: create a Facebook Group!
This is what I did by creating a private Facebook group related to the theme of my activity: marketing on Facebook and Instagram.
I invited all the members of my Newsletter to join him, and each new registrant is also offered access to the private group.
Facebook recommends creating one since the update of the algorithm, and many marketers say that the Groups are the “new Pages”.
What I like about groups is that they are not primarily about promoting your products or services, but about sharing a common interest.
As a result, you will more easily get the trust of your members than with a simple Page.
In my Group, there are numerous exchanges, debates, publications around the news of the Facebook and Instagram platforms, etc.
Yes, it takes me more time to lead the group, but it is without a doubt, one of the best decisions I have made to develop a community on social networks.
In my opinion, if you now want to promote your activity on Facebook intelligently, you should focus on creating a Facebook Group around a common area of interest between your business and your audience.
What you need to remember: Spend some of your time (i.e. 20 minutes a day) developing your community on social networks. Interact with your members, bring value, spark debate and publish exclusive content (i.e. videos, lives).
5) The title is significant
If you regularly read my blog, you know that I have already talked a lot about the subject of claims.
This is because writing a good title is PRI-MOR-DIAL, especially when you know that 8 out of 10 people will read your title, but only 2 out of 10 people will learn more.
Think about it.
Your title is a promise you make to the person who will consume your content.
It must communicate the value (or the result) that you will offer to the person in exchange for his time.
Writing catchy titles is an art that can be learned.
So here are some facts and tips that I noted in a “swipe file” that I always read before writing my titles:
- The title should still evoke a result or benefit to the reader (titles that start with “how” are beneficial to elicit a result)
- Titles with 6-13 words attract the most significant and most qualified traffic ( Hubspot )
- Negative words increase the click rate
- Numbers make your title clearer and more specific, which increases the click rate.
- The “list” titles get the most shares on social networks (numbers 10, 5, 15 and 7 give the best results )
- Use adjectives (e.g., effortless, innovative, original, unique, strange, little known, etc.)
- Try to mention your audience in your title
What you need to remember: Do not neglect your claim. Get in the habit of writing a dozen different titles.
6) Do not try to sell at any price
At the beginning of this article, I told you that I did not want to monetize my site at all costs by selling online training.
Let’s put things in context.
When you start producing content on the web, an idea comes quickly to mind: “How am I going to be able to monetize all that? ».
You do some research on Google, and you quickly find answers.
On the Internet, as a content creator, you can monetize your knowledge and audience in several ways:
- AdSense advertising (which does not yield anything)
- Affiliation (selling the products of others)
- Offer your services (services, coaching, consulting, etc.)
- Sell your products (ebooks, training, online courses, physical products)
I have nothing against the affiliation, as long as you use the products you are promoting.
However, I warn you about selling online courses.
The online training market is booming.
In 2016, the market value of online courses was already 46 billion dollars.
People are aware; it is not necessary to go to school to learn a métie r (I’m living proof, I have not studied digital marketing at the university).
So, in recent years, we have seen many pseudo-experts attracted by the promises that dream sellers of the Internet have sold them:
- “You will be able to live on an island paradise like me by selling formations.”
- “I earn $ 10,000 a month selling training. You can do it too! “
- “You do not have to know everything. You need sales to funnel, and then you create your training.»
It’s been two years that I see everywhere this kind of promises.
This is all the more disappointing as many people (young and old) fall into the trap.
I will not go long on that. I want to tell you that if you’re going to monetize your knowledge, it’s entirely possible by selling online courses.
You should ask yourself these kinds of questions:
- Are you qualified to teach a class? Are you a specialist or an expert?
- Do you have experience? (3 months, that does not count …)
- Have you already helped, several people?
The last question is fundamental, and that’s where I’m coming from.
If you have never achieved results for anyone (except you), what qualifies you to monetize your knowledge?
I give you an example to better understand.
You are a fitness coach, but you have never helped someone else get back in shape. Are you qualified to sell a fitness program?
No, not yet, you’re just good at sport.
You are a sports coach, and you have already helped dozens of men and women get back in shape with personalized coaching. Are you qualified to sell a fitness program?
Yes, without a doubt. You have results for yourself, and you are good enough to get results for others.
Better yet, you have case studies to present, testimonials or other client references.
In other words, you have real experience in the field. You have every right to sell a course or course online.
For this reason, the best advice I have to give you if you do not yet have the legitimacy or expertise to sell an online course would be to sell your knowledge through service or consulting. (coaching or accompaniment over several weeks).
That’s precisely what I’ve done in the last six months.
What you need to remember: If you have just started, do not try to sell at all costs. You risk losing the little confidence you have gained in your community. Wait to gain experience before you start.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of “aggressive marketing” to sell your products (false urgency, false customer testimonials, exaggerated promises, untenable guarantees, etc.).
7) Blog on topics that you like AND that you know
Posting regularly is a real job.
So to stay motivated week after week, it’s essential to be passionate (or at least love) the topic you’re blogging for.
If you read me regularly, you know that I often write about Facebook (and Instagram to a lesser extent).
This is because I am interested in the subject.
Facebook allows us to keep abreast of everything happening in the world, and Instagram inspires us whenever we need it.
For that reason, I know I will stay in this industry for a long time because I’m interested in it.
You see why you must not sell at all costs. If you are motivated by money or something else, you will never stay in the long run.
Your content will not be interesting enough to consume. Passion must feel natural in your content.
Also, you must know your subject.
As I said, I love Facebook advertising, but I would not mention it on my blog if I had not had real experience in the field.
In Ubeeqo, I created and ran Facebook advertising campaigns for six months. Also, I spent hours training myself as an autodidact.
And it was a year ago! Since then, I have made good progress (that’s why you have to sell your services at the beginning).
What you need to remember: Create content about what you love and learn everything there is to know about it. In this way, your content will naturally transmit your passion, and you will never run out of content ideas.
8) Do not be afraid of competition
Competition in a market is something natural.
It is normal to have better competitors than you.
It was one of my fears when I started. How am I going to stand out?
After all, I am younger, less experienced, and I do not even have money to promote myself!
After writing a few articles (unsuccessfully), I understood that it was useless to talk about blogging, email marketing and social networks.
I had to position myself.
Positioning is finding an isolated market segment that is not yet completely satisfied.
Thinking about it, I noticed that no blog in France specialized in a field I was good at Facebook advertising.
So I was lucky because that’s how I positioned myself:
I was explaining to the independent contractor or TPE executive how to use Facebook advertising to gain visibility on Facebook and find new customers.
After that, I spent all my time producing content related to Facebook advertising:
- On my blog
- On other blogs
- On social networks
It helped me stand out in the beginning and even position myself on Google.
Remember, Google likes sites that treat a subject in its entirety.
What you need to remember: From the start, position yourself as a specialist (not a generalist!). Aim for a market segment (not its entirety). Over time, you can slowly expand the topics you are dealing with and reach out to others.
9) Be genuine and honest
When I started blogging, I made the mistake of looking at what others were doing in my area.
Result: I found myself using the same words like they and share giving the same opinions.
I was not myself, but I did not know it.
I started to develop my writing style and expressions. I also learned to polarize my message by giving my opinion on what bothers me.
I’m quite aware that some people will not agree with some of my comments and that’s what I’m looking for.
This is called authenticity: being oneself.
Then there is honesty.
I was talking to you about the fact that some content creators are not honest with themselves and others, regurgitating or selling information that they have found for free elsewhere.
It’s a shame because it’s so easy, to be honest on the web. Simply :
- Quote your sources
- Do not lie about your skills (do not play the expert if you’re not one, there’s nothing wrong with being a beginner)
What you need to remember: On the Internet, the temptation may be a little stronger to pretend to be someone else or to lie. Do not make these mistakes. Be yourself; others are already caught!
10) Do not scatter
Six months ago, I announced in a Newsletter that I was going to make videos in addition to launching a Facebook Group.
But what did I have in my head ?!
It was way too soon!
I had an error that should not be known when you start creating content: disperse.
On the Internet, content can be in 3 large formats:
- Audio (podcasts)
Source: Gary Vaynerchuk
To host this content, platforms are not lacking either:
- Instagram (and now IGTV )
- Podcasts Apps (Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts)
I only mentioned a few of them … You can see how hard it is to stay focused.
We are already on four platforms …
Unfortunately, I realized that it would not be possible to produce video content and host it on Facebook and YouTube (my plan).
If I had, I would not have been able to produce as much content and be active on all these platforms. I would surely have abandoned quality.
For this reason, I decided not to make a video right away and to wait to master all the platforms on which I “play”.
Two months ago, I started to be active on LinkedIn, which now makes five different platforms …
I do not hide; it is a real job that requires me to organize and speed of execution.
If I had started to be active on all these platforms at the same time, I would surely have failed.
What you need to remember: Start by producing content in one format (article, video or podcast) and actively promote it on one or two platforms (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). As soon as you feel comfortable, test a new format or platform, and so on.
I hope that through this article, you had the opportunity to know me better and understand the actions that I implemented to develop my blog.
I also gave you my motivations and the reasons that pushed me to launch my blog!
The goal was not to “brag about” my career, but especially to give you a series of lessons that will help you, I hope to make you known through the content.
In the months that follow, I will continue to develop this blog and finally make videos (to see which platform I will choose first: Facebook? YouTube? IGTV?)
If you are interested (even a bit) in content creation, I do not necessarily advise you to start a blog.
While it is the most “easy” format to start, it is becoming more and more “old school” especially for younger generations.
I advise you to learn the video instead. This is the format that knows the most significant growth and is the most appreciated by Internet users.
Whatever you do, always stay yourself. Produce content about what you love and know. Develop sincere relationships with others and above all, avoid selling at all costs!
Thank you for reading so far.