Shhhhhhhh! I’ve got a secret to tell! OK, maybe a few!
Building a brand and developing your blog is hard! Say that to a guy who ran a charity focused blog for 3 years and stood out from the crowd.
Just because you stand out, it doesn’t mean you’ll be a success. Standing out is great, but you have to know how to grow your blog at a speed you’re happy with.
John’s Road to Volunteering was always progressing
When I started my blog in 2014, I didn’t think much of it. My girlfriend at the time told me I had something to tell, and I had doubts. I was a latecomer to social media. I didn’t have MySpace, didn’t really use MSN and only started a Facebook account once I left school.
Being a latecomer was a blessing. Whilst others had been on the above platforms for a while, I came into the online world with a fresh approach and outlook. I didn’t want to be like someone else. I’m not someone else! John’s Road to Volunteering grew because I was growing as a person. I was being myself.
More people offline got to know the guy behind the blog. More people got to know who I was and where I wanted to go. Chris Lewis, one of the leading Cancer speakers around the world and Founder of Chris’ Cancer Community connected with me. Chris has been a massive influence. Having a mentor, friend and someone I looked up to helped me to grow.
When I needed it, he’d give me a pep talk. He’d reiterate that I had a voice, and I’d believe him. I started to believe in myself. John’s Road to Volunteering went from a Southampton based Ambassador style charity blog and within a few months went global.
Charities were intrigued. People who were volunteering wanted to get involved. I was receiving invites to deliver talks. I was invited to volunteer.
Who gets headhunted to volunteer?
This guy right here!
Progressing with the blog helped me to grow. I was developing a voice. A voice people wanted to hear. Radio talks, newspaper articles and guest blogs with some of the leading charities/organisations around the world showed me that I was hungry.
Being hungry for success helped me to spot gaps and capitalise on them. I was creating blog series’ that had purpose. I was collaborating with others. I was valuing my content and my voice.
Telling stories helped me to let go and grow
Heartache helped me to grow. My past has and always will be an influence. My blog became my safe space. I was growing when I let go of my feelings. My past became my present and future. People were inspired. They shared their own stories.
The best influence is the influence you have on yourself, that inspires others.
Every story helped me to progress. Every story has made me the person I am today. Once I accepted my past, I turned dark times into a positive platform full of light to help others to do the same.
Talking about Cancer was hard. It helped me to understand what happened. The feelings I had at the time have been turned into positive actions. I’ve spoken about this in my talks. I’ve brought some of the attendees to tears. Emotions are good. Sharing is good. Sitting down and taking time out for yourself is good.
When I was bullied, I used video games as an escape. The escape was my down time. It was my time to forget what was happening and to focus on me.
Telling your story can inspire others, but does it inspire you? Does it motivate you to take action? Growing as a person has to be something you do. Having Chris by my side has been amazing, but in the end it’s still come down to me.
I know where I want to go in life. I know how I want to do it. The actions inspire me. The actions will help me to grow. I’m learning. I’m also using any mistake as an opportunity to grow.
I took the opportunity to network where my focus was
Why keep a Facebook page if it’s not a platform you love or find useful to network?
Part of my blog’s growth has come down to my constant networking. Everyday, I’m looking for new people to connect with. Twitter is the platform I love. I spend the majority of my time on there.
It’s where my followers are. My highest engagement. The platform I understand best.
Spend time where your readers/followers spend time. Spend time where you can grow.
Don’t try to be a smart arse and create a social media account on every platform. Who has time for this? Who has time to upload content onto everything?
Focus where the growth is. Focus where you can get the most exposure. Expose yourself. Twitter is the reason I’ve grown so quickly. I went from 1,000 followers in 2016 to a projected 20,000 followers at the end of this year.
I’ve networked. I’ve connected with people who’ve become my friends. Hashtags. Use them. Look at what’s trending. Use blog posts that have updated hashtags and social media accounts for bloggers. (Highly recommend this post from Ruth In Revolt)
I’ve focused on me
You might think that my posts have been for others, but in the end, they’ve been for me. I’ve focused on myself. I’ve focused on growing. I’ve focused on developing my voice. I’ve focused on learning in a way that best suits me.
Your blog has to be for you.
Why upload content you don’t love? Why create projects your heart isn’t in? Create content you love and want to shout out about. Talk about things you love, what you’ve been up to. Be yourself.
Blog because you want to blog, not because you have to.
Create a schedule if that’s what you want. Upload twice a week if that’s what you want to do. You make the decisions. You’re the one spending time to create and promote the content. You’re spending time to network with others.
Let your followers get to know you through your content. Give your followers an opportunity to get to know me. Be authentic. Be vocal. Be ambitious. Be yourself! Set goals. Believe in them. Don’t just achieve them! Smash them!
Create your OWN online space.
Build a community. Bring people together from the things you love and upload.
What are your secrets? What have you learned through blogging that’s helped you to grow?