If you’re a 1-person blog, it’s intimidating building an audience when going up against established brands that have hundreds of thousands of inbound links and an army of writers and editors at their disposal to crank out content.
Here are some tips on how to grow their audience in the early days for a 1-person blog:
1) Don’t think about SEO much in the beginning
In the early days, your content team will probably just you. It might be a freelancer or a few from Fiverr or Upwork if you can afford it. You might even try using technology (e.g., an AI writing tool) to help ease your burden somewhat.
In fact, it may just be you by yourself working from 6pm past midnight as you get your side hustle off the ground.
Instead of getting readers through SEO, focus on attracting potential buyers who respond to your content rather than just reading it.
How do you do that?
Good question. Start by:
- Finding out where your potential buyers read and discover content. That’s where you should consider guest posting or sponsoring. That includes other blogs and social media channels that make sense.
- Interviewing customers and other companies and mentioning them in your blog posts. This will assure you have at least a few readers that can spread the word.
2) Focus on collecting emails
In the early days it’s not so much about traffic, it’s about qualified lead generation.
And an email subscriber is way closer to a client than a reader. You just need to give them that last piece of content necessary to convert them.
They also require some level of hand-holding. They don’t convert off the bat. They need to build a rapport and trust you.
3) Have a strong opinion
Great brands have an opinion. Build your company’s hopes and beliefs and communicate them.
The longer a company exists, the more likely it’ll be copied.
4) Define the space
If you’re in a new space and have a small number of competitors, you have the opportunity to define your space, introduce new terms, and establish engagement rules.
You might even create your own keywords (e.g., the skycraper technique in the SEO world) and help popularize them.
If you operate in a crowded market, think about what new positioning and functionality you’re offering.
Whatever seems to be an advantage over your competitors should be named and communicated to your audience.
5) Focus your effort on where you can provide unique value
Don’t create content that competes head-to-head with established brands.
Discover what unique value you can give your audience and create content around it.
Like any business, having an edge in how you provide value is a big part of it.
How to create a content engine as a 1-person blog
Whether you’re a freelancer, run an e-commerce store or a startup, you might find yourself in the challenge of constantly needing to create high-quality content.
It’s not easy, but the right systems and processes can help you.
Below are five steps to fire out high-quality content with consistency.
Without sacrificing quality. Let’s get into it.
If there’s no input, there will be no output.
This means that before being a content creator, you need to be a content consumer.
Accordingly, it can be helpful to listen to audio or podcasts whenever you’re having a break, driving, going for a walk, at the gym, or other downtimes.
This is about gathering content ideas in advance.
Take a bit of time to brainstorm content ideas for the whole year.
If you produce two pieces of content per week, that’s 100 ideas to brainstorm. If 3x a week, then 150, and so on.
This removes the pressure of having to create content, while putting you ahead of the competition.
It can be helpful to create templates so when you have an idea for an email, Twitter thread, blog, or something else, you click that template, and the format and critical items are pre-populated.
4) Plan in advance
Try to have a week’s worth of content in advance.
This is mandatory if you want to be present on different channels.
Take a blog post and break it down into multiple tweets.
Take a successful tweet and turn it into an Instagram post.
Share your weekly newsletters on Medium, LinkedIn, or in certain communities.
One more lesson we can learn from this post is to build your own system.
Maybe you’ll find these five steps useful.
Maybe you’ll need one more step for your own machine. You’ll use different tools, etc.
The point is, make it an objective to create your own working system, because once it’s set up, you just need to keep the engine oiled.