If you had asked me what I thought about social media and content marketing about a year ago, I would’ve said something like this.
Sure, social is great to keep up with friends — but that’s about it.
Content? What’s spending hours writing a bunch of words or creating a video going to do for me?
I know a few people who live and breath social media, and I heard a lot of reasons why I should.
I ignored and didn’t listen for a long time — I had 0 interest towards it.
Eventually, I caved.
I made the decision to go from 0 to 100% on social media & content marketing.
I started bantering on Twitter, spinning the yarn on Medium, #gramming on Instagram and, just recently, showing others how to design on YouTube.
I’m still at the early stages of my journey, but I’m starting to see results I’ve and just recently hit 15,000 followers. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far.
Creating content takes a lot of time and effort
I never thought there was much effort involved in creating content.
So, I set off on my first adventure with a blog called Marketing Rethought.
It ended up less about marketing and more as “inspo” quotes, but I ended up devoting a lot of time to content creation.
I posted 4–5 quotes almost every day for over 240 days.
While my effort in hindsight seems a bit extreme, I tell this story for a reason.
It takes a really, really long time to create content, especially when you’re trying to post on a regular basis.
If you’re looking to create some great content, make sure to allow yourself a good amount of time to make it happen.
If you want growth, you need to interact with others
I found that only part of my growth came from posting my own content.
Going outbound and interacting with others quickly contributed the majority of my audience’s growth.
I made a routine of finding great content, leaving well-thought out comments, liking quality posts and connecting with awesome people.
That meant a lot of elbow grease.
I knew I couldn’t scale this effort forever, but in the early days it really helped me grow my audience.
If you’re trying to grow an audience, try engaging with your audience and others within your field of interest. You may just find they engage back with you.
Experiment to find what your audience likes
I read a lot of stories from those who had built large audiences, and ended up drowning in a range of often conflicting tips.
I followed some tips, which led to some articles flourishing and others crashing. My most circulated Medium piece to date involved me throwing any tips out the window, and writing an article from my gut in under an hour.
What I noticed was there was no clear “winner” technique or rulebook for success, so I decided to experiment.
I do this mainly through posting my thoughts on Twitter. If I find a particular thought gets a lot of engagement, I’ve then got a great foundation to expand that into an article or video.
Everyone has a different context and a different audience — and you need to find out what they like.
If you’re trying to create great content, find a way that allows you to experiment and find the “right” content for your audience.
Writing articles was daunting, but also my most rewarding exercise
My latest exercise has been writing articles, such as this one!
I’ve published a total of ~30 articles, and have made my way into some major Medium publications (UX Planet & The Writing Cooperative).
I found writing in particular to be very challenging because words are very literal things.
There is nowhere to hide if you “write something wrong”.
There’s nothing to hide behind with words. Plus, there are many people out there who are not afraid to let you know if they think you are wrong.
That being said, writing has been my most fruitful journey to date. I’ve had job opportunities, freelance work and over hundreds of shares on Twitter occur from people saying they just read my article.
If you’re looking to “go content”, consider whether writing could be another tool in your content belt — for me, it’s a crucial one.
Results take time — but the results can be great
The early days of creating content can be frustrating.
Putting hours and hours into content, only to find 10–15 people engage with it, can be tough.
While my articles doesn’t face this issue any longer, it took a long time. I’ve just started producing videos and am facing this problem myself again.
You can’t let yourself be put off by the beginning — we all had to start somewhere
I decided to re-frame my goals, and look at things slightly differently. At the time, I looked at my 2K audience as 20% of 10K instead of 2% of 100K.
If I had kept thinking “too big”, I probably would’ve given up.
But, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Last month, I had 17,000 reads on my articles, made money from some of them and generated 120K+ impressions on Twitter.
If you’re starting off without much of an audience, remember you’ve got nothing to lose and we all had to start somewhere. You just have to work for it.
Thank you — and, if you enjoyed this article, please let me know!
Nathan Allsopp is a Product Manager/Designer from Sydney, Australia. This article originally appeared on my blog here.