Woohoo! It’s been a while since I had a really meaty reader question to do a, “Ask Rachel” post on, so I am super excited to answer all of these today! One reader writes:
“I just started blogging a month ago but I am nervous to announce it on my social media pages because I’m concerned about the judgment to follow.
How did you announce your blog to “the world?” Did it take you awhile to gain readers and subscribers? What did you do to entice people to want to visit your blog? I’ve seen that I should offer some free object of some sort but I don’t have anything to offer.
Do you have a social media account for the blog and for your own personal use? I’m thinking of just tying my Instagram to both my personal use and blog use because I don’t want to seem like two different people. I want my readers to be able to follow my real account. Is that a bad idea? Should I create a new account for my blog?
What do you use to make the blog post title pictures on your blog and as well as the little saying posts on your IG? “
First off, thank you so much for your email and questions! This is what I blog for!
Announcing your blog & coping with judgment
I think the judgment of what friends & family will think about changes to social media or launching a blog is totally normal! I’ve spoken to so many bloggers who did not tell any friends or family when they first started out. I never really told anyone either… about a month after blogging I decided to “rebrand” my personal Instagram to TCM. I had less than 300 followers, and literally would get 10 likes on a photo that it didn’t really feel like anyone would notice or care. I created a new social media account for everything else, including fake Facebook profile to use solely for blog work so it doesn’t intermix with my personal account. Slowly people started finding out what I was doing, but to this day I am still always surprised when I run into an old friend who says, “I follow your blog and love it!”
I want to share two tidbits of wisdom I’ve learned from blogging these last 7 months that relate to feeling judged:
a) Your family and friends will (probably) never totally understand your blog. They’ll read it, probably like it, but be prepared that they will struggle understand why you do it and the amount of work that goes into it. I strongly recommend watching Episode 75 of “Chelsea” on Netlix: “Please Take My Knickers Off”. First of all, if you don’t watch Chelsea, you are SERIOUSLY missing out. This show is hands down my favorite work of hers. Secondly, Kimball Musk’s interview in this episode is fantastic. Lastly, (and most importantly), at the end of this episode she has Colleen Ballinger, aka Miranda Sings of Haters Back Off, on and she talks about how her family didn’t understand/support her youtube videos, and now she has a Netflix show, and they support her –> The takeaway (generally speaking here, obvi doesn’t apply to all situations): Until people can easily classify what you are doing in terms they understand (read: money), they will judge out of fear. Fear you can’t support yourself with your creative project, fear of wasted time, fear you aren’t living in the “real world”, and most importantly: their own fear that stopped them from taking their creative journey in life. If you experience judgment as a blogger it’s probably because the judger felt judged at some point in their life or they were too afraid of judgment to take the risk and are projecting their own stuff onto you. If you enjoy what you are doing, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
b) You haven’t really made it as a blogger until you get some hate. Not everyone is going to like your work or agree with you. If you are conjuring up strong enough emotions that people are talking trash, then you are probably on the right track. Nothing great in this world had a 100% likability score. Nobody talks about the bland and boring.
For more tips on overcoming those “first post jitters” click here.
I launched my blog in a 48-hour emotional flurry. I didn’t have a “launch” plan or anything, just a few very emotional posts, which you can read here, here, or here. I shared them with my Twitter followers, since none of my family or friends were really on there, and they started getting retweeted and shared! I was so excited! My second month I had a guest post that went “viral” (well to newb blogger it felt pretty viral, it was a book list that got over 20,000 stumbles!).
With that new stat under my belt, I had a new excitement and decided to kick things up – I launched a vlog series which pushed me out of my comfort zone and led me to network with influencers who inspired me. I also joined lots of blogger Facebook groups to really immerse myself and learn as much as I could, as quickly as I could.
I had a small on-line platform before starting TCM as a life coach, so I had a couple of pre-done “offerings”, but honestly the opt-ins were few and far between. It wasn’t until I caught a webinar with Melyssa Griffin, where she talked about including a content upgrade at the bottom of each blog post that I started to really grow my mailing list. I set a new rule for myself: no post goes live without a content upgrade. So I started creating them! I have a few standard ones I use (goal setting, saving money, job search checklist, Instagram checklist, positive self-talk worksheet) that I use most often since they fit into the main categories I post on. I could probably up the conversion even more if I created more “post specific” offerings, but I am kind of lazy and these seem to be getting the job done. I also changed my pop-up to not pop up until someone is clicking off the site, and it should only pop up ever few days for readers to not give them fatigue (let me know in the comments if it’s coming up every day for you!). Some people hate pop-ups but it’s one of my best converters, I think the key is to let your readers poke around and make a judgment before you ask them to subscribe.
Don’t think you have nothing to offer with an opt-in! You 100% do! You are about to venture down the rabbit hole of blogging, which means constantly offering your heart and soul to your readers, just save something extra special for subscribers! You can create an offering that looks great for free using Canva.
Merging your personal account with your blog or business is a really personal decision that I can’t give you a direct answer on. I merged my personal IG with business because I wasn’t really using it for my personal life. I think I have a nice blend of personal and blog stuff going on and none of my friends seem annoyed. In fact, they all tell me how much they love it. With that said, if you are using your Instagram for your blog, that means you are also trying to attract the right type of audience. So if you are trying to grow or build a community around it, you will need to be more intentional and thoughtful with what/how you are sharing compared to a personal account where you post whatever whenever.
Some things to consider: how often do you currently post? how consistent are you or would you need to be for your blog? how is your blog’s brand carried into your Instagram? Would you feel censored or limited if you merged them? — I know a lot of bloggers with two accounts because sometimes they want to share the messy unfiltered chaos that is their life, but know it won’t grow an engaged community or could turn off potential partnerships. There is no one size fits all answer with Instagram, but you need a direction and consistency.
Alright! I hope that answered most of your questions and helped give you some more clarity on getting started with your blog! It really is the best journey I have been on professionally, and seriously tell everyone to start a blog now! The people you meet and opportunities a blog can grant you are truly magical!
In the comments let me know your top tips for any of this reader’s questions! I am sure they would love some added input!
Getting started with a blog? Struggling with what to share on social media?
Grab TCM’s checklist for content ideas!