Recently I got a reader email sharing she started a blog, but doesn't know how to announce it to her family and friends. When you start a blog, there's a lot of concern about judgement from people in your life, I get it. Plus trying to figure out whether or not to create new social media accounts or convert your existing ones into your brand? It's a little confusing at times. In this post I share how to announce your blog to the world, how to gain reader's and grow your subscriber list, how to create beautiful blog graphics, and what to do about your personal Instagram account!
So as part of my “Ask Rachel” series, here's what the reader wrote in and my answers below (p.s. This post contains affiliate links*):
“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!
How To Announce Your Blog To The World
Announcing your blog & coping with judgment
I think the judgment of what friends & family will think about you launching a blog or becoming more active on Instagram 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.
From there, I created a new social media account for everything else, including a separate 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!”
Thoughts on feeling judged for blogging:
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 Netflix: “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. Most people let fear stop them in their own creative pursuits, and that's what they are *actually* judging- themselves; not you.
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 scores a 100% likability score. Nobody talks about the bland and boring.
For more tips on overcoming those “first post jitters” click here.
How to gain readers as a blogger:
I launched my blog in a 48-hour emotional flurry; no 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! It was so exciting! 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 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 a lot of blogger Facebook groups to really immerse myself and learn as much as I could, as quickly as I could.
Put yourself out there and build community and network like crazy. Also just keep posting. Seriously, the first couple of years, I posted a minimum of 3 times a week, never missing a post. You need a certain volume of published content in order to start growing readership. There is obviously way more to this as you continue in your blogging journey, but think of these tips as your starting point.
How to gain subscribers as a blogger:
Offer something of value.
It's that simple. Create a worksheet, ebook, ecourse, something and give it away in exchange for emails. You'll want your offering to target a specific audience that you plan on writing for and sending emails to.
For instance, if you plan to blog about home decor, don't create an offering on burnout because then you'll have a list of subscribers interested in wellness tips but you'll be sending them home decor. It has to be relevant to your niche. You can create beautiful offering that looks great for free using Canva.
Another option that really has worked for me is a quiz! This is what I use for my quiz and they give other options/ideas too!.
Lastly, I use a pop-up which has a pretty high conversion rate via my email provider (they have a free option too!). It triggers every few days and only when someone is moving to click off the site (and never on mobile). 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.
As a blogger, should you have a separate Instagram account or turn your personal one into your blog one?
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 before converting your personal Instagram account into a business account:
How often do you currently post? Are you, or do you plan to consistently 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.
>>> This is the only Instagram course I'd recommend! I grew my audience by 500 followers in the first month of implementing their strategy! <<<
How to make amazing graphics for your blog and Pinterest?
Pinterest is a blogger's gold mine of traffic! I have an e-course for exploding on Pinterest here, including graphic tips/walk-throughs!
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!