If you're trying to build a following, doing it online is an absolute no-brainer. Forty-two percent of the global population, that's 3.2 billion people, use social media. And 90.4 percent of Millennials are active daily on social media.
One of my new year's goals the year that I quit my job was to write more. That year I published more than 150 blog posts. Here are my writing tips I learned along the way for anyone looking to build a bigger social following, which could mean a bigger email list, social media followers, or a stronger in-person network.
There is absolutely nothing worse than reading or writing content that doesn't take a stand on anything, doesn't provide any new insights, and is most likely content you've heard already. Most important, nobody wants to read this kind of writing, and nobody is going to share it.
When I started writing content about quitting your job, it immediately started to gain traction. There were people who loved what I was writing, and there were plenty of people who hated it. They thought I was wrong, and many of them even wrote me nasty messages. But that's precisely when I knew I was on to something. Of course, quitting your job isn't for everyone, but my opinion struck a chord, and everyone benefited from it.
Because I was opinionated, my content went viral often, especially on LinkedIn. My deeply held opinions resulted in my building an email list of more than 10,000 people in two months, and 30,000 LinkedIn followers. I couldn't recommend this tip enough. Be controversial and stand your ground, and you'll see an immediate response in social media growth. You'll gain some haters along the way, but that's also a sign you're doing it right.
When starting to write, quantity matters more than quality.
We've all heard that quality is better than quantity, but when it comes to building a community online, the amount you write helps quite a bit. The more messages that your followers see that resonate with them, the bigger your following will become.
Because I forced myself to write--and, yes, I told myself I couldn't leave the office before I finished a blog post--I became a better writer. I was more direct and funnier, and I started to learn through engagement what people liked to read.
The problem with focusing on quality first is that you often never finish writing an article because you're so worried about the quality of the content. You start second-guessing your content. You start rewriting sentences and paragraphs, and you end up never happy with it, so you don't publish it.
This habit of writing every day is also the reason I wrote a book, which was the catalyst for building my following. When I wrote a post called 'Fire Me I Beg You,' which was based on a story about how I wished a previous boss had fired me, it went viral. It amassed more than 50,000 views in 24 hours, and those numbers for me at the time were massive. I wrote the post in less than 30 minutes.
Because this post went viral, I had proof that I was on to something big. This article was actually the first piece of content I published that had to do with quitting, and it was obvious that I had hit a nerve. I would have never known to write more about this if it wasn't for my writing every single day.
Think of your initial blog posts as tests. You're testing the waters to see what people do and don't like.
Best of luck with your writing and social media community building, and always remember to be genuine and authentic with your writing. People will know if you're passionate about what you're writing or faking it.