Want To Get More Eyes on Your Content, Product, or Service? Here are 8 Steps You Can Take to Start Right Now: Part 1
A year ago, I did hundreds of hours of interviews with holistic wellness practitioners. Yes, talking to psychics and energy healers about their businesses was about as fun as you’re imagining. (OMG, ’twas the summer of long-distance Reiki healing sessions — everyone was blasting me with that life-force energy)
The interviews weren’t just your run of the mill magazine article fodder. No, I was interviewing potential clients about what they needed in a technical product. You see, I was building software to help them run their businesses, but I needed to know what their pain points were first. Y’all, this is how the sausage gets made — after the genius idea comes hours of … work.
Anyway, there were an array of complaints, but the pain point that always came up? It was tough to find new clients.
At the time, I wasn’t interested in building software that helped people get more clients — what I really wanted was to help practitioners manage the clients they already had, the idea being that if we could do that, then they wouldn’t need new clients all the time. (Spoiler: We built the software and it’s VERY cool)
But since that time, I’ve heard more than just practitioners bemoan their ability to grow an audience, get more customers, or book more clients. A year ago, I would have told you that I wasn’t quite sure how to replicate Holisticism’s success — that maybe, I just got lucky.
We grew from 0 people to 45,000 people in the Holisticism community in less than two years, without spending a dime on marketing. I’m not a famous person, or influential, or particularly Instagrammable. I had zero budget to work with because I bootstrapped the business on paychecks I’d saved from consulting with startups, and paying my rent was more important than getting beautiful photos taken or hiring a professional designer.
I realize now, though, after a little more consideration and a lot more education, that I actually can give advice on how to grow your audience, whether you’re a holistic practitioner or a fresh-out-the-womb blogger. That’s definitely totally not a phrase, but let’s just run with it because you get what I’m saying, right?
In this article, I’ll give you the first four steps — practical and mystical — to boosting your traffic and getting more eyes on what you do. Next week, I’ll bring you part two.
Ignore Everyone Else In Your Field
OK, time to put your blinders on.
Seriously, though, don’t pay attention to anyone else doing anything remotely like what you’re trying to do. It takes energy to look back and see people in your line of sight. Whether you view them as competition or as contemporaries, I think it’s tough to stay authentic to yourself when you’ve got the words and thoughts of others floating around in your brain.
Also, it’s a massive waste of time to tool through other people’s stuff. Because first, you have to read it all, or listen to it all, or watch it all, or whatever. Then, you’re inevitably going to land on some conclusion about it: “They’re so much better than me,” or “Wow, they can’t write for shit,” or “Uhm … is that person copying me?” Worst of all? “OMG … am I copying THEM??”
First, I would recommend working toward just being happy for other people. Especially if you’re working toward the same goal. Like, oh man, you want to make wellness as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, too? Dope. That’s great. Because there are a MILLION ways to do that. And if I’m working on it and you’re working on it, then we’re probably going to achieve that common goal much more quickly.
Retrain your brain to view competitors as contemporaries (just like artists do) and send them good energy. I say a little incantation whenever I think about the people who make my ego nervous:
I pray XYZ person is happy, healthy, and thriving. I pray their bank account is full, they have loving people surrounding them, and they are healing their own traumas so they can make the best choices to support their highest good and the highest good of everyone around them.
And then, stay in your own lane by forging your own path. You don’t need to look to your right or to your left. You don’t need to judge your own pace by checking in on someone else’s. THEY ARE RUNNING THEIR OWN RACE. It is a totally different race than your race. And thank god for that.
I promise, the more you keep your head down and focus in on your own internal compass, the easier it will be to make decisions that are authentically aligned with your work on this planet. Getting out of the comparison trap feels amazing and frees up the wellspring of inspiration that lives inside of you. No one can channel that unique superpower you have in the same way as you. No one has lived in your body or brain and alchemized all the experiences that brought them to this moment in the same way as you. Your soulfulness cannot be duplicated.
Plus, ignoring the people who are adjacent to you means that you are FAR less likely to accidentally “borrow” their ideas or intellectual property. It happens to the best of us — we’re thinking of the inspirational people that we look up to as we create, and then we accidentally make something that sounds a little too much like something our role models would craft. If this happens, own your shit by citing your references (i.e., “I saw this in XYZ blog last week, and I loved it, so I’m expanding on this line of thinking …) and then just don’t do it again. Pretty simple.
Elizabeth Gilbert has an excellent chapter on duplication and plagiarism in “Big Magic,” which I suggest you read if you are ever in need of a pep talk and a laugh.
Consistently Show Up
I cannot tell you how many people have tried to knock off the Holisticism newsletter in the last two years. And then, how many people tried to copy the technical product we built. At this point, it doesn’t bother me much.
Want to know why? Because showing up consistently, every week, every day, for years, is hard. But it’s the only way to grow something you care about. Whether you’re studying to become an herbalist or you’re mastering Tarot, or you’re trying to become the next Goop, you have to be viciously persistent in showing up.
Almost every person you see shoot to fame as an “overnight success” has had years of hard work in their past that got them there. I haven’t spent two years building Holisticism — I’ve spent 11 years working hard to gather the information (degrees, certifications, etc.) and expertise (real-world skills) I needed to build Holisticism.
So, where are you going to put in your work? (Btw hard work can also be really fun if you like what you’re doing, but we’ll get there.)
Create Regular Content
Logistically, showing up means that if you are creating content — blog, podcast, newsletter, Medium post, Instagram channel, YouTube series, etc. — you must do it on a consistent regular schedule. Start with once a week. Stick to it religiously. Make it the only deadline you take seriously. Stay up all night if you need to. Treat it like life or death. Seriously, give yourself some real stakes here. Don’t go easy on yourself. I want you to be gentle on yourself in every other aspect of your life BUT this deadline. Be intense about it.
And get comfortable with the fact that you will make bad things to stick to this deadline. Lots of the things you make, actually, will be hot garbage. But listen, my guy, you can delete them off the internet later when you’re a big hotshot. But right now, just make stuff and don’t be embarrassed. What you’re making for the world outweighs your vanity, and it’s borderline selfish for you to keep it from getting out just because you’re a little worried it’s not perfect.
If you’re a service provider, showing up might look a little differently than it would for a content creator, but I would also recommend taking a similar approach and making content that highlights the value of the service that you provide your clients.
For example, if you’re a health coach, you could write a short weekly newsletter to clients and leads that explains all the new scientific research that’s published every week on nutrition and how to navigate it. (I’d read the shit out of that tbh ... Someone, please steal that idea) Then, EVERY WEEK include a call to action that encourages people to work with you.
Here’s how I’d recommend consistently showing up:
Put yourself on a regular schedule and commit to it using an Editorial Calendar (I use Notion to make this, but you could use a Google Sheet if you wanted). An editorial calendar will force you to plan in advance and help you get a bird’s eye view of the content strategy you’re creating. Instead of scrambling to think of content every week, you’ll have a roadmap toward success.
Pick two mediums to make content on every week. This could be email and Facebook, Instagram and email, a podcast and Pinterest — just pick whichever two you’re going to publish on regularly because that’s really all that matters. And if two mediums feels overwhelming then just pick one and be amazing at it. But like, also definitely choose email as one of your two, especially if you’re selling a service :)
There are so many more ways to optimize your reach once you’re making content consistently. For example, SEO (search engine optimization) works best once you’ve got a library of content to optimize. Don’t worry about that too much when you’re getting started. Just make stuff.
Hex Your Competitors
HA just kidding! I would never. Black magic ain’t my thing. Onward!
Make Stuff You Actually Want to Make
“Just make stuff!” she said. “It’ll be fun!” she said …
OK, I know what happened. You read this article a little while back, it inspired you to start showing up, and you bookmarked it (thank you!) to return to later. And now you’re rereading it, a few months into making the stuff, and you’re secretly pissed at me because this consistency shit is tough titties.
I hear you. And I’m not going to say I told you so … but I will say that if you really hate making content to get more eyes on your business, a project, or community, then you’re either in the wrong medium or focusing on the wrong topic. If you’re trying to grow a “thing,” you have some reason for doing so — you have genuine passion and enthusiasm for the message you’re trying to spread or goal you’re trying to achieve. It lights you up.
You need to pick a medium and a topic of conversation that makes you feel the same way and supports the growth of your business. If you don’t, it’s prettttttty obvious — and your content just won’t move people.
It’s Easy To Be Prolific When You’re Passionate
Take Holisticism, for example. I love wellness and well-being. I love writing about these two topics, and, in fact, some would say I’m good at it. My last full-time role before Holisticism was as Global Editorial Director for a wellness website. I hated it. On paper, it was everything I wanted to do. But the readers expected from the site I worked for were stories with click-bait headlines about toned abs and bikini bodies.
It made me feel gross. I spent all day making written, social, and email content that wasn’t in alignment with what lit me up. It was very challenging to churn out stories daily, and if I weren’t up against deadlines from partners, I probably wouldn’t have finished half the stories I wrote.
But when I started writing about wellness from the Holisticism perspective — chatting mysticism and esotericism with green smoothies and addressing socio-political topics in the same breath — it was easy to make prolific amounts of content.
Lately, I’ve noticed that I love sharing content about how to grow a business, mostly because I’ve gained so much experience in the past few years, and I want to help others grow! I wish I’d found a blog or writer out there putting out content like this article when I first got started.
Bottom line, you need to make content, so pick things that you want to talk about! Easier said than done, right? I made you a download to help you figure out what to start writing about because lordt have I been there before!
Click below to download 20 practical and mystical easy ways to figure out what you want to create.
Make Stuff That People Actually Want to Read or Share
The first step is making things at a prolific level. But the second step is more critical — start listening.
Your content is nothing without an audience. Your readers pick up what you’re throwing down if its:
Valuable content is something that teaches your audience something new. It usually has actionable steps or takeaways that the readers can follow to improve their lives. An article that shows small business owners how to SEO optimize their blog sites to get more users in four steps? That’s valuable … but probably not entertaining. This type of content is fantastic for businesses, service providers, or people selling products because it establishes you as an expert. It also gives your readers or future clients a quick win. It’s gracious and generous to regularly give away your hard-earned knowledge through creating free content, and it’s crucial for establishing trust between you and your audience. At the end of the day, we’re here to serve, and that’s precisely what your content should do: Serve your users.
Entertaining content? C’mon, that’s most of the internet. It’s the clickbait, the gossip, the art, the musings. Reddit! Entertaining content sucks you in, for better or worse. This type of content works well to promote individuals, like influencers or personalities. It’s harder to sell a product directly from entertaining content, but if it gets people to like and follow your brand, then that’s worth it.
The beverage company Recess has a pretty bizarre, amazing Instagram account that mentions pretty much nothing about selling their product but has made them one of my favorite brands in the oversaturated CBD drink market. V entertaining!
If your audience doesn’t find you content valuable or entertaining, then they’re probably not going to come back. You can tell if your content is resonating in a few ways:
Notice what is going well. Is your email list growing? Are you adding new followers at a steady quip? Are people writing you emails thanking you for what you’re writing? Those are good signs to keep doing what you’re doing, even if it feels like slow going.
Client interviews. OK, this might be mortifying to you, but you have to do it. Ask for feedback. Send your stuff around to your friends and tell them to be brutally honest about what they think. Hire an editor on Fiverr (this truly costs like, $10 and is worth every penny) and have them critique your latest story. Shout out on Instagram that you want to do 10-minute phone calls with anyone in your community to get some feedback on how to make what you’re building even better. You will learn so much by getting out from behind your screen and finally getting in front of your future fans.
Look at the analytics. This might be my Mercury Aquarius talking, but I could seriously spend the entire day looking at analytics, and I’d be a happy woman. Talking to fans is qualitative feedback; looking at numbers is quantitative feedback. Start tracking the numbers that you care about the most (these are called our KPIs, or key performance indicators) every week. If you have a blog, obviously look at traffic numbers on Google Analytics, but maybe you can also try to improve time on page because that means people are spending more time reading your stuff. On IG, perhaps you keep track of how many clicks come through each story you share. Find what you care about and track it for at least 90 days.
OK! So those four nuggets? That’s a pretty good place to get started. Next week, I’ll teach you the last four steps in getting new eyes on what you’re making. Want instant access? Subscribe to the Holisticism newsletter in the box below to get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox.