There is something magical that Gwen Austin with Entrepreneur Women Unified creates. A following. A following of women so dedicated to helping each other succeed. Women that are dedicated to uplifting themselves and the women around them. Creating change in the world by living their passions and reminding those around them that they can also live their passions.
As we watch these women like Gwen create these empowered groups, we may wonder how we can do that. What is it that they have that I don’t? The truth is……
You have everything that she has. You just haven’t figured it out yet. I am here to tell you that there is a way to create that connection with people. Specifically with your ideal people. At the end of the day, you don’t just want to be surrounded by people who are just numbers of followers. You want a dedicated group that is willing to support you, lift you up, and make you feel less alone than before they were in your life.
CREATING A LOYAL FOLLOWING
I didn’t know that back in 2014, that is what I was doing. I was putting words to paper (or the internet) that needed to come out before my seams cracked. I have always had a way with words even though it is still hard for me to admit that. Giving myself praise is something that I am working on. (Helps to be surrounded by women who NEVER stop giving praise.)
I was a nobody. I was new to a city in a province that I had just moved to. I had 0 friends and was living even further away from my family than before. I had nothing to lose. I was at a point in my life when I needed to do something drastic to change the trajectory of the direction I was heading. Who knew that drastic something would be blogging?
I didn’t know anything about blogging. I didn’t know about SEO, keywords, and niches. I just knew that I could write and that is where I began. I wrote my story. My darkest secret. A secret that kept me chained to the dark side for years.
I began getting messages thanking me for sharing my story. I had women reading what I wrote and going out of their way to show me that I was changing the world. I was changing my world and their world just through sharing my words. I had created a connection with women that I had never met before just using my words and sharing my story.
TIPS TO BEGIN CREATING YOUR OWN FOLLOWING THROUGH BLOGGING
- JUST START. This is always the hardest part. We allow overthinking, fear, and not knowing to stop us. You don’t need to be an expert to just start. I didn’t know anything about blogging at first. All I knew was it was putting words on a website. Everything else came after that. There are going to be people that judge you either way. By starting you are not allowing fear to win. You are stepping into your power as a storyteller, as a woman, as a blogger.
- BE HONEST. Your people want to truly know you. They want to know your pain and weaknesses. They want to know your happiness and strengths. The more you show people, the more loyal they will be. This doesn’t mean that you need to tell them every little piece about you all at once or even ever. It means to share what you are comfortable with. Only you will know that.
- LEARN TO BE COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE. True growth comes from the moments when we are out of our element. Whether that means learning something new or sharing a piece of us we never have before. Being uncomfortable means that we are expanding who we are in the present moment. It is exciting, scary, and sometimes messy. Embrace it all.
- YOU DON’T NEED TO BE AN EXPERT WRITER TO BE A BLOGGER. You just need to be yourself. There are tools to help you with the other aspects of writing. Show the world who you are. We all start out a beginner. Start where you are and learn from there. You can’t be an expert if you don’t even begin.
- WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT. There is always room for you, no matter what your passions are. By sharing what you are passionate about, your blog will shine. Your readers and followers will know when you love what you are writing about versus when you are faking it. Be authentic. When you are true to yourself, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses will show your readers that you want to help them.
- DON’T JUST SHOW THE HIGHLIGHTS. To create a connection to those who are following you, you must show them the tough parts. The parts of your story where you struggle and you may not know the answers. Your readers can’t connect to you when all they see is the perfection that they show them. Social media is about being social. It is about being honest with your life and showing them that you aren’t perfect.
- ENGAGE WITH YOUR READERS. Your readers are on your site, reading your posts for a reason. They want to be there. Engage with them. When someone comments, take the time to respond to them in a meaningful way. Your readers want to feel heard and seen. They want you to know that they are there. We all want to feel special and loved.
- EMBRACE THE READERS YOU CURRENTLY HAVE. I think we get caught up in trying to grow and expand that we lose sight of where we currently are. Nurture the following that you already have. Remind them often that you are grateful for them being a part of your story, your journey. When you make one person feel special, you change that person’s world. You don’t need to have a huge following to make a HUGE impact. Begin where you are.
- ASK FOR HELP. A 4 letter word that can cause us to feel inferior, stupid, and weak but has the power to open up lines of communication like no other word. By asking your readers for help, you are opening up a dialogue, a true conversation that has the capabilities to change the outlook of someone. When we ask for help, we allow those who have been where we are to open up and share what worked for them. Allow them to share their voice, their story, their advice on your blog. Allow your readers to read and listen to another point of view that you can’t give them. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it lifts up those around you to step in when you need it most. It empowers. It changes lives. It becomes a part of your life.
Blogging is scary. Sharing your story is scary. But allowing that fear to win is the biggest regret that you will have. Fear and the unknown are temporary and will pass. Don’t let that stop you. Starting your blog means healing yourself. It means healing those around you. You have a following that you don’t even know about.
Remember that it isn’t the ones that are commenting and interacting with you that need you the most. It is the readers that you don’t even realize you have. The ones that are sitting silently in the corner, soaking up everything that you have to say. You are helping them to build THEIR strength to share THEIR story someday.
Samantha Laycock is a blogging coach for women and a freelance blogger for female entrepreneurs in the self-care industry. She is a HUGE self-care and self-love advocate, sexual assault survivor, mother of 3, a wife of 14 years, and a believer in the power of sharing your story. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook as @samanthalaycockblogging and on Pinterest as @samanthalaycockblogger