In June I wound down all my marketing client work so I could focus on monetizing my own content. Since then I’ve been paying close attention to my audience metrics across a variety of platforms (here are my summaries of those metrics for July and June).
From a productivity perspective, this past month was frustrating for me. I went on a scheduled trip to California and then immediately departed that state to attend a funeral in Texas. While I squeezed in a little bit of work here and there, I basically went two weeks at severely reduced capacity. And when you’re a one-man publishing operation, two weeks is an eternity to forgo publishing new content.
Views on my longform articles and blog posts
There were some bright spots, however. Two of the articles I published this month generated over 10,000 views, and a third got over 2,000, which is pretty good for an independent journalist who publishes niche content that has nothing to do with Trump. Overall my longer form content (1,000+ words) generated 35,142 views this month, up significantly from my 5,738 article views last month. It’s hard to say where I need to get to in terms of audience reach since traffic doesn’t directly impact my business model, but I would like to reach a point where I’m seeing 80,000 views across all my longform articles each month.
I grew my email and social media subscriber base by 4,463, which is down from the 4,710 added subscribers in July. All together, I have 48,034 subscribers across social media and email. Most encouragingly, I finally saw some real growth in my email subscriber list after some disappointing numbers in June and July. Given that email subscribers are much more loyal and engaged than social media subscribers, I need to make significant headway on growing this list if I want to see long term success.
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Total impressions across all channels
Combined impressions across all my articles, social media accounts, and email newsletter were also down. Last month, my posts generated 419,335 impressions/views, and this month they fell to 334,601. This might seem like a huge drop-off, but all it takes is a few viral tweets (or the lack thereof) to cause this number to wildly fluctuate month to month. Obviously, a social media impression is much less impactful from a branding perspective compared to someone reading a 1,500+ word article or an email newsletter, so while I do attach some importance to this number, it’s probably my least important metric overall.
Takeaways from this month
I think one thing that’s been reinforced for me these first few months is that content promotion and monetization truly is a long game. Back when I was still doing content marketing for brand clients, I always cited research that showed it takes six to 12 months of consistent content production before you start seeing meaningful results on the monetization side, but though I referred to that research often, I’m now having to constantly remind myself that it applies to my own content as well. I’ve been creating online content since all the way back in 2003, and while I’ve had plenty of success in getting that content to spread, my production has been inconsistent, as I’ve always maintained my content creation on the side while I made my living doing other things. When you go months in between creating new articles, it’s difficult to build a loyal audience base.
This is the first time I’ve been able to focus 100% of my time on my own content production, and I’ve only been going about it for three months. It’s going to take time for people to discover that content, consume it, and then convert into subscribers. Virtually no internet creators were able to form an entire career based on one viral video or article. It takes consistency and time. That’s something I need to remember as I build a business around my writing.
That’s all for this month. See you in October.