Two months ago I wound down all my client work so I could focus solely on monetizing my own content. Since this pivot, I’ve published lots of longform articles, launched a semi-regular vlog, and debuted a paid subscription model. I also raced in my second triathlon.
With another month behind me, I thought it’s a good time to pause and take stock of how I’m doing from an audience growth perspective. July was kind of an anomaly for me in that I didn’t really have much time to work on my longform journalism. I took almost the entire first week off to travel to Texas for the Fourth of July. I also spent a pretty sizable chunk of the month readying and launching the aforementioned paid subscription model. All this is to say that I saw an expected dip in many of my audience development metrics compared to last month. With all that being said, let’s jump into the numbers:
Views on my longform articles and blog posts
This is where I really saw my dip in productivity in that I just didn’t have as much time to work on my longform journalism, and of the three articles I did write, two were for paying subscribers. So over the course of the entire month, my blog posts and articles across my website, Medium, and LinkedIn saw only 5,738 views, down from 14,575 last month.
I saw some strong growth in subscribers across my social media accounts and email newsletter, adding 4,710 new subscribers in the month of July and bringing me to a total of 43,593 subscribers. However, much of that growth was from LinkedIn and Medium, while subscriber growth on my Twitter account and email newsletter was anemic. It certainly didn’t help things that I just didn’t publish much free longform content in July; it’s usually when an article of mine takes off that I see the most growth, especially on the email newsletter.
I think with my Twitter account I’ve reached a maturation point where I continue to add new subscribers but that growth is being offset by people unsubscribing, either because they’re not interested in following me anymore or because they’re bots that Twitter is disabling. Because of this, I need to start adding followers at a much faster rate. And it needs to be organic, of course (none of that mutual follow bullshit).
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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 937,881 impressions, and this month it fell to 419,335. Still not bad in terms of getting my brand and name in front of industry readers, but I of course want the trend line going up.
Learnings from this month
I have to be honest; this month was a real eye opener for me about how vigilant I’ll need to be about setting aside time to work on my content if I want to make this work. When I started out in the beginning of June I assumed I’d have all the time in the world to pursue multiple projects while also producing high quality content. But between the week-long Texas trip, launching the paid subscription model, and several other unexpected life events, I just had nowhere near the level of productivity I was gunning for.
To deal with this, I’m taking a number of measures. First, I wound down my weekly podcast recommendation newsletter. I was proud of our accomplishments for the newsletter but it took a significant amount of time to produce each week and wasn’t really contributing to my main content strategy. I also decided I need to be more judicious about policing my time and saying no to engagements. It’s not that I always have to work late into every night and on weekends, but I can’t expect to meet my audience and revenue goals if I simply settle for your standard 9–5 work day.
Well, that’s all I have for this month. Now back to producing journalism.