A few months ago, I told you how I established an online presence before I went online. Today, I’m letting you know the initial steps I took to start building an audience once I launched the Family Therapy Basics website.
1 | I launched my blog with a round-up post
A round-up post is a blog post in which you feature people in your niche that you admire, or that epitomize your blog post topic. Some people launch their blogs with hefty round-up posts, featuring 50-100 people. I kept it simple. I featured eight therapists who were following their sense of purpose to establish a personal brand, because this is the heart of my expertise: I help therapists blend their purpose and creativity with their work.
On launch day, I e-mailed each featured therapist individually and included the link to the blog post. In this way, I established a personal connection with each therapist, and as a result, they all shared the post on their social media profiles.
2 | I blogged weekly and added a content upgrade to every post
Because I wanted to build a targeted audience of people who wanted to hear from me on a regular basis, I made sure to build an e-mail list from the beginning. I added a download to every blog post that was related to the content in the post--a summary, checklist, guide, etc., in order to continue growing my list. These downloads are commonly referred to as content upgrades. I invited readers to sign up for my e-mail list in exchange for the download, and my list began to grow.
3 | I started a FB group
I longed for a community for and by therapists, where we (therapists) could learn from one another as well as offer support and encouragement. These types of communities are rare, so I decided to start building this type of community as a Facebook group. I featured the Facebook group prominently on the Family Therapy Basics website, as well as in my weekly e-mails. I later decided to take this community idea and develop an online membership community.
4 | I offered a free newsletter
I comitted to write a weekly newsletter with thoughts and ideas that were not published elsewhere. In this newsletter, I share personal development and growth tips that come directly from my journey, as well as lessons I’m currently learning about living well, balancing life and work, and growing a business. My subscribers get this content weekly.
5 | I focused on growing only two social media platforms
While I interacted on a variety of platforms (too many to be honest!), I focused on growing only two platforms: Instagram and Pinterest.
I had heard that Pinterest was a powerful platform for gaining targeted readers, and I was intrigued. As a cook and baker, I loved Pinterest. My Healthy Eating board had a bazillion followers! But, I had no idea how to begin using Pinterest for business.
To get started, I optimized my profile by changing my description and picture, I made all my personal boards secret. and I created boards that featured content for therapists (my niche). Then, I came across Melyssa Griffin's free seven-day Pinterest challenge. Melyssa's challenge centered basic steps that I had already taken; however, it inspired me to be active on Pinterest, and it also gave me the idea (via her profile) to start a free resource library.
Remember those content upgrades I was creating for every post (back in step 2)? Well, rather than attaching them to each post, I began storing them in a resource library. At then end of each post, I announced the upgrade, and mentioned it would be available in the library. I also promoted (and still promote) the library in the top announcement bar on the Family Therapy Basics site. The resource library simplified my download process and gave interested readers access to all content upgrades in one place. Since I created the library, it has been the number one way readers choose to subscribe to my e-mail list.
6 | I was consistent
I keep a consistent schedule for my main content: I publish a blog post and library resource every Tuesday, I send out News + Notes (the Family Therapy Basics newsletter) every Thursday, I interact in the Facebook group and on social media daily. My goal is to provide value to my audience and learn about my readers in order to be helpful in their specific circumstance. I also like to connect with colleagues to see what they're working on, so that we can inspire one another and collaborate. I can only accomplish this by being active and interactive.
If you're considering starting a blog, or an online business, you don't have to start with a weekly blog post, a Facebook group, and a newsletter. I did, because I wanted to build a community and offer different types (and levels) of content. However, you can start with one thing. What matters most is that you are consistent with that one thing. Keep a schedule, and be predictable for your audience. This establishes your credibility and shows your readers that they matter to you.
Let me know in the comments below:
- What is one question you have about building an audience?
I've put together a "How to Establish an Online Presence and Build an Audience" cheat sheet with steps to help you get started. Find it, along with a ton of other resources, in the free library for psychotherapists. Sign up here: