On Blogging: Growing Your Blog vs. Gaining A Following

Growing your blog and gaining a following, do you consider the two different?

I’ve been trying to determine the best way to go about this post for months now. I’ve started countless drafts trying to find a balanced way to explain what I find the difference between the two to be, and offer up some tips on achieving both. Because in my mind, these are two very different animals, and both something that’s okay to want to do.

When I think of growing my blog, I have a very specific vision in mind: branching off of my primary brand to create other products or services (ebooks, ecourses, the newsletter, consultations, ect.) I think of new opportunities, working with brands and other creatives to produce even more amazing and useful content, and of course having visitors consistently coming back to read that content. It happens pretty organically in my mind -by connecting with other bloggers who also promote your content, self-promoting yourself with pride, working hard and creating killer content that readers love.

The keyword up there is: organic.

Readers and other creatives come to your space because they’ve connected with you, and with your content. They heard from a friend that your posts were helpful, stopped by to see for themselves and then added you to their reader so they wouldn’t miss a beat.

A different vision comes to mind when I think about gaining a following. I think of large sponsored giveaways where readers follow bloggers to gain entries for a prize. It goes beyond trying to increase your brand value and really focuses on gaining numbers on social and in blog traffic.

If I had to pull a keyword from this, it would be: sponsored.

The importance and effects of each method differs according to how you define blogging success, and both are a little necessary if you ask me. Everything can’t always come from organic growth, but similarly, not everything should come from concentrated inorganic efforts. Balance is key.

Since launching E&M, I’ve been focusing heavily on organic growth, and I’ve seen amazing results. I decided to channel my efforts this way mainly because it felt right, but also because this brand feels so authentic, I knew the only way I wanted my content to spread was in the most authentic way possible. Still, I’d never deny that paying for sponsorships or advertising isn’t an amazing way to get a huge peak in your blog’s growth –it’s keeping those growth spurts occurring which can be tricky.

Building relationships with other creatives, coming up with consistent and creative content and preparing your blog to reach new levels will all help your blog and brand grow. The better the work you produce, the faster this growth will happen. Reach out to other bloggers, take risks with your content and try new things.

If you do decide to add in other means of gaining a following, like hosting a giveaway or buying ad space to be featured on other blogs, remember to always be authentic, strive for balance and do everything in moderation. Joining a giveaway a week where participants have to follow you on various platforms can get exhausting, and eventually, your blog will be known as “a giveaway blog,” where people just stop by for the chance at a prize, not to connect with you and your content.

Do you focus more on growing your blog, or gaining a following? 

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  1. Organic growth is SO important to building blog and its following. I’ve found that I much rather have a few meaningful comments on posts than having 20 people tell me “great post!” While comments and shares are great, it means a lot more when people take the time to write a meaningful comment and even share some of their personal feedback/experiences.

    Although I’d love to have a zillion followers on my blog, it comes down to who’s reading your blog and how they value your content. While I might only have 50 or 100 views on my blog each day, I know that the people who do visit value what I have to say. I think this is what’s most important about growing your audience and building relationships.

    Thanks for sharing another insightful post! Your blog is such a great resource!

    • 100% agree. I’ve never done a giveaway or anything as such. But the comments I see are from bloggers like me, with the same tastes and ideas and it feels genuine!

  2. That’s an excellent point! I’ve never really thought about it that way but it makes a lot of sense. The two are completely separate and require different strategies. Thanks for the new perspective!

  3. P.S. I didn’t realize it was you Amber! I just thought to myself that Ember & March has the same look and feel as And Yes to Joy. Makes sense now! lol

  4. Hi Amber! I totally agree with everything you said in this post! I think it’s so important to organically grow your brand. But I also believe it is important to grow through paid channels. However, you have to be picky. For me, organic growth is so important. So what I choose to pay for whether it be ad space or participating in a giveaway, I try to make sure that the brand I’m sponsoring is one that I believe in. I want more organic growth than paid/inorganic growth so my hope is that everything balances out this way.

  5. This is so interesting. I guess because I often ask what does ‘success’ look like to me? If my blog were to grow, what would that look like? I was always stumped with those questions.

    For me, growing my blog is synonymous with a growth in followers but not in the way you described. It would mean having a connection and that ‘community feel’, in that, I would have like minded people reading it. I never associate a larger following with giveaways, because to me that’s something I find rather irksome, especially when it’s continuous thing. In a nutshell, blog growth, among other things, is about genuine followers. As you said, organic growth is everything and it’s a big deal.

    I stumbled on your blog quite by accident but I’ve really enjoyed the little I’ve read. Thank you for writing something that has finally helped me to start answering the questions I was struggling with.

  6. I am so happy that you made a point to share about not being a part of giveaways too often. There is one blogger in particular who comes to mind that literally does a give away probably at least every two weeks, and you’re right. I don’t care about her content, when I went to her blog it was just to try to get what she was giving.

    I think that directly relates to what you want to get out of blogging. I think it’s obvious that people who are in it to gain relationships and build connections are more for organic growth while those who want money or free things go the sponsored route.

  7. This is a good topic to talk about, and althoug it always puts a smile on my face when I see someone new has followed my blog I am, right now and in this state of my blog, more focused on organic growth, on creating a comunity in my blog, on producing more and better content, and on interacting with other bloggers. I prefer less coments with better quality, coments that allow me to interact with those persons, and that create a conversation, coments with meaning and with a reason. And since what you give if what you receive, I’m trying that all my coments have a meaning, and are something more than a simple ‘great post!’, xx

    http://herplaceattheuniverse.blogspot.com

  8. This is SO brilliant. I’ve been blogging for not very long but have really invested my heart in it. Not long after I committed to writing helpful and encouraging content from the heart, I realized how much of successful blogging is often chalked up to successful promotion, and specifically, money. At first this was discouraging because I wanted to believe that content is followed and loved for its quality, not for the little bells and whistles on the side. Thank you so much for writing this! It is so encouraging to read about balance, and know that I can strive for that instead of just one or the other. 🙂

  9. Hello Amber! I am questioning about this topic from a while, since I run my own blog and trying to figure out wich is the best way to have a truly and interested reader. I spent a lot of time on different kind of blogs and it tooks me not too long to realize in which ‘category’ I wanted to put mine. I noticed that all of them they had deep consistency and a high standard quality in contents and presentation. Maybe it’s hard and it takes more effort in building something like this but I think the result it’s worth it!

  10. Love this post! I’m finding it quite hard not to be disheartened by the slow growth of my blog but I need to remember why I started it in the first place – because I love writing.

    Ella x

  11. This is a great post. I’ve been blogging for a few years, and growth has never really been a motivator for me – I just like blogging! That makes it even more special when people do follow my posts, though. Loving your blog!

  12. Such a great topic! Love the distinction you’ve made here Amber and while I think both are relevant I believe that organic growth is inextricably linked to building an authentic brand – for yourself and your blog. I also think you made a good point about choosing to invest your time on the organic side which makes sense if your plan is to create your own digital products. But on the other end of the spectrum, for blogs whose main focus is on page views where their main revenue source is advertising, it makes sense for them to focus more on fast growth through giveaways etc. Love your blog! xx

  13. This is great advice. I recently discovered your blog and you are a true inspiration. At times its easy to get discouraged about the growth of a new blog while comparing it to more seasoned and successful ones, thank you for the encouragement!

  14. I have started a blog, http://www.thesinglemomscene.com, check it out, it is meant to inspire and bring joy to those like me that have found themselves a newly single parent. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it 🙂

  15. Thanks for this insightful post. I appreciate the difference you’ve described. I think I’ll follow the organic path for now, since it’s more in line with my values and feels authentic.

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