3 Strategies I Used To Grow My Blog Quickly

3 Strategies I Used To Grow My Blog Quickly

Yo everyone, today’s post is a little special for me. 2016 has been a killer year for M$M so far. This little website has come a long way over the past year, and a lot of the hard work that I’ve put into the blogging game is starting to pay off (literally). Today I’m going to share some of my strategies for growth with you!

Let me explain – I was on the phone with a few executives (#humblebrag) from a LARGE life insurance company the other day. They are interested in doing a series of educational posts throughout the year on M$M and working together in a few other ways over the long term. At the end of the conference call I was asked: “Bobby, did you ever think you’d be doing something like this?

Heck no. Well…kinda. I did quit my job to run this thing, but it really hasn’t been a good source of income for me until now. There is no way I could have lived off of M$M without starting my digital marketing company when I left my band directing job.

So far this year M$M has brought in $5,725. Not too bad for 5 weeks and a blog that’s only one year old, right?

 

Here is the breakdown of where it is coming from:

Bluehost: $375 in January <– I LOVE this one. It’s basically passive income from a post I did on starting a blog. When people sign up through my site, I get paid and they get a kick@$$ hosting platform. Win-win for all. 🙂

Live tweeting event: $1,100 < — Happening on February 13th. I’m going to a new home community, taking a tour, and tweeting about it. Cool huh?

Sponsored posts: $4,250 <– Haven’t invoiced all of this yet, but it’s “under contract” and will be sprinkled in throughout the year.

Fidelity is also flying me out to Boston in March for some wining and dining (and mostly checking out their new investment products for Millennials). Not getting paid, but I’ll take the free trip and fancy food.

So…how? I’m sure you’re wondering. Here is an educational video on my strategy:

I apologize for subjecting you to my brand of dry, sarcastic humor. I’m starting to work on my YouTube game so I can expand later down the road. Also…playing a Uke terribly is kinda fun and I didn’t have anything better to do at the time. 🙂

3 Strategies I’ve used to grow M$M quickly:

1) Niche Specialization

When I first started out I wanted to save the entire world from making poor money choices! I still do, but I’ve really tried to focus on JUST Millennials lately. That sounds silly because the site is called Millennial Money Man, but my topics were pretty broad in the beginning and not really focused on my homies.

For you aspiring money makers out there in the blogging world, companies like it when you have a specific audience. Even if you don’t have a ton of traffic – if you can show that you have a QUALITY reader base that fits their target demographic you will get noticed.

Here’s the catch: Don’t EVER sell out for the Benjamin$! Write about things you believe in, and turn companies down if their product isn’t right/helpful for your audience. If you write passionately and about things you believe in, the exposure will come. I learned that one from J$ with Budgets Are Sexy. It’s always about your audience first, $$$ last.

2) Twitter

Every cool thing that has happened for M$M lately came from hustling on Twitter. Every. Single. One. Here’s how:

Buffer

I use Buffer to automatically tweet posts from the site every 30 minutes. It takes about 10 minutes to set up every morning but helps drive traffic and gets my name out there. Every 30 minutes might sound like a lot, but you have to remember that tweets have a short lifespan (less than an hour).

Follow people

I used a strategy that I call “targeted following” when I was getting started. I found vaguely popular Millennials and just started following about 1,000 of their followers per day. You’ll get 100 followers a pop out of it. It’s SLOW. It took me a long time to get to even 4,000 followers. I don’t really have to do it anymore, but I still do from time to time.

***UPDATE: Make sure that you don’t follow more than 1,000 people a day! Twitter will send you a warning if you do this, and may suspend your account if you go over 1,000 a few times in a short time period. I would recommend spreading out your following over the day and not do it too fast!***

@Reporters

Figure out who writes for the cool money sites that we all want to be mentioned on and periodically tweet your content to them. Don’t be weird about it or pushy…be as casual as you can be on Twitter. All you are trying to do is get your name on their radar. This is how I was interviewed by MarketWatch, Huffington Post, and International Business Times last year.

The biggest deal on Twitter or any social media is to be nice. Kindness is the currency of social media!!! Share people’s stuff, compliment their work, and just be a good dude/lady. Also – block people that piss you off. 🙂

***If you have any questions about Twitter/Social media, just ask in the comments or email me! I’m actually pretty decent at it.***

3) Guest Bloggers

This has been my favorite project so far. I have guest posters on the site every week. I’ve met a lot of really cool people and have learned a lot of great financial lessons from my guest posters!

Here’s why it works: They get exposure to my 13,000 **14,300 now** Twitter followers and my readership (and sometimes Rockstar Finance or other content curators), and when they share the articles their readers get introduced to M$M. It’s a mutually beneficial strategy that helps everyone grow. The BEST growth strategy in blogging is to be a part of a blogging community!

I still have a long way to go if I want to get this site to the level of some of my $$$ blogging heroes (Michelle from Making Sense of Cents, J$ from Budgets are Sexy, Sam from Financial Samurai, etc.), but for right now I’m trying to enjoy the small amount of success that I’m having. Also, I’m trying to have fun!

Just so you know, nothing in blogging is fast. Don’t expect to go viral or make money overnight. Here is a quote that I love from a random old guy that reminds me about running a blog:

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before. -Jacob Riis

Jacob_Riis_2_medium

Old (possibly dead) Guy.

What strategies are YOU using to grow your blog (or business….whatever) this year?

 

Want to start your own blog or switch to WordPress? See my how-to guide below:

How To Create A WordPress Blog With Bluehost

Live differently, your bank accounts will thank me later. -M$M

 

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47 comments… add one
  • Preston @TheDrunkMillionaire Feb 8, 2016, 11:34 am

    Congratulations on your success Bobby! Those are some impressive (and motivating) numbers so far for 2016. Great advice for me as I enter this blogging world. My focus on growing my blog currently is to crank out consistent, interesting content. I’m going to “borrow” your twitter strategy. 😉

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 8, 2016, 11:44 am

      Okay 1) Your blog name is awesome. I’ll check out your site ASAP!

      2) You should absolutely take my strategy!! Im dead serious when I say that it’s been one of the main factors of the small success I’ve had so far. Cranking out unique content is also key! Good luck 😀

  • Harmony @ CreatingMyKaleidoscope Feb 8, 2016, 12:38 pm

    Wow! This is really inspiring. I will take all of the advice that I can get on improving my own blog. Keep up the good work!

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 8, 2016, 12:53 pm

      Thanks! It’s been a slow process, but a lot of the tricks I’ve learned are from other bloggers. I’m making it a goal this year to share more about what I’ve been doing and reach out to other bloggers!

  • Ms. FireDink Feb 8, 2016, 11:44 am

    Thanks for posting this M$M! As a new blogger I’m not yet thinking about monetization but it’s in the back of my mind for the future. I bookmarked this post to reference later. I’m also going to try your Twitter trick of occasionally tweeting at publications I like that have related content. Cheers.

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 8, 2016, 12:04 pm

      No problem! I didn’t really try to monetize until I was about 6 months in. Even when I did it was a failed attempt at using Google ads that resulted in about $3 total. I didn’t see real monetization opportunities until the end of last year.

  • Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor Feb 8, 2016, 9:17 pm

    Great post; sorry I hadn’t seen this yet when I commented on your previous post! Anyway, I find this type of info very helpful as setting up the blog wasn’t too hard for me, but it is a lot of work to grow one. Love your strategy.

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 8, 2016, 9:39 pm

      All good! I was pretty hesitant sharing before this month because it feels weird to tell people how much money you are making with this stuff, but I want to help bloggers who are kinda new like me. I love reading other blogger’s income reports, but most of them are 5-10 years in and making 10’s of thousands a month!

  • Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies Feb 8, 2016, 9:48 pm

    The transparency here is great! I don’t know that I’ll ever try to monetize (maybe?! teaching kind of takes over my life – as you know), but I always really appreciate bloggers who are so genuine and real about it. Also, your following strategy? That’s totally my MO on Poshmark 😉 I may not monetize my blog, but I will clean out my closets. Ha!

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 8, 2016, 10:22 pm

      Thank you! I am basically a crazy person that quit a good teaching job to run a blog that wasn’t making any money, so I HAD to monetize. I also spend a lot of time doing this, so I figure I might as well make money! 🙂

      I had to look up Poshmark – that’s a cool way to make some cash!

  • Tommy @ LeisureFreak Feb 9, 2016, 12:22 pm

    Impressive growth and congrats to you. I have only in the last couple of months found that Twitter is a great tool to grow a site’s exposure. I appreciate your sharing how you have been able to accomplish so much in a short time. Once again, congrats.

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 9, 2016, 12:57 pm

      Thanks so much Tommy! Twitter has been HUGE for me. I think some PF bloggers take it for granted, but it’s such a great way to share content that doesn’t overwhelm people like it could on FB or LinkedIn. My next venture is to tackle Pinterest – it’s a great traffic driver.

  • Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless Feb 9, 2016, 1:25 pm

    Wahoo!!!! Congrats on your blogging successes thus far, and here’s to many more!! 🙂

  • Chad @ Our Dime Our Time Feb 9, 2016, 10:35 pm

    What a cool story you got brewing there, congrats! Some really neat things are starting to happen for you because of the hard work you’re putting in. Me? I still have a lot to learn, I nervously hit the live button on my first blog just the other day.

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 9, 2016, 10:57 pm

      Thanks! Blogging is weird – it’s tons of work for free before anything starts to happen. Congrats on your first post, I’ll be sure to check it out!

  • Veronica @ SecondHandMillionaires Feb 9, 2016, 11:13 pm

    Wow, this is the MOST HELPFUL ARTICLE I’ve read so far. I’m only 6 months blogging and trying to sift through the half-truths out there and read between the lines on posts about monetization is exhausting. THANK YOU for your honesty and straightforwardness-it’s refreshing to see! So many people are afraid to tell others how they make money from their blogs, and everything else I’ve seen out there is sufficiently vague. You do great work here, and I wish you luck 🙂
    PS-5k already is crazy awesome!!!

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 10, 2016, 6:17 am

      That’s awesome, I’m glad I could help! 5k is good, I’m hoping to make at least 20k from the blog this year!

  • Erin @Broke Millennial Feb 10, 2016, 8:42 am

    Congrats on the steady increase of traffic and cash flow!

    I count my money a bit differently and won’t actually account for income until the check is in my hands (or deposited via PayPal/the bank). I’ve had major companies scrap a project before the full amount is paid, but I do make sure that are clauses that give me at least a portion of the work + another percentage if they pull the plug.

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 10, 2016, 9:20 am

      That’s a great tip! I’ll definitely keep that in mind moving forward as I structure these contracts.

  • Leah Feb 12, 2016, 7:08 pm

    Congrats on your success! And like so many others, thanks for the Twitter advice! I am “Twitter-clueless” so it’s helpful!

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 12, 2016, 11:02 pm

      Thank you!! No problem, I used to be clueless on Twitter too, you’ll get there!

    • FI$ Guy Feb 13, 2016, 1:29 pm

      I’m with Leah – never thought about using Following as a strategy and going paparazzi on reporters 🙂 Thanks for the info!

      • Millennial Money Man Feb 14, 2016, 11:07 am

        Haha SUBTLE paparazzi! At the end of the day, those reporters like good content just as much as we do.

  • Mark Feb 14, 2016, 4:39 pm

    Following 1000 people a day on twitter is tough work! I’ll try and implement your suggestions and I appreciate the insight and honesty. There are so many “make money online” websites out there that sell thin air rather than actionable advice.

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 14, 2016, 7:07 pm

      Dude I’m not going to lie to you – it sucks and is very mind numbing. However…it works! 🙂 Glad I was able to help out a little!

  • Bobby Feb 16, 2016, 10:50 am

    From one Bobby to another – You are doing a great job. Thank you for sharing.

  • Bobby Feb 16, 2016, 11:54 am

    Bobby,

    What are your tips for me on ‘Niche Specialization’?

    I have written about 2 dozen posts in the last 3-4 months: topics have ranged from mortgage to IRS audit to credit score to refinancing to asset allocation to health care insurance (so on and so forth).

    How would you suggest I go about figuring my Niche? Currently I have 150 subscribers to my blog – about 10 of them are ‘friends from real life’ and about 10 of them are people who actually engage in discussion on the blog (and I have come to know them because of our multiple discussions).

    What are some examples of a niche? Do you know of any that have not been taken yet?

    Bobby

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 16, 2016, 12:41 pm

      I wouldn’t worry about trying to find something that isn’t taken yet. A good friend told me once: “There are no new ideas, just re-packaged ones”. From a quick look on your site it looks like posts you’ve done on retirement investing have done well. Maybe you focus on how to retire the traditional way (rather than a lot of the “retire early” blogs that are around now)? The biggest thing is – what do you like writing about? Usually my best posts are on things that I’m most passionate about.

      • Bobby Feb 16, 2016, 12:46 pm

        Appreciate your guidance.

        My problem is that I love many different things – I am from the industry so I love everything about money – and therefore I keep writing about different aspects of money.

        How does this strategy sound – Continue to do what I am doing…. and some day reader interest will automatically make me write more in one area as compared to another?

        • Millennial Money Man Feb 16, 2016, 12:54 pm

          Sounds like a great strategy. Check out what Sam at FinancialSamurai.com does if you haven’t already. He uses his past experience working in the financial industry to write really detailed posts with a lot of research. Kinda makes my stuff look like children’s writing haha

          • Bobby Feb 16, 2016, 2:59 pm

            Funny that you had to mention Sam – I have never interacted with him but it was his blog that inspired me to write mine. So much so that I was scared in the beginning that mine will look like his copy BUT thankfully that has not happened.

          • Bobby Feb 20, 2016, 10:50 am

            If you have a minute, please check my post today:

            http://onemoredime.com/2016/02/20/use-ira-accounts-rich-vs-poor/

            This is exactly what I meant by my problem is that I love many different things – I started to write about Ultra-rich but then drifted away to common man…And at the end I do not know how to ‘title’ the post lol

  • Michelle Feb 20, 2016, 6:42 am

    Congratulations on your success! And thanks for sharing these tips on how you got there. I need to start using Twitter more often!!

  • Aaron Apr 2, 2016, 2:41 pm

    Such a great post, and right when I needed the encouragement!

    Relatively new to this, my site has only been up for 3 months or so. I’ve had success guest posting, even managed to get published on a tier 1 site this week (which, on a side note, made my moz domain authority jump 10 points almost instantly!)

    Still, it’s definitely a grind. Traffic is sooooooo slow to build. Would love to see how your Twitter traffic converts. I’ve been using a similar strategy, but it seems like guest posting on other sites has sent me better, more active readers.

    Still I’ve managed to make about $6 so far =] thanks for sharing, I hope the money has been rolling in since you’ve posted this!

    • Millennial Money Man Apr 3, 2016, 11:55 am

      Things have been doing well! Traffic takes forever, and it’s a constant battle. I’ve found that sponsored ads on FB work really well, so I’m basically taking my bluehost revenue and using it to sponsor the ads. Twitter does great, but you have to be super active.

  • Ms. Montana May 25, 2016, 1:03 pm

    I finally gave in and signed up for twitter. When it comes to technology adaption, I fall into the “laggard” category! Even though I’m 33, I might as well be 70. =) But twitter was the 4th largest driver of traffic to my blog, and I wasn’t even there! So figured I better show up. =)

  • Kumiko May 26, 2016, 8:56 pm

    This is great advice. I only started really using Twitter about 3 months ago. Still trying to narrow on my niche – it’s challenging. Still feel kind of lost. I have been blogging for about 4 months and just had my first article published on Huffington Post Parents. What you recommend for someone who cant us affiliate ads? I am registered in the financial industry so FINRA said no click ads. This gives me a lot of hope! Thanks!

    • Millennial Money Man May 26, 2016, 9:17 pm

      Hey, glad you like the post! I’d follow a lot of popular couponers and budget bloggers (could be wrong but worth a shot right?). I wonder if you can do sponsored posts, or maybe paid surveys? Not sure if that falls under a click ad or not. You can also offer your writing services to appear on a company blog, or even manage blogs for other bloggers while they are on vacation! Michele Schroder at MakingSenseofCents.com has some GREAT tips for this!

  • Staci @Streamline365 Jul 20, 2016, 1:52 am

    Thanks for sharing this awesome info! Found this from Distilled Dollar-both of you guys rock! Always good to hear about the hard work that goes in and not just the “overnight” success stories. I’m borrowing your ideas!

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 20, 2016, 9:23 am

      Go for it! The mega-bloggers are all awesome, but sometimes it’s hard to relate to what they do because they are so much further along in their trajectory.

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