How I Bypass Algorithms To Get Eyeballs On My Content As A Small Creator

by Denise Renee  - April 5, 2024

The algorithm hates you!!

(No it doesn’t, I just said that to be dramatic!🤣)

But when you are a new content creator, are just starting to market your business by posting to social media more consistently, or (like me) have taken long breaks to rebrand…

it sure can feel that way! 

In reality, when we’re new, the social media algorithms don’t have enough data about us and our content. It takes time to figure out the categories we fit in, how well people are responding to what we post, and who to recommend our new posts to when we publish them. 

So if you’re wondering how to get eyeballs on your content and enough people to engage with it so that the algorithms begin to know, like, and recommend you, this post is for you. 

I’m sharing exactly what I do to give my content a well-deserved push while the algorithms lollygag to catch up to me. 

But first, story time! 😁

This is a condensed version of the long road of hard knocks I endured to learn these doable steps and why you should consider paying attention to my advice. 

HERO ENVY

Before “girl power” became the catchphrase of the 90’s, I was baptized into the doctrine almost 2 decades earlier. 

I am the typical Gen Xer who grew up watching a boatload of TV. The shows I loved watching when I was five years old in 1978 had strong female leads who did everything better than the boys… and even beat them up sometimes!

I just knew I would be The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, and all three girls from Charlie’s Angels, rolled into one when I grew up!

Naturally, I had to dress up like these fierce ladies and act out my favorite scenes. 

To my impressionable eyes, it seemed like the prerequisite for being a kick-ass, crime-fighting boss babe was having a head full of luscious locks. At the time, Farrah Fawcett was the queen of fabulous hair and the daring of Wella Balsam shampoo commercials.

Since I had no conception of why my short coily afro couldn’t imitate my shero’s straightness, length, or voluminous curls (without enduring the dreaded hot comb), I did the next best thing… I grabbed a towel, draped it over my head, and proceeded to shadowbox imaginary bad guys!

(We’re just gonna gloss over the underlying racial commentary about Black women’s representation in Hollywood in the 70s that’s bubbling to the surface on that one, say that I was too young to enjoy a Pam Greer movie at the time and unpack the impact those images had on me in another blog/therapy session later! Besides… you don’t want to know what I did in 1985 to imitate She-Ra mounting her flying unicorn Swift Wind!👀)

While playing pretend was fun, I quickly learned that merely mimicking what I thought my (s)heros were doing didn’t necessarily give me their exact results.

(Again, we’ll just gloss over the fact that, given these were Hollywood productions, the actresses were playing pretend too.)

Fast forward a few decades and that young, impressionable brown girl grew up to admire heroes of a different sort. The fact that I can remember commercials from my childhood in vivid detail was a hint I’d find my way into advertising. Today, I geek out over copywriters and marketers. 

In the early days of my attempts to grow my first brand, I tried to mimic the amazing feats of convincing and converting that my heroes always talked about. I was sure I could duplicate their efforts and have six-figure paydays like they did. 

Eventually, I learned the hard way that to be effective, I needed to pay attention to the context of their advice.

I SHOULDN’T ENVY MY BUSINESS HEROES… BUT I DO (SOMETIMES)

I don’t know who first said “comparison is the thief of joy,” but they had the wisdom of Solomon!

It’s so hard not to compare myself to other people who are doing what I’m striving to do. I listen to a lot of podcasts and educational content where people share their stories of going viral or experiencing meteoric sales growth. 

On the one hand, their stories are as inspiring to me as the adventures of Wonder Woman I watched as a kid. They spurred me to copycat actions the same way.  

I believed if I spun around like Lynda Carter, I was going to transform in a flash and have superhuman powers too. 

When my content heroes shared success secrets, I was confident I could duplicate their results at an equally fast rate. But it never worked out that way. I was sorely disappointed when I attempted to launch my products and services to crickets. 

In some of those instances, I would have been overjoyed with a $6 pay-day, never mind a six-figure one! 

So what happened? Was my marketing heroes’ and gurus’ advice wrong? 

Not necessarily. 

Much of the advice for growing as a content creator or content marketer has similar themes:

— Create content with a high entertainment or educational value for a particular niche.

— Use strong hooks in videos and transition often.

— Make catchy thumbnails on YouTube.

— Incorporate SEO into your titles and captions.

— Post daily or at least consistently at dependable intervals.

Don’t get me wrong, it is possible for your content to “blow up” online and lead to earning a great income. But I’ve come to realize that chasing virality or instant, overwhelming attention to my business can be disastrous if I don’t have systems in place to handle the demand. 

More importantly, I gradually learned that it isn’t about duplicating the tactics. Tactics must be performed in an environment where the conditions are just right so that the “formula” works and generates the results I want to see. 

Remember what I said about context? One of the biggest reasons their launches were so successful is because they had well-established audiences to launch to… I didn’t!

They NEVER tell you that pesky detail when they’re pitching you their latest course or high ticket mastermind!

So the next time you’re considering purchasing a $2,500+ online learning experience to grow your business, just ask yourself the following question: Do I have the same context or conditions this guru does (or the money to recreate it) so that their strategy will work for me right now?

That question will probably keep a crap ton of money in your pockets and time on your calendar to invest in growth methods that are more appropriate for where you are at the time.

You’re welcome!

(Because I spent a lot of money to learn that the hard way!)

Here’s the other missing piece of the context puzzle.

I’ve listened to enough content success stories to recognize the common denominator in almost all the seemingly “overnight success” and six-figure pay-days.  It is remaining consistent with creating and publishing your content.

Consistency pays off because the gurus continuously grow their audiences. I’ve observed that when your audience is either large enough or deeply connected enough with a targeted group of people, sales can be generated like magic. 

Alas, there are no shortcuts. And every seeming “overnight success” usually isn’t.

THAT TIME I GREW MY INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS BY 433% IN 9 MONTHS

Organic growth is possible, even in today’s environment where paid content gets pushed and rules the feed. 

Just the other week, I published a video on my personal YouTube channel that has “taken off” (in comparison to my other videos). On my business YouTube channel, my daily posting of shorts has been increasing the watch time on my channel. Slowly but surely, I’m getting signups to my email list. 

For me, for right now, that is a success, particularly since I only started creating content again in September 2023 and I haven’t been 100% consistent the whole time. However, these results are more than enough to keep me encouraged to continue my daily content marketing activities. My audience will continue to grow.

I learned the value of how consistency impacts growth when I spent 9 months intentionally increasing my Instagram followers on my old profile @writeyourbooktips from 150 followers to over 800 in 2022. That is a 433% increase!

(I’ve since lost over 40 followers because I announced that the page is archived and encouraged people to follow my new profile.)

I accomplished this by adhering to some basic principles. I posted frequently. I stayed on brand, only talking about book writing topics. It wasn’t long before I developed a small but eager following who loved seeing my content.

I didn’t see as many sales opportunities as I was hoping for because I was missing a few more steps. I should have focused on getting those people onto my email list and nurturing them. I also should have worked on getting new followers to book discovery calls with me. 

Those calls did happen randomly. I did pick up a few clients and made a few sales. However, if I had been more intentional in my strategy, I would have seen even greater results. 

I decided to stop my trajectory at the beginning of 2023  because I did not feel like the brand was truly reflective of where I was and where I wanted to go. 

I was also dealing with some life issues at the time, so I hit pause on social media for most of that year.  After a personal mental crisis in late July and a much-needed time of rest and reflection in August, I reemerged refreshed in September 2023 and got to work building my brand (Writing With Denise Renee) from scratch. 

The time away from social media gave me lots of room to reflect on what went wrong in my content marketing efforts in the past and what I needed to do to make it go right in the present. I had to stop trying to run everyone else’s race and stay focused on my own. That means I can’t run a marathon in record time when it’s virtually my first day lacing up my running shoes.

I came back to social media with a customized plan of action. And the results encourage me to keep showing up everyday.

HOW I’M BUILDING MY BRAND WITH CONTENT FROM SCRATCH

Small creators like myself have a tough road ahead of us when we’re starting from square one. But if we stay focused, we can grow viable audiences for our work that will sustain us for years to come. 

From my earliest ventures online until now, I’ve had many successes and failures with brands I owned, co-owned, as a freelancer, or as an employee. I’ve learned more from my mistakes than from my accidental wins to know what works for me where I’m at today.  

So this is what I’ve been doing since September 2023 when I launched my brand from scratch. 

1 – I Reset My Expectations 

I don’t have much of an audience right now, so I’m not expecting overnight success in the performance of my content, or in signing up new customers. I am not expecting hundreds of views in an hour or $10,000 sales days. 

Why not? Because I don’t have a critical mass of targeted prospects who regularly engage with my content to consistently spend money with me or refer me to their friends. 

Yet. 

I do, however, have people who know me personally and love me for who I am. They support me and everything I do. They’re not necessarily my clients, but they could be great referral sources. 

I also have followers on old, inactive social media accounts. Right now, my job is to galvanize those people, make them aware I am alive and kicking on new social media accounts, and give them a reason to follow and engage with my content regularly. 

I don’t expect to show up in their feeds and get their support every time I post. But as long as I stick to it, I will. I know I have to earn every drop of attention that I want to get. 

For the next year or so, I expect I will have to do a lot of one-on-one, belly-to-belly networking off-line to give my content traction and to build a community online that cares about the work I produce.

2 – I’m Focused On Daily Actions I Can Control

Even though I have specific outcomes I’m hoping for, I know from experience that I can’t always control the results. But I can control my actions which influence the results I want to see.

I can control the nature of my content. I can control the effort I put into making my presentations look and sound the best they can. I can control the quality of information I share with every post. I can control how frequently and consistently I am posting. I can control responding to comments and those who show love for my content.

So I set daily goals for my actions. I set weekly goals for my content creation and promotion processes. If I focus on my input, I trust that the outcomes will take care of themselves. Furthermore, I believe that I will experience even greater opportunities and results than the ones I anticipate.

3 – I’m Focused On Growing My Most Valuable Business Asset: My Email List

Why I ever thought I could grow previous iterations of my brand without building an email list, I’ll never know. People have PAID ME to run THEIR email and newsletter campaigns! I know firsthand how important building and nurturing an email list is to a business.

So I’m finally putting it front and center. Every so often in my content, I promote my lead magnets to my content viewers, inviting them to get a deeper learning experience from me in exchange for their email addresses. I’ve been thinking lately that I might need to turn those efforts up a few more notches.

If you’re not sure why an email list is important or what a lead magnet is, hang tight. I talk about it in this week’s featured video linked below.

4 – I’m Focused On Converting Real-World Interactions Into Online Clout

If I wait for organic growth to pick up for me on YouTube, Instagram, or LinkedIn, I’ll be waiting a long time. So I get initial traction to my content by leveraging my offline interactions and my online networking.

I shared how I do it in today’s featured video.

I learned the hard way that the content promotion tactics my favorite marketing thought-leaders use work well for them because they have an established audience. I will likely retry some of those methods once my audience has reached a critical mass and I’m looking to scale. 

But for now, the following is what I’ve found works for me in getting eyeballs to my content as a creator with a young brand. 

MY STEPS FOR PROMOTING MY CONTENT OFFLINE

Here is a quick summary of the video.

STEP 1 – I own my online presence.

— Website 

— Blog 

— Email List

— I promote my long-form content (YouTube) in a weekly newsletter

STEP 2 – I convert my offline conversations into email list signups.

— Prospecting/sales calls

— Networking opportunities

STEP 3 – I leverage other people’s audiences to grow my email list.

— Speaking/Panelist opportunities

— Content swaps

— Podcast guest

THE MINDSET I’VE ADAPTED TO START FROM SCRATCH (AND STAY ON THE JOURNEY)

There is another commonality I’ve observed from the countless hours of interviews I’ve consumed. 

Most people gloss over their humble beginnings. 

Specifically, the humble beginnings of how they figured out the thing that worked for them to grow their business.

Some are so far removed, they simply don’t remember the details of their early days. Or maybe they do and they feel people might not want to know about their flop era or struggle bus days.

But that’s not true. 

I can identify with flop eras… I’ve had many! But I’m hungry to learn; what was the turning point? What made the difference? What did you have to do? What were the early days of that turnaround like?

The reason I’m transparent about the beginning of my journey and my process today is because I’m being the example I wish I had when I was earlier in my career.

Beginning anything new is terrifying. Abandoning a brand that was gaining traction on Instagram is dumb!! Starting from scratch is simultaneously incredibly brave and incredibly stupid! (And I’m talking about me!)

So if you’re in the beginning stages of your brand, I understand where you’re at and I know how it feels. 

The beginning is ugly. The beginning is terrifying. It’s lonely. It’s devoid of the instant feedback of an adoring fan base.

But it’s a necessary part of every hero’s journey.  Diana Prince had to twirl for the first time and unlock her magical powers at some point, right?  Well, so do we. 

I was watching a podcast featuring Myron Golden recently and he said that there is a difference between making a choice and making a decision. Making a decision means you are cutting off all other options.

To endure the long journey of building a brand from scratch that’s ahead of me, I made some decisions that are serving me well. 

— I decided: I am going to stick it out, no matter how I feel, or what I experience. No matter how long or short it takes for me to see the results I hope for, I know I’m on the right path.

— I decided: I am going to continuously experiment with my marketing and content creation styles to figure out what works best for me. I won’t get too comfortable with any one method.

— I decided: I love the process of growing my brand online. It’s fun to me and I get a lot of joy out of creating content.  

One of the things I’ve come to appreciate at my “big age” of 50 is that no two people’s journey (in life or business) is cookie-cutter or duplicatable. We are unique as snowflakes. And even when our influences have been similar, we all react to our environment differently. 

When it comes to creating content and building a brand, I can’t envy or mimic my heroes. I’ve learned that while it is wise to follow best practices, I also have to have a healthy dose of patience for myself. I also need to leave room for the uniqueness of my journey and allow events to unfold on their timetable. 

I know this intellectually, and I truly believe it in my heart. 

With my newfound awareness, I fight like hell every day to make sure I’m not comparing my journey to someone else’s. I stop myself from feeling bad that I’m not where they seem to be because I have no idea what they did to get there!

Comparison is the thief of joy.

My hope with this blog post, featured video, and the additional resources I’ve linked below are a beacon of hope to you on your content creation journey. I hope I’ve provided some shortcuts you can ethically mimic in your efforts to get your brand off the ground with content as a new or young creator. 

Leave a comment and let me know!  

RESOURCES

It can be a little tough to sort through YouTube University for information that suits me (or you) who are in the early stages of content creation and developing an audience. 

But I’m always digging and searching. Now and then, I come across really helpful resources designed for those building their brands from scratch.  

Because I’m not new to the marketing game, I can tell when advice is rooted in best practices and personal experience, rather than a regurgitation of other top-performing videos in hopes of stealing some of their traffic and (AdSense revenue).  

That being said, I’ve implemented some of the tips and strategies enclosed in the resources I share below so I know the information isn’t bogus.

(That being said, I’m not unaware that the last two videos on this list are suspect because the titles are identical. But the content in the two videos differ and the tips have merit.)

I hope these resources are truly helpful to you in your journey. As I come across more that is worth exploring, I’ll add to this list.  Let me know what you try and what works for you in the comments.

How To Build An Email List From Scratch

Build Your Email List From Scratch Without a Freebie

Exactly How To Get 100 YouTube Subscribers Fast 

How To Grow On Instagram in 2024 From 0

Do This If You Have 0 Followers on Instagram

LinkedIn Growth Strategy: 15-Minutes A Day Only

If I Started On LinkedIn From 0, Here’s What I’d Do (Alex B. Sheridan) 

If I Started On LinkedIn From 0, Here’s What I’d Do  (Mark Firth)

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Denise Renee

How I Turned My Pain Into Power
How I Tapped Into My Inner Storyteller (And You Can Too!)

Denise Renee

If it has to do with words plus marketing or branding, Denise Renee probably has experience writing it! Dive deeper into her story from the "About" page. Explore how she can assist you with your book, content, career or personal branding project from the "Home" page.

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