Author Topic: How did you grow this movement/website? How do people grow their other blogs?  (Read 1013 times)

MaximilianKohler

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I learned about this site/movement on PBS. How did it get to that point? A forum with hundreds of thousands of posts, and widespread media coverage. How did all those media outlets find out about this movement/website? On the media page it says you don't actively reach out to the media.

I did a search of this forum for "how did you grow", but only found this thread: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/what-is-the-real-truth-about-making-money-from-a-blog/

I'm curious how people grow various websites, blogs, movements, etc..

I've basically lived on the internet most of my life but know virtually nothing about this. I've been spending most of my time on a link aggregator website that has been going down the drain. I haven't been on facebook or twitter for years.

Social media avenues like facebook & twitter would seem to rely on a person being able to start something (blog/movement) with their immediate friends and family, and relying on those people to share/spread the word. But is that correct?

I see in the news so many people/groups involved in activism and various movements, but when I try to get people to take action or organize they always seem lackadaisical.

lexde

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Put a new idea out into the world.

Or an old idea, with a new perspective.

Style of writing and visual appeal of a blog are important.

And it's important for money to NOT be the end goal of the blog. All of the successful blogs I've read put information/ideas out into the world for free with no strings attached. They can monetize later, but monetization is not the primary objective for the blogs that "make it".

Like with any business, bloggers identify a need and fill it.

What kind of needs have you identified? How have you tried to start movements? What have you yourself done to be part of that movement? It requires grit, and persevering even when you are the only person furthering your movement.

Say, for example, your movement is environmental preservation. You can sit at your keyboard and type about it all you want, and try to organize everything you want, but if you aren't out every weekend cleaning trash from the side of the road yourself, WHETHER OR NOT anyone is there to do it with you, people will not follow. You need to further your own movement daily, and then let others be inspired by that and join you. If there is nothing to "join" (i.e. a as-of-yet unorganized group of trash-pickers, versus joining you as a devoted trash-picker), then it would be hard to expect people to rally.

With MMM, Pete had a blog, spoke his mind, and did his own thing regardless of whether anyone else cared what he had to say or followed what he did. The results spoke for themselves, and people came on board. And so it went.

ketchup

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Web forums and blogs grow organically.  Usually it starts out as just a blog with a comments section enabled (April 2011 for MMM).  Then as the comments sections blow up, the blog author decides a forum is in order (Feb 2012 for MMM).  Everyone from the comments moves to the forum, and it grows from there.  Eventually more and more people join and the ideas and community get publicity and go more mainstream.

I never got much into social networks (I have a Facebook account but only check it about twice a year), but this is how all forums formed and grew for the most part before MySpace/Twitter/Facebook/Reddit/etc blew up.  I've been a longtime member of a few sites over the years, and they always followed this pattern of growth.

But many never get to the first part where people are engaging with the content.  That's a prerequisite to forming any kind of community, and you can't force it.  You need to have a new idea that gets people's attention and excites them.  "Bob's personal finance tips" or "top 15 ways to make mashed potatoes" generally won't garner that kind of interest.

mozar

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I would also add special knowledge about something. Pete said that he started this blog because he had stuff he wanted to tell his friends who were buying McMansions and commuting for hours, that they could live differently. Based on what he said later, his friends never got it, but then he started making new friends anyway. He said that growing up in Canada was less consumerist and he was surprised what people were spending money on when he got here.
Pete's father worked in advertising so Petr knew a lot about presentation and Pete knew how to build a website way before it was as easy as it is now. Pete had time and money to invest in his hobby. And there weren't so many blogs back then. So when he started and news outlets were looking for a story about finance his website was easy to find. And it snowballed from there.

You're not going to get explosive growth with a blog anymore because people don't read blogs much anymore, but are you a videographer with crazy editing skills?
 You can still make a splash in the YouTube space. But realize that you are competing with a lot of other sources of entertainment,  so you can't do it for money like another poster said.

I'll tell you how I got quoted in the nytimes. I read an article back in 2011 about how people in SF were doing something called an underground farmers market. I decided to do the same thing on the east coast. I researched to find the most popular local blog. I emailed them an "announcement " saying I was going to do an underground market like the one in SF. The post went viral as the kids say (that means people sent
the post to their friends). A restaurant owner saw the post and found my website and contacted me and offered to host it. So I sent the blog another "announcement " saying I had found a location. So now I had momentum. I secured a date and a local radio host announcer saw it and announced the event on the radio.
Then I got even luckier because a snowstorm was announced for that day and it didn't happen and people were bored and wanted something to do.
Then I contacted the person who was doing the same events in SF and said hey, I just did an event like you do. Thanks for the inspiration! He responded and said cool! About a year later the nytimes was interviewing that guy in SF and I assume they asked him if they knew anyone else who was doing this, he gave them my email. They emailed me with the subject line THE NEW YORK TIMES IS TRYING TO CONTACT YOU, lol. They asked me for quotes. I thought of something clever to say, they published it, my website crashed, and I had 3000 people at my next event.
 I find that when asked people don't like to give details about their journey so it's hard to know what is actually happening. So there you go.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 11:47:52 AM by mozar »

MaximilianKohler

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Thanks for the input guys.

So if I understand correctly, the blog took off because it was started during a time where there were few internet blogs. And the way it grew was by people doing web searches for financial information, and finding the blog? Plus him sharing it with his friends?

"What kind of needs have you identified?"

Mostly health and political.

"How have you tried to start movements?"

Mostly on Reddit subs and Facebook groups. 

"What have you yourself done to be part of that movement?"

Research, sending letters and sharing them as templates, hiring people to make flyers, helping to translate a website that could be used for the purpose, making deep analysis & write ups on the issues.

mozar

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Yes, and yes. Another way is that bloggers used to do something called blogging round Robin where bloggers would post on each others blogs to get more viewers. Maybe Pete did that, I don't know. At the time these were creative ideas. Stuff like posting a Facebook and reddit also used to be novel. What I'm saying that you have to think outside the box to reach people. FB, reddit, some fliers isn't going to cut through the noise anymore.

The way I heard of the black lives matter movement is that a member of the group got in the news because she scaled a flag pole and took down the Confederate flag. Now that's novel.
Also money. Can you take out an ad in the local newspaper paper to advertise meetings for your political group? Can you pay for a meetup.com membership?
What you've been doing is great. But you have to do a lot more to start a movement.

ketchup

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the blog took off because it was started during a time where there were few internet blogs.

MMM started his blog in 2011.  Blogs started exploding in popularity about five years before that (source) thanks to Wordpress landing on the scene around 2004, and LiveJournal before that (1999? Damn).

There may be more blogs now (I can't find a consistent source comparing ~2005 era to present day), but there were already hundreds of millions by the time MMM started posting.

Everything else you're saying is spot on.

mozar

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Well that quote wasn't from me but I wasn't talking about whether blogs were popular or not or the quantity. I was speaking to the quantity then compared to the quantity now. When I used the search terms I did in 2013 this blog was a first page result. I entered the same search terms just now and there were lots of clickbait articles, "mainstream " blogs that seem well funded, etc. After awhile I gave up looking for MMM through money keywords on Google search. There's a lot more stuff to wade through .

Also I doubt that there were hundreds of millions of blogs then or even now probably being that hundreds of millions equals the entire population of the USA. Hundreds more millions would get you to the entire population of the planet.
Say every working age adult in the USA had a blog, that would be around one hundred twenty five million blogs. So every working age adult would have to have 3 plus blogs each to be hundreds of millions. Insert sarcastic gif here.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 11:11:27 AM by mozar »

ketchup

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Also I doubt that there were hundreds of millions of blogs then or even now probably being that hundreds of millions equals the entire population of the USA. Hundreds more millions would get you to the entire population of the planet.
Say every working age adult in the USA had a blog, that would be around one hundred twenty five million blogs. So every working age adult would have to have 3 plus blogs each to be hundreds of millions. Insert sarcastic gif here.
I was thinking globally.  There are on a lot more people on the planet than in the US, even if we restrict it to English-speaking only.

Eric

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Thanks for the input guys.

So if I understand correctly, the blog took off because it was started during a time where there were few internet blogs.

The blog took off because MMM is a great writer and put in a bunch of hard work.  Full stop. 

Go back and look at all the posts he made in the early days.  As someone with a blog myself, I cannot even begin to comprehend posting with that frequency.

HeadedWest2029

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How does anything go viral? I'm not sure there's a formula for that.  Good writing, a shit-ton of hard work, and someone doing it for pure joy and passion (a true "unfair" advantage).  The quickest way to kill any fun part of the internet is to quickly try to monetize it and treat it as a business.  People's B.S. radar is far too finely tuned for that

JoJo

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As someone who blogs in a very competitive space (travel) there is a very small percentage of bloggers that ever make money from it.  I'm 2 years in.  I'm seeing modest growth and a few affiliate sales, but literally I work at least 20 hours a month to earn $3 in sales, but then my expenses are more than $30 (when I average all the tools, hosting, and subscriptions used to "grow" the blog).