You probably want advice on how to leverage your profile on the growing number of social media platforms. Clubhouse, TikTok Instagram…it’s a lot to keep up with! Still, none of those platforms are more important than your website. This is your home base, where you can hone your voice and craft your mission without the direct influence of “likes” and outside opinions. Master your work here and you’ll feel more confident sharing that work on a feed, in a video, or during an audio panel.
It’s a strategy that has served Rhonesha Byng well. The founder and CEO of Her Agenda, and former BlogHer speaker, began building her brand over a decade ago and continues to use the brand’s mission as a “guiding light” for her strategy, even as her team (and popularity) grew.
“We focus on storytelling, factual reporting, and producing in-depth actionable articles that help our readers to get started or get to the next level of their life/career,” she says. “People know when they read an article on Her Agenda they are not going to get any BS, and not only will they walk away inspired, they will be better informed along with understanding where to go next (or what to do next).”
Ahead, Byng shares more of the tried-and-true tactics that continue to bolster Her Agenda’s success. If you’ve been struggling to build your website, consider these tips your new guiding light.
Invest in tech
Even if you are paying someone else to build your website, a basic knowledge of programming languages like HTML and CSS will help you in the long run.
“It helps to have an understanding of how to create an MVP (minimum viable product), or create a mockup for someone who is more technical to follow and implement. Honestly, you don’t want to end up building the site yourself but it helps when communicating to programmers or developers to have some background in the terms and how they work,” says Byng. “Outside of webinars or reading, I used to attend a lot of hackathons to meet more technical people, and learn more.”
Through UX and design, you should also make it clear where you want the reader to go first, or what you want them to do. Also be sure to have an area for capturing the contact info of your community, whether it’s through a service like Mailchimp or plugin.
“Make sure that it loads quickly, and install a FB pixel if you are going to be utilizing FB and Instagram for your marketing,” adds Byng. “Get familiar with SEO to be sure your website is discoverable on search engines within your keywords.”
View this post on Instagram
Once your website is up and running, ensuring it generates consistent readership requires that you always stay a couple of steps ahead.
“The key to keeping up with the volume of output without sacrificing quality is to create a structured workflow around every element from pitching, to submissions, to scheduling and ultimately publishing. Nothing is just thrown up at the last minute, there are processes and systems that keep the boat afloat and moving full steam ahead at all times,” she says.
And keeping all of your content aligned with a mission will make it a lot easier to ideate and make decisions about what is and isn’t published. For instance, HerAgenda’s content strategy is rooted in their mission of “bridging the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women” and a detailed content calendar.
“What it looks like in terms of implementing the message on a daily basis comes from a combination of our audience and our contributors. We publish new articles on HerAgenda.com daily, and aside from breaking news, most of it is pre-scheduled weeks in advance,” shares Byng. “We have a contributor network of close to 70 women, and they’re actively pitching stories on their radar. Our managing editor Diasia Robinson also does an amazing job keeping up with the news cycle and finding the right mix of stories that inform our audience on political and financial news, as well as inspire through features and advice-based content.”
The same strategy should be applied to social media content. Byng and her team look at social media as a “discovery engine” for generating leads and the amplification of work that has already been shared on the website.
“We have structures around how many times we post on each platform, and each status has a specific call to action. It’s either visit our website for more, share/drop a comment (engage), or please like this post. We also post every day. That sounds like a lot but as a creator, you need to be smart and automate as much as you can. We utilize automation tools to help stretch our social content over a period of time.”
Don’t place all bets on social media
Speaking of social media, we talk about “knowing your why” a lot. The concept is even more important as you build a social media audience. Byng says that while Instagram, Facebook, and every other social platform are great, none of them should be your foundation. Instead, think of them as an amplifier or reminder of your mission. Ultimately, nurturing your website should be the top priority.
“As tech philosopher Alex Wolf shares, you are renting your audience if you’re relying on social media alone to reach them. Ultimately, as I have seen time and time again over the course of 13 years as a media founder, the platforms will change, the algorithms will shift, so what’s your constant?” she asks. “You own your audience by getting direct access to them through their contact information whether it’s by email or text. Collect that data! Do not be afraid of the popup form, do not be afraid to run a social campaign to collect this data.”
Document the process
Finally, don’t forget to keep a record of your journey. Project management tools like Asana or Trello, used in combination with file-sharing platforms like Slack, Dropbox, and Google Docs will keep you organized and encourage collaboration.
Byng adds, “Even if you are the only person on your team right now, document your process! This way, you have it step-by-step written out to easily delegate it to someone when the moment comes for you to grow your team. Always think about growth, in whatever way that is defined for you, and how you can start to prepare now for what that looks like and who will be alongside you bringing that growth to fruition.”
Subscribe to the BlogHer newsletter for more tactical advice, exclusive content, and timely event updates.