A quick update today on how my building in the open project is going.
In short: better than I expected, but also quite hard work!
I started Word.Image.Design nearly two months ago and my aim was to gain traffic and grow a subscriber base using Twitter and LinkedIn.
I aimed to publish one article a week - which means researching and writing at least once a week - as well as releasing one of two books notes per month.
So far so good.
Growth so far
My expectations where modest - I mentally prepared myself to be the guy in the park talking to himself for many months.
My target for the first six months was ten subscribers, thinking that was a high bar.
Well, I smashed that and hit 40 after around 7 weeks.
This quick growth is in part thanks to existing contacts, friends and colleagues (thank you!), but also plenty of organic reach to people I'm yet to meet (hello!). LinkedIn has been a good channel to initially reach people.
From the start I published on both Twitter to nearly an audience of zero, and used LinkedIn to share my articles as well as to reach out to connections who I thought might be interested in the website.
That last part was hard.
It's hard enough putting yourself out there to a mystery group, but going to people personally is another hurdle to jump entirely.
But, I did it and I'd recommend it.
I don't expect growth to continue so quickly, and that's fine as I'm still learning the ropes and experimenting with the newsletter.
My first newsletter was shorter, with links to other external articles and tidbits.
However, people don't tend to click links so I decided to focus more on my own work and write more content within the newsletter itself, rather than short introductions.
This website runs on Ghost, which can automatically generate newsletters once articles are published.
However, as I wanted to create digests I pushed subscriptions to Mailchimp (using Zapier) and created my own newsletters from there.
I'm not sure if this is the right move or not as it is extra work having to update the MailChimp template and Ghost.org does have nice looking automated newsletters (similar to Substack).
For Twitter, growth has been slow as expected.
It's difficult to create a lot of regular content but thanks to HypeFury I've been able to automate a lot of regular posts.
But I know I need to put more effort in engaging audiences.
I've been focusing a lot on website content but I now need to spend time on Twitter and plan to step it up in the coming months.
Writing once or twice a week isn't super easy but thanks to a work flow I've created in Roam Research, it's not too hard either.
Some articles are better than others, and I'm spotting typos/errors a lot (proof reading is not my strong point), but my main aim of writing and posting consistently has become a habit. That's the most important thing.
I spend around an hour each morning trying to read or write something and build ideas around that.
If a week passes without reading much or listening to podcasts, I've noticed that my well of ideas quickly dries up. By reading and listening to just a few Podcasts, the neurons and connections in the brain start flying again.
This means so far ideas for what to write hasn't been to hard and I'm excited to see where the rabbit hole leads me!
My aim is to just keep plugging away: keep publishing, keep promoting and see where this takes me.
Most importantly, I'm enjoying it!