Bloggin' Ain't Easy: A Thank You To GyulMeetsWorld.com Readers
Ten years ago I started this blog thing with no real idea of what my end goal was or what I really wanted to say.
In January 2019, I finally pinpointed my "why" and let all of my other blog monikers go to give way to what became "Gyul Meets World."
A year ago I had no idea that the choice to become more organized and intentional about my content would result in where I am now. Bloggers know that despite how many "good" posts we think we may have, it's tough out here in these internet streets. Going viral is never a promise and running a successful blog in 2019 when everyone wants their content to be short, sweet, and straight to the point, isn't easy.
There's no secret formula to this blogging thing. I don't have the exact answer to how one of my shortest posts in 2019 has amassed more than 300,000 views to date or how I went from 50 subscribers in January to almost 1,000 by New Year's Eve. What I do know, is that I started listening more and studying the people who were really reading my blogs and enjoying my content. I started to work on making old content better, and building relationships with the handful of people who continuously supported new posts. I focused not on what I thought would be trendy, but what I believed would resonate.
Most importantly, I prioritized my culture and brought down a wall I had built around myself, my dialect and my home in order to merge my audience of Caribbean and American readers. I felt most comfortable with the level of transparency and authenticity in my content this year and the rapid growth of the blog is what I believe to be a direct reflection of that.
Here are some highlights:
In 2019 I was able to collaborate with over a dozen organizations to bring a diverse set of content and products including news articles, giveaways, jewelry, skin care, casual clothing, athletic apparel, and travel platforms to my audience. Over half of those organizations were U.S. Virgin Islands-owned and operated including Chic Lifestyle Collection, Caribbean Local Fashion, State of the Territory News, Designs by Regal, and more. I also created a directory of influencers, creatives and businesses that is now permanently hosted here on Gyul Meets World.
From a follower growth of 2,000+ on Instagram, to my subscriber growth on the blog, and a larger Facebook following than ever before, my audience across all my digital platforms grew to a combined 15,000 people from places like the U.S. Virgin Islands, Houston, Arizona, and even as far as the UK and Australia. In 2020, I hope to double that following.
Broadening My Content
I published 38 posts in 2019 on my own blog, and 6 guest posts on other platforms covering sexual assault, relationships, culture, travel, and more. In September I launched the "Wah You Sayin" journal, a 30-day writing/journal challenge that has been downloaded by over 400 people to date.
In October, I worked with State of the Territory News using inspiration from the work of local designers, photographers and culture bearers to launch #MyMadras, a cultural awareness initiative to promote the U.S. Virgin Islands' cultural fabric in digital spaces. It was my most well-supported project of the year and still heavily populates the #mymadras hashtag search on Instagram.
In November I finished and published my first e-book on social media and content creation. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, and being able to add "author" to my list of titles is something I feel very proud of.
Lastly, In December I launched The Beautiful People Podcast as an audio chronicle of the stories, struggles, thoughts and experiences that make "us" beautiful. So far the podcast has produced 4 episodes with three guests and has been supported by 422 listeners.
Along with my focus of creating more intentional content, I also decided that this wasn't something I wanted to do alone. In the Spring I created a Patreon account and asked my readers to consider financially supporting the platform. This year 19 patrons have donated over $500 to help me pay for the costs of my domain, website maintenance, podcast equipment, graphic design and video editing software and more. For a large part of 2019 I was unemployed and in the middle of a job search while creating a lot of the content you enjoyed this year: my patrons continued to support me to ensure I could survive while doing what I love. You can learn more about becoming a patron here.
This year I look forward to building on the great content you guys have been supporting while branching off into more projects and collaborations. Season 2 of The Beautiful People Podcast is already scheduled and weekly video content covering lifestyle, culture, and fashion is in the works.
I wish there were bigger, much fancier words outside of "thank you" to describe how grateful I am to each person who reads this blog, listens to the podcast, and participates actively in my content creation. I consider myself really lucky to have this platform and I look forward to another year of Gyul Meets World.
Thank You Beautiful People & HAPPY 2020!