7 Key Steps That Helped Build SteamFeed’s Foundation

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In just over 13 months time we’ve reached a pretty significant milestone with SteamFeed. This past month (October 2013) we surpassed over 100,000 pageviews.

How did we grow so quickly?

In order to get there we could have spammed the hell out of people, used black-hat techniques to trick Google, bought followers on Twitter & Facebook, accepted anyone to write for our site, etc… Did we do that? Of course not. Instead we focused on building from the ground up. We knew it would take longer but in the end the product would be much greater.

foundationBuilding Your Blog Foundation

When Daniel and I started brainstorming on how SteamFeed would ultimately work we knew we wanted to create something unique but also something that we would be proud of and would stand the test of time. The key to that was building a strong foundation.

  1. Plan - We spent at least a week coming up with our mission and goals for the site. We made sure that the two of us were on the same page about crucial matters (type of content, type of authors, our roles, monetization, how much time we would each put in, etc…) Without a solid plan you’re starting off on the wrong foot. Take the time to make one. You’ll thank yourself later.
  2. No “Gurus”. We knew the meaning was a bit subjective but it gave us a starting point as to the person we were searching for to join our community. Bottom-line: We defined the type of person who we would accept to write for SteamFeed (someone who writes from experience and gets positive results for themselves or their clients). Even though all of our authors have their own unique voice we knew that when we published their article that it would not only represent their brand but our brand as well. Finding the right people to build your community around is crucial.
  3. Trust- If you’re not out there in the blogging / social media world building trust then you better get on it because trust is currency in the social space. You build trust by being there for people. Being helpful and answering questions, guest blogging, commenting on blogs (and no not the simple “great post!” comment but rather “Hey, I took some time and really thought about what I was going to write here so that the author will take a moment and actually read what I wrote, hopefully respond, and develop a key relationship with me” type of comment.
  4. Influencers- I know that there is a lot of debate out there on how to measure someone’s influence. Regardless of where you stand on the debate some people have earned more “trust” than others either because they’ve put in the time or they’ve shown their expertise to be valuable or a combination of both. Robert Caruso (@fondalo) was our influencer who gave credibility to SteamFeed before it was even born. Daniel and I both had spent time separately developing a relationship with Robert which is why when it came time to ask Robert for help he was more than willing to be there for us.
  5. Network – This is our baby and we cherish it. Our network of authors mean the world to us. They’re our engine. They drive SteamFeed on a day in and day out basis. They not only write for SteamFeed for free but they’re brand evangelists as well. How is that possible? By providing value back to them from day one. We created a real community for them and we take the time every day to nurture that community. We consistently email or ping them on social media. We go out of our way to socialize with them. We create opportunities in our group for them to get to know each other (Random Fact Wednesdays! <— I would tell you some of the stories they’ve written but I like how it’s our little community secret.) They’re not just authors or people we network with anymore. We’ve gone out of our way to take the time to get to know them so that we can call them our friends. Friends help each other. They help us by providing content and we help them by extending their personal reach. It’s a win-win.
  6. Commitment – It’s not enough to show up once and a while. Honestly, you’ll never gain traction. People want to be a part of something great. They don’t want to be a part of something that you show up when you feel like it. If you’re serious about blogging then get serious about blogging. Be there for your readers and produce quality content on a consistent basis. At minimum you need to pushing that publish button once a week. Ideally once a day. If you’re just starting out and getting your feet wet then you can settle for every few days until you get into a groove. At SteamFeed we produce 2-4 original articles and 2-6 syndicated articles every day. It took about 9 months to get to that point. The first 9 months we averaged 2-3 articles a day.
  7. Passion - Daniel and I love social media, marketing, and technology. We don’t love just talking to people, even though it’s fun, we love creating, analyzing, collaborating, and solving. We live for this. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing maybe it’s best to keep your blog as a hobby. You have to wake up and be excited about connecting with people and improving you business everyday.

We continue to reexamine these steps all the time to make sure we’re staying true to them or to see if their meaning has evolved into something else. I’ll admit that at times we’ve strayed a bit from the original path in order to explore but we’ve either found our way back or realized that there was a similar path that made more sense for us and our community.

Are you interested in joining our community? I hope so. :)

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DJ Thistle
D.J. Thistle is a co-founder of SteamFeed, a blog that focuses on the latest trends in social media, technology, and marketing. His passion in technology is only rivaled by his desire to connect with others through social media. He has been a featured speaker multiple times on how to get started in social media at various wine industry events. He has spent the last 9 years teaching in public and private schools in Massachusetts and California. He is happily married and enjoys every moment of raising his beautiful daughter.
DJ Thistle

@djthistle

I'm a husband, father, educator, geek, bookworm, stock market enthusiast, and some would call me an Apple fanboy. Co-Founder of @SteamFeedCom
MyBlogU : a New Way to Create Epic Content, Be Promoted Online and Build New Connections http://t.co/wG1F9GHkuS via @ErikEmanuelli - 2 hours ago
DJ Thistle
DJ Thistle

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Comments

  1. It was a great read. I would love to read more about how Steamfeed multiplied their influencers as well as how they promoted the site during its launch. Maybe in the future, but I'll say this now, the place has everything I need and incorporate in our agency. :)

    • Thanks Illa! I really appreciate you taking the time to read the article and commenting. Hopefully I was able to convince you to say connected with us. :) I can almost guarantee that I'll put together an article in the future on how we promoted SteamFeed at launch. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Great post and I have been following Steamfeed for a while now.

    You have awesome content & I love reading it. Keep up the good work!

  3. Well done DJ, you and Daniel have built a great foundation. I consider it a privilege to provide a pinch of ingredients to the soup and proud to have a position on the team.

  4. Daniel Hebert says:

    Great article DJ! One thing I would add that really helped the both of us out, was that we didn't do it alone. Both you and I worked hard at the start. We asked for help from Robert to get our network started. Then we asked for referrals from that network to expand.

    In May, we grew so big that we couldn't handle all the growth just the two of us anymore, so we had to ask for help. So Gerry Michaels joined us as a partner to work on some critical areas of SteamFeed that we couldn't, because we had too much other stuff to do.

    Don't be scared to ask for help, or don't do it alone. You'll get overwhelmed.

  5. Nicely done DJ and Daniel – I appreciate the Steamfeed community and have garnered some wonderful connections with quite a few of it's members. Always interesting and insightful, comprised of a wonderful collection of generous contributors from diverse backgrounds, with common interests and values.

    • The compliment is much appreciated Gordon! We're very grateful for the people like you that make this community so wonderful. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  6. Hello DJ,

    As a novice blogger, learning my way, this article contained some pointers that I need to adopt…or for that matter would be helpful for any new or even experienced blogger.

    I tend to look for "How To Do It" more than "Why" in my journey, but this is a powerful combination of both. I have learned in the last 6 months that there are many generous helpful people traveling along with me who will help with advice and sometimes even direct application, but you need to learn how to connect…as none of us are yet certified mind readers.

    Thank you for your well organized and concise road map.
    My recent post Pinterest What? Find the How at Marketing MiniClasses

    • Thanks for your response Carata. :) You bring up a good point that we sometimes focus so much on the "How To" articles that we forget about the "Why".

      Glad you stopped by and we connected. I'm heading over to SkipperWorks.info right now to check it out. :)

  7. Well done guys, you're doing an excellent job.
    My recent post Why 90% of all Social Media Tools will Disappear

  8. You have outstanding customer service with all of the participants responding personally to your followers. It is those actions that has built and retained my trust and respect with continued support for your product.

  9. As soon as I found Steamfeed it became one of my favourite blogs. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be published here once in a while, as often as I can manage.
    It's wonderful to be among friends I look up to.
    My recent post Shut up For 2 Minutes – A Pittance Of Time

  10. Great job on building SteamFeed. Thanks for sharing the steps you took. Very instructive for people to see that shortcuts don't get you very far. Planing and then executing over the long haul is what works.
    My recent post Like Customers? You’ll Find This Podcast Very Pinteresting

    • Mike, glad you found some value in this article. It definitely takes time but if you build it the right way and stick with you will definitely see results. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  11. I heart SteamFeed! I appreciate the value it adds to my blogging/business experience. Thanks for working smart, the right way, to build a foundation that we all really benefit from. I don't ever feel like I should *facepalm* after I take a few minutes reading a SteamFeed post… because it's completely worth my time. Thanks for sharing!

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