These days, becoming “internet famous” is an actual, though perhaps slightly far-fetched, goal for many young people. With so many creative outlets allowing anyone and everyone to share their ideas, views and visions, it is hard for any one person to stand out.
Sara Barnett, junior, found her own niche and did what all of us wish we could – gain over almost 11,500 followers on the blogging platform Tumblr in a little over two years.
In August 2012 Barnett was at a Coldplay concert in St. Paul, Minn. when the band’s co-manager, Keshia Gerrits, approached her after seeing her view of the stage via Tumblr post. Turns out, she and the band were fans of Barnett’s blog and loved the content she generated. She received a personalized signed photo that said, “To Sara, Enjoy the show!” as a gift for the huge impact she’s had on their fans.
“I was literally in shock and pretty honored that she found me and that they had actually viewed my blog,” Barnett said.
Barnett began her Tumblr, Coldplay Mania, in June of 2011. After receiving the Adobe Creative Suite as a gift, she wanted to familiarize herself with the software before beginning college in the fall.
“I learned creating content and not sharing it is not any fun,” she said.
On Tumblr, Barnett creates Coldplay-themed animated gifs and graphics, shares videos, quotes and band updates all the while interacting with other fans. She has been a dedicated Coldplay fan since the age of 10 and is happy to share all of her art with fellow enthusiasts.
She owes a portion of her popularity on the site to being the only Coldplay-specific blog on Tumblr. She credits the rest of her success to providing not only a place for this worldwide fan base to share and interact with one another but the unique graphics she creates.
Barnett says the first step in creating an online identity is to find something that you are passionate about.
“If you are uniquely qualified to talk about a specific hobby, art, animals, musical, actor, band, activity, sport, TV show, movie or even yourself and generate interest among that fan base, you will create a large following.”
Barnett says it is also essential that your site is accessible and has nice-looking content. She’s found that if the outlet being used is “unappealing or difficult to navigate,” users will be frustrated and leave.
When it comes to keeping your follower numbers up Barnett advises that posting each and every single day is so important. With Tumblr, users are able to “reblog” other posts. This keeps bloggers from having to generate new content everyday. Barnett finds that an equal mix of original and shared content makes for success. Let us not forget the power of the hashtag. Hashtagging your posts with relevant tags will make your content easier to find as well as boost your blog on search sites like Google.
Barnett points out that your content may not translate so well across the social media board. Finding where your fan base is will help you find the outlets that best showcase your work.
“I have a Twitter account for my Tumblr blog so that followers on Twitter can connect right to content I post on Tumblr,” Barnett said. “For my content, Facebook and Instagram didn’t work as well.”
She also stresses the impact of listening to your followers. Your followers will give you cues and tell you what kinds of posts they liked the best. Taking some of these requests will make your audience feel heard and like they have a hand in your work.
“Don’t give up,” Barnett said. “Starting a blog is hard.”
She has had many blog failures herself but if you stick with it, followers will slowly start rolling in.
“The first 1,000 is tough. Once you get past the 1,000 mark, the rest seem to just flow in.”
Barnett believes that her guidelines can work for any platform as long as fresh content is always rolling out. Apply these tips to your social media outlets, and see how your readership increases.
Check out her blog: http://coldplaymania.tumblr.com.
Story by junior Hailey Johnson