This has easily been one of the most bizarre years of my life. From the pandemic, to focusing on the blog full time, this has been a year of transition, therefore I wanted to use this time to both look back over the past year, but also to look forward and set some targets.
Firstly, I wanted to look at some of the most proud moments I’ve had, before looking towards the future:
100% Increase In Traffic
Working as a marketing consultant outside of the CBD world, growing website traffic is my bread and butter. While most of my link building efforts have been focused on clients, it has still been a year where I’ve managed to see the traffic double.
To be precise, the traffic doubled between January and August. The months after August tend to decrease due to the calmer months, however I’ve managed to keep them relatively steady, which means I’ll be expecting a very big January!
In all, the blog gained more than 47,000 visits this year (at time of writing).
One year ago today I was approaching 800 followers on Instagram. I now have more than 6,940, a growth of 767%!
But more importantly, Instagram has allowed me to connect with a huge number of amazing brands in the industry from all over the world. It has become my main form of communication with these great brands, outside of emails.
In my marketing role, many companies use me to forecast their metrics. That might be site visits for the year to come, or sales and quotes, or alternatively it could be social figures. I’m incredibly good at getting them right, so looking back at my post on the 21st August, when I had 4,111 followers, I worked out I should have 7,000 by the 1st January. Well I’m just 60 short with two days to go, so let’s see!
I have had some amazing features for CBD Sloth over the past year. I gained a link from an article in the Metro, I have provided CBD marketing advice for Website Builder Expert, plus I’ve had articles featured in Cannabis Health News.
In 2020, I was featured in articles in the Telegraph, Express, Independent, New Food Magazine, European CEO, This Is Money, Evening Standard, Metro, Real Business, Huff Post, Daily Mail, The Sun & Irish Sun, Small Business, BM Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo, Heart FM, Hello Magazine, Natural Health Magazine, Female First, SME Web, Irish News, Bride Magazine, Men’s Health,
Largely working in Digital PR for a number of clients, this brings me a lot of joy. Link building in the CBD industry isn’t easy, with so many journalists put off the moment they hear the dreaded acronym. However, I do feel like I’m merely breaking the surface and I’ll gain many more features in the new year.
In fact, in the past couple of days, CBD Sloth has been featured in both the Metro and the Mirror, while I have a good few articles lined up for January 2021.
I became media partners for two different CBD expo’s in 2020, only issue is they were both delayed due to the pandemic.
It has been incredibly frustrating for so many of us, however I just have to hope the vaccine brings a little more hope and there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Men’s Health CBD Judge
Men’s Health ran a piece in early 2020 on the best health based products of 2020, while they asked me to help judge the CBD category. It was a huge honour and brilliant fun, while I hope to do the same next year if possible.
5 Articles Per Week
This has been exhausting and CBD Sloth has pretty much taken over my life, but I’ve been posting 5 articles per week for 6 months now. This was on the back of such a huge amount of demand from brands wanting product reviews, as well as added free time during the pandemic.
I hope to bring this moderately down, perhaps to 4 per week, however keeping this going throughout the whole of 2021.
4th On Influence.co
At the start of the year, I noticed my blog had grown on Influence.co to become the 57th biggest influencer within the CBD industry globally. That was nice to see, but a hell of a long way off the top.
Jump forward 6 months and I shot right up near the top. I’m currently sitting in fourth, while I can’t help but admit it would bring me a huge amount of pride if I become the number one, but I’m setting some realistic targets for 2021.
New Year Targets
So I’ve looked backwards at the good moments, time to look forwards at what’s to come and what I should be trying to reach in 2021.
Mid-May 10,000 Followers On Instagram
So why is 10,000 followers on Instagram so important? For a start, you gain extra capabilities, such as the ability to swipe up on stories, which adds a URL link, redirecting the visitor straight to the website of choice.
As you can imagine, this has a number of benefits when it comes to advertising your most recent blog post.
So why did I pick Mid-May? That number wasn’t plucked out of no-where. I have been closely measuring and monitoring my Instagram growth, constantly trying different experiments to see what works best. I have found that recently I’ve been gaining 1,000 followers every 6 weeks, which means I should hit that magic mark 4.5 months into the new year, which is half way through May.
By the end of the year, I’d be happy if I get double my follower count and surpass 13,000 followers.
I never truly feel comfortable in front of the camera, but I can’t use that as an excuse anymore, it’s time to start posting more videos!
I posted 13 videos in 2020, which is just over 1 per month, hardly something to shout about. However, the views are certainly there and it could be a great avenue to increase my followers on all platforms.
My review of Love CBD gained 1,100 views and my CBD marketing video has gained more than 900 views, so this is certainly a channel I want to utilise next year.
Attend World CBD Awards
Looking ahead to one of the most exciting points in the CBD calendar, the World CBD Awards will be taking place in Paris on the 28th of April and, providing it’s not delayed, I plan on booking my trip over there in the next couple of months.
It should be an amazing point to put a face to all the great names I’ve been speaking to. This isn’t the only event I’m hoping to attend as well. I very much look forward to attending The CBD Show and the European CBD Expo.
Looking ahead to the new year, I’ve started planning out my content calendar, which is starting to look pretty stocked up! Altogether, I plan on writing 220 articles. These are unique articles written from scratch, from product reviews to event details and marketing advice for brands, as well as industry news and interviews.
Beyond the 220 articles, I also plan on updating a number of existing posts, to keep everyone up to date with the most accurate information, from my list of the best CBD affiliate programs to the best CBD oil’s in the UK.
Build The ‘Personality’
In almost all of my images I make the product the centre shot. In all uses of my image, I use the logo. I am guilty of not showing myself off enough, which has led a number of publications to assume CBD Sloth is a team rather than something I work on solely. I need to not just show myself more, but show my personality, whether that’s in videos, images or even in blog posts.
I guess I’ve always hated the idea of showing off, so I’ve avoided anything of that nature, but CBD Sloth is me and I should be proud to show my face as much as possible, so I need to get more comfortable in front of the camera. Hey, if I get anxiety at all, I know a good solution for that!
10K Monthly Traffic
The traffic has grown significantly compared to a year ago, gaining 47,265 visits this year (at time of writing), which works out as 3,938 per month. By the end of 2021, I want to be closer to 5 digits per month. Overall, I’d like to get more than 100,000 visits to the blog in 2021.
This is completely achievable, I started Spaghetti Traveller (my travel blog) around 7 years ago, which gained 83,387 visits this year, despite being in the travel industry in a pandemic year where nobody travelled. In fact, back in 2013 when it was in its infancy, it gained 181,094 visits!