Home News Chicago Southsider Celebrates One Year Anniversary! A Look At The Results

Chicago Southsider Celebrates One Year Anniversary! A Look At The Results

The first year of Chicago Southsider: Popular posts, social media efforts, and lessons learned.

Chicago Southsider
Chicago Southsider

On Thursday, August 11, 2022 Chicago Southsider turned one year old. A little over a year ago, I sent the first post, and shared my vision for this newsletter and the South Side of Chicago.

There were less than 50 subscribers. Today, I’m sending this email to over 5,000 subscribers in Chicago and beyond.

I had no idea how I would spread the word and bring more attention to the great things happening in the community.

But that didn’t stop me from giving it a try.

I took advantage of tons of coaching opportunities.

I participated in journalism workshops.

I called other leaders in this space to brainstorm.

My numbers weren’t showing the success I wanted, but I kept going.

I played around with ideas such as Six-Figure Side Gigs, Weekly Events Calendar, Scholarship Saturdays, Small Business Owner features, history highlights, and lists featuring the best of Chicago’s South Side (as chosen by our readers).

I knew the community and the world needed to hear more about the best of Chicago’s South Side.

So I kept going. And now Chicago Southsider is celebrating its one-year anniversary.

Before we step into year 2, I think it’s important to step back and reflect.

The purpose of this anniversary post is to look back at the numbers behind the first year of Chicago Southsider: popular posts, social media efforts, and lessons learned.

I hope this behind the scenes look at Chicago Southsider is somewhat illuminating and helpful to both my readers and other newsletter writers alike.

But first: what were the top 10 articles?
So, without further ado, the top 10 Chicago Southsider posts from year one, based on total content views between publication (8/11/2021) and the one year anniversary (8/11/2022):

10) Chicago Southsider Guide: Top Children’s Books By Black Authors, As Chosen By Our Readers (507 content views, December 27, 2021)

I always enjoy sharing the work of other South Side writers. This time I highlighted children’s books by Black authors. Instead of creating the list on my own, I asked Chicago Southsiders to let me know about their favorite books written by Black authors.

This was published after Christmas, providing many with last minute gift ideas that could be purchased for friends and loved ones.

Would I do it again? I want to make sure I’m adding maximum value. If I do it again, I would probably publish something like this a bit sooner. I haven’t started creating my content calendar for December, but I am considering creating lists that can help others plan their shopping list.

What do you think? Should I do this type of story in December? Leave a comment below and let me know.

9) Chicago Southsider Gig Guide: 22 Companies Hiring Writers in 2022 (586 views, December 31, 2021)

I struggled to find writing gigs when I started my freelance writing journey, so I wanted to make the process easier for others. I was happy to see the views from this article. I hope it led to extra income and more employment opportunities. That was the goal.

If you found this list helpful or are looking for freelance gigs, let me know. I use reader feedback to determine what I should write and what gets eliminated from the editorial calendar.

8) ‘Let Us Banish Fear’: How Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History Month, Preserved Black Excellence (729 views, February 1, 2022)

I had ambitious goals for Black History Month 2022.

I went on Amazon and purchased several books about Chicago’s South Side that I haven’t cracked open yet. I quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to do everything, so I had to focus on a starting point.

I kicked off February with the Father of Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson. I also attended multiple historic tours at the Wabash YMCA Historic Tour, located at 3763 South Wabash Avenue, to walk the footsteps of Carter G. Woodson in Chicago.

7) Take a Break From Adulting with the 40+ Double Dutch Club (1,129 views, September 6, 2021)

I love highlighting the great activities and personal stories of leaders on the South Side of Chicago.

This was one of my first interviews for Chicago Southsider, and it captured the story of 40+ Double Dutch Club founder Pamela Robinson.

6) Chicago Southsider Six-Figure Side Gigs: 27+ Free Certification Trainings That Can Boost Your Income in 2022 (1,366 views, January 13, 2022)

At the top of the new year, I shared free certification opportunities with my readers to prepare them for a prosperous 2022.

I want to continue doing stories like this, but I have to nail down the top topics and needs of the community to make it count.

5) Top Black-Owned Vegan Restaurants on Chicago’s South Side, As Chosen By Our Readers (1,412 views, July 9, 2022)

Where are all my fellow vegans at? I’m vegan, so I’m always looking for a restaurant to add to my list. I shared my research with Chicago Southsider, and was surprised by the results. I didn’t expect this to be on the list of top articles, but y’all fooled me.

More vegan articles? Well, November is World Vegan Month so I may have something lined up. Stay tuned!

4) Top Black-Owned Games You Can Add To Your Holiday Shopping List, As Chosen By Our Readers (1,497 views, December 15, 2022)

This was a holiday hit! One game creator reached out to me and said that she has been featured in nationally-recognized magazines, but has never seen the level of support that Chicago Southsiders have given her. The article drove sales to her games and brought more awareness to the products.

I was so excited to hear this. Please keep the success stories coming.

3) Southside Grinds is the Newest Black Woman-Owned Coffee Shop in Chicago (4,853 views, September 19, 2021)

I went to Boxville for food, and ended up at the Grand Opening for Southside Grinds, which was one of the newest Black-owned coffee shops in Chicago last year. I had the chance to capture behind the scenes footage and interviews, which I hope to share in videos. You can check out some of the content on my Facebook page here.

2) Chicago Southsider Six-Figure Side Gigs: 27 Companies Hiring Writers; Labor Report Shows 199,000 Jobs Added in December (5,236 views, January 7, 2022)

This was published during my test phase of six-figure side gigs. The beginning of the year seems like the best time to publish pieces like this.

1) Remembering Chris-Tia Donaldson, Founder & CEO of Thank God It’s Natural (TGIN) (5,686 views, November 15, 2021)

My top article of the year was a tribute to Chris-Tia Donaldson.

I never met this amazing woman, but there were so many moving words shared on social media about her. Her passing was so unexpected for many because her billboards and work was seen everywhere on Chicago’s South Side. There’s no doubt that her legacy will live on, and I’m honored that Chicago Southsider had the chance to pull the pieces of her story together and share her impact with the world.

Social media efforts
I need to do a better job of keeping track of this, but here’s what I discovered so far:

  • Facebook: Reposting my articles does not yield a ton of engagement. Same thing with regular posts — unless I’m talking about Harold’s Chicken. But I have to figure something out because I’ve returned to my vegan roots. My most successful posts are LIVE videos where I share hidden gems. I’ll be doing more of that. Here are a couple behind the scenes posts with my great-aunt and I. She turned 81-years-old and I’m so happy that I get a chance to share that.
  • We celebrated my great aunt’s 81st birthday.
  • Instagram: The reels have been the winner for me. My reels get thousands of views so I will keep going in that direction to share all of my content. There’s someone who needs exactly what Chicago Southsider offers, but they have no idea we exist yet. My goal is to ensure that Chicago Southsider adds so much value these next 11 months that people are so excited to get their newsletter on Saturday morning.

The big question: what did I learn from publishing Chicago Southsider?

How much time do we have? I can go on and on and on. Here are just a few that come to mind now.

  • Teamwork makes the dream work. I had to hire an assistant and get other people on board to make the vision for Chicago Southsider possible. Producing a weekly newsletter is a ton of work, so you have to love what you do to keep going. The process becomes easier when you have others on your team who can support your vision and all the ideas that won’t stop pouring into your head.
  • Develop a content calendar. It’s time-consuming coming up with articles to produce from scratch every month. Towards the end of 2021, I created a content calendar to bring some sanity to my life. I committed to doing a weekly calendar of events and releasing it on Saturdays. Now, it’s time to create a new content calendar.
  • Test your ideas. Every idea won’t be a home run. And that’s ok. The goal is to test your ideas as fast as you can so that you can get data. The numbers will tell you if you should do more or less of it.

I’ll leave you with those lessons learned for now. I hope to share more in future newsletters.

Now, it’s time to plan for Year 2. Here are my top priorities:

  • Grow my social media efforts. I’m going to focus on Instagram and Facebook for now. I have 4,554 followers on Instagram and 6,100 followers on Facebook. I know that I have to increase those numbers to reach more people.
  • Develop more strategic partnerships on the South Side of Chicago. If you want to partner, send me an email at support@ceounlimitedfirm.com.
  • Provide a ton of value. Please let me know how Chicago Southsider can add more value. I want to hear your ideas. I’ve been tapping into the history of Bronzeville, sharing scholarship information, and featuring businesses. What else do you want to hear about?

Thank you so much for reading Chicago Southsider.

I love reading your comments and email replies, and always appreciate it when someone reaches out to tell me they loved a particular post.

Hope to see you all around the city for another event where we showcase the best of Chicago’s South Side.

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