Most similar sites probably get close to your 3K a month. Those 100K a month sites are either something very unique or valuable, or have invested quite a bit in promotion either paid ads, professional SEO assistance.
At least the one article I checked also appears on many other sites, creating actual original content rather than using news feeds or scraped content would be rewarded by the search engines. Aggregater sites just recycling others content have a much harder tine getting ranking.
Looks like you are doing a lot of he right things, though free directories may have very little SEO value these days, too high percentage of such links in your profile may look spammy.
One of your biggest backlink sources, promdraws.com seems to be down (database errors)