Is Blogging Your Jam?
Successful blogging requires a large time commitment and a great deal of sweat equity. Blogging doesn’t just stop after you write and publish a blog post …
As you have gleaned from the above statement, being a blogger encompasses more than writing and publishing blog posts. In fact, if you let it, blogging can consume all available hours in your day. What do I mean by “available”? Oh, if you have to ask … you are in danger of being consumed by “The Blog.”
If you cannot commit to a consistent amount of work following the publication of each blog post, I would suggest to not take up blogging — or at least do not let your income depend on it. On the other hand, if the blog begins to consume your every waking thought, that is not healthy! To thrive as a successful blogger, you must find that sweet spot between spending too much time on your blog or not enough.
Part of the commitment in blogging is coming up with fresh topics to write about every week — or in my case, twice a week. Here are some of the ways I choose topics:
- Share a quote that resonates with me and write about why it does
- Provide tips for readers to use
- Share a playlist and why I created it
- Talk about my experience with a product or service
- Describe the services my business can provide — it doesn’t hurt to do this again periodically!
- List and define terms in my field or niche
- Compile a list of useful resources
Scheduling Time for Follow-up …
Below is a look at several follow-up activities most successful bloggers implement after they’ve published a new blog post. Each of these takes thought and planning, logging into various social media platforms, going back into your older blog entries, etc. Basically, the follow-up activities take time. Because time is a finite resource, each blogger must decide how much time they will devote to follow-up activities. If you are a professional blogger, and your entire work platform is blogging, then you can devote all your time to that pursuit. My primary business is graphic/web design and virtual assisting, while blogging is a marketing tool I use to develop and grow my business. Therefore, my time for blogging follow-up tasks is limited. Some amount of systematic follow-up is essential, however, and cannot be overlooked if you want to grow. Consistency is important here!
Before we dive in, just a small note about terminology: Some bloggers refer to their follow-up activities as “marketing the blog.” Because I use my blog to market my business, I do not want to get tangled up in “marketing the marketing.” So, I am using the term “follow-up activities” to describe what I do after I write and publish a blog entry. The purpose of these activities is to increase my blog readership and develop a community — ultimately to grow my design/VA business. For me, added bonuses are the kindred souls I meet and the friendships I build along the way!
Immediate Follow-up Tasks …
- Create a series of posts to share about your new blog entry on social media. In my case, this includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Bloglovin’. Because you’re posting in several places about the same blog entry, you need to take care that those posts are not identical. For example, if you use the blog’s headline for one post, you might use a quote from that blog entry for another post. If you created an image or infographic for your blog, you can post that on Pinterest—or on any social media, but not posting the same image or graphic several places at once. You can also pull a few quotes from your blog entry and use them to create stand-alone graphics that you can post on social media.
- Schedule a planned release of the various social media posts you created in Step 1. Many bloggers use one of the software tools created for this purpose, but I do not. Using a tool for scheduling social media posts makes them less visible. You get more “reach” if you schedule or post directly from the social media platform. So, I create a series of posts and schedule their release. Each day that a post is scheduled, I log into the specific platform and post it. Because I follow a set schedule of publishing two new blog entries a week, my schedule for releasing the corresponding social media posts is usually the same from week to week. That keeps it all from getting too complicated!
- Share the link to your new blog entry within your Facebook and LinkedIn groups in your subject area. This is not the same as sharing the link on your Facebook page. This task assumes you have already joined like-minded groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Some groups do not allow self-promotion, so you need to understand the rules of each group to which you belong. Ideally you can find discussion groups filled with members like yourself who are interested in the topics that you write about in your blog.
- Go back into your older, related blog entries and incorporate a link to your newest blog entry. This tactic, called interlinking, is most fruitful if you are aware which of your previous entries were viewed the most times — and are related to the topic of your newest entry. Interlinking can drive more search engine traffic to your blog. Legitimate interlinking is a way to help your reader by referring them to related content within your blog. When you published the new blog entry, you may have included links to a few of your older, related blog entries in the new one. This follow-up task does the reverse.
- Include a link to your new blog entry in your next email newsletter. If you don’t regularly publish an email newsletter, then send a brief email, including a link to your new blog entry, to your email list. This kind of email is really just a teaser, a mechanism to reach out to people who already follow you and provide them with a link to your blog entry. In the email you can encourage them to share the link with others, so ultimately you will reach new readers who are not on your email list.
- Look over the Google Analytics for your recent blog posts. Like the analytics that come with your social media pages (such as Facebook), Google Analytics tells you how people are getting to your blog with each new entry you publish. With this information you learn where to find more readers and where to concentrate your follow-up efforts. A good rule of thumb is to wait about a week after publication to study the analytics for a new blog entry.
- Expand a list into a series of individual blog entries. If your new blog post included a list such as “5 Ways To …” or “6 Reasons Why …” — could you now write a separate blog entry about each item on the list? Turning one entry into six is a great way to repurpose your content and keep your viewers coming back for more.
- Always respond to comments you receive on your blog. If you receive comments that you deem to be spam, you can delete those. I do feel strongly, however, that a blogger should respond to any legitimate, relevant comments.
- Ask another blogger to share your new post. Ask if they would be willing to share a specific entry you have written if you feel it is relevant to their blog. You can offer to return the favor. I would only initiate this exchange with a blogger whom I respect and whose opinions I value. Be sure the other blogger agrees to include a note at the top of their post saying “this article originally appeared on … ” with a link to your article (otherwise, search engines could view it as duplicate content). You should also be able to include your author bio — great visibility!
- Turn your post into a Facebook ad or boost the post. You can target specific groups of people. The ads are not expensive, and if you target the right groups/demographics, you can generate traffic to your blog.
- Repurpose your blog post by developing a YouTube video or podcast from it.
Ongoing Maintenance Tasks …
- Refresh some of your older posts with new information. Specifically focus on those that have had the most views. Do you have new insights on a topic? Does one entry contain outdated information that you could update? Any time you do this, be sure to include a note (with the link) that this is an update to a previously published entry.
- Read and comment on other blogs in your niche. Contributing thoughtful comments can be a way to build a relationship with other bloggers and grow name recognition for yourself.
- Write occasional guest posts for other bloggers. As you continue to blog, you’ll develop relationships with other bloggers who share your interests. If they welcome guest posts, you’ll be able to include an author bio and a link back to your blog.
In Summary, How Much Time DO You Have?
Bloggers must make tough choices about how much time they can devote to the blog itself as well as the follow-up activities for each entry. For example, if I work about 45 hours a week, and devote one quarter of that to blogging, that means I plan to spend about 11 hours per week on my blog. Those 11 hours must be parceled out across research, writing and follow-up tasks. I publish 2 blog entries a week. If I allocate 2 hours to write each entry, that will take 4 hours a week. That leaves me 7 hours a week to cover the follow-up tasks for 2 different blog posts each week.
Yes, blogging requires doing the math, LOL!
To be a successful blogger, you must determine how many hours per week you can devote to the follow-up tasks of blogging. You may find it is tempting to cross that line and devote extra time to these tasks each week. Be sure to set a limit on follow-up, and abide by it, or you will spend all your waking hours feeding “The Blog.”
Looking for ideas on what to blog about?
Stay tuned for a new post that will include 50 blog post ideas for you to get the motor running!
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