This is the second post in a series this month on sharpening your blogging habits. If you missed the first post you can catch it here:
I scrapbooked several years ago. When I first discovered scrapbooking, it was a fun, creative outlet. I learned dozens of ways to present a photograph. I always ended up with a story on the page (of course) as well as all the bells and whistles of pre-cut decorations, pop-up shapes, different colored markers, etc. Some awesome scrapbooks developed that we still have fun reminiscing with at holidays.
I liked scrapbooking, but after a while it didn’t seem as fun. It seemed more like work. The scrapbook supplies on the table moved to a shelf, then into a storage tub, then into a closet. That’s the pattern for many of the interests I’ve pursued. Sometimes it becomes hard to stay consistent with something, even if you like it.
Blog Habit #2: Blog On A Consistent Basis
If you are like me, I get very excited by the ‘shiny brand new’ of a project, but once it’s old news, I start to lose interest and if I don’t work at it, I lose the motivation I had for the project in the first place. This phenomenon is very common in the blogosphere. People decide ‘I’m going to have a blog!’ then after the shiny new wears off, they don’t stick with it.
Some statistics bear this out: There are no specifics on the number of blogs started and then abandoned (sometimes called orphan blogs) but only 20.9% of all blogs that exist are currently active. 66% of all blogs have not been updated for two months since their last post. If we don’t want to become a statistic, we have to learn how to keep our motivation.
Each time you blog you program yourself to do it until it becomes a habit. The satisfaction of posting and getting feedback reinforces your blogging habit. You should blog on a consistent basis because you can only build a loyal readership if you show up. Even if you have the most interesting and quality blog posts, if you don’t post consistently, you can’t gain a loyal following of readers.
What is consistent?
Although you’ll get lots of different advice for blogging frequency, the answer is the schedule that works for YOU. What everyone else is doing is not necessarily what will work for you. I used to post 5 times a week, but found it was too much of a commitment. I have a good groove with 3 days per week. For some 1 day per week is your ideal frequency. Whatever you choose, stick to it and aim for quality.
7 Keys To Blog Consistently
Key #1 Make a topic list
Check out my post Make Your Blog Ideas Stick for ways to gather ideas. If you have trouble thinking of topics to write about, revisit your audience definition. Piggyback off other blogs, meaning expand on an idea someone shared on their blog. Make sure you give a link to the original blog. As your teacher used to say ‘No looking over shoulders!’ Blatant plagiarism is a no-no. Heidi Cohen gives some more advice on getting blog topics:
Key #2 Use a blog template
This single tip has revolutionized my blogging efficiency which means I’m more likely to have a positive outlook and continue blogging. Work out a structure for how you will write a blog post and use it each time you blog. It will help you stay on topic and be efficient with your writing time. I got this idea from a blog post by Michael Hyatt:
Key #3 Calculate your time commitment by keeping a blog timelog
Time how long it takes you to write a blog post which includes any research, gathering links and images as well as how long it takes to load it into your blog platform. Keep a log for about 3 posts and you can see the average amount of time it takes you to write a blog post. Then…
Key #4 Schedule your blog writing as a separate activity
Once you know about how much time it takes for you to write a quality blog post you can schedule separate time for it. If you are a writer, don’t dump it into your ‘writing’ time because you will have to choose which writing gets the priority. You will more than likely choose the writing that is your main focus or source of income. Your blog will become an afterthought. Give it its own appointment on your business schedule.
Key # 5 Set up a blog editorial calendar
If you are a ‘pantser’ or spur of the moment person you can always change it, but if you have a basic plan you can fall back on it when you aren’t in an inspired mood. I have a very simple blog editorial calendar. Check out these posts for more inspiration on blog editorial calendars:
- Develop a Plan To Find Success from Robert Lee Brewer
- Blogging For The Long Haul from The Daily Post
Key# 6 Focus on the conversational aspect of blogging
Remember when you defined your audience? Think about that ‘ideal reader’. Your blog is a conversation. You share, your readers share. The person you are talking to is waiting to talk to you. Remembering this will help you push through on the days blogging may feel like drudgery.
Key# 7 Don’t make blogging an option
Don’t give yourself an out, as in ‘I’ll try to write a blog post if… all the universe aligns and a bright light draws me to my computer with an enlightening message for all mankind’. Yeah, not going to happen. Blogging is work for the most part and if you only showed up to work when you felt like it, you wouldn’t last too long on that job. At the same time don’t overdue it and feel chained to your blog. If life happens, it happens. Aim for balance.
Following these 7 keys can give consistency to your blog. When readers see you show up, it translates to a commitment to bringing fresh content, and they will show up as well. Combine that with quality posts and you have the recipe for building a successful blog.