I’ve Ben thinking…and I’ve Ben blogging, every day, for three months. And you could say I’ve learned a few things.
I’ve blogged off and on for nearly 13 years, going all the way back to a time before this was called blogging. My first ‘blogging’ site featured a few friends and movie quotes and was called ‘The Tasty Burger’ (yes, a tribute to Pulp Fiction). I kept that going but then started working on the ‘I’ve Ben Thinking…’ blog, on the AKHIA site, which is where we are today. I have always tried to have the topics represent my personality and interests, which includes marketing. (I tried to write about just marketing and public relations but my friends said they missed the pop culture and trivial stuff.)
I love writing. And blogging allows me to do that on a regular basis. But it wasn’t until the end of this year that I realized I need to practice what I preach and focus on a more consistent presence. So, after three months I thought I’d share a few takeaways that may or may not help you if you’re considering blogging or wondering if you should increase your frequency.
1. This is hard!! Man, I wish I could sit here and say ‘once you hit your stride, it’s simple.’ But that’s just not the case. This is hard! Especially at the end of a long day and I’m fresh off the bed time routine, with a head full of Team Oomi Zoomi songs (Super Shapes!) and Clifford books. Understanding that you have to work at your blog and leaving time for it in your day is key to setting your own expectations.
2. It’s just like working out. Those who know me are aware that I am a big fan of P90X. I’ve been doing it for four years (you can tell, right?). Because I’m on taxi duty in the morning I have to do it in the evening. And as much as I don’t want to do it at the end of the day, I know if I don’t I’m going to get lazy and a night off here will lead to a week off. Same thing with blogging. You have to have the same mindset as working out. Set a schedule and stick to it.
3. Promote yourself. Of course good content will promote itself – your audience cares about what you say and feels it’s worth sharing. However, unless you promote the fact that you are blogging, doing it consistently and doing it around a set bucket of topics, your audience will never take notice. The best way to do this is to leverage your social channels. Some of the best practices I’ve seen are bloggers who pull a few key points and send multiple tweets throughout the day. This is a nice alternative to people who send four or five tweets saying ‘read my blog, read my blog’. And it forces you to keep key topics, key points in mind as you write your blog.
4. Timing is everything. So I’ve never proclaimed to be an expert when it comes to analyzing data around the science of timing – I work with people who are far smarter than I am in that arena. But I am a student of marketing and love to see how things work. Blogging is the same way. Seeing how timing affects blog views is interesting, especially when looking at facebook. You can set your watch by it – people either start their day there (6 – 7 a.m. crowd); read it when they get to their desk but before they start work (8:30 – 9 a.m. crowd); or lunch. And as important as timing is, the best way to get a beat on this is to refer back to point three – you won’t know how or when people are more likely to read or see your posts unless you experiment.
5. Don’t go for the cheap thrill. It’s easy to see what people are talking about thanks to facebook, twitter, etc. However, attempting to connect whatever it is you’re writing about that day to what people are talking about won’t help your cause. People can see through that and your numbers will show that. Trust in your content. It sounds cliché but writing about your passions – or writing because it’s your passion – will return the best results over time.Finally, the most important thing I’ve learned about blogging is that you’re never done learning about blogging. There are always ways to get better – and you should never get discouraged. So I hope you’ve enjoyed the first three months of my renewed blogging focus – I know I have. Looking forward to seeing how this continues to evolve. Hope to hear your thoughts on how it can or should.