Whether you’ve just created your website or you’ve been blogging for a while, developing certain habits will increase your chances of blogging success. Start working on the three following objectives, then pop back next week for a guide to coming up with ideas for blog posts and creating your editorial calendar. You’ll want to go through this part of the series first though, so jump in!
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Organise your inspiration
Remember part one when I asked you to think about why you want to blog and which blogs inspire you? Well it’s time to re-explore those thoughts. If you haven’t gone through part one, just have a little think about:
- The messages you want to share with the world;
- What you like about the websites you’re familiar with.
Next step is to get Feedly. It’s a free way of organising different “feeds” you want to follow. Here we’re going to focus on other people’s blogs, but you could also use it to keep up to date with YouTube channels for instance.
Once you create a profile, you can add an extension to your browser which allows you to add new websites to your feed(s). Which blogs do you enjoy reading? And which websites do you find yourself checking regularly? Start by adding them to Feedly.
Then you can create categories – distinct feeds – in Feedly. Mine follow my interests and the main themes of my website: happiness & success, people & places, common good, food & fitness, reading & randomness, and style (coming soon on the blog!). But feel free to do whatever makes sense to you, e.g. “nice design” or “writing style I love” feeds. The objective here is three-fold:
- To provide you with inspiration when creating your own content (more on that in part three next week);
- To start being part of the blogging community by commenting on and sharing other’s posts;
- To give you something to share with your social media followers.
Get out there and be social
If you landed on this blog post, odds are you are some form of social media platform. Some people are on many platforms, while others only have a few favourites. I’m not asking you to join all the platforms out there, but rather to improve what you are already doing and to shake things up a bit.
The idea isn’t to spend your time mindlessly scrolling up and down news feeds, but to be strategic in sharing content in order to increase your blog’s reach. So here are three goals to gently step out of your comfort zone:
- If you’re not doing so already, try to share a photo on Instagram every week for a month (and beyond). This shows (potential) readers the real you “behind the scenes”. And it’s also an exercise in vulnerability and getting yourself out there. Working on your photography skills isn’t a negligible side benefit either.
- Create a Buffer profile – the basic one is free – and connect it to the social media platforms you like. The idea behind Buffer is that it distributes the content you share over several days. You thus maintain a presence online with minimal effort.
- Add your blog’s name and address to all your social media accounts! Yep, it might be early days, but you want people to find it and read it, right?
The more strategic effort you put in, the more visibility you will get out! Below’s an example of an Instagram picture that got quite a lot of engagement (it was shared to Facebook too). Just share things in your own voice – for me that involves emojis, but you do (a brave version of) you!
I've just had a beautiful "aha" moment. 💡 These past few days I've been feeling very inspired by The @Magnolia Story (#selfishpresentfortheboyfriend – get it here: http://amzn.to/2yb0sCq), as well as reading blog posts by @smarttwenties. 📖 I'm loving starting my (full time!) PhD but my "side hustle" juices have really been flowing recently. 💭 On my post-research run today I was listening to a brilliant podcast by @danamalstaff and then a leaf fell on my face! Tadada… Not only do I generally believe this to be lucky, but this was my favourite leaf! #treedork 🍃 I'm the kind of superstitious optimist that sees all signs as good signs. At this point it's not the runner's high anymore, I feel like it's time to take my side hustle projects to the next level. ✨ This past year I've been laying the foundations of my empire through my blog at www.jessicagoodenough.com. 😉 And while I want to keep the website domain in my name, I would like to make the blog its own entity, with its own name. So this is where I need your help… 💻 Do you prefer: a) The Goodenough Life, b) Living the Goodenough Life, c) How to Live the Goodenough Life? Please tell me in the comments below! 💖 xxx #inspired #blogging #sidehustle #runnershigh #superstition #optimism #mapletree #itsasign #nextlevel #buildingmyempire #nextstep #ladyboss #vulnerability #showingup #longpost Sent via @planoly #planoly
Write every day
This isn’t as scary as it sounds, but it is very important. Blogging is all about writing. If you want to share your message with the world, creating a daily writing practice will both be very useful and very enjoyable! Here are few ideas to put pen to paper:
- Journal every day: at the end of every day, jot down what you got up to. It helps to have an encouraging journal to do this in.
- Write morning pages – this is my favourite one. The idea is to open a notebook and keep writing until you get to three pages, no censorship and no editing. I find this a really helpful way of getting my thoughts out of my head and of figuring out “what next”.
- Draft a few blog posts. You could aim for at least three pages per post – just start writing a list and see where your mind takes you. It will help avoid the “blank canvas” feeling when you want to type up your next blog post.
If you’re not sure when to fit these new habits in, examine your daily routine. Could you wake up 15 minutes earlier to write a bit? Or make it part of your bedtime routine? Could you take pictures on your lunch break? Could you share relevant content when you’d normally reach for news feeds for distraction?
- Organise your inspiration with Feedly: read, comment on and share other blog posts.
- Put yourself out there: complete at least one of the three social media goals above (bonus points for all three!).
- Start a daily writing practice and tell us about it in the comments below.
Please share this post (with Buffer for instance) if it was useful to you. And please tell me how to find your blog / social media accounts in the comments below!