Are you busy, but trying to blog your way to success?
Lots of us have busy lives, some with one or multiple kids, lots of commitments and bills to pay. But you want to be one of those people who creates interesting, useful content. You want to be in the 20% of online people who create valuable, shareable content, rather than endlessly sharing other people’s posts. So how can you do it?
First of all it’s ok to recognise that it’s tough. That’s why only a minority of people actively and regularly continue to create good, readable posts. However it is those people that tend to attract the work, kudos, and a greater sense of achievement.
Maybe you have five kids, all under the age of 12, that constantly interrupt your train of thought during the daytime. Or a difficult and demanding job, you’d rather not be doing, except that it pays the bills while you try to move towards your real dream job.
Despite these challenges it is possible to blog yourself to the position you’d like to be in. Without making unrealistic promises, it is possible to grow your online reputation, which can subsequently be translated into tangible, real off line benefits.
This all sounds nice, but a bit fluffy, how do I achieve this?
Find your niche
Find a topic that people are interested in reading about, and something that is not already over flooded with other writers. You may then say ‘but I don’t know what that is!’ The great thing is, that’s ok. You can start writing, and sharing it with friends and family if you can’t think of anyone else to try it out on. Quite quickly, certainly after the first few posts, they’ll only be clicking on the articles that actually interest them. This will give you your first rough and ready market feedback.
Use this knowledge, from your blog stats, to create more of the posts people want to read, rather than the ones no one, not even your mother actually looks at.
At the same time as you get this real time feedback on which posts resonate with others, you also need to be growing the audience that you are putting it in front of.
Social media, get in, and get out as quickly as possible!
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, or whatever are your preferred social media outlets, are all fantastic for this, and also dangerous places to go. These outlets offer the opportunity for other people to see what you are creating, like it. Hopefully too they share it with others, and so bring you to an even wider audience.
The reason why they are dangerous is that you need to try and get in and get out as quickly as possible. Clearly you need to spend time posting your content to these sites, and also responding to any positive comments you receive (will do any article on dealing with negative comments). It’s always worth checking too if any opportunities have come up yet, they will in time!
Obviously it seems bad to criticise social media, but it is a time swamp. It will suck you in, and half an hour can go if you’re not ruthless about how long you spend on dealing with more tangential things.
Prioritise ruthlessly, have a to do list, and keep to it
One useful method, is, when you’re done for the day, make a to do list of what you didn’t get round to doing today, but really need to do next. Then, the next morning, or whenever you get your first window of free time, refer to those tasks, in order of priority, and do your best to make these the first things you give your time to. It’s immensely satisfying to mark them off your list, and helps to give you a sense of actually making a dent in all the things you could be doing.
Don’t check your email too frequently
Slightly contradictory perhaps. But check it too often, and you get dragged off to deal with new things that have popped up. Some people only look at their daily email the next day. For many things this is actually a really good idea, as, with 24 hours perspective on it, you can see what were storms in a teacup, and what were actually important. However for some of us this may seem too extreme, in this case, at least try to perhaps only check at intervals, rather than constantly and repeatedly. This is one of the benefits of not enabling emailing messaging on your smart phone, or, more controversially, just not using a smart phone (a topic for another day!).
Write your blog post offline, and even on paper first!
It is much less distracting to create your article in a word document, or even a plain text file, and then copy and paste it into your online blog post. It can be useful to have online accessibility to check facts, but, as with checking social media, those rabbit holes for your time may suck you in. Better, if possible is to get the overall article written offline, and then power up the browser to put in all the relevant links.
This previous article outlines some good sites with advice on how to improve your blogging impact. One of the featured authors also has a good current discussion about the challenges of blogging with kids and a busy life.
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