I’ve been away for a while. This is a personal blog. It’s time to get personal.
I took my eye off the ball. What I have been doing has been important, but I’ve not been following my own advice.
I’ve been busy doing a whole load of interesting things. Set goals for the financial year ahead. Delivered some great work for existing clients. Won some new clients. Did some talks. Chaired some conferences. Read alot of stuff. Tweeted alot of stuff. Networked. Alot. All of it would have found a great home here on the blog and would have probably informed, entertained and even amused one or two readers.
But while I often thought about the blog, I couldn’t find the inspiration to get started. Blogging had become a chore.
Which is strange because I’ve got a rich body of my own content to draw on – weirdly I wrote a book before writing a gazillion blog posts and then seamlessly turning them into a book. I’m opinionated. I follow a bunch of interesting people online and read extensively.
In losing momentum, I’ve probably lost subscribers. At its height, this blog was hitting 1,000 visits a day (before syndication and social really went mainstream in 2011). I know that a lost audience is a very hard one to gain back. If this has arrived in your inbox today and you read it before deleting it, thanks for your time.
‘Moment of clarity’
I’ve had a moment of clarity, one aided by what I’ve seen online in recent months. And I’ve learnt much through not blogging – perhaps more than I did when I was actively pushing out posts 3-4 times a week (or more).
So, if, like me, you want to develop a blog based content asset, rich in relevant SEO and customer material, but have either run out of gas (like I have) or don’t know where to start, this one’s for you.
What to do when blogging becomes a chore
I’m not going to make any sweeping statements or grand pronouncements about what is to come. But here’s the way I’m going about it from now on.
1. Face it head on. Accept it slipped and put a plan in place to get it going again. Tell someone about it. I’m telling you.
2. Be realistic about how to get going. I’m not going to get back on the horse and write 5x a week. I have commitments, plus as you’ll read later, 5x a week may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
3. Focus on a specific topic. I’m not going to try and write about everything under the sun. Being a specialist is better. Pick a subject and stick to it, selecting relevant keywords to build it around. Calendars and mindmaps help organise a blogger’s thoughts. I’ve also used RSS feeds to stay up to date with news and comment in specialist areas, but now need to shop around. Always used Paper.li to condense my Twitter feed once a day and tools like Evernote to help capture ideas when on the go. Just need to make more of them.
4. Write frequently. Not every day like Seth Godin or Michael Hyatt. They’re professionals, yes, but I get their daily emails and don’t always read them! And also not every day or twice or three times a day like big brand US content marketing sages suggest. I’m going to write frequently enough for it to have a positive impact on readers and frequently enough to rebuild the platform.
5. Write evergreen pieces. Ever wonder why, when you run a long tail search, you generally get an article that might be a year or more old? It’s because it is relevant and because people (probably in your Google+ or social circles) liked it. Evergreen pieces avoid the trivial, topical day-to-day and focus on meatier issues that are more likely to stand the test of time. They are also a good deal longer and need time spending on them so they are of greater value to readers. So, I’m going to write less, but write better.
6. Deliver rich content. We know what makes for a richer experience online and we know search engine bots and people like photos, video, audio, animation, infographics, slides and more. Mix it up a bit, remembering you don’t have to be Sam Mendes directing the next Bond movie.
7. Embrace social. I’m not done when I’ve written and posted. This amazing content needs to be seen. I’m going to get back to putting it out through social networks and syndicating it to popular article sites like Yahoo! Contributor Network, trade websites, trade associations and more. I’ll see a surge in traffic from unlikely places – so will need to update my enrolment and subscription call to actions here on the blog!
8. Above all, I’m going to make it personal. I was as guilty as most other bloggers when I set out, opting to fill a hub crammed with the express intention of creating mass. The reality is most of the content on the web, uploaded and shared on a daily basis is sh*t. It serves no relevant purpose to most readers but gives the publisher the critical mass they crave whilst providing the masses content to curate – helping to build connector profiles. A vicious circle of sh*t content consequently becomes the norm.
Not for me. I want to make this blog matter. Make it my home on the web. Make it a force for better marketing and an outlet for ideas, thoughts, initiatives and more.
Maybe it’s a grand pronouncement afterall. Thanks for waiting for me.
Q: Have you had a ‘chequered’ blogging history that you now want to kickstart? What ideas do you have to overcome blogger’s block? Please share below.