Let’s say you went on a blogging hiatus, took a sabbatical, chose to travel the world, or just got down-right burnt out and overwhelmed with the blogging craze. Hey, totally fair.
For starters, be proud of those decisions, whatever they were. Some part of you listened to a voice that was speaking to you about other priorities for the time being. That’s good, you’ll need that inner-listening skill in the blogging world.
Now, you’re ready to make a comeback (or start something totally new) but you’re hesitant because you’re afraid of ‘failing’ at it again. What-ifs are encircling your thoughts (and not the good kind, the fearful kind).
image by Stil Classics
So today we’re going to talk through some tactics so you can feel clear and confident about you doin’ you. Conveniently, they all begin with the letter “c” – so I’m just going with it!
Trust me, I know the temptation to fire up a free WordPress.com blog, slap a paragraph on the ‘About’ page, and start typing your heart out. (Ahem, I’ve mayyyybe done that before – no shame.) Although there’s something to be said for “just getting started”, it will save you a lot of headaches, do-overs, and cringe moments later on.
Besides, the competition is now fierce, so if you’re hoping to get your message heard, you need to show people you put time and thought into it to produce a quality corner of the internet that’s worth camping out around. Make sense?
Spend some time with old fashioned paper and pencil jotting down some of your blogging goals, topics or categories, target reader, and how frequently you hope to hit publish, etc. Consider what areas you have personal experience or expertise in. What perspective do you bring to the screen that no one else has?
Why does your message matter?
Getting clear on your blog’s core focus should help give you a confidence boost. And still, those clouds of doubt may still hover over you from time to time. You may start to question and talk down to yourself speaking lies like:
I’m a horrible writer. – (We all have ugly first drafts, k??)
No one but my mom will ever want to read what I write. – (Not true, but thank God for Moms, right?)
Other people are already talking about this, there’s no point in me doing it, too. – (Only if that’s what you insist on telling yourself.)
I don’t have enough time to do this regularly. – (Ohh lawdyyy. That’s an objection we could all use. You have time for what you make time for.)
I’m scared of sounding stupid or doing it wrong. – (Welcome to the club. Stare fear in the face and make your mistakes – who cares – they’re truly the best way to learn.)
…Moral of the story? You’re not alone in your thinking. Be nice and gracious to yourself. If you’re still thinking about it, you should probably just go for it. Another thing I’ve learned? Confidence comes from repeated action – getting out of the stands and onto the court. Value your God-given gifts enough to take a shot!
Now that you’re feeling clearer and more confident, you’re going to want to really drill down on the type of content you’ll be producing. You should have an overarching topic or field of interest. From there, break it down into ~4-8 categories. This will ultimately be the categories on your blog page that your reader will be able to refer to and navigate for the specific type of content they feel like reading about.
For example, here my categories are copywriting, content strategy, branding & design, systems & productivity, and growth & development. (Overarching topic: Marketing & Communications for Creative Entrepreneurs). See below!
On my personal blog, they are faith, wellness, style, home & travel, and (again) growth & development. (Overarching topic: Christian Lifestyle & Wellness Content for Millennial Women)
From there, I’m not sure how your brain works, but I rarely come up with my most fluid ideas when I’m sitting stagnant at my computer tinkering with the keyboard.
They’re more likely to hit me like a freaking wrecking ball (no lie) when I’m doing the most random things – on a jog, at the grocery store, sitting in traffic, or in a group of people. The ‘Notes’ app on my phone has been my content-saving-grace more than once. I quickly jot down any in-the-moment ideas and later go back to them; revising and expanding on what I’ve already started.
From there you’ll also see if/what category they fit in and what images, graphics, or other media you have to go with it!
Consistency is without a doubt one of the most admirable goals you can have for yourself. In Darren Hardy’s best-selling book, The Compound Effect, he defines success as small, daily actions, done consistently, over a long period of time. Ironically that’s what most “overnight success” stories are actually about when you stop and take a closer look.
So don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately see your traffic sky-rocket or have people flocking to your feed. (Tough love truth.) And honestly, ads and affiliate programs won’t make you that much money, especially at first. Work on growing your audience and traffic first. More on that below!
Think about the small, daily, weekly, or monthly actions you can do to build a really strong blog and even a business over time. It will also build accountability and trust with your audience. They will start to look forward to seeing what you create!
This one is pretty self-explanatory and is really the fun part! The digital world powerfully affords us new opportunities for connection, collaboration, and community. The thing we have to always remember is that we’re still communicating HUMAN to HUMAN. Not business to business (B2B), not even business to consumer (B2C), or mysterious writer to random reader way far away.
The thing we have to always remember is that we’re still communicating HUMAN to HUMAN.
So be wary of strategies that take humanness out of it. Write from a sense of compassion to your reader – always geared towards relating to and solving their problems. A self-indulgent blog is really just better reserved for your personal journal.
Create a space or weekly habits for blogging. Do you have a specific spot in your house, a favorite coffee spot, even a day of the week, or an opening in your schedule that you can dedicate to blogging each week or so? Block it off in your planner! You may even want to start a new journal for writing things down pertaining to blogging.
Additionally, cultivating a community of your own can simply start by following new people, engaging with them, letting them know what you’re up to, and building relationships. You don’t have to wait until you have it all figured out! Be honest and open and you’ll be surprised how people will do the same in return.
You can even take it one step further and look for online Facebook groups, Instagram communities, etc. to connect with other bloggers. There’s often great conversation and people willing to help with your questions and cheer you on!
Not the kind of copy-ing you might think! I’m talking about your writing here! Basically, copywriting is the art and science of strategically delivering words to get people to take action. It’s the content that will make up your website, your social media channels – everything your reader interacts with. Your ultimate goal? Make it clear as possible! You want your reader to be able to grasp what you do within a few seconds. Sound like a lot of pressure? Keep it simple! Speak their language. Go for concise over clever and know it’s ultimately a work in progress! You can always tweak it.
If you don’t have a blog theme/design you love, now’s the time to look into doing just that! There are plenty of affordable, chic, minimal, looking themes out there like these WordPress ones, but I’m also a fan of platforms like Showit, Squarespace, and Wix.
Need more guidance in these areas? Get in touch! I’d love to chat through it with you and ensure you find the best option to meet your needs and blogging goals.
Once you go live, be sure to update all of your social media profiles, images, etc. and share the exciting news! Oh, and share it with me, duh! 🙂