Something you all may or may not know about me; I’m incredibly disorganized. It’s not that I LIKE it when my desk is awash in paper, pens, and Post-Its, but it somehow always seems to revert back to that state no matter what I do. It’s a lifelong problem- in elementary school, the one area I could never get an “O” for Outstanding in was “keeps materials organized.” Always just an “S” for Satisfactory, or if I was having an especially rough week I may bring home an “N” for Unsatisfactory in my Tuesday Folder (who remembers those?). The point is, organization has always been a struggle for me, and I KNOW it’s affecting my business.
Back in the spring as I was preparing to leave my full-time desk job, I remember expressing to Matt the fear that my blogging was going to suffer as a result of me going full-time photography. He was confused, not sure how MORE time to devote to my business would mean LESS success for my blog, but I know myself; I knew that NOT being forced to prepare ahead of time would mean I’d become complacent. Prior to going full-time, I prided myself on my reliability- my blog was always published by 7:45 am, with links out of Facebook and Twitter by 9:15. I wrote my blog posts the night before and if I was struggling for topics, I’d use my lunch hour to sit and brainstorm ideas, occasionally using that time to hammer out a few posts to keep in my drafts folder in case I needed them.
These days, my blog posts are more often than not the result of last-minute scrambles- I wake up in the morning, realize I’ve got to write something because I’ve promised my audience I would, then write some crappy excuse for a blog post. And then I get upset that it’s not garnering enough comments/page hits/interaction on Facebook. But truth be told, if I’m going to be lazy in my blogging, it doesn’t deserve crazy awesome amounts of feedback. If I’m not giving my best to my blog readers, how on earth can I expect them to respond enthusiastically? It’s like pulling an all-nighter and doing a half-hearted job on a school project, and then getting upset when you get a mediocre grade. Sounds silly, right? If you want a good grade, put in the effort. If I want enthusiastic responses, I need to get my stuff together.
Something that’s helped keep me accountable to my promise of blogging 5x a week was the fact that I PUBLICLY declared I was going to do it. And on the days when I just want to leave my blog blank for the day, I remember my 2012 New Years resolutions. Telling others I’ll do it gives me a reason to keep up with my promise, because I don’t want to disappoint or give others the idea that I can’t follow through on what I’ll say I’ll do. So I figure the BEST way I can instill some more rigorous rules for myself would be to share them with you all! Here we go:
1. Pre-blogging: I’m going back to my “write your blog the night before” mantra. This will eradicate the last-minute scramble each morning, and will help me follow through on item #2…
2. Consistent timing: desperately searching around for a blog topic each morning has resulted in me posting my blogs later and later. I really like having my blog ready in the early morning, so unless there’s a legitimate reason for waiting until later, I’m going back to having my blogs posted to Facebook no later than 9:30 each morning. If I’ve prepared the night before, this shouldn’t be a problem.
3. Planning: I’ve been avoiding creating a blogging calendar for a LONG time. I honestly don’t know why I’ve put it off so long, I know that it would do all but eliminate the problem of not knowing what to write about- I think it’s that whole “organization” thing. But from here on out, I’m spending the last day of each month planning out my blog topics for the following month. Last night I put together a schedule for the remainder of November, and on November 30th I’ll do the same for December.
4. Blogging for my audience: becoming lazy about my blog resulted in lackluster posts. If I truly want to engage my audience, I need to create relevant, fresh material that appeals to the type of people I want to be attracting. So if I want to attract potential brides, creative souls AND photographers, I need to choose topics that I think will interest ALL of them! I’m still going to continue blogging about things that are personal to me, but I’ve been wanting to blog more project-based things for a while now. We’ll see how that one works out :).
5. Blogging identity: this is something I’ve been mulling over for a little while now. What do I want my blogging identity to be? There are a few bloggers I can point to who have that very clearly defined- Katelyn James is all about educating brides and photographers through her blog (and posting gobs of gorgeous imagery) and showcasing her own creative energy through DIY and home decor posts; Liz & Ryan are all about DOING LIFE together, so their blog is chock full of date night ideas, recipes and downloadable fun. If someone were to describe my blog, would it stand out from the mass of other people flooding the blogosphere? Or is it just more white noise in a world saturated with people showcasing their work through a WordPress page? I don’t have an answer for that, which means I need to work harder to refine what my blog’s purpose is, and then blog in accordance with that purpose.
I know this wasn’t the world’s most riveting post, but I felt like I needed to put it out there that I KNOW I’ve been struggling. Yesterday I spent several hours obsessing over my blog stats- they still haven’t recovered since I switched blog URLs back in July (as a result of my new site launch). I was finally forced to come to the conclusion that it’s no longer the result of changing my URL (which, to be fair, can impact your stats for months)- it’s a result of poor blogging practices. So instead of wallowing in self-pity, I’ve picked myself up, dusted my shoulders off, and am ready to get to work.
All that being said, if there are blog topics y’all have been hoping to see more of, feel free to shout it out in the comments section! I love getting feedback- it’s what helps me know what is and isn’t working.