About 2 years ago I took part in Hubspot’s 30-Day Blog Challenge. The challenge was based on conventional wisdom that it takes about 21 days to form a new habit – so with a bit of rounding up, they made it a 30-Day Blog Challenge and created a contest around it. At the time I was working with a custom jewelry and cause-related product company, Shanrene, and they had me helping them improve their Google rankings. Since I love a challenge and the timing was perfect, I decided to participate in the Hubspot Challenge and write a blog-a-day for Shanrene.
It was a great experience, and ever since then I go back to some of the lessons I learned that are still relevant today.
Lesson #1 – Pre-game Prep – Even if you think you are the best blogger in the world and that you’ll never run out of ideas, it’s ALWAYS important to have a schedule of topics for the upcoming month/quarter/year (depending upon how often you plan to blog). Since this was a 30-day challenge I created my entire month of topics before I even got started. As the 30 days went on I moved some posts around or changed some topics altogether, but the bottom line was that list of topics helped keep me focused on the relevant topics that would help my client gain more visitors and in turn help those visitors develop a relationship with Shanrene. My Blogging Calendar also helped me vary my posts to reach different audiences – in the case of Shanrene, we wanted to reach charitable event organizers, people that have either had or have family members that suffer from a specific disease, and then we also targeted mothers and grandmothers with our custom bracelets. My calendar had topics targeted directly to each of these buyer personas.
Lesson #2 – Just Write – Writing every day isn’t easy – life gets in the way, you’re not feeling creative, and sometimes you just blow it off. However, the 30-day Blog Challenge made me accountable to writing every day – and by the end of the 30 days my writing had improved, I developed a better understanding of writing for different buyer personas, and I just started to enjoy writing just for the sake of writing. So once you have your Blogging Calendar created, include due dates and stick to them, even if it’s the last thing you do before you go to bed that night. Also, don’t always work to write the perfect blog post. Yes, make sure it’s grammatically correct and there aren’t any spelling errors, but not every blog post you write has to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning piece (and if you need confirmation about that, just visit a few other blogs and you’ll see that not every blog post will blow you away). Write to share your thoughts with your audience, write to promote a product, write to just check it off your list – no matter your reason for writing that day don’t let perfection stand in your way of hitting “Publish”.
Lesson #3 – Promote What You Write – Whether you’re sharing your blog posts with your family on Facebook or 10K Followers on Twitter, once you’ve written a post make sure you share – you never know what topics will reach someone and end up making a difference. Even if it’s a post touting the benefits of chocolate donuts (of which there are many), don’t be afraid to send links out to the world – you never know what you’ll get back.
So, just like my twice-yearly weight-loss challenge, I’m starting my 30-day Blog Challenge again today. Funny thing is, I was going to start it on May 1st, but as you’ll see in my next post, even if you miss your first deadline, you need to just keep trying to get started – and one day you eventually will.