If I were really smart, here's how I'd approach the upcoming Ultimate Blog Challenge and blogging more consistently in general.
1. Set clear goals and know what my definition of "blogging success" is.
Why are you blogging? Do you want to generate more traffic? Find your writing "groove"? Prove to yourself you can do it? Create content for an ebook/print book/special report?
Define your goal so you can measure your success and stay motivated. Many business bloggers give up because they aren't seeing results--or they don't think they are because they're not sure what to measure or how blogging plays into their bigger business and marketing plans.
2. Brainstorm post ideas now that support my goals.
If my goal is to generate more traffic then I'd look to write the kind of posts that do that. I'd be planning to really focus in on my headline writing (great headlines = clicks from social media).
If my goal is to create content I can use in an ebook then I'd start by creating an outline of my ebook so I can break it down into small chunks that I can write about a 300-800 word post at a time.
Success may be 31 posts and completing the Ultimate Blog Challenge, but it could also be another goal that you can meet even if you don't hit 31, or in addition to hitting 31.
3. Create a blogging calendar to get organized.
Organization is key to success! I'd print out a month view calendar that I could scribble topics on and plan out my content for the month so I know which days I'm blogging about what. I might change the plan as I go, but having a plan makes it MUCH easier to get to the goal.
4. Write at least a few posts in advance, and block out time to write the rest.
If I start now, and save a few posts as drafts or get a couple of posts scheduled, I'll have a great jumpstart!
Blocking out the time I'll need on my calendar is important, too. If I want to write more in July than I did in June, I need to make sure I've got the time scheduled.
5. Put a "fall back" plan in place.
Life happens. Plan now for the days when things get crazy.
- Get in touch with a few bloggers who you'd love to feature and invite them to guest post. Get their guest posts loaded into your blog and ready to publish.
- Think about a colleague you could interview and write up questions, then send over with an "oh pleeeeease can I interview you for my blog?" email.
- Browse YouTube or Ted Talks for a couple of videos and bookmark them or add them as post drafts.
And with those steps done, I'd be ready to go! Might even have more time to really interact and get to know the other bloggers in the challenge.
Now the question is... I know what to do... how smart am I going to be in my approach to the Challenge this time around?
How about you? What "smart" steps do you take to help you stay consistent in blogging or complete a blogging challenge? Do any of the above strategies work for you? Anything you haven't tried yet but will?