Monday is either a moment to cherish as a clean-slate start to the week or a millstone burden of blogslog coming up. I veer, or ying-yang, between both those emotions from week to week. However much you love your blog, are inspired by your blogging topic and however small or large your tribe, the start of a new week can be daunting. Hence, my rounding up my 5 tips to a better blogging week.
But, it can be as light, bright and inviting as the image on this post suggests. It is possible to start your week blogging with a sense of calm and order in your life. This post gives some hints at how.
I know there’s only so much time you can devote to your blog. I am in the same boat. Many of us are blogging evenings after work, after cooking a meal, putting the kids to bed and giving our significant others quality time. Time, space and peace are difficult to find, and when you do find them they may not coincide with your blogging mojo. Listen up: whichever stage you are at on the blogging road, these tips can help clarify your next steps over the 7 days ahead.
The best advice, the supremo tip I can give you is to stick to a blogging routine, whatever you find works for you – whether you’re posting once or three times weekly. Don’t, please, make a rod for your back by setting goals for the week that you have no hope of achieving.
At this point, don’t plan 6 – 18 months ahead in your blog. That is necessary but not for now. If your blogging week starts in a clutter with distractions you won’t have a hope in hell of getting 6 months down the line.
Let’s start with a single week. Make it achievable and then come next Sunday evening when you’ve achieved your 7-day goals, you can really believe that any longer-term plans to go pro and monetize your blog can work.
Let’s just start with a week at a time so you can grow into your pro blogger mindset fully.
Your Steps to a Better Blogging Week
1. Declutter your Matter
Yes, the old chestnut here: clear your desk, workstation, cubby hole under the stairs where you perch with laptop and feel free from the debris of last week! I find that I end the week with all manner of clutter hemming me in. Flyers, notes from my son’s school (which also get emailed so why the paper trail?), magazines, broken biros, old bills, mug ring marks and scraps I’ve jotted down thoughts on but not put somewhere digital, such as in Evernote or in drafts in my blog. Such is the detritus of life.
So, make a coffee, grab a bin liner and sort and cull the physical mess first, before ALL else! It takes five minutes but relieves a lot of mental stress. Sure, you can take the laptop, tablet, phablet and hot desk in a cafe’, but you’ll come home to the crap so best not put off til tomorrow what you can clear today.
2. Declutter your Mind
Part B of decluttering is to find a single focus – one clear achievable goal – for your blog this coming week. Something small and achievable. I find I’ve a huge wishlist of to-do’s for my blog each week ranging from sorting out a better email opt-in, to finding brands that might be suitable affiliate partners, to ensuring I work social media better. I’ve been putting to one side the channels I am not familiar with or not keen on. There seems to be an overwhelming blog burden on my shoulders many Mondays.
So, I just pick ONE, yes ONE, new thing to focus on each week. The rest are there in a list for sure, but one goal has to rise to the surface if I am to feel I have achieved something this coming blogging week. Mine for this week is to set up an Instagram account. It’s a social media channel I am familiar with from my food blog, but not one that I can easily understand in terms of its benefits for a service blog like this one. It does of course need some working out but it is of use as I need to reach audiences visually too. So, that’s my single new goal this week.
3.Routine is Rewarding
Finding your mojo for the week ahead is to carve a path between the routine things you need to do on your blog and tend to put off, and the new exciting new goal you’ve set above. It is just as energising to get on top of the routine nuts and bolts of blogging, and perhaps even more rewarding to accomplish. You’ll find you’ve peace of mind to create the new stuff if the machine is running smoothly in the background. I find that I need to create a 7-day plan of the routine aspects of my blog week alongside that single new goal. Here are some example days I map out:
Monday: I answer all emails and social media queries that have stacked up the end of the previous week and which I put off thinking them an aside or distracting from the real meat of content creation. Of course, the reverse is true! So now, Mondays, I make sure no contact is left hanging and unloved! Each contact, new friend, follower and subscriber is a potential sneezer, purchaser, die-hard fan and needs personal attention. It is possible to automate replies, within limits, but nothing beats a personal reply.
Tuesday: I check my social media channels and ensure all have updated posts – from curated content from other sources or re-use of my evergreen content – and schedule the rest of the week’s content marketing using tools like Hootsuite or MeetEdgar.
Wednesday: Tech day! For example, I review the backend, more techie side of the blog. Ensure all plugins are update and compatible with my theme; review new plugins that can help me optimise my blog better. I do half an hour research on latest best practice on WordPress and try to keep abreast of very simple, user-friendly tips and tech that I could do with – either premium gear I should upgrade too, like Thriveleads for optins. I tend to implement one vital premium techie plugin or service each month. Less is more but sometimes you need the comfort and the added benefits of a paid-for service.
Thurs… and onwards Each day has its plain vanilla, but extremely important routine and role. See what your blog toolkit has in it or needs to add – from social media channels to research sources – and lever on one each day to add value to your blog.
And that’s the rub of it – each day’s routine half hour to hour needs to ADD VALUE! If it doesn’t, then ditch it.
4. Plan your content
Easier said than done and there are zillions of post pages out there on content planning. But for now, I am talking short, quick-hit tips. I advise for starters going down your draft posts and seeing what is still timely or evergreen and ditching any drafts that are now outdated, uninteresting or have timed out. I find that I jot down content ideas, sometimes five a day, as soon as I have access to my blog. Most spring to mind while I’m in the shower, on the school run or doing the weekly shop! Events on the road tend to work well as content leads – the incident in the carpark, the headline on a billboard, the weather, season and so on can all be harnessed as lead-ins to a post that’s timely and hits the Zeitgeist. So long as the content beyond the lead in has poignancy and longevity in terms of value for your tribe.
But whatever your ideal number of posts each week, stick to a set output you feel comfortable not stressed by. until, that is, you can increase time you spend on your blog and also know that your quantity can match quality. Stick also to posting on regular days at regular times. Your followers will come to expect that routine and it is there to serve them more than you after all.
5. Give and you shall receive
Every month, aim to offer your followers a bonus nugget. Hang on, this is a post about weekly tips? Yes, but you’ll need to plan this over four weeks to ensure you’ve a quality giveaway worth waiting for! Plan, create, post and give-away; then start again. Make each week part of a rolling schedule of bonus content.
Why bother? It makes your followers feel special and that your blog is the place to hang out and glean the very best content – education, inspiration, information, curation, entertainment – on the subject they’re passionate about.
Now, don’t feel you need to create an entire ebook, freemail ecourse or have a physical freebie give-away each week. No, nothing of the sort. In an ideal work, with zillions of hours to spend on your solopreneur blog, and brands dropping goodies your way all the time, it would be wonderful to offer your tribe amazing bonuses each week. At the start of your blogger life, that isn’t usually the norm, but you can however try these bonus ideas.
i) PDF checklist to download at the end of a post
Spend an hour designing a simple, checklist of ‘to-do’s following a post like this one for instance! Or a prompt sheet of ‘aha’ moments for the reader to use to inspire next steps. Add a designed header graphic or photo and use your blog color palette and fonts for consistency. Try Picmonkey for the graphics.
Record a 5-minute Periscope that introduces or summarises a longer post you have on a single topic – or recalls a post you’ve already written way back. This is an easy way to revive old posts and make them live again. Fans get a unique piece of you in short videos like Periscope. I find Periscope less intimidating even if I can’t edit it. You might prefer other recording techniques like Camstudio.
These are fun special bonus content and a great way to get more clicks on your site from social media. There are easy-to-use infographic templates out there – see Canva.com for some. Jot down an aspect of your blog topic or a single post topic and then around 7-10 points you can make about it that leads users through a sequence or storyline. For example, if you’re into home baking, try an infographic about baking your own bread – there are the physical steps to place as a timelime or you can do an infographic about types of flours and their health benefits or even emotional benefits of making your own bread. Or if you’ve a parenting site, you could find something like ‘7 myths of teens’ use of social media’. Infographics can be complex, self-helping, instructive or just entertaining. They are easily shared and make a restful, visual break from textual content. Try one as a way to garner social shares; while content not bonus content per se, infographics are social sharing gifts from you to your users as they are quickly scannable and often amazingly succinct in giving advice.
iv) ebook / ecourse discount
If you’ve already a paid-for product, give a lightening discount for a week only. This works best if there’s a seasonal or personal reason to discount: ie, BlackFriday, Thanksgiving, 1st May spring deal, Easter surprise, or similar. I’ve even seen people give discounts on the anniversary of their blog – one year on etc.
v) Go Glocal
While you’ve the potential for a worldwide audience, it’s quite OK to give special deals with local or national brands you might work with. For one week only, have a new subscriber giveaway. On my food blog, I once had a magazine subscription discount as a giveaway. Delivery was only within the EU but it was worth the promo as it raised awareness that my site was a place for quality, targeted brand deals and it gained me long-term fans. Choose the right giveaway treat with the right brands and you’ll enhance your blog’s status not detract from its quality.