If you’ve made the commitment to a blog, either for yourself personally or for your business, you ought to be commended, because for many people it’s not a small undertaking! However, before you get too caught up in all of the things that blogging well requires, consider that there are millions of blogs and bloggers out there doing this year after year. It can be done!
I’ve put together 6 very common hangups to blogging – reasons that people find to either never start blogging or to quit once they’ve started. These can all be overcome with a little patience and determination.
1. Lack of Time
Blogging successfully does take quite a bit of time. I wish there was an easy answer to this one, such as, “Don’t worry! I’ll show you how to blog well in just under 5 minutes a day!” but that’s just not plausible.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing that blogging takes time. Don’t let time alone be a reason not to commit to blogging. Find or make the time. It’s a worthwhile activity for you personally as well as for your business.
While you can’t get around the issue of time completely, you can certainly streamline the time that you spend, so that it’s not wasted.
Use an editorial calendar to plan your topics ahead of time. This will prove to be a time and blog lifesaver.
Commit to reading a set of RSS feeds that you can sift through every day or every week, at least. RSS feeds cut down the time it will take you to read through your favorite blogs and find new posts from them.
Use blogging shortcuts, such as automatic posting to Twitter or Facebook when you publish, and setting up a custom message to go to those who receive notifications of your new posts by RSS feed. That way, you can just post and move on, not having to worry about the time it takes to broadcast and publicize your new posts.
2. Lack of Skill
Don’t let your lack of skill keep you from becoming a phenomenal blogger. Blogging is a unique form of writing; unlike other forms of the discipline, there is much more latitude when it comes to personal style and flair. If grammar and spelling are your biggest hangups, then hire a virtual assistant to edit your posts before publishing them.
Some people choose to outsource the blog writing to freelance bloggers, and that is a personal choice that can be beneficial in certain circumstances.
There is so much information available to bloggers to help you learn and master skills that will be important to blogging, such as how to write a good headline, and how to design your blog well so that readers will stick around. You can also learn about the more technical side of blogging, such as what an RSS feed is and how to install plugins on your blog.
3. Lack of Reach
When you first start out blogging, your readership is going to be small and this is a challenge for some new bloggers. You will find, however, that your readership will grow quickly once you’ve gotten into a pattern of marketing and distribution that works for you.
As you begin blogging, remember to write for your readers, not so much for yourself. The more you please your readers, the more your blog readership will grow. This means that you need to invest some time and energy into figuring out what type of material will be of interest, where your readers hang out online, and how you can tell your readers about new posts.
Many bloggers believe that Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great channels for promoting blog posts. Others swear by syndicating on micro-blogs such as Tumblr and Posterous. And there are others that promote by way of blog commenting and guest blogging. Find the methods that work for you and then repeat them over and over until your readership gets to be where you want it to be.
4. Lack of Value or Income
The darkest moment in a blogger’s life is discovering or feeling that the blog is not what you intended it to be. This could mean that it’s not providing any income/generating any leads, or it could mean that you just don’t see the value in continuing with it.
Overcome this hurdle by establishing tangible goals that have a set of realistic steps toward achieving those goals. For example, if your goal is to generate leads with your blog, you will need to come up with a goal number of leads. Then, you will need to write down some things you can do to ensure that people are reading your blog and that the people reading your blog are those who are truly interested in what you have to offer. This could mean focusing on promoting your blog in a question and answer forum or joining a social network where you consistently point to articles on your blog that will be of help to the members.
That is just one example, but there are many others where this principle applies.
5. Lack of Purpose
This hangup applies to business blogging, especially. Many business owners create blogs for the sake of having them as if there is a competitive advantage to having a blog. There certainly can be, but unless you understand the purpose and potential of blogging as a marketing tool, it will not be what you want it to be.
Lack of purpose is a big reason that so many bloggers get burned out – because when you’re blogging with no real purpose, it gets old and tiring. However, when you have a clear idea of where blogging fits into your overall marketing plan, and you see yourself achieving small goals, again and again, you won’t get burned out. You’ll be inspired to keep going.
Only you can determine why you should be blogging and what the blog can do for your business. Perhaps you can use the blog to communicate important changes and solicit feedback from your customers. Or, you might use your blog to bring search engine traffic to your website, and increase the likelihood of sales that way. It doesn’t matter what the exact purpose is for your blog. It only matters that you have a purpose to begin with.
6. Lack of Vision
Similar to lack of purpose, lack of vision for your blog will cause problems when it comes to sustaining it over time. Without vision, you may find yourself publishing disconnected topics and themes, and trying to appeal to all sorts of readers who are not even part of your desired audience.
However, this is a very easy hangup to overcome. As we discussed at the beginning, an editorial calendar can save you time, but it can also keep your blog on track. If you have a vision for what you want your blog to become over time, a sound editorial calendar can help you get there. Plan ahead for what you will talk about, and be sure to be explicit about who the posts will appeal to (just make a note to yourself in the calendar). As you are writing, keep your vision in mind. If your post doesn’t mesh with your overall vision, don’t publish the post and instead, write a new one that does fit well with your vision.
For example, if you envision your blog as being the go-to blog for tea brewing tips, focus on publishing tea brewing tips! You might be tempted to write about more sensational topics or things that will generate lots of comments, but if you do that, ultimately you will not end up with a blog like you planned. Maintain the vision and stay focused.
In addition to the above, can you think of other blogging hangups or challenges you have experienced yourself?
This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a company that offers psd to html 5 service and, who also consults for a company that provides a to-do list tool. Do check out his services!