Another day, another blog post, am I right? Sigh. Is there a point to pet blogging? Is anyone reading your posts? Your Google Analytics aren’t revealing any trends. No one is commenting. Is it hard to stay motivated in your pet blogging endeavors when you feel like your efforts aren’t garnering any eyes on the page? Is it even harder to stay motivated when it’s the dog days of summer and your friends and family are out enjoying the weather and kicking back relaxing?
Give yourself permission to want to step away from the computer more frequently than you usually might; stepping away usually kicks motivation back into higher gear.
Reward yourself with an afternoon or a weekend off. I hazard a guess that you could poll any number of pet bloggers and uncover that they, too, get into the doldrums at times. Whether summer lures them from the keyboard or the cold, blustery days of winter have them lolling around on the couch rather than churning out blog posts, it is something that will likely strike you at some point in your pet blogging career. Cut yourself some slack. Take an afternoon off. I’ll bet you come back to your blog the next day with renewed vigor. Remember, if every word you write is a slog through quicksand, you’re better served to walk away until you’re fresh and re-invigorated.
I do urge you not to take the entire summer off. Sure, you can batch write posts that go live while you’re out of the office, but if you get out of the habit of “live” blogging you may find it difficult to get back into the habit once summer is over. Batch write if you must, but I do urge you to write at least one “live” post a week, just to stay in the habit.
Keep your regular routine. If you have children, it’s tempting to sleep in during the summer months when they don’t have to go to school. I urge you to keep to your regular blogging routine. If you’re accustomed to getting up at 7 am, continue to do that. You “train” yourself to work at particular times, and throwing off your working start time could actually throw off the rest of your work habits. Sleep in on the weekends, but keep your work schedule throughout the summer.
Reach out to your pet blogging colleagues. There is nothing better than a “crabbing session” with a fellow pet blogger. Pick up the phone and let them know, “I am so unmotivated right now. I just want to go swimming and the hell with this blog!” I’ll bet they will either give you a kick in the pants and re-energize you or they will say, “Oh, yeah. I hear you! Let’s meet for coffee!” If you don’t live close enough to your colleague to grab a coffee in real life, get on Skype and have a virtual face-to-face over a cup of coffee or wine… your choice! It’s okay to take time off for yourself. In fact, getting out of the house might inspire you because you may come across new blog post ideas while you’re out. Knowing that you’re not alone in your malaise will surely make you feel better about yourself.
Don’t feel like writing new content? Re-purpose an old post. Put on your make-up, brush your hair and set up your computer or smart phone to record and turn a blog into a series of videos. Have a blog that has bullet pointed or numbered tips? Take that post, record an intro and use each of the bullet points as a stand-alone video. Voilà–new content without much effort. Play around in Canva or PicMonkey with one of your blog posts and turn it into an infographic. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel and write new content; you can reinvent the content itself.
Use an editorial calendar. Hey, you knew this hack was coming, didn’t you?! Your editorial calendar will keep you motivated because you won’t have to stare at the blank screen wondering, “what am I going to write about?” because with your editorial calendar, you have already determined that–months ago–when you were motivated.
Analyze your blog. Take the summer downtime to analyze what’s working on your blog, what’s not, what you can do more of and what you should do less of. Drill down into your analytics to see which posts are getting read. Determine where your traffic is coming from: organic, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Understand what keywords your readers are using to find you; they may not be the ones you think they are. Update your keywords if necessary to help your site grow organically. NOTE: You may have been using the keywords, “poodle groomer in California” when your readers are searching “dog groomer in California”; it might make sense to use “dog” rather than “poodle” in some of your posts IF you do indeed groom other breeds. Don’t change your keywords and your blog niche unless it makes sense to you. It is good to understand how you’re being found, though.
Look at the blog topics you’ve written. Do some get more comments than others? Can you find a trend in the blogs that get comments compared to those that don’t? Are your how-tos getting comments, but your DIYs are not? Do your longer posts seem to have more engagement than your shorter posts? Do videos draw more traffic? Knowing what the people want, helps you give them more of it.
Show up for work. Yep, it’s hot and humid here in New York, and there is the urge to just don a tank top and shorts, pull my hair into a clip, skip the make-up and toil away. I don’t, though. I get dressed, and sure sometimes “dressed” is shorts and a tank top, but I do my hair and I put on make-up. I treat each day in my home office as though I were working in an office with other humans. I never know when a client will call and, honestly, being dressed makes me feel more professional when I am conducting a phone interview than if I was lolling around in a swimsuit!
Remember why you started blogging in the first place. When motivation is ebbing and you can’t remember why you wanted to be a blogger, pull out your blogging business plan and look at your mission and vision statement. You started your blog for a reason, right? Remind yourself of what that reason was on those days when you want to throw in the towel. If you don’t have a business plan, take time right now to write down your mission and vision for your blog. Was it to make money? Inspire others? Extol the virtues of a particular breed or species? Share your expertise in a niche? Knowing why you started will help keep you moving.
Do you feel your energy ebb and flow? What do you do when it’s ebbing? How do you embrace it when it’s flowing? I’m sure your fellow bloggers would love to know!
Robbi Hess is an award-winning author, full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter.