Post by Blog Manager, Robbi Hess
I have finally arrived! I’ve been blogging for more than a decade and now I know it all! Yes! What?! I actually met a man recently who said essentially that. He had a blog, had been blogging faithfully for years and assumed that was it. The end of the road. He didn’t have to learn because, well, he’d been prolific and he would occasionally receive a comment or two on his blog posts. Hhhmmm I begged to differ and shared with him that you never truly stop learning. Or at least you should never strive to stop learning. Why would you want to?
Here are my thoughts during our Pet Blogger Education Month on why you need to keep learning and more importantly, to determine what do you need to learn.
I love technology and I am pretty darn good at figuring things out. By trial and error I have learned a lot. There are, however, somethings that I am not well-versed in and while I would like to learn how to set up a website/blog from start to finish I am not certain that needs to be part of my wheelhouse. I do, however, need to learn how to fix issues that may arise on my site. I need to know how to back it up. I want to understand some of the html coding that resides on the backend of my posts so I can address specific issues. Would I ever take a class on WordPress 101? You bet I would. Would I go out and offer to build websites for my clients? Probably not. Writing is my forte but knowing how to fix a client website, might make me a more valuable business partner.
Words, how I love thee! I have been a lover of the written word since I penned my first book, “The Secret of the Key” for my parents. We’d moved into an old home and all of the keys looked like skeleton keys, hence the book! I appreciate the beauty of diagramming a sentence. I strive to not end sentences with prepositions. Punctuation is my friend and I always hope to use it wisely. Grammar and punctuation and spelling rules haven’t changed since I was in kindergarten, but does that mean I shouldn’t take a class on how to “write better blog posts”? I wouldn’t think so. Should I eschew a session on, “Where to get ideas?” because since I blog regularly I obviously have ideas? I would say not. Because I was a journalist/editor for a local newspaper for close to a decade does that mean I know it all about journalistic excellence and how to bridge the gap between that and blogging? Not likely.
I have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn….and I post to them daily. What more is there to know? You write words, add a photo and hit post, right? Oh so very wrong! If you want your status updates to be valuable to your readers, you need to know what they consider valuable. Do they value seeing a picture of your breakfast oatmeal? Probably not… unless you are a food blogger. Would they like to see a photo of your pet snuggled into the blankets with you? Probably, especially if you’re a pet blogger. Do you know the best time to post? Do you understand the analytics behind your social media pages? Are you reaching your ideal client? (Do you know who your ideal client is? If you had a business plan you would.) Have you ever wondered why your Facebook posts aren’t reaching the audience they once did? If you answered no to any of these questions, you need to keep learning.
I’m already making money with my blogging, networking isn’t really something I need to do any more. What?! Are you putting all of your eggs in one basket? You may have six clients today but what if they went away and you only had four clients tomorrow? Would that negatively impact your lifestyle? I imagine it would. Did you know that you should be spending at least 20% of your work week on cultivating new leads and business partners? It’s true. Why? Because you want to always have something in the funnel in case a client, or two, goes away. Also, if you’re networking you’re not only building your circle of influence you are sharing your knowledge and expertise with others — it’s a win-win.
What am I trying to say? Never stop learning. There is always something new happening. There is always a new technology you could try to master. There is always a better way to write the same sentence that will provide higher impact to your readers. And frankly, learning is fun. Why wouldn’t you join a networking group or attend a conference? Check out the agenda and program for the BlogPaws 2015 Conference that is happening in May in Nashville, Tennessee. Is there anything on the agenda that you feel could enhance your blog or your business? Do you think there might be people with whom you want to connect? A brand representative you want to meet? Pet blogging colleagues you’ve followed online but could potentially get a selfie with? Then you should put “attend a conference” in your business plan and make it a goal to attend.