Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
Just as we always tell our blogging community, “You need to always be learning,” I just returned from Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. The conference is two and a half days jam-packed with social media sessions that range from how to use Twitter better, understanding analytics, gaining mastery of the various social media platforms and the opportunity to make connections and network with like-minded colleagues. These are all opportunities available to attendees at BlogPaws 2015 as well.
When I am preparing to leave my (home) office and travel to a conference I know I will need to get work done ahead of time that I won’t have time to address while I am gone and I also know that when I return it will be a couple of days of playing catch-up before I feel like I am back on track.
How has my recent time away taught me some valuable blogging life lessons? Here is what I gleaned from fellow conference attendees and from sessions I attended:
- If you feel you’re going off course, change direction. I don’t imagine your blogging plan is so set in stone that you cannot change it. If you find that the direction aka niche you originally planned to pursue is either no longer your passion or not bringing you the traffic you desire, make changes and find a new direction. Don’t let your blog efforts falter because you’re unhappy with the original plan. Shake it up.
- The work is never done. Yes, I worked a lot of extra hours prior to the conference and I am working a lot of extra hours after and that proves the point that your work is never done. You can’t rest on your laurels or hope that your blog readers will still be there if you’ve taken a lot of time off. If, for some reason, you find you won’t be able to blog for a while, put up a note on your blog and let your readers know, for example, “Personal issues have come up so I have to step away for XYZ number of days/weeks BUT I will be back!” This lets readers know what’s going on without sharing your entire life story. If, however, you want to be successful with your blogging, you need to know it is a continual process so be prepared for the work that goes into it.
- Uncover your hidden talent. Until you started blogging did you ever imagine that you could be such a content creation machine? Did you ever see yourself fiddling around in the back end of a website figuring out html issues? Would you ever have though you’d go outside your comfort zone and speak at a conference or even attend a conference? It’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it!
- Time/goal management rules. Without a plan and a to-do list and an editorial calendar I can almost guarantee that you will not accomplish all that you want to. Writing down your goals will help make them happen. Setting your to-dos in paper or on a virtual calendar will hold you accountable. Believe me, I know how easy it is to simply sit down in front of the computer, poke around on Pinterest and then realize the day has sped past and I have not written blog one. Sigh… but having my daily to-dos and my weekly goals written down keeps me on task.
- Value the opinions of others. Yes, it’s true, the entire world does not think the same way that you do. There are myriad opinions out there and not all of them will mesh with yours. Gasp! You need to embrace that fact and be prepared for a time when you pen a blog post and someone either takes you to task or starts an argument about your opinion. Be professional. As long as you are firm in your belief you can embrace it and you can embrace the differences that others bring to your blog.
- As the popular saying (and line of books state) “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I am not, personally, a big picture thinker. I see the small steps that it takes to get to the big picture but sometimes I get so immersed in the small steps that I lose sight of the end result. I know there are people who can see the big picture but simply can’t see how they will get there. Know your strengths. I know that because I am not a “big picture thinker” I need to run ideas past those who are so that I can more easily implement the steps to achieve that big picture.
Has blogging taught you any lessons about life, time management or being tolerant of others’ opinions?