I love setting realistic, long-term goals. As a blogging coach, I love teaching other bloggers how to do the same thing.
There’s a specific reason why I teach bloggers primarily about Pinterest and SEO over just social media brand building.
Both Pinterest and SEO take longer than instant gratification on social media, but they are the most reliable when it comes to quality content that will stand the test of time.
Learn these 10 Secrets to SEO that will help improve your content rankings on Google within a few weeks
There are two things I enjoy doing a great deal.
The first is blogging
Now, this is very different from writing. And I have no qualms about the fact that, over time, I’ve learned to become a more strategic blogger.
That means I take my time to determine if what I write will actually help another person. In addition, I keep things such as readability, structure and search engine optimization in mind.
Now, some people may find this going against the grain of traditional blogging- where you just put your thoughts down on the screen.
To be completely fair, I enjoy that kind of blogging a lot, which is why I have a second blog devoted exclusively to writing creative non-fiction, fiction and poetry.
But, in my mind, traditional blogging and blogging with an intention to help an audience are inter-connected.
It’s very exciting to write content that is both from the heart and which will simultaneously be found on Google through search terms.
That’s what happened with a lot of my earlier content on Parenting on this blog, particularly this one about having the puberty talk with your tween or this one about the best summer activities for kids.
And I’d like to believe that is what I bring to my content on blogging, social media and productivity too, both on the blog and in my weekly newsletter.
The second thing that I love is coaching
Teaching other bloggers how to blog strategically is what I enjoy doing.
My specialty is helping bloggers build an engaged, organic audience; and that takes time.
I also highlight that making money comes a bit later in the blogging game. That’s not because I think making money is impossible; I just believe that in order for it to sustain in the long run, a loyal audience comes first.
In fact, in this interview with Saranya Ramanathan, it’s particularly striking to note that she makes a full-time income based purely on Pinterest and SEO traffic.
That means not only has she understood her audience well. She’s also taken the effort to create content that will meet that need, while staying true to her core focus of writing posts that she enjoys.
In today’s article, I am going to give you a free coaching session on the art of blogging regularly, finding the time to do it, standing out in a sea of bloggers and enjoying the whole process.
- Handling Blogger Roadblocks
- 5 Biggest Challenges Most Bloggers Face
- Finding Solutions to Blogging Roadblocks
- How to Find a Writing Rhythm
- How to Find Time to Blog Regularly
- How to Handle Social Media Distraction
- How to Handle Shiny Object syndrome
- How to do the Difficult or Hard things as a Blogger
Handling Blogger Roadblocks
Over and over, in my one on one sessions I observed that many bloggers had one major road block: Blogging regularly.
For them, finding time was a challenge and more specifically, trying to make all the blogging pieces fit together was overwhelming.
They either liked blogging or they liked graphic design or they preferred social media; but most of them did not like all of these things put together.
And nearly all of them hated the technical upkeep of the blog in terms of plugins and updates.
So, in mid-July, I sat back and thought hard about this quandary and how to solve this particular challenge.
In my mind, there are multiple pieces to blogging:
- Choosing what to write about
- Actually writing the content
- Finding the right images
- Formatting the text so it’s readable on digital devices
- Working on SEO (both on page and off page)
- Promoting it on Pinterest and your social media channels
- Regular maintenance of the blog
There is a sequence and a flow to the entire process. And if bloggers actually stuck to this, it would actually make blogging itself very enjoyable.
But most people look at that list above, get cold feet, waver and then take refuge in the space of comfort and on the path of least resistance. In other words, they start blogging, lose interest because it’s ‘too much work’ and start scrolling through their social media feeds because it gives them instant gratification.
So, my main challenge was to help bloggers find a rhythm that would work for them.
I then looked at the various challenges that bloggers faced when it came to devoting themselves to blogging.
5 Biggest Challenges Most Bloggers Face
Finding a steady writing rhythm
My task: How to help people create a system that would make blogging at once fun for them while being of relevance to their readers
Lack of time
This is the most standard complaint I hear: ‘I don’t have time or energy to blog at the end of an exhausting day.’
My task: Share simple time management and personal management tips that would help people overcome this hurdle.
Distraction offered by social media
My task: How to ensure that people stay the course when it comes to blogging and not be distracted by social media and shiny object syndrome
Inability to follow through on goals
For instance, let’s say you buy a blogging course, but you don’t see any results because you don’t follow through on the tips provided.
My task: Help create a system where goal achievement is both possible and enjoyable.
Distaste for specific tasks related to blogging
My task: How to make time for the hard work that goes into keeping a blog sustainable in the long run and helping people overcome the mental block associated with the work.
Finding Solutions to Blogging Roadblocks
Now, this won’t be easy and they certainly wouldn’t all happen simultaneously.
So it’s important to keep that in mind before you expect grand or instant resolutions to your blogging challenges.
In my mind, if I could break it down into smaller chunks for my clients, then the bigger picture would become simpler to grasp.
And so, I began looking for specific solutions to each challenge.
Depending on what you think is your biggest roadblock from the list above, feel free to skip directly to the section where I talk about the challenge and its solution.
To start understanding this, if I had to choose one thing to explore and break down, it would be the writing.
How to Find a Writing Rhythm
The most important piece of the puzzle was on how to make writing a source of joy first.
Because, if a blogger does not enjoy the writing process, blogging can become a chore.
And let’s face it, bloggers must learn to love the art of creation if they have to do it for a long, long time.
As a coach, I always believe that putting myself in the client’s shoes is paramount when it comes to solving the challenge before me.
So I began writing 21 days ago on Medium and I had only one core intention: Write regularly and build a daily writing habit.
Of course, it didn’t need that many days to build this particular habit, but I just found myself enjoying it so much that before I knew it, 21 days had elapsed.
So, why Medium? There are three reasons that I believe hold many bloggers back from blogging on their own blogs and which Medium makes simple:
- Medium eliminates all the hard work from blogging: the SEO, the formatting, the structure. These things just became second nature because it’s an easy, flexible structure.
- You don’t have to spend money on hosting. You just need to pay a fixed fee every month for the Medium membership.
- Writing on Medium feels easy; the word count seems more achievable.
Now, the good news is that Medium helps you get back into the writing habit and you don’t have to spend money you may not have.
The really interesting thing that writing on Medium will do for you is to help you realize if you have what it takes to be a consistent writer.
The downside is that Medium, by itself, is not a complete solution to the bigger challenge: Blogging regularly and having your own space on the web.
My biggest learning, and what I observed from other people who’d written about this topic as well, was this:
Medium makes things very simple; too simple, in fact.
When you take the hard work out of the equation, you’re providing instant gratification. So while writing on Medium is easy and fun, it’s not the same as writing on your own piece of internet real estate: your blog.
And whom does Medium ultimately benefit? The people who own the platform; not you, the creator.
Make no mistake; you do not truly have control over the content you publish on Medium.
This post by Tim Denning, who incidentally enjoys a massive following on Medium, is precisely what bloggers need to read.
I now write on my personal blog first– Tim Denning
Solution to the Writing Roadblock
- Write regularly on a platform like Medium to hone your writing practice and build a steady writing habit; but don’t make it your default writing or blogging space.
- Stick with it for at least 3 to 4 weeks to see if you have what it takes to write on a self-hosted blog.
- Do not write anything on Medium that you intend to publish on your own blog in the future. In other words, avoid duplicate content.
- Once you’ve built the regular writing rhythm, move over to your blog; in fact, you can do it simultaneously, if you choose. But this is a decision I leave to your personal choice.
How to Find Time to Blog Regularly
There are two questions I hear very often from blogging clients:
A) ‘How do I find time to blog? Most days I am exhausted and don’t feel like blogging!‘
B) ‘How do you manage to blog, handle e-mail, answer questions on the Facebook group and run a household?’
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this topic, of course.
Long-time readers of mine would be familiar with my post on how I use time blocking to work on my blog every week.
But I am going to share some specific tips that I implemented in the last 3 weeks which will make it much easier for you to overcome this challenge.
Solution to the Time Crunch Roadblock
When I began writing on Medium, the day before I began, I chalked out a daily schedule.
I knew that I typically sleep by 10 PM and wake up around 5.30 AM.
So I had to factor in time for different tasks through the day.
I first drew up broad categories and labelled them ‘Self Care’, ‘Work and the Blog’, ‘Study’, ‘Social Media’, ‘Cooking’, ‘Housework’ and ‘Family’.
The idea for this actually came from Anuradha Sridharan’s post on Instagram which she then expanded upon, in her blog post on how to budget your time.
I then took it a step further and broke it down by half hour and one hour time blocks through the day.
Using this template, there were 6 things that I managed very effectively in the last 3 weeks:
A) Writing everyday on Medium
B) Creating pins for Pinterest and pinning them daily
C) Increased my daily water consumption
D) Read more books (Kindle and paperback both)
E) Worked out regularly
F) Worked on my blog
How did I manage it? By keeping this spreadsheet open on my laptop through the day. It was as simple as marking the habit as ‘done’ in the row for each day.
The key to remember here is that every template and schedule that you see online is just that: a guideline.
Your schedule would be markedly different from mine, depending on whether you have kids, how old they are, whether you have a full-time or part-time job apart from blogging and if you have any other responsibilities in addition to housework and cooking.
The only thing that I recommend is to figure out how much time you can devote to the blog each day and then stick to it.
Can you spend 2 hours per day? An hour? 30 minutes?
But make that time sacred and stick to it, no matter what.
The only way that will work is if you put it on the calendar and then get into deep work mode.
You can, of course, sign up for my weekly newsletter and get a copy of a similar time schedule sheet for yourself.
That can be edited however you want and it includes a video on how to use the time tracker.
How to Handle Social Media Distraction
Many of my clients (and maybe you too) have a love-hate relationship with social media.
You know it’s addictive but you cannot break the cycle of staying away from the platforms.
Net result is that you spend more time on social media and lesser time on your blog, creating content.
You know that thing about events happening when they are meant to happen?
That’s precisely what happened two days before I began writing on Medium.
The Digital wellbeing app on my phone showed my that I spent the maximum time on the Instagram app every day. This was time I could have been spending on other pursuits such as blogging, writing, studying or just a good old hobby like reading.
And it wasn’t the Instagram grid itself, but the Stories, IGTV and the tendency to scroll that were my undoing.
Removing the Instagram app was the first thing I did and I cannot begin to explain the world of difference it made to my day, in terms of distraction.
That time sheet above as well as my daily writing output on Medium should be proof enough.
So the key here is two-fold and keeping these answers to these questions at the forefront will really help:
A) How does social media distraction affect your life as a blogger?
B) What can you do in the time that you remove this distraction from your day?
Solution to the Social Media Roadblock
- Identify which of your social media apps are the ones that suck you into distraction. Declutter your phone. Follow this detailed tutorial on how to clean up and declutter your phone.
- Remove the app from the phone. Do it. Trust me. Nothing will happen. Your account is still there. You can access it from the desktop.
- Set aside 30 to 45 minutes a day to visit your social media platform where your audience is most active. Engage with people, leave comments and reply to Direct Messages.
- If you’re spending longer than an hour on social media per day, remember that is more than 6% of your waking hours! Keep this number as a reminder on your phone and your desktop.
- You can also go ahead and declutter your social media. This is a long-ish task so you don’t have to do it right away. Just budget for 15 to 20 minutes a day to go and clean up your accounts. Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to get started cleaning up your social media accounts.
How to Handle Shiny Object syndrome
Goal setting is one of my favourite things in the whole world.
Keeping actionable and practical goals are key to consistent blogging growth. But many people are sidetracked from their goals by shiny object syndrome.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog.
In my 12 Week Pinterest roadmap, I outline the depth of work and the patience involved when it comes to using this platform.
But in my experience, most bloggers give up around the 4-week mark or get frustrated when they don’t see the results that their peers are getting in the same time frame.
They then quickly slide back into spaces which do give them instant gratificiation and that’s either posting on Instagram stories or scrolling through their Facebook and Twitter feeds.
But here’s what you need to remember about results:
They take hard work and they take time.
Solution to Shiny Object Syndrome
- First, draw up a clear set of goals. Then pick just one goal from the list to focus on for the next 90 days. This detailed tutorial will help you form your goals.
- Next, figure out what you want to do right now, to make the long-term goals possible. I went ahead and created a Now Page as a constant reminder of what my focus needs to be for the next 5 months.
- Identify what your biggest procrastinating habits are and work on tackling them effectively.
- Study this detailed guide on how to avoid and overcome shiny object syndrome.
- Keep a printout of your core goal on your work table and look at it every morning and every evening. This visual reminder is a great trigger when you feel tempted by things other than your goal.
- Everytime you veer away from your goal – open social media/ browse news websites- gently guide yourself back to the task at hand. This may seem difficult in the beginning, but over time it becomes easier to get into deep work mode.
*Check out this list of productivity tools to keep you focused when you are doing intense work.
How to do the Difficult or Hard things as a Blogger
I’ve heard this complaint so many times from my clients and students.
“I just want to blog. I don’t like WordPress maintenance, updating plugins, ensuring my site is secure and the million other things on my to-do list!”
“I hate designing pins. They are SO HARD to get right and I don’t want to waste any more time on this!”
This isn’t new, by the way. I’ve heard it many times across multiple blogging groups on Facebook and Twitter even before I became a blogging coach.
Here’s the truth and I want you to pay close attention to what I am going to say:
Doing the Hard Tasks will Set you Apart as a Blogger
Have you ever wondered why some bloggers are always successful, get consistent page views and a loyal, engaged audience?
It’s because they don’t shy away from doing the hard tasks.
They don’t particularly enjoy it either, but they know that if they want to make a dent in the blogging scene, it’s going to take way more effort than what every other blogger is doing out there.
Solution to the Hard Task Roadblock
- Start by setting aside one day in the week to learn how to do the hard tasks in your blogging arsenal. Just one day a week is enough to start with.
- Hire a coach to walk you through the important things to keep in mind when it comes to blog maintenance. (Details of my coaching sessions are available here)
- Have some money set aside? Hire a Virtual Assistant to handle some of the tasks that you don’t enjoy doing. From answering emails to maintaining your admin dashboard updates to designing pins, there are VAs available for everything.
- Don’t use social media as a distraction tool; all this does is to move you away from the important tasks and you’d end up with a larger backlog than ever.
There are many ways to make your blog stand out in a crowd. But it’s the ones that show up consistently, without distraction, creating quality content who will leave a mark on the minds of their readers and their audience.
Are you up for the task? Let me know in the comments. 🙂