I’ve started so many blogs that I’ve lost count. And every time I did I was convinced that this, this was going to be the one that I’d keep going. Yet, like so often in life, intention didn’t seem to lead to success, in large part because we’re so bad at predicting our own future moods and desires. Desire fades and slowly what once seemed absolutely pertinent takes a back row seat to the other things going on in your life.
In the end, I found that you can’t push a blog on desire alone, because:
1) ‘Want’ alone is not enough
We want a lot of things in life. Yes, we want to write our blogs, but we also want to relax in the evening, we want to see the newest show on television and we want to meet the person of our dreams. All these wants are competing within us for our attention and on one day one will come out on top, the next day another will.
There needs to be other emotions involved. ‘Need’ is a great one. For example, if we’re trying to make our living through our blog, perhaps because we’re using it to sell something, or because we’re trying to promote our product, then the blog moves from something that we would like to engage in to something we have to engage in.
This will serve to keep pushing you on those days when you’re not in the mood, or the words aren’t flowing, or when you’d rather just kick back and relax. And if you can push past those days often enough then the blog starts building a momentum of its own.
Of course, to get there you first need to create a need, so make certain that your blog is in some way relevant to something else in your life – be it your job, your self-worth (e.g. you care deeply about the fact that people respect your opinion) or your status.
2) Have a concrete schedule
I’ll write ‘somewhere tomorrow’ or ‘next week’ is not good enough. These kinds of deadlines are far too easy to push off. Instead, you’ve got to take the time to pick a date and a time and make it impossible for yourself to forget. This will make it far harder for you to push it back. Similarly, make certain that you’ve got a specific time that you want to post your blog posts and then stick to it.
This last part has been made a lot easier with modern software where you can actually track what day of the week and what time of day is the best for you to post. By knowing this, your scheduled posting time becomes far harder to ignore, as you’ll know that you’ll lose readership if you do. So make certain that you use this kind of software.
And don’t forget to use it to track when your readership is online either, as it can also help you figure out what your readers want so that you can cater to them. Of course you shouldn’t make everything depend on this, you still want to at least try and enjoy what you’re writing, but you can at least let it steer you and thereby enhance the success of your blog. There’s nothing wrong with that.
3) Set micro goals
Another good strategy to keep yourself going is to set goals, as they’ll give you something more to work towards than that far down the road desire for fame. These smaller goals serve as reachable targets to aim for and which will be satisfying once you’ve achieved them. For example, you might decide that you want to write about a certain theme, be it politics, world-issues or a new product you’re going to be pushing through your company.
A goal has to be concrete and measurable. For example, you can set an actual number of posts you’d like to write about that theme. So if you’re trying to promote a new book you wrote, than maybe say that over the next two months you’d like to write eight posts about how to write a book – which you can then use to plug your new book. The great thing about hitting that ‘eight’ marker is that you feel that you’ve actually accomplished something and that can be very motivating. Heck, you can even use the success of these micro goals to do something you want, like buy a new product or go out for a night on the town.
These goals don’t just need to be about number of posts, either. They can be about some reader target, shares, or something else, as long as it can be measured. You also don’t need to have only one goal running at a time. Have several and track them somewhere that’s easy to access, so that you can mark them off as you complete them.
None of us want to write in a vacuum. For that reason it’s vital that you don’t just write your blog, but find ways to advertise, so that you can increase your readership and therefore increase the satisfaction you get from you blog (as well as the guilt you feel from not publishing and satisfying your audience, which is a great motivator in and of itself).
This should be just as much a schedule and concrete practice as your actual blogging. For example, Monday I publish at 2 PM and push my new blog on Facebook and Pinterest. Tuesday I re-link to something I wrote three weeks ago. Wednesday I hit the social media again – this time twitter and Reddit – with the post I wrote on Monday. And so on.
Yes, occasionally things become on the internet on its own merit. That is rare, however and you really shouldn’t be using that as your blogging strategy. Take it from somebody who has tried and failed.
5) Cooperate and share the burden
It’s ironic that even though most of us blog in order to connect and share with other people, it is such a lonely activity. To avoid that, work with other bloggers. This can either mean that you decide to team up and work on the same site, you guest blog for each other, you agree to comment frequently to help boost each other or you just talk about blogging to get new ideas. All of these things have merit and can give you extra motivation in your moment of need.
It doesn’t end there, either, as they can serve to motivate you in another manner, namely through fear of disappointment. If we’ve got somebody else who reads, comments and talks about what we’re doing, then we’ve actually got somebody we can imagine when we’re worried about disappointing somebody – when that person is concrete it is a far more effective motivator.
6) Guest blog
A lot of us guest blog to draw in a bigger audience, but have you considered allowing other people to guest blog on your site to reduce the strain? Now obviously you shouldn’t just allow anybody to guest blog and you should edit their work stringently – after all people make a lot of mistakes that can be avoided – but if you’ve got the right structure in place, it can be incredibly helpful. It can give you some breathing space, it can give you new ideas, and if you’re suitably impressed with their writing style, it might give you a new buddy to write with, like I outlined above!
7) Consider having a ‘boss’
And finally, consider the best motivation of all, somebody who you’re accountable to. The idea here is that you share responsibility for the blog, you write and they advertise for example, or you write and they sell whatever you’re pushing. In this way, it’s not just you who depends on you posting when you’re supposed to, but they do as well.
As they’ve got something riding on you posting on time, they’ll get cross if you don’t, which can be a fantastic motivator for you to get your butt in gear. Though you might not like it, nothing works quite as well as getting motivated based on an obligation. Take it from somebody who’s finally managing to blog successfully and continuously.
What are some of your best kept secrets on ensuring you’re blogging consistently?
Share in the comments below!
Daniela McVicker is an author, psychologist and educator. She believes that success depends on knowing the ideas that allow you to manage and master the universe of information. To know more about her catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.