This is the 1,649th post on this blog since the middle of December 2007. There are 14 articles here written by other people, which means I’ve written a ton. On my business blog I’ve written around 1,230 articles to this point in 10 1/2 years. I’ve written tons of articles on my other blogs, and for other people’s blogs.
Why am I telling you this? I run into people all the time who tell me they don’t know what to say or what to blog about? I run into tons more blogs where people either write articles infrequently or have decided to bail, leaving their blogs in the vapid miasma of blogging perfidy; go ahead, look that up. lol Continue reading 9 Reasons You Need To Keep On Writing→
Usually on this blog I post on Mondays and Thursdays. I did that the two weeks before this one. The week before those two I had a post every day, as I was doing a survey and wanted to try to maximize the coverage as much as I possibly could.
There’s this thing about trying to keep on a consistent schedule so that your visitors will always know when to expect content from you. I’m not going to disagree with that because I can’t say for sure whether or not it’s true. I tend to believe that what’s more likely is people who like your content and visit your blog are more apt to be looking for new content whenever they visit, unless they’re stopping by daily. I know almost no one who’s doing that these days.
I do know a few people who are sticking with a schedule, but it’s a once a week thing these days. My buddy Adrienne has a new post every Monday, but once a month she releases a guest post. My buddy Peter writes a post every Friday, though these days it’s known as the Friday Funnies. So, I know when to check those folks out, and that is the part about understanding when people are releasing content you want to check on.
But what about… well, pretty much everyone else? Is anyone really paying attention to my Mondays and Thursdays? For that matter is anyone really paying attention to my Tuesdays and Fridays when it comes to my business blog?
No, I don’t think so. These days I notice that I get fewer consistent visitors to the blog. If there are more, they’re not commenting so I don’t know about it if they are coming more consistently than I know.
Actually, that’s not quite true. If I believe my Google Analytics then I know that the percentage of new visitors is 58% and returning visitors is 42%. That’s actually pretty good when compared to my business blog, where the percentage of new visitors is 78% compared to 22% for returning visitors.
Based on the comparison of the two, does anyone really think the difference is based on schedule?
I had a post ready to go on Monday… then decided I just wasn’t in the mood to release it. I wanted to make an educational point by not posting it, and then decided to let it sit until next Monday so I could comment on it today.
There’s always a lot of advice regarding posting frequencies, and of course having a set schedule so your audience knows when you’ve got something new coming out. I tend to believe in two things regarding this.
One, unless you’re going to write a lot, it’s better to write as many posts as you can but stagger their release so that you have consistent content going out, rather than having a day where you put out 3 posts and then don’t release anything again for a month.
Two, if you’re not someone who writes posts in advance and you’re feeling pressured to meet a deadline… unless someone’s paying you for it don’t worry about deadlines when it comes to your own blog. I think some kind of consistency is definitely needed if you’re serious about blogging. However, if you want to write a post a day or a post every couple of weeks, or if you usually have a post go live every Monday and Thursday but one of those days you’re just not feeling it… it’s fine. You’re okay; everyone does it.
So, there will be a post on Monday. I’m not guaranteeing a post next Thursday though. Why? I just might not be in the mood. 🙂
Something that’s rare for me is writer’s block. Whenever I’m ready to write something, most of the time I think of a theme, give it a little bit of thought, and start writing. I’ve got to tell you that feels pretty good.
However, I’m not a machine. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to write on a topic that’s popped into my mind. If I can’t flesh it out I don’t want to put out total garbage. And sometimes I just don’t have anything new; it happens to the best of us.
Every once in a while I just skip a post. Nothing wrong with that except I hate skipping posts on Monday; if I skip the second post of the week I’m okay with it but I hate missing the first one.
Therefore, when I need to find something to write about, I do a few different things. As I said it’s rare, but I have these things to fall back on that I’m going to share with you.
1. Visit some of your favorite blogs and write on something one of them touched upon.
I don’t want you to copy what someone else has said. Instead, either write a post agreeing or disagreeing with what someone else has written. Basically it’s a long form comment that you’re writing for your blog instead of leaving it on someone else’s blog. Just make sure you link back to the other blog; whether you’re yay or nay on what they wrote, they’ll appreciate the link.
2. Visit blogs you don’t normally visit and do the same thing.
In this case, you’re going to throw some love at someone who you might not know. What you can do is go to Google, search for your topic and add “blog” to your search term. There are tens of millions, if not hundreds of million blogs, so there’s probably not a topic you won’t find. As a courtesy here and on the first one, it wouldn’t hurt if you found a way to let them know via Twitter that you’ve talked about them & linked to them.
3. Scan the news for your topic.
If I want to write about blogging, I can bet there’s a news story every single day somewhere about the topic. Often there’s some kind of top 50 or 100 blogs in some category that’s fodder for commentary, especially if I’m not on it… did I just say that? lol Anyway, you can go to Google again, put in your search term, and once you’ve hit search you can choose the news link that’s normally on the same line that images is.
Book reviews are always pretty cool, especially if they touch upon one of your subjects. Sometimes they won’t, but I write book reviews here when people send me their books. If you’re also creative you can find a way to take a book and turn it into your niche topic.
5. Think about something in your day and relate it to your topic.
I once wrote an article comparing blogging to traveling through airports while I was sitting in an airport in Washington DC on a 3-hour layover. It just seemed to fit, though I’m betting a few people thought it might be a stretch.
6. Write about a favorite fictional or historical person and relate it to your topic.
A post of mine that four years later seems to be very popular is one I wrote on my leadership blog talking about the leadership qualities of Harry Potter; yeah, I’m a big fan of the series. lol Matter of fact, months after I wrote that post I was contacted by en entity in the Philippines and asked if they could use it as an educational article for one of their middle schools; that was pretty neat. I’ve written about a lot of fictional characters and leadership including Charlie Brown and Kermit the Frog; people like that because they can relate.
7. Think about an event that occurred in your life and write about that, relating it to your subject.
All of us have something that happens in our lives every day. Often it’s pretty mundane but sometimes there’s a bit of significance in it, along with a lesson. I wrote one of those types of posts in July when I talked about ethics in social media based on a conversation I had with this kid in Germany and his personal attack against Serena Williams that caused a bit of a scandal for a short time after she’d won Wimbledon.
8. Write a compilation post of some kind based on a seminal date or event.
This one should be easy because you might already have all the material you need on your blog. In case you need an example you can check out my post talking about 15 lessons from 1,500 blog posts or 55 tips about blogging which I wrote highlighting my 55th birthday last year.
9. Do an interview post.
By the way, have I mentioned that I’m looking for people to interview me, either on their blogs, podcasts or videos? Regardless of if I have or not, interviewing people who talk about your subject or pretty much anything else always ends up being a double benefit. When people like being interviewed they’ll help you promote your post and if you do it well, which means your questions aren’t boring, it can be pretty cool The thing about them is that the other person is doing all the work, so this one should be easy.
10. Whenever you have an idea, save it in your posts area.
I get ideas at the weirdest times. I get so many that I used to forget a lot of them. So, first I started carrying a 3×5 index card spiral bound notebook so I can write things down when I think of them. Then when I get home I’ll create a new post, pop the ideas in and then save it as a draft. That’s actually where I got the idea for last week’s post about marketing products you didn’t create, as it was on my mind earlier in the week while I was on the road. Ideas coalesce well with reminder words and phrases.
That’s 10 ideas; do you have any others? I hope this helps some of you on your way to continuous blogging.
If you’ve seen anything I write on blogging you already know that I’m big on commenting on blogs as a strategy for driving traffic back to your blog. I’m also a fan of commenting on blogs just for the sake of doing it; it’s probably my biggest pastime in life (so I have no other life; don’t judge me lol).
There are lots of bloggers out there who will tell you that if you want to grow your blog or get noticed that you should concentrate on commenting on blogs within your niche. There are also a lot of bloggers who will tell you to never leave comments on blogs outside of your niche, and to remove all links someone leaves on your blog that don’t have to do with your niche.
My word on that… bunk! Sure, there are some websites you might not want to be associated with that promote things you disagree with. That’s fair, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about someone who might want to know what your topic is but maybe works in an industry like windows and doors or life insurance. Those folks are interested in lots of different things, and maybe you have something to offer that they like.
At the same time, I doubt there’s anyone I know who’s only interested in one thing. Even people writing all the time about making money online have to have other interests; if not, then why do they need the money in the first place?
Want to know something else? Commenting only on blogs in your niche doesn’t always work. Truthfully, it rarely works for most niches. How do I know?
First, the disclaimer; I can’t find the blog post where I did a test and talked about it. So you’ll just have to take my word on this one.
About 3 years or so I wanted to see what would happen if I commented on 10 blogs about leadership. That’s what my business blog is mainly about, and I’m listed on the Alltop leadership page also. I’m putting that out in case you didn’t know that or haven’t seen any of my recent posts about my latest book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy.
Anyway, what I did was comment on 10 blogs listed on that page that had what I call traditional WordPress comment areas. Since it’s a topic I know pretty well I thought it would be interesting to see what happened.
Out of the 10 blogs I commented on, only one responded. Not only that but half of them put my comment into moderation and never released it. Overall 8 blogs put my comment into moderation but at least the other 3 posted it… eventually.
Still, 3 years later all the other blog authorities are telling bloggers this bit of information and I have a feeling their only test for it happens to be in their niche. Heck, if I didn’t have other niches I might think the same thing. After all, writing about blogging and social media gets lots of traffic and comments because we understand we’re a community.
But in niches that aren’t traditional blogging circles… what would most bloggers know about that?
That’s where I come in. Since that other test was about 3 years ago, I decided to run another leadership blog test a couple of weeks ago. This time I decided to comment on 20 blogs, but I didn’t limit it to WordPress.org blogs. I added WordPress.com and Blogspot blogs to the mix. I still don’t like any of those other commenting systems so I wasn’t going out of my way to play with those folks.
My working theory was that nothing was going to have changed from the previous time I tried it. Was I wrong or right? Let’s look at this in the context of 5 reasons niche commenting might not work:
1. Out of the 20 blogs I commented on, I got a response on only one. That one comment… “Thank you Mitch.” Does that really count as a response? Come on bloggers, y’all know that if that was a comment on your blog you’d probably delete it unless you knew the person.
2. If I include the blog above, my comment showed up officially on 4 blogs. All the others are still showing me that they’re in moderation, which means I might not know if they ever get approved or not because I’m not going to continue chasing them down.
One of the gripes I always have about bloggers who moderate comments is that sometimes they take a long time before going back and even looking at comments, let alone approving them. Trust me, it’s worse in niches that aren’t what I’d call “blogger friendly”.
3. Out of all the blogs I commented on, only 2 of them had the writer of the blog respond to any comments at all. On one of the blogs there were 7 comments before mine but the owner only responded to one comment… and it wasn’t the first one, in case that came to your mind. Why that one comment? No idea, but I thought I’d point it out. Truthfully, most of the blogs had no comments on them before mine… if mine ever shows… unless we’re all in moderation.
People who really aren’t skilled on the concept of blogging don’t know that they should be responding to all comments, especially comments where the person put some thought behind it. That’s why I write about it all the time.
4. Only one of the blogs I commented on was ranked higher than my business blog. That’s saying something because my business blog isn’t ranked as high as it used to be. Where I think these folks are failing is that they haven’t done anything to try to drive traffic to their sites.
This means no articles anywhere else, no guest posting, no commenting on other blogs… just content that’s sitting there waiting for someone to come by. Actually, I wondered how these other folks ended up on Alltop to begin with. I know how I got there; I asked Guy Kawasaki directly and he did it (well, I AM listed in one of his books for helping to edit it after all lol).
5. Here’s the crux of the matter. If all but one of the blogs I commented on, in my niche, were ranked lower than my blog… then what benefit was I going to get by commenting only on blogs in my niche? I mean, they possibly benefit from my leaving a comment because I’m the higher ranked site, which means I’m lending them some authority points.
Bets are easy that none of those folks are ever going to follow me back to my business blog. Not only that but I didn’t mention that not one of those blogs had CommentLuv on them, so they probably wouldn’t even know that I’d left my blog link, rather than a business website link, in the first place.
Did I make my point? I’m not trying to talk anyone out of taking a shot at commenting on blogs within their niche. What I’m saying is that sometimes (more often than not) it’s a losing proposition because the assumption is those folks, just because they have a blog, have some kind of idea what they’re doing in the first place.
Maybe by leaving a comment on certain blogs you’ll get noticed by the blog owner, and if it’s an influential person that can’t hurt. However, if you ask me, you have a better shot at talking to a supermodel on Twitter (which I have lol).
A couple of weeks ago I thought about trying to write for one of those sites that accumulates posts on a lot of different topics; nope, I’m not even going to tell you the name of the site because I don’t want to even give them the hint of new writers they can take advantage of. Anyway, that’s not quite how they had advertised themselves. What I saw was them looking for someone who could write on specific topics that I know pretty well. Once I went to look I saw that’s not what it was at all. Still, I thought I might be interested in giving it a shot to make a little extra chunk of change.
That is, until I looked at the requirements for the site. In essence, it was formulaic, not unlike years ago when I was trying to write for Demand Studios. In essence, they wanted all this stuff instead of just an article, and they wanted at least 1,500 words for the honor; ouch!
What kinds of things did they want? Well, in general, for some folks it might not seem like all that much of a big deal. However, for me it was, and I decided that they didn’t just want articles, they wanted a lot of extra stuff that, for what they were going to pay, it just wasn’t worth the effort.
Is it worth the effort on your blog posts? For me, rarely. For you… let’s look at some of these things to see.
They wanted multiple subtitles in the article, at least 3. Here’s the thing, at least from my perspective. Unless one is writing a list post of some type, like this one, or a monster post, you’re not always going to come up with at least 3 subtitles. Goodness, some of my articles don’t have a subtitle at all. Sure, I know newspapers do it all the time but how many of us want to write like we’re reporters?
2. H tags. For those who aren’t familiar with this, H tags are code you use before specific sentences that tell search engines what you’re supposed to be writing about. In essence, they look at what’s in the H tags and then match it up with your content; that’s the easy version of it all.
You can have H1, H2, H3 and, if you’re feeling really happy about things, H4 tags. You can even have multiples of each of these tags in your article. Frankly, that gets a bit goofy and, in my opinion, it can look like you’re trying to game Google.
Here’s the thing. Most articles use H1 tags for the title. That’s because that particular tag changes the size of your font. You can use other code to reduce it but if you’re using it for your title then you’re good. On WordPress blogs, the software automatically adds H1 tags so you don’t have to bother with it, although some people like doing it twice; ugh.
In any case it’s not really natural to writing, and if you don’t know coding all that well you could royally mess things up. You’d probably use H2 – H4 tags for your subtitles. Still, it’s another element that’s not really part of writing, which makes the process bothersome.
This one is interesting. We all know (lots of folks, including me, have written about this) that images can help enhance a page. For these people, because they wanted the articles long enough, they wanted you to find at least 3 images for each post, and you had to make sure they were allowed to be used. No problem in doing that except that it’s always hard finding the proper images to use when you’re doing something for someone else.
For instance, on my blogs, if I use my own images people just have to deal with figuring out how, or if, the image fits what I’m writing about. For these folks, they want it spelled out in a way that shows the image is related; that’s time consuming and, once again, not really part of anyone’s writing style. If you know how to create images and such maybe you’re ahead of the game; I’m not close to being that creative.
4. Authority links.
These folks requested at least 3 links that could support what you’ve written about. There’s two problems with doing something like this.
One, they want links from sites ranked pretty well. How many people know how to find links that are ranked well? Actually, it’s not overly difficult to determine link strength because when you do a search on Google they put things in order based on your search terms, thus they’ve determined the high links for you. The problem is that just because a link ranked high doesn’t mean what’s behind the link contains what you need. Thus, you might have to look through a bunch of links to find what you need to confirm what you wrote.
Two, what happens if you happen to be an authority on the topic you’re writing about? In that case you probably never considered looking for links because you knew what you were talking about. Now you’re in unfamiliar territory, looking for something that validates your knowledge.
What if it doesn’t exist? That’s what I ran into years ago with Demand Studios; I was writing on health care finance stuff, one of my specialties, and none of the confirming information was online because insurance companies like Medicare didn’t put that stuff online. The only way you’d know it is if you were in the industry. Ugh!
Now… you decide to try to do all that and you’re successful and submit the article. Now you have to go through a waiting process while someone goes through to see if you’ve done everything right, and of course checks your article out for typos and language and all that other stuff. If they turn you down you have to fix whatever they don’t like… with the caveat that since that happened you can still submit your articles but you have to wait at least six months before you can apply to get paid for it.
If they approve you… you’ve just earned $20. Yup, that’s right, $20.
Let’s look at this more thoroughly. Luckily, I tend to write pretty quickly if I know what I want to write about. So, let’s say that it takes me even 10 minutes to write an article, which this one is probably taking me. To find 3 images their way might take me 15 minutes. To find links might take me 30 minutes. I know the coding part of subtitles but I’d have to figure out where to put subtitles, which means I’d have to be prepared to rewrite some of my copy to match up with them.
This would mean that, if I got paid, I was earning, if I’m lucky, about $12 or $13 an hour. Since this type of writing isn’t the kind where you could possibly pound out 5 articles a day, and since those articles would take time to put together, you end up basically having to work at least 12 or 13 hours a day.
How do you get there? Because writing isn’t just “writing”. You have to come up with an idea, maybe do some research (after all, even if we know our topics we don’t know it all…), rest, eat… rinse and repeat. All that and you could be turned down; ouch!
So, that’s writing for others. What if you’re writing for yourself? I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately by people saying we all should be trying to write these mega posts. Many of those articles are recommending some of the same stuff I mentioned above, only they’re looking for articles of at least 3,000 words; ooooo, I’m dyin’! lol
How many of you feel like you have that kind of time all the time? I mean, writing can be hard enough for some of you; are you willing to go through all that other stuff? Well, maybe if you’re writing only one article a week and don’t have anything else to do, and you’re actually making a living off your blogging it’s possible.
But in general… oy!
Maybe I’m crazy so I’ll ask you your thoughts on all of this. Meanwhile, I’d like to share this little video I did where, believe it or not, I compare Kool Aid to long posts. I know you’re gonna want to see this. 🙂