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Better Blogging: State of the Blog Union

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Better Blogging Series | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide
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Happy Monday, folks! It’s time to dig in to the next installment of the Better Blogging Series. So far, we’ve committed to evaluate our blogging goals, regain our blogging passion, and do the appropriate research to determine why our voice is needed and what our audience can glean from our unique journey through life. Today, we’re taking a difficult step towards blog reform. It’s time to get real, ask ourselves what’s not working, and determine how we’re going to change our failures into successes.

Better Blogging Series | Chaos &  Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide

In any sales environment, it is imperative that you pause often enough to consider your strategies and whether or not they are working in your market. If you don’t commit to this constant “gut check,” you become stagnant and fall behind your competitors simply by continuing to just do the same old, same old. Gaining new market share, and even more importantly, keeping the market share that you have, relies upon constant assessments of whether or not your operations are successful and taking your company closer to meeting and exceeding your sales goals. The same holds true for blogging. In truth, this is where the going will get tough for some of you. You’re going to have to take a real, hard look at your blog and be honest about the parts that simply aren’t working. Identifying these areas and accepting the “failure” is the most important step to long-term blogging success. If you try to dig in and hold your ground “just because,” then you’re selling yourself, and your audience short. You have to get comfortable with examining yourself, finding your flaws and fixing your errors. So, deep breath. Ready? Here we go.

Group of young students sitting at the library

Analyze | Accept | Adjust

  1. Analyze: Time to take a good look at those blog stats. Ask yourself the right questions…what is working here? Are certain topics getting more attention than others? Are there any topics or posts that are being consistently “ignored” (i.e. low traffic)? Do the link ups you participate in bring people to your site? Do they click through to other posts? Does your layout enhance or detract from your reader’s experience? Is your technology old? Slow loading time? Too many sponsored posts? Is the value still there? WHY IS YOUR READER LEAVING YOUR SITE? 
  2. Accept: Now that you’ve identified some problem areas, it’s time to swallow your pride and think long and hard. Admit to yourself what is not working, and accept that while it was a good effort, and you certainly did nothing wrong, it’s just not serving your purpose and it’s time to make a change. This is truly the hardest part. You may have to let go of “your baby” that you created from scratch. You may have to think of a total redesign, or perhaps leaving that link up you’ve been hosting forever. Some changes will be little and easily managed. Some will be big and downright terrifying. The important part is accepting that you and your audience are not served if things remain in their present state. And your ultimate goal is to serve you and your audience, so it’s time to get back on track.
  3. Adjust: The strongest companies are always evolving. Whether it’s keeping up with the latest technology, working to enter new markets in creative ways, or simply changing their workflow process and sales strategy, change is good. Perhaps what you were doing was working alright, but what if it could work better? You’ll never know unless you try and keep trying. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Upgrade, explore, change. The absolute worst thing you could do in this process is to analyze your stats, identify your problems, and then never fix anything. Don’t keep spinning the hamster wheel!

Better Blogging Series | Chaos &  Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide

Why is this process important? Well, the final question is DO YOU BELIEVE IN YOUR BLOG’S WORTH? YOUR OWN WORTH? If your answer is a definitive yes! then it’s time to think big. You have to write and market your blog like it’s already successful, which means being spot on with your strategy and honest enough to embrace your shortcomings. Don’t settle for “Well, it works alright. I’ll just leave it.” Think big! You have to believe you’re worth more than where you are at presently, both personally, professionally AND financially. If you’re committed to the long haul and truly believe your blog is a contender, than do yourself a favor, and set a calendar reminder to do this process once every quarter. Stay fresh, stay honest, stay ambitious. You know the old saying, “Go big or go home!

Better Blogging Series | Chaos &  Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Lauren

    August 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Great tips here! looking forward to learning more from this series! 🙂

    • Katy Blevins

      August 12, 2014 at 9:28 am

      Thank you Lauren! So glad to have you with us.

  2. Megan Walker

    August 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I have loved this series so far! Maybe another good post would be how to analyze blog stats. I see so many people say you should do this, but no one explains how!

    Thanks for sharing on Hump Day Happenings : )

    • Katy Blevins

      September 1, 2014 at 8:17 am

      Megan – A little present is coming for you!! We have a guest blogger coming to visit this week with more information about Google Analytics!

      • Emmy

        April 29, 2016 at 3:51 am

        I love reading these articles because they’re short but infimratove.

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        May 20, 2016 at 10:23 am

        Hey! Rehmat: I get it-you are an ignorant,hateful,anti-semitic troll.Why don’t you STFU! And go back to Hamas,as you obviously work for them-I’m happy to endorse you to Hamas and Ahmadinejad!!To: both Steve Lewis and Hehmat: Have some Nux Vomica!!!

      • http://www.nikestoreshoesjapan.com/

        June 19, 2016 at 9:33 pm

        Hi! I got here through Miss Minimalist. I’m now reading your posts since the beginning, and it’s been an almost addictive experience I like you approach towards minimalism (or, better, lagom), and you writing is super funny and engaging!

      • http://www.stceciliagolftournament.com/

        June 27, 2016 at 10:34 am

        I couldn't agree more both fla, and mich, are part of the united states and without there voices neither canidate will have the standing to lead our country as one. because THEY DO MATTER!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • http://www./

        October 22, 2016 at 11:19 am

        Ya te digo que estamos encontrando demasiadas cosas en común….a mi además de las puntadas de cruz súmale reacción alérgica al hilo O_O!!!De las fotos, cariñoooooo no sólo tu encuentras cositas dignas de ver…¿a qué son lo más? el puntito dramático en blanco y negro me pudo generar una ataque de risa de las buenas.Un besote hasta Bilbao

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Blogging Resources

Social Media Scheduling 101: The Basics

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Social Media Scheduling | The Very Basics
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Why is social media scheduling important? 

Today’s culture, both personally and professionally, is driven by real time transparency. There are any of a million ways that we can interact with the world and share our life journeys, which has been the doorway to maintaining friendships, keeping family from afar close and celebrating life with like-minded individuals. But on the other hand, every time that phone blips that a new message has popped up, we’re driven by madness to look. It’s exhausting!!!! And ultimately incredibly time consuming. As a small business owner, the drive to build a following can be intoxicating and the pressure to be available to your clients 24/7 is crippling. How do you actually “do” your business if you’re always distracted by social media? Social media scheduling is the very best way to continue to curate and share content with your audience, while allowing yourself to focus on higher priorities in your personal and professional life.

If I schedule social media am I lying to my followers by “pretending” to be online when I’m not?

Any way that you can automate your workflow to save time and develop a routine, you are being true to yourself, your clients and most importantly, your family. The key is to appear to be accessible during high traffic times, but not actually be sitting there glued to your phone or computer hanging on every word uttered to the social media gods. Social media scheduling allows us to cater to multiple audiences at their individual peek times, gives us the opportunity to stay active and engaged while on the go and makes sure we have time to focus on what really counts.

Social Media Scheduling | The Very Basics

Where do I start?

I have two go-to programs that can work for even the most basic new learners (and have lots of advanced features for those in the know). And bonus…they’re FREE! What we’re moving towards is organized strategy. Social media scheduling allows you to develop a marketing strategy for your business and then execute it. You simple couldn’t do that properly on the fly and would get lost in the weeds. These next two tools can help put you on the path to a social media presence that translates to growth and long-term sustainability.

If you’re just digging into the social media behemoth, let’s put a simple tool to work for you while you get your bearings. Similar to how Instagram can cross post to Twitter and Facebook, Friends + Me can take your Google Plus posts and push them to several other platforms. I personally post to Google + and it carries over to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. One action = 4 social media networks.

I’ll admit, this tool can be visually tricky and take a little getting used to if you’re heavy handed with links and tags. Once you get comfortable with how your posts will appear in the different feeds, you’ll tailor your original content to work across the board. It’s a fantastic way to save time by not having to manually cross-pollinate your content to each and every platform individually. It’s a great way for new learners to “phone it in” while you up your social media knowledge and a stellar way for a seasoned social media vet to knock out a task list for simple content shares.

fplus

Hootsuite is the other tool I rely heavily on. In short, it’s a one-stop shop for me to manage all of my profiles on the various platforms that I use. In its most basic form, I schedule all Twitter activity (content sharing) in here or via their Hootlet (content curating).  I can tell you it’s really the Hootlet that is life changing. This little plugin is ridiculously awesome. It allows me to wrap up items of interest in a nice little box with a beautiful little bow instantly and schedule directly from my point of interest. I can open it up from any source and schedule a tweet/share from any of my accounts instantaneously without having to copy/paste links or images into Hootsuite itself. That save of a few clicks is amazing!!!

hootlet

Here’s a snap shot of my actual Hootsuite dashboard (Don’t freak out! I have a million accounts!):
hootsuite
I am able to jump in between accounts and platforms with the click of a tab, and I can schedule posts from the top bar to any of my accounts with just a few clicks. Admittedly, I pay for the Pro version because I work the account with my business partner and I am in love with the bulk tweet upload feature (I can schedule 350 tweets at once just by uploading a simple Excel file!). Instead of having 15 different internet tabs open for each of my feeds and profiles, I can have one program open that allows me to move among them without having to constantly sign in and out depending on which profile I want to use. Again, the goal is to save time by reducing clicks and hops all over the internet and to streamline your visibility to the information that matters most to you. Here are the profiles my business partner and I manage either completely or to some degree on Hootsuite:

 

– Twitter (8 different profiles)
– Google Plus (2 business profiles)
– Facebook (4 business pages and 1 personal profile)
– Facebook groups (2 community groups)
– Instagram (3 profiles)
– Stumble Upon (1 profile)
– LinkedIn (1 profile)

 

Can you imagine if I had to sign in and out of each of these accounts at various parts of my day in order to engage on all platforms?

 

So. How does this ultimately save time? Have I just traded time spent manually posting for time spent scheduling automation? The key here is to carve out time and stick to it. Don’t be scheduling all day! It defeats the purpose. Here are some quick rules to keep in mind:

  • Set a specific day each week (or even an hour each morning/night if that’s better for you) that is devoted to scheduling the next weeks’/days’ tweets/posts/etc. Make that a calendar time in your routine. Stick to it! I do all of my scheduling first thing in the morning. That way my social media profiles are working in the background while I am completing my normal business day and any activity can just be responsive.
  • Commit to a time each evening that the phone/computer gets put away. For example, clients at The Studio now know that our business booking hours are Monday – Friday from 8AM – 5PM. If they email us during that time, they expect a response. But if they email outside of that time, they know they’ll hear from us during the next business day. We’ve educated them and we’re training ourselves. Now, when that email dings with a new inquiry, I don’t look at it if it’s after hours. They know, and I know it will be there tomorrow.
  • Give yourself a break! Cut yourself some slack! It’s ok to take a break from time to time on social media. It’s ok to not post every meal, every night out, every stylish outfit. Let go of the pressure to perform. Focus on enjoying the interactions with people and sharing your heart. You’ll find it not only comes more naturally, but more purposefully. Be IN your life. 

Pin this to your Small Business Tips & Tricks Board or your Blogging Resources Board! Don’t have one? Follow me!

Did you like this post? Check out How to Create Hyper-Linked Email Signatures in Gmail!

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Blogging Resources

IBA Blog Conference – October 12-17, 2015

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IBA Blog Conference
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Mark your calendars!!! I have some very exciting news to share!!! The International Bloggers Association is hosting their very first IBA blog conference! The IBA Network-a-thon will be hosted online October 12th – 15th. Yup, that’s right! A virtual conference! You don’t have to worry about travel expenses, child care, vacation time or anything! Just you, me, the IBA, our computers and some amazingly awesome Google Plus Hangouts.

International Bloggers Association | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide

Want to hear the very best news? The IBA blog conference is SUPER affordable. Only $10 for your ticket! Even more exciting? Use the code KATY to receive a special Chaos & Kiddos discount! You’ll get $5 off. 50% off! At that price, there’s no reason to miss out on what will be a fun week of networking, learning and blog sharing. The IBA blog conference will be a great opportunity to discover your tribe of blog supporters, learn new tips and tricks, and dig into blogging professionally. Don’t miss out! $5 is less than a cup of Starbucks coffee! Woot! Click on the big IBA right below or click on “Buy this on Selz” to grab your 50% off discount ticket now! Don’t forget to use the code KATY! See you in October!

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IBA Blogging Conference | Discount Code

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Blogging Resources

Twitter Tools to Increase Your Sanity

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When it comes to Twitter, automation equals sanity. Simple as that!

We all know that every business must have a solid social media presence. However, scheduling, monitoring and reporting on your feeds eats up crucial time that can be can better used running your business. Have no fear, there are an endless number of Twitter tools available to help you manage your profiles; saving you precious time and money by working behind the scenes while you stay front and center in your marketplace.

TWITTERTOOLS to

Here are the strategic areas you want to concentrate on when engaging the Twittersphere:

Schedule it!

Keep those tweets coming without having to sit at your computer day and night. Tools such as HootSuite and Buffer are extremely popular. With multi-feed capacity, flexible layouts and a host of powerful features, these two behemoths will revolutionize how you approach social media across every platform, not just Twitter.

Keep it organized!

If you have multiple accounts, Twitter tools can help organize and implement your strategy.TweetDeck handles this perfectly. Get more involved with Sprout Social that includes CRM features, or SocialOomph to automate and keep corporate accounts clean and tidy. Nobody wants to click back and forth between a million tabs, or spend way too much time signing in and out of several profiles. Organize yourself with a “one-stop shop” approach!

Show off with pictures!

Grab them with graphics to go with your hot content. No time to source images or develop images of your own offline? Check out MavSocial to link to stock images and manage your digital assets as you compose your tweets.

What did they say?

In order to build engagement, you have to know what others are saying about you. Mentioncan monitor your Twitter mentions and even links through to other tools like Buffer. Twitter tools that are integration-friendly are always a win-win. Trends24 tracks the ever important hashtag and hot topics. Never miss an opportunity to keep an open dialogue with your customer base moving forward.

Flashback!

Remember that campaign from 2013? You need to be able to go back and search on what worked and what didn’t. Topsy lets you search all the way back to 2006 while TweetChat helps you keep up with your favorite hashtags and chat with others. Avoid making the same mistakes twice and repurpose successful campaigns for future growth.

Ready, Set, Grow!

Each time someone shares your content, your reach grows. Make it as easy for them as possible with links using Click to Tweet. Everybody loves the easy button!

Report it!

Being able to determine what works and what isn’t provides critical insight that translates to real growth and sustainability. SumAll and Twitonomy help break it down into specific actionable data that you can use to improve your reach in future campaigns.

There are plenty of options out there to help you manage Twitter and other social media platforms. It’s just a matter of finding the right one that works for you and letting them work for you. Which Twitter tools have been pivotal to maintaining your sanity and growing your business?

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