My 3 Secrets to Blogging Regularly

My 3 Secrets to Blogging Regularly Blog Post via KLWightman.com
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I recently chatted with Olga on LinkedIn about our professional experiences. She asked me a very good question: How do you balance the time between your personal and professional blog?

As my readers know, I manage a company blog by day and my personal writing blog by night (and weekends).

While I love to blog, I make sure I have a work-blog-life balance. After I replied to her question, she responded back, “that would make a good blog post!”

Whether you’re struggling to keep a regular blog schedule at your day job or for your personal blog, try out these tips that have helped me blog regularly for three years.

Create an Editorial Calendar

To manage my company’s blog, we purchased a program that allows me to create an editorial calendar. I don’t have this budget for my personal blog, so I’ve adjusted the calendar app on my desktop to work in a similar way.

I make a list of blog ideas that I want to cover and schedule them out on the calendar so that I can visually see my deadlines. Both methods allow me to use color coding to show different categories or themes the blog posts cover so that I know if my blog post topics are imbalanced.

Set Personal Deadlines

I prefer to write and schedule my blog post at least one week in advance. This is attainable when managing my company’s blog since managing it is part of my role.

This isn’t always the case for my personal blog. Sometimes I struggle to have a blog post ready to publish for Monday’s deadline. In that case, I reevaluate my schedule and try to find time to make it happen after-work hours or on the weekends.

Write Passionately

I plan to write blog posts that excite me. It’s much easier to commit to writing a blog post when you are passionate about the topic and want to write it. Often, those blog posts get down on “digital paper” pretty quickly.

If you’re managing a professionally blog, you can’t always choose what you write about. What I do in these situations is I put myself in the reader’s shoes. Why do they want to read this potential blog post?  What difference can it make in their life? This gets me excited for the audience’s future experience and inspires me to blog about it.

How do you keep a regular blog schedule? Share your tips below.

My Writing Adventures: An Update

My Writing Adventures: An Update
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My Writing Adventures: An Update

Credit: magnetgeniusmachine.com

I’m very excited to share with you all that has recently happened in my writing career. It’s only fair that I not only share tips of the creative writing and content marketing world but also give you a glimpse of what goes on for the writer behind the blog post.

You’re Looking At The New Content Marketing Manager

That’s right. Next week, I start as the Content Marketing Manager at Nutshell CRM. After uprooting my life from the Southwest, I’ll be packing my bags again for Ann Arbor.

Downtown Ann Arbor

Credit: omnilexica.com

In a nutshell (see what I did there?), Nutshell is a web and mobile customer relationship management (CRM) service for small businesses and sales collaboration.

Nutshell CRM

Credit: nutshell.com

How do I fit in the mix? I get to work my content marketing magic while working with an innovative, energetic and goal-driven team.

Nutshell CRM team

Doesn’t this look like a fun team?

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

I Finished Writing My Manuscript

For those who follow my version of NaNoWriMo, I focused November on writing my first full-length play. I didn’t finish writing it in November, but I also didn’t stop then either. After 120 pages, I completed my first draft.

Blackout. The End. End of My Play Manscript.

My three favorite words…

I’ve gone through it several times, edited, revised, rewrote, reread and repeat.

For the last several months, I have submitted my new play to theatres across the country. And I’m sure I’ll be submitting it to even more places and I’m sure I’ll have to go back into the manuscript with a red pen.

But that’s the writing process, right?

So, What Should You Expect Next?

October is going to be a busy month for me. I’ll be hitting the ground running at my new place of work while making new friends in my new city.

November’s just around the corner, so you can expect round 3 of my version of NaNoWriMo. October will be dedicated to outlining the scope of my next writing project so that I can launch into it on November 1.

In the meanwhile, you can count on finding a new blog post here every Monday.

What news do you have to share about your writing career or writing projects? Share the news below.

5 Things I Learned About Blogging

5 Things I Learned About Blogging on KLWightman.com
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A few weeks back, during my NaNoWriMo challenge, I received the image above in my notifications box.

Has it really been two years?

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Nostalgic memories of setting up my account and writing my first blog post flooded my mind. Oh, how naïve I was in 2012.

Since my first blog post, I interned with a digital marketing agency, accepted a marketing job across the country, and worked relentlessly at becoming the best writer and content marketer that I could be. Two years later, I’m freelancing for Fortune 500 companies.

To be great, I accepted that I am not-so-great. I made mistakes and learned lessons—all on a public platform of social media scrutiny.

So, what things did I learn about blogging? I’ll give you the short list.

Post On A Schedule, Not Every Day

When I started out, I published blog posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. My goal was to build content on my website fast in order to build credibility as a writing expert. But I was also actively submitting resumes and scheduling job interviews, so my time was quickly scarce.

My blog soon took control over me—when I should have been the one in control.

When I dreaded writing a blog post, I knew my system needed fixing. First, I cut it down to two blog posts and a Friday quiz. A month later, I accepted a job offer and reevaluated my time commitments. This schedule now was too much.

Once I committed to only posting every Monday, I had more time to devote towards my other writing commitments without seeing a decline in daily readership.

Presentation Counts

My blog’s initial layout was purple on purple with a dash of more purple.

Can you guess my favorite color?

The font was hard-to-read cursive and the template was not a responsive web design. After months of following analytical data, I found that many of my users were reading my blog posts on their phones. I also had the reality check that my practical, explorative blog posts didn’t match my purple flowery presentation.

The Solution: I chose a responsive design template, font and color scheme that matched reader expectations. Since this change, more readers click on multiple blog posts on my website.

Your Voice Matters

It’s natural as a blogger to explore different personality approaches. However, just because one kind of voice is successful for one blogger, doesn’t mean it will be successful for you.

I learned this the hard way.

Within my first year of blogging, I tried a snarky, matter-of-fact voice. It’s done so well on other blogs, so why not mine?

Because it wasn’t my voice.

This new voice wasn’t authentic to mine, so I couldn’t pull it off successfully. As a result, my readers bounced quickly from those blog posts.

When my blog’s voice humbly returned to its spunky self, my readers sighed with relief and started clicking through blog posts again.

Blogging Makes You An Expert

The simple act of blogging on one topic doesn’t automatically make you an expert. But blogging about that topic weekly, doing your research and finding creative ways to blog about that topic for next week’s post—that makes you an expert.

When you choose to dedicate yourself to becoming the best you can be on one topic, you naturally become an expert. That’s because you’re reading about the topic daily, you’re open to critique on your expertise and you’re still eager to learn more about the topic in order to be better.

Your Most Successful Blog Posts Will Surprise You

When I sat down to write blog posts about writing clues for scavenger hunts or how to write a fairy tale, I didn’t think I was sitting down to write my most successful blog posts.

But that’s exactly what I did.

From search engine results to Pinterest referrals, these two blog posts bring the most organic traffic to my website.

Exploring different angles of blogging helped me find my audience. The purpose of my blog is to help readers find writing solutions—and little did I know that many writers seek suggestions for scavenger hunts clues and fairy tale structure.

What will be my next successful blog post? I guess I’ll need at last two more years to figure that out.

What have you learned from blogging? Share your story below.

Blogging: Defining What and Why

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I had a blog back in 2008 when blogs were still fairly new.  It was for my writing capstone class at college and every student was assigned to write blogs analyzing our reading assignments with our class discussions on defining genre in writing.  Many students in the class wrote hesitantly and rather stiffly in their blogs, perhaps longing for the traditional structure of writing a short paper meant only for the professor’s eyes.

But I ran wild with blogging: I scrutinized over every word in the readings, took notes and spoke confidently during class discussions, brainstormed the story arc of my blog entry, tweaked entry passages to make it even cleverer before I hit submit.  My competitive nature turned each week into a challenge to write the most insightful, most creative, wittiest blog.  I wanted to make my readers laugh, to think, to frown, to roll their eyes—and all because of what I wrote.

So why did I stop blogging?

For starters, the class ended.  Then there were part-time jobs and studying abroad and finishing senior year and graduate school applications and graduate school and holidays that required traveling and thesis after thesis after thesis.

In short, I let my life get in the way.

I had always wanted to return to blogging, but I let insecurities hold me back.  Blogs must be complicated to start, too expensive to maintain, too demanding of my time, too miniscule in the big world of blogging to even be read.

Some of my insecurities were backed by facts.  There are currently over 56 million WordPress blogs, and that doesn’t include the millions more blogs hosted by Tumblr, Blogger, TypePad, Posterous, or even blogs that don’t use blog publishing websites.  Companies blog, people blog, brands blog, organizations blog, foundations blog–everyone is blogging!

I didn’t get the confidence to even start up again until I attended the Rochester Writers’ Conference this year at Oakland University.  I sat as a student in one session about blogging and I scribbled down lines of notes about how easy it was to start a blog and how financially pleasing it was to maintain it and the strategies to bring eyes upon my blog.  I couldn’t wait to go home and set up an account.

So why did it take me another month to start?

I didn’t know what to write about.   Blogs aren’t random ramblings but rather thought episodes on a particular expertise or interest.  Blogs aren’t scattered ideas but authoritative accounts on fixing cars or relationship advice or examples of world improvement or even a writer’s way of life.  Blogs are where the writer shines as an expert, and I didn’t want to take my expertise lightly.

I also needed to decide who would be my audience.  Blogs are audience-driven, and readership depends on how well researched, how captivating, how grammatically correct, and how honest the writer writes.  This audience component pushes the writer to catch a new reader’s attention and to hold that attention for weeks, months, years.  Blogs can exist in the vast World Wide Web, but it turns into another dusty book on a library shelf if not read.

So I closed my eyes and imagined my future readers.  I saw someone with overcrowded bookshelves because of an obsession with reading and writing.  I saw someone who just started taking a creative writing class at the community college.  I saw someone who loves to network, who loves to listen, who loves to learn.  I saw someone who has the confidence to be an expert but not knowing where to start.  I saw me.  I saw you.

So, after my four-year hiatus, I decided to blog about my journey in developing a writing career so that, through triumphs and failures, we go through our journeys together.