"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Word to the Wise! 5 Ways You're Working "Harder, not Smarter"

Do you ever find yourself exhausted at the end of your day with little to show for your efforts?
Is your to-do-list expanding like your waistline around the holidays?
Are the blogging dreams you started out with still unfulfilled?

If so, you'll want to continue reading today's post to give you a little perspective...

Most bloggers start out with the best intentions. They launch their sites to share a passion for writing, or to raise awareness of a cause, or to connect and create community, or to provide expertise that allows others to live better.
No one can dispute that this creative endeavor requires dedication, time, and a great deal of sweat equity in order to reap returns.

Which is all the more reason why today's blogger must learn to be more strategic-- to deal with the weekly rigors, avoid burnout, and successfully build a strong platform that allows them to make a difference and make a living.

With this in mind, here are five practices and principles that may be sabotaging your efforts, stunting your growth, and stealing countless hours. There's great truth to the adage, "Time is money."

So, let's get started.

The Hard Way:
Blogging without goals or a game plan.

The Smart Way:
Reflect. Assess. Consider. Why are you blogging? What's your goal? To make money? To build a platform for your writing career? To entertain? To vent about your 9 to 5 job? Who is your target audience? What common problems do they encounter? What about their lifestyle? These are things to evaluate so that you can create a marketing plan that addresses these issues. Not having blogging goals or a game plan is like traveling to an unknown city without a road map or compass.

The Hard Way:
Spending countless hours getting caught up in social media: FaceBook, Google+, InstaGram, Twitter, etc. to get noticed. In the words of Dr. Phil, "How's that workin' out for ya'?"

The Smart Way:
Align your blogging goals with just two forms of social media and devote a day or two to promoting your content and establishing important contacts. The rest of the time you should probably devote to writing, researching, or marketing. Hello?

The Hard Way:
Not having consistency in updating your blog. Sometimes it's once a week; other times it's once a month, or whenever your muse inspires you.

The Smart Way:
Commit to a schedule that's comfortable then keep it. Ironically, when you post sporadically you work harder. You lose momentum, and you lose readership. I know that I have personally unsubscribed to bloggers who insist on playing games of "now you see me, now you don't!"
You're better than that.

The Hard Way:
Trying to do it all alone. Coming up with all your own topics, content, contests, etc.

The Smart Way:
Reach out to other writers and bloggers. Have them contribute to your site through accepting guest posts, or sponsoring blog tours;even book reviews work well. Doing so adds to your blog's appeal, and provides variety for your readers. Not to mention, it allows you to take a "mental break," so that you can go the distance.

The Hard Way:
Blogging without branding.

The Smart Way:
Making strategic efforts to make your online "brand" stick to your readers like Velcro.
This includes consistency in your message. Having a logo and a slogan. Creating content that is associated with excellence. And last but not least, honing your writer's "voice" so that it resonates with readers, and is easily distinguished. With all the blogs currently out in the blogosphere, it behooves you to do as much as possible to make your blog "bookmark worthy."
Wouldn't you agree?

Thoughts? Do you struggle in any of these areas?






10 comments:

  1. Jennifer: Thank you for this llist. It gives me something to think on as I mentally prepare for 2015.

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    1. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 8, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      The pleasure was mine. Wishing you much success in 2015, quietspirit. :-)

      Good to hear from you again.

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  2. Yes, setting goals is definitely something that needs to be on the list,

    In an effort to create a blog post that's a little more Christmas specific - and in alignment with my brand that's about providing Ideas & Inspiration - for a recent post I formulated a few specific goals,

    Like for example how I can provide Ideas & Inspiration for the Christmas shopping list :)

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    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 8, 2014 at 8:18 AM

      Thanks for the feedback, H.P. :-)

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  3. It's not that I don't have followers. I don't receive as many comments as I would like. maybe it's time for a give away.

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    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 8, 2014 at 8:20 AM

      Linda,

      You certainly do; I am one of them. As for comments? I will address that in more detail a little later. Thanks for chiming in here. Much appreciated. :-)

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  4. Love these ideas. I need to revisit them as my usual routine is off kilter. Looking forward to getting better organized in the coming weeks. One recent discovery (or rather a recommendation from my publisher) is to use Hootsuite to schedule some of my social media posts. It has been particularly been helpful for Twitter. It took a few minutes to get the hang of it, but after that, it's been a great help to work "smarter". :)

    Thanks Jen, for this timely and wonderful post. Have a great week!

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  5. Jennifer, your insights are timely as always because reading this makes it clear where I'm going wrong with my blogging efforts.

    And I can't wait to read your next post that addresses Linda O'Connell's "not enough comments" issue.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, a blast from the past!
      Hi, Michael, how have you been? Great to reconnect here. If you have the time, I'd love for you to elaborate on where you feel you've gone wrong; maybe it might help other readers in a similar "pickle," :-)

      Not to mention, I always love getting my male readers' perspective.

      Thanks for stopping by and weighing in. We'll have to do this again soon. LOL

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    2. By the way, Michael---should you have additional questions or needs not addressed here, please feel free to pose them via email at: Gemsjen@yahoo.com. I periodically post a "Just Ask Jen" column based upon readers' problems.

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