New to Blogging? Lessons I Learned in the First Two Months!

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Lessons I learnt in the first two months

I don’t get it – I just don’t get the attraction…

I am one of those introverted personality types who shuddered when faced with the whole social media thing. I opened a Facebook account, but I wondered: why would anyone care if my cat was mad when I left her alone – and why would I even take the time to write such nonsense? (BTW – I don’t have a cat.)

So I came late to online communication – kicking and complaining all the way. But as a business owner, I realized I would have to interact with a broader audience if I was going to grow my coaching business. After blogging once a week for the last two months, I decided to share my experiences and maybe save you from some of the pitfalls that I have encountered.

Preparing to Start a Blog

Before I published my first Blog back in March 2011, I wrote 30+ posts last fall while I was updating my website, writing product and service descriptions, etc. I thought this would put me way ahead of the game this year when I launched the Blog. I thought that I could just look over my treasure trove of articles and hit ‘publish’.

The reality was, none of those blog posts made the final ‘quality cut’. Why? Well because the posts I wrote last fall have little to do with my client’s issues and were ‘instructional’ in nature (not very interesting or engaging, even to me – and I wrote them!).

Length of Time to Write a Blog

Time

Image by ‘zoxcleb’

I can’t stand those people who say they only spend 30 or 40 minutes on writing a blog post, it isn’t true!  When I think of an idea that relates to my ideal client group and is within my area of expertise, I typically will jot it down on some note paper (since my ideas tend to come to me early in the morning). If needed, I will do some quick research, add a photo or diagram and then complete the first draft of my post. I’ll then walk away for a day or so and then come back to review and finalize everything. It normally takes me two-to-three hours in total (per week) to complete an article.

Finding My Blogging Style or ‘Voice’

I was writing very ‘scholarly’ posts in the beginning. A friend of mine recommended that I tell a ‘growth’ story instead of trying to prove how smart I am. Since I am an Executive Coach, my friend also told me I would look smarter if I revealed how coaching actually works (or doesn’t).  This approach tends to be working much better.

What’s the Most Readable Blog Length?

I write long posts, normally between 750-1000 words. Inevitably, a well-intentioned friend will remind me that Seth Godin can get his point across in 250 words and often less. I read Seth’s Blog; he is brilliant and succinct. I am just starting to showcase my craft, creativity and capabilities – so I am prolific. OK, I am long-winded and wordy. Sue me.

How long should a blog post be? We asked this very question and wrote a post about it!

What Do I Write About?

There is an old writing axiom: “write about what you know”. I write about topics that relate to my areas of expertise and what I think really resonates with readers. I receive the most comments from people when I write on my ‘signature’ topics.

I fall in love with some of my articles. These have become my pinnacle, my weekly performance yardstick and I strive to reach this pinnacle with each and every post that I write. The pinnacle is always just out of my current reach – but I keep reaching, which ultimately makes me better as a writer.

Blog Mechanics

Cogs

Image by ‘SomeDriftwood’

No matter how many times I ask readers to comment in the Reply Box, they inevitably will send me a text or email. I know that the top blog sites receive lots of comments – but I haven’t figured out the psychological hook to get readers to commit to replying online for the whole world to see. Maybe all my readers are introverts like me!

This reluctance to comment does not help me build my online presence; but the emails and text messages reinforce that I am writing what people want to read.

I don’t rely solely on the grammar and spellcheck function on my computer. I do check punctuation and grammar rules from time to time in style manuals, grammar books and online sites. When I read poorly edited Blogs, I feel the author should have taken another fifteen minutes to check their work – or at least ask someone else to edit it! (Does this mean I never have any errors in my articles – of course not!)

Bringing My Expectations In Line With Reality

I thought Blogging would bring many new clients to my door. Not true! (at least not in the short term)

What it has done is make me put my clients front and center when writing. I think about their aspirations, their demographics and psychographics. I think about their problems and my solutions. I have started a list of what I know about them as a collective whole and as individuals.

Blogging has also helped me learn about myself! I enjoy writing and telling a story to my readers. I enjoy thinking up different ways to update older models or approaches and I enjoy bringing innovative recommendations to my clients.

Blogging brings less to me in the way of new business; but it brings more to me in terms of helping me focus on creative ways to highlight my services, products and delivery models.

I have reconnected with former clients to tell them I was going to (confidentially) describe their situation and inevitably we discuss what is going on with them now, how my coaching helped them, etc.

Ultimately, Blogging also allows me to relive triumphs and learn from past mistakes. Not a bad return on my investment!

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Thank you to my Guest Post Author: Christine M. Glasco of CGConsultingGroup.net

Christine consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on strategic leadership and career management/career transformation solutions. She is a speaker, blogger and published e-book and article author. Christine will be publishing a whitepaper and releasing her first book in spring 2012.  Get in contact with her here!
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  • I love the raw honesty of your post, Christine. And it’s nice to know I’m not the ONLY ONE who experiences this!!!

    • Christine did a great job writing this guest post for us! It’s refreshing to hear some honest personal experiences from someone that has been blogging for a while.

  • Nice post Christine . . . . Great to see how your blog has grown over the past year!

    • Christine really did do an excellent job writing this article.

  • Tracy Kline

    Wonderful article!

  • “Ultimately, Blogging also allows me to relive triumphs and learn from past mistakes. Not a bad return on my investment!” nice Christine, its amazing how much helping other people can help yourself! Have a great day on purpose.

    • Hi Robert! Christine did a great job writing this article for us.

      It’s always important to learn from mistakes. In fact there is a famous saying that I always remember – “Mistakes are only bad if you fail to learn from them!”