Not Blogging 101 – Guide for Beginning Bloggers

7

December 21, 2012 by Katia

WTF (?)  is what you are asking yourself right now. Sure, your question is missing a verb and a subject but it’s still a valid question. You clicked on this post and started reading, then went ‘wait a minute’ went back to my home page and checked how many followers I have which brings us to WTF(?).  And now you’re ready to get on with your life and forget all about this little post because who am I to talk about building up your follower-base when, uhmm uhmm, do we really need to go there? But that’s exactly it. Let me talk about myself very quickly and explain why I think I might be on to something. Or somethings.

I am Katia but my 4 month old knows me as The Milk or GaaaaAAAAaaaaa. I started blogging 5 weeks after having him. While Iv’e had other children I’ve never had other blogs, but I’ve always wanted to write and being on a long maternity leave is allowing me to do so. Working in a sales-oriented position for the past few years taught me persistence, thinking outside the box and stepping outside of my comfort zone, WAY outside my comfort zone. All come in handy for (child raising and) blog marketing depending, of course, on how aggressively you intend to pursue your goal.

And just how aggressive am I? Don’t let my military rank confuse you. I come in peace. I write my blog because I enjoy writing, because it feels like I am being myself when I write, because it connects me to other people who laugh and identify and recognize themselves in what I write and sometimes I write my blog because I feel that I might, if I am really lucky, give someone some hope.  That is why I am obsessed with exposing my blog to as many readers as possible. I believe in its content.

Being a new blogger I am in my trial and error period. I am constantly exploring new ways of reaching more people by online research and relentless brain storming with 4 Month Old, my company during the day. The suggestions below are not what you would perhaps refer to as blogging 101. They assume you already know you should publish your posts on Facebook .  They assume you’ve covered these territories and are now ready to become more adventurous and more methodical, so like a Sagittarius and a Capricorn. Oh, you’re not into this stuff? Then you must be a Taurus, Sir.

Here’s your TO DO list:

  1. Go old school. Social media is excellent and posting on all of your accounts is what you should be doing before anything else but do you really need someone to tell you that?  Go old school is the less obvious choice. What if you could become a walking ad for your blog? Ask yourself what is the activity that you do most frequently or what is an activity that you do that is in line with your blog’s goal or content? Do you work out and run a fitness blog? Do you go grocery shopping every morning and write a food blog? Are you a mommy blogger who takes her kids to classes? What if you could be a walking ad for your blog? Consider investing a small amount of money in a promotional product. Place the name of your blog on your customized work out t-shirt or your grocery bag. I am running my own grocery bag experiment right now. Stay tuned for the results! Another way to go old school is to try to team up with local small businesses that promote the same interests or values as your blog by leaving flyers. If you are a mommy blogger ask a local toy store or even your community centre or class provider to work with you, if you write about yoga perhaps a health food store would be willing to collaborate with you. Don’t forget there has to be something in it for them too. Offer a mention or a product/service review on your blog in return.
  1. Comment wisely – participate in forums and discussion boards but seek out the ones that allow you to use your blog’s URL as part of your signature. Try to be helpful by responding to threads that you can contribute to. At the same time be calculated and make sure to respond to popular threads as well to increase your blog’s visibility. If you are posting a new thread yourself be cautious about overly vigorous self promotion, you do not want your threads removed. Make sure to check the site’s policies first, or contact the Community Manager to ask whether you could post blog-related threads.
  2. Badges = Referrals – visit other blogs that write about the same topics. Not only will reading other bloggers’ work inspire you and help you define your unique voice but it’ll also more often than not teach you about topic related websites and social media you were not familiar with. I was recently accepted to Top Mommy Blogs, a very comprehensive directory of mommy blogs, divided by categories. TMB has some very strict criteria that your blog has to meet in order to be featured. I was waiting to meet all the criteria before applying and it was worth the wait. Every day since joining I get a few visitors from this website and this has become one of my more active visitor sources. I learned about this website from reviewing a fellow blogger’s badges. Not badge, eh?
  3. Guest Blogging – check site statistics first. If you’ve been devouring everything written about blogs since 1867 (they called them weblogs back then) then you know that guest posting is ace high. The problem is it takes two to shoot off. Posting my info on various guest blogging directories did not prove fruitful. That is why I thought I hit the jack pot when a Google search yielded a call for mommy bloggers who wanted to collaborate with another mommy blogger. The Blogger was asking mommies to send her their non published posts for review upon which she would select the ones that she found suitable to be featured on her blog. About 30 minutes into my vigorous spunkifying of a non published post it occurred to me to check how popular the blog was. A good indicator would be the amount of comments, likes or followers. This website did not have enough of the first two and no indication of the latter which may or may not be intentional. I’ve decided to invest my time in a different marketing activity.

    Guest blogging cowboy.

    Guest blogging cowboy.

  4. Spread the love –  If your friends have Facebook pages hit like and share their better posts with your network (oh, you should have a Facebook page, by the way). Message your Linkedin contacts, ask them to like your Facebook page (is it up yet?) and ask if they have a page you could like in return (make sure to check the page first and practice good judgement). Spread the love. It’ll come back. Plus karma and all that stuff.
  5. Identify your uniqueness/niche – spend some time trying to answer the question what is it that people get from my blog and capitalize on that (I don’t necessarily mean from a money earning aspect). I know that those who read my blog enjoy it because it’s funny and because sometimes it brings a tear to their eye and I know that these qualities will always draw readers in, but I don’t know if they will draw them in quickly enough. I may consider adding a Review tab to my blog where I will post product or service reviews related to my blog’s subject matter.

    Don't send me your 3 Year Olds for review. My hands are full.

    Don’t send me your 3 Year Olds for review. My hands are full.

  6. Get those grey cells working – ask yourself every day if there is a new approach to marketing your blog that you haven’t tried yet. Challenge yourself to doing one new thing toward that purpose every day. I’ve recently started checking the trending topics on Twitter and am trying to post something blog-relevant on a couple of topics a day.
  7. Get Capricorn – get organized. Keep a list where you track your efforts – whenever you think of a new way to promote your blog write it down. Track what’s worked for you and what hasn’t. Once in a while when you feel stuck or just as a way of keeping yourself organized and productive go over the entire list and ask yourself if you’ve done everything on it to promote a post.

There you go. My two cents. I’ll be happy to learn about methods you’ve used to bring your blog to the masses or to get feedback on whether you’ve tried any of my advice before or after reading my blog and whether it’s worked for you.

Before I go here are two links I’ve found very helpful. I love this article and this one too. Please feel free to share articles you’ve found helpful.

Happy blogging.

The subjects

The subjects

7 thoughts on “Not Blogging 101 – Guide for Beginning Bloggers

  1. Nappy Queen says:

    This is a blog post about blogging that is ACTUALLY HELPFUL!!!! i just started blogging seriously (well seriously compared to what i was doing before) about 4-5 months ago when i found out i was pregnant (score!) i really like this post. great work.

    • Katia says:

      You’re too funny, I love the pregnant-score comment🙂 Thank you, I’m very glad this is helpful. Let me know how these suggestions are working for you if you decide to implement them. Good luck!🙂

  2. indiginz says:

    Great info and entertaining. I ditched Facebook, everyone says I’m mad but no, I just like challenges (-:

  3. T. A. Woods says:

    I sent this out on my G+, LinkedIn and Stumbled it. My blog is mostly about different aspects of writing, so I’m always exciting when I read something pertaining to blogging that’s actually helpful.

    • Katia says:

      Amazing, thank you so much for sharing this and I am so happy you think this is helpful. I think I may have to reread this myself, I am feeling a little stuck… Perhaps once I’ve found my writing theme song I’ll be able to better motivate myself🙂

  4. Whitney says:

    So I read this post and then I read one of the links that you suggested (the one with 101 ideas for increasing traffic). I’m so overwhelmed. I feel like I can barely keep up with the ‘reaching out’ that I do do (hehehe, do-do). Anyway, working full time at the dang day job and trying to get out there, it’s rough. I’ll keep plugging though. Thanks for the tips!

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Tired. Going from 10 months of staying at home with the kids to full time work is disorienting.  I have to redefine what my involvement in their lives looks like. I have to go dig for my creativity, it's not readily available. I have to make room for friendships that were already pushed to the outskirts of my mommy life. What was previously inaccessible, existing in the "so near yet so far" category - books, blazers and heels - became a staple in this old new reality in a matter of days. Tired and disoriented but also content, supported and appreciative. #momsofinstagram #random #randomthoughts #changes #workingmom #tired #tgif
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