Writing a blog for a living looks like an easy life. Maintaining a website seems super fun and easy. I’m here to tell you that both things require hard work. You have to be a well-organized machine in order to execute everything needed for success—day in and day out.
This post will serve as my personal account of “trying” (and more often failing) at maintaining everything needed to guest post and blog regularly and successfully. I will walk you through the technical aspects such as the laptop and the spot I like to sit on to write. I’ll also be covering the inner workings of process and management that come with the job.
The goal of this post is by no means to tell you that I have it all figured out. It’s also not meant to make you feel terrible if your own process isn’t working perfectly yet. Quite the opposite, this post is actually here to showcase how many failures I can string together and still, because I have a process in place, have a growing reputation and blog.
Subscribers Matter So Let’s Measure
I’ve been able to consistently grow subscribers. In fact, I have recently “re-engaged” my list to make sure everyone really wants to hear from me. I say that because it’s a measurement that matters. After all, the last thing you want is to keep on emailing people that aren’t even interested in what you have to say.
Let’s look at what matters when you’re blogging or guest blogging.
Key performance indicators or also known as KPIs are the measurements that matter to your business. Basically think of it like this, if it’s important then measure it. If it’s the single most important number then that’s a KPI for you. Cash flow is often considered as a KPI, for example.
So when you’re looking at growing a blog, you should focus on KPIs that make sense around blogging. Here are a few that I focus on:
I look at weekly, monthly, 90-Day, and 6-month views of these items:
- Social Shares
- Social Ads Stats
- Unique VIsitors
- Number of Visitors
- Pageviews (highest to lowest)
- Email Opens
- Link Clicks on Emails Sent
- # of posts scheduled
- # of posts published
Growing subscribers is not extremely difficult. In fact, if you have a niche already down pat then it’s fairly easy. Make a simple call-to-action (use headline hacks swipe files to help you pick a converting headline) and then install a plugin with some sort of pop-up form. The Sumo plugin no doubt works great for this purpose. It has everything you’ll need for converting readers into subscribers on a WordPress site.
With that said, your daily and monthly routines should focus on growing your KPIs.
One aspect of this is how you set your calendar. If money is another important factor then you may want to add that into the mix as well. You want to have your KPIs set up for reporting. You need to lock in the time to review them and then decide on your path from there.
Basically, you’ll be writing and promoting your posts. So in order to know what’s working and what gives the best results, you need to review what’s causing your desired effect. That way, you can reproduce your wins and stop wasting time on pursuing activities that don’t really deliver anything for you. It’s really that simple!
KPI Focus Number One For Guest Posters: An Organized Calendar
I’ve been mentored by a few “millionaires.” There’s one I’ve never met and others that I paid to mentor me. The number one most distinguishing trait I can tell you about having success (all of them built their wealth and ran successful businesses) is that they ran an organized calendar.
They built their week with a purpose and had the discipline to focus and complete it. They didn’t put in bull-logney items. As Noah Kagan says, “If it doesn’t hit the one KPI then don’t even consider it.” That’s a kind of super micro focus—and that’s all you really need!
Multitasking is only meant for the kind of work you do in the corporate world. When you’re the only team member or the head of the company then you have to maintain super focus so mistakes are kept to a minimum. You also have to drive the results or else they don’t happen. And when they don’t happen for long enough…that’s the time that you fail. Ultimately, you then go out of business.
So set up your calendar. Realize that the content you’re posting in two weeks needs to be researched today. You then need to lay out the bullet points after that and write a killer headline with the information you have. After doing your research, let the info stew a bit with you so you have time to process everything!
Your calendar should cover your KPI and also the schedule for your writing time. You should also set time aside for promotion, social setup, and other similar activities. Once you’ve broken all the steps down, use CoSchedule and their templates to follow a process and repeat it. I definitely love that tool!
Getting to the Actual Work
One of the biggest things standing in the way of your blog thriving is content. I don’t even mean the content on your site. Just content. Period.
The best suggestion I have for bloggers is to create a landing page and start posting on Medium and other people’s blogs. This will give you a chance to study the audience you want to attract. You then write your email series as well as your Medium posts. Next is to write posts for other blogs. Figure out what people react to and what they find interesting. You’ll be growing your KPIs with that and gaining subscribers in the process too.
So in order to accomplish any of this—you have to write. We talked in a previous post about hiring writers. While it’s super important to have content coming out all the time, you don’t necessarily have to hire a writer. But I would. Even if I’m writing all the time, I love having additional content coming out at all times. It also makes the most sense for every KPI available. More content means more of everything!
With that said, whether you hire a writer or not, you have to continue writing yourself.
Writing Can Suck Big Time But Here’s How To Find Your Groove
I love to sit down either late at night or early in the morning (typically when life is calmer and phones don’t ding with texts) and I just write. I typically try to spend at least an hour daily writing.
That’s not how I always do it though. In fact, I will look up and go days without me writing anything at all. It’s not what I want really but there at time I just suck at it. Or I fail at writing big time. The key though is to go back and do it again even though I fell off the wagon.
For me, having a title is the most important part about writing. I need something to focus the topic around. I need something to really keep me on track since it gives me a singular focus. I want the article to be able to back up what I claim in the title. That means the research and the writing has to do all the heavy work so that things flow right after the title.
I think a big part of it, even if it’s kind of weird, is that my brain accepts the title as a rule about what I can or can’t write about.
It stops the “monkey” brain from running crazy and finding all kinds of cool stuff to include into the body. It focuses on that one topic I’m meant to deliver. I then walk through the writing process step by step until the title becomes evident in what I’m writing.
So I make the title and open the Hemingway App or Google Docs (I always run most of my stuff through those apps) and continue writing about the topic from there.
What I Write On and Where I Go to Write
For me, it matters what I’m writing on. When I’m at a desktop I feel less “emotional” and can’t write from a personal perspective as much. When I sit in my “thinking” chair then that’s the time I can really dial in.
I actually even bought a small little Chromebook just to write on. It can have a set of tabs open and I can pick up right where I left off from my last session.
This one small thing really works for me. Being able to login to a specific computer and write. It might be all that I do in that space but it really helps in ensuring that I get my writing done.
Typically, I can write a few thousand words in a few hours. That doesn’t mean I only write from my Chromebook. That’s just for the times when there’s something specific “assigned” to me or to guarantee my writing time. Depending on what’s going on, I’ll grab a few more hours and write more content.
Since I write for a few online publications as well as my personal and company blogs, I need to churn out a lot of content so I need to write a good deal. Amazing content and perspective is no doubt a quality asset especially if you want to make it online.
In a nutshell, my best advice would be to just write and see what happens. If you find it hard to start on a blank space, you can just focus on explaining the title in your own words and then adding more substance and data later. Find stuff you know about and enjoy writing or researching on. That could really help spur you to get your writing groove on.
Writing can be a really freeing activity and will draw you into the subject you’re writing about if you let it.
Follow writing blogs, writers, and of course, take some writing classes. Those will all build your confidence in your writing skills so you’re better prepared to take on the different content requirements you may need to succeed.
Different Kinds of Writing and How to Write Various Topics
Blog posts don’t have to be 2,000-word detailed, mega articles. They also don’t have to be brief 200-word thoughts. The cool thing is that if you have an audience that’s reading your content, you might want to mix things up from time to time.
Ryan Deiss has a blog post template that makes a ton of sense to me. It allows you to put 4 or 5 other articles and share the information in that manner. You write a short description about each item and then post a cool pic from the piece. Screenshots are fine to use here as well.
This is a great way to “bang out content” and really get quality information out while still focusing on your writing and conveying a solid opinion. You don’t necessarily have to think up or know anything. Think of it as you reporting on the subject.
Personally, I prefer to write in three formats:
- I love writing detailed “how to” posts that involve heavy theory and analysis. Deep research and tons of references are the hallmarks of this kind of content. While these huge articles get a lot of shares, I don’t see the most uptick in KPIs from these. I do enjoy them and they bring in great SEO and credibility. I post most of these on other people’s blogs. Search Engine Journal has few of my recent ones.
- Another preferred format of mine are personal experience and advice posts. Much like this article for example! I don’t have to do a lot of research but a good chuck of the content comes from my own personal experience. I’m just out there giving my advice and recommendations from what I’ve went through. This is targeted to my people. People that want to do online marketing and grow their website or blog. These post get the most feedback consistently. However, they can be a total miss sometimes.
- Much like the one I described above, I also write round-up posts. I take a few items and group them together. I wrote an article on SEJ about the 3 Underground SEOs That You Should Follow. This got the total most views in the said online publication for that month. This kind of post is a quick hitter and is easy to put together. I love to write it but they’re not necessarily challenging to me so I like mixing them in with other things instead of just doing the same thing every time. A post like this taps into a few things:
- You tap into their audience and they help you by sharing the article in their platform.
- You can social tag other authors and they may even share the info.
- You can post the article in social groups that have followers from a specific influencer.
- You have multiple people who mention the post so it gets shared more often.
- Readers love the brevity and quick info offered in this style of post.
- They are simple to research and write.
Writing and Promotion Calendar Setup and Final Words
Running your life has gotten you this far. Now it’s time to set your emotions aside and logically improve your daily routine.
That’s what I tell myself every time when the calendar alarm goes off and I don’t want to do the thing it’s telling me to do. I know that I have to do it anyway. Writing is tough when you don’t want to do it and the monkey part of our brain can be a real prohibitory factor.
I found that running my life using a calendar gets me more results than any other hack I can tell you. It takes discipline and planning. Both of which I suck at most of the time. Operating at a rate where 40% of my tasks are calendared, I’m still able to get 10 times the results!
Next time you’re struggling, take a break and put on brain.fm. It helps get you focused. You might think it’s weird but it really does work.
If I can succeed or have some semblance of success online because of a simple step such as setting up a calendar (coupled with a whole lot of learning) then you can SOAR as well—no doubt about that. If you’re thinking I have some leg up on you, I don’t. I actually get in my own way all the time. I can lack focus and discipline at times coupled with random times where all I want to do is to chase puzzles.
By this time, you must have perceived that work has to be systematized in order to be successful. Unfortunately, there is no other way around it. If you happen to run a company blog like me, time is gold and content is king. But, how to use the full potential of both? Through guest posting at Content Club. It’s a small (and growing) select group of websites that all have high DA and continually has focused on producing more traffic and more backlinks to the site. Visit our website today if you want to learn more.
Start today and start getting the results you’ve always wanted. Tweet at me @thewillrobins and let me know how it goes! You can also email me if tweeting is not your thing!