Blogger's Quick Guide to Writing Rituals and Routines

Blogger’s Quick Guide to Writing Rituals and Routines

How to use writing rituals and routines to be a more productive and successful blogger

Let’s face it; blogging is hard work, and finding the motivation to blog consistently can be hard to come by, but without consistency, no blogger succeeds.

Think about it! One thing that all successful bloggers have in common is consistency, and for many of them, writing rituals and routines are what keep them motivated and on track with their blogging.

The great news is, anyone — even people with very limited time to blog — can publish blog content consistently.

The key isn’t great writing skills, fancy degrees, or buckets of free time. The key is developing a custom-designed blogging routine that works for you.

In the Blogger’s Quick Guide to Writing Rituals and Routines, you’ll discover a step-by-step plan to creating your personal blogging routine, which will result in:

Will You Fail on Social Media? Here’s How to Find Out! [Infographic]

Social media is popular. Everyone’s on social media. Even my 83-year-old mom is on Facebook, and knows how to “LOL.”

Will you fail on social media?

But while social media is popular, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy, and it also doesn’t mean just because you share your blog posts on social that they’ll go viral.

Check out the infographic below for some sobering thoughts about social, and how likely you are (or are not) to fail on social media, and then beneath the infographic, keep reading to hear my thoughts on some of these.

Monday Motivation: Try Something New on Your Blog

When’s the last time you tried something new on your blog?

monday motivation try something new on your blog

I’ve written a lot on playing to your strengths on your blog. As an example, writing comes naturally to me, so I publish a lot of written content.

I still think it’s a good idea to publish the majority of your content in a form that is natural to you, because then it won’t take as much time, not to mention it will probably be good quality. But there’s something to be said for trying something new on your blog, so I want to encourage you today to do that.

Here are some new things you might want to try on your blog:

1. Create an audio and upload it to your blog

There’s not enough “room” in this post to go into how to create an audio, so for now I’ll just say that you can initially use any type of microphone you have, record the audio using a free program such as Audacity, and upload the audio.

Now if you’ve just used the microphone on your computer, your sound quality won’t be great, and there is certainly more you’ll want to learn to improve audios if you’re going to do this on a regular basis, but the point here is to simply try something new.

2. Create an infographic

I’m going to admit straight up that graphics are a weak area for me, so I haven’t really gotten into infographics, but they are certainly on my list of things to learn.

Canva has some basic infographic templates, and you can also use Piktochart  or Infogr.am. In fact, even programs that you may already have such as PowerPoint can be used to create infographics!

3. Make a video

Video intimidates a lot of people, including me! But there are a lot of tools out there to make video creation easier for the average person. Here are a couple of possibilities:

Your Smartphone

The quality of video will vary depending on the type of phone that you have, but if you want to make a simple talking head video, the video camera on your phone will likely be sufficient.

  • Screencast videos.

These are most often tutorial videos showing how to do something online. Here’s an example of a simple one I did on how to set up an editorial calendar using Google Calendar:

As you can see, this video is nothing fancy, but it provides helpful content to the viewers. I made this video using Snagit, but if you want to start with a free option, I’ve heard good things about ScreenCast-O-Matic.

  • PowerPoint

PowerPoint has the option to turn a presentation into a video. I find it best to add animations to a PowerPoint presentation, upload a .mp3 and sync it with the slides, save it as a video, and then upload the video to YouTube. From there I can embed it on my blog.

Here’s an example of a video I created using PowerPoint:

 

And here’s a video that I created to show how to save a PowerPoint presentation as a video:

 

So there you have it. If you’re not already doing so, give one of the options above a try on your blog sometime soon, this week if possible!

I AM a Writer

When I left my job to start a business a couple of years back, I made certain decisions based on the “fact” that I didn’t want to write all day every day. I felt that way because I had never tried writing all day every day and I thought I would get bored, so instead of pursuing making a full-time living as a writer, I decided to start off as a virtual assistant, and write on the side.

I am a writer featured image

I did this in spite of the fact that I KNEW I could make a full time living writing. In fact, I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993, and have a very high acceptance rate when it comes to the articles that I’ve pitched to different magazines and have also had a lot of opportunities to write web content.

Knowing I could make a living as a writer and wanting to do it full time were two very different things, and I was convinced I would be bored if I had to chain myself to my desk and write all day every day, so doing some VA work when I left my job seemed like a logical step in the right direction.

Working as a virtual assistant was not a bad way to make a living, and in fact, it was a great way to transition from a steady paycheck from a JOB to being home full time without starving to death. This was especially true since I did work on a retainer basis, so I was guaranteed a set amount of income each month.

i learned from the best

I was fortunate in that right from the start, I worked for some of the best people in the social media and blogging/content marketing industries, people like Amy Porterfield, Marcus Sheridan, Pat Flynn, and so on. Even though I was doing VA work, working for people who are leaders in fields of interest to me was a great way to learn from the best of the best when it comes to everything content and social media related.

Over time I began to expand my service offerings to be more focused on content, and started doing things like blog writing and management, social media management, and podcast production. As I went through that process, I stopped doing general VA work, and instead focused exclusively on content-related work. For example, I switched from being Amy Porterfield’s VA to being her content manager/podcast producer, and also did content management for clients such as Michael Hyatt and Ken Davis.

i will always be grateful
This was great, and I thought I had landed on what I was meant to do, “forever.” Afterall, how many people had an opportunity to do behind the scenes work for such amazing people? It has been a tremendous privilege, and one I will always be grateful for.

But then something came along that kind of messed all of this up. I was approached to write three blog posts per week for iBlog Magazine, a blog and print magazine for professional women who are bloggers. Since I started this job in October of 2013, I’ve written approximately 120 blog posts for them.

That’s a lot of blog posts — and what that really means is that there have been several times when I’ve had to write even when I didn’t feel like it. The more that I’ve done that, the easier it’s been.

On top of that, I recently decided to “blog a book” and wrote a blog post every single morning before getting out of bed. I’ll be publishing those blog posts and releasing those books over time, but the bottom line is that each morning as I wrote those blog posts, I couldn’t help but feel that I was doing what I was meant to do — write.

In addition to this, when I recently polled my email subscribers about the type of content they most want, the majority of people expressed an interest in written content above all else, with audio content coming in second. This is why, as you may have noticed, that my recent posts are written, and many of them are also in audio format.

i'm a blessed lady

All of these things converged together to say to me loud and clear, “You are a writer.” And actually, not just, “You are a writer,” but “You are a writer and your greatest passion and your greatest enjoyment and profit will come from writing.”

What this means for my future is that while I’ll still do some content management, podcast production and other work for clients, I’ll also gladly do something that I originally thought I didn’t want to do, and that is chain myself to my desk and write.

So expect a lot more written content from me, and among other things, be on the lookout for a lot of Kindle books from me in the near future.

I look forward to serving you as I pour myself into doing what I do best — write.

Thanks for coming along on the journey!

dont withhold your gift from the world

How to Use Freewriting to Beat Writer’s Block

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I first started freewriting in the form of what Judith Cameron, of The Artist’s Way calls, “Morning Pages.” Up until that point, I had never really written random things intentionally.

How to use freewriting to beat writers block featured image

I’ll always appreciate Cameron for introducing me to the concept of Morning Pages, but now I do them any time of the day, and I also type them instead of writing them longhand as she strongly recommends.

The bottom line is that regardless of whether you call the process Morning Pages or freewriting, regardless of the time of day you do them, and regardless of whether you write them longhand or type them, stream of consciousness writing can help you break through writer’s block.

Writer’s block occurs for many reasons, but one of the reasons is striving to be perfect, and then shutting down because of it. Freewriting not only gives you permission to write imperfectly, it actually compels you to do so, because the one rule of freewriting is to write continuously, with no stopping to think of how to word things, or stopping to correct mistakes.

I don’t know about you, but I find it near impossible to write fast and furious, without pausing to think, without making at least a few typos, or otherwise typing something stupid. But the amazing thing is, buried in the midst of that dribble are some amazing gems that when polished, end up being some of my best blog posts.

Another thing that I love about freewriting is that it is a great way to establish the habit of writing every day, even if you feel that there is absolutely NO way you could publish a blog post every day. In fact, until I decided to embark on this 100 blog posts in 100 days challenge, I never had any intention of writing a blog post every day, because I felt the time just wasn’t there. But I did do some type of writing almost every day and on many days, freewriting was what I did.

If you’re trying to develop the blogging habit, but aren’t anywhere near ready to blog every single day, give daily freewriting a try. I think you’ll find that it will make a big difference in your blogging efforts.

Here are the basics on how to do freewriting:

1. Choose a time of day. Most select morning, but evening may be better for you. I also do some freewriting any time I’m upset or grappling with a big decision that I need to make, but for the sake of consistency, I would recommend having a set time, and then doing “supplemental” freewriting as the need arises.

2. Choose a medium. As I mentioned, Cameron recommends writing long hand. I prefer to type in a Google doc. The one big downside to my method is that unless I have my computer with me, I can’t freewrite, but with today’s technology, unless you’re intentionally “fasting” from electronics, you will likely always have a way to write, regardless of where you are.

3. Make a time commitment. I would recommend at least 10 minutes, but 15 is better. Having said that, if this is something that will be a big struggle for you, start with five minutes. Five minutes when done consistently is better than a half an hour done sporadically.

4. Use a timer. Using a timer is not (in my opinion anyway) a hard and fast rule, but I like using one for days when I just don’t feel like doing it because it pushes me to write for more than a few minutes. The timer will help hold you accountable for the commitment you’ve made, so unless this comes easily to you, give the timer a try.

That’s it! Freewriting doesn’t have to be complicated to yield big results.

The Power of Blogging Rituals

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What do you think of when you hear the word, “blogging ritual?” Perhaps you think of some type of spiritual experience, with lit candles, burning incense, or Gregorian chants playing in the background. While all of those things can be part of a blogging ritual, your blogging ritual certainly doesn’t need to include anything esoteric. In fact, even no frills rituals can be effective.

The Power of Blogging Rituals

Here’s the deal: “ritual” is to some extent just another word for “routine.” And while routines may not be exciting, they can be a key element of blogging productivity.

Here are some of the benefits of blogging rituals:

1. They make it easier to get into your writing groove. For instance, if you start every blog writing session by brewing a certain type of tea, as soon as you begin to prepare the tea, your mind will transition into writing mode before you ever sit down at the computer.

2. They provide a sense of being in control. When you participate in writing rituals, you are putting aside randomness and instability, and in a very real sense, taking control of your environment. Instead of allowing your day to control you, you are taking control of your day and strongly declaring that it is time to blog.

3. They reduce anxiety. This point is built on the two previous points, because when you’re able to quickly get into the writing grove, and have a sense of being in control, you naturally feel less stressed.

4. They free your mind. Mental clutter is one of the biggest hindrances to getting things done, and it most certainly impacts blogging productivity. When you establish blogging rituals, your mind shifts into a different mode, where the focus moves away from all of the other cares of life and business. This cleared mind helps you to write more freely, with fewer hindrances.

5. They expedite your entire writing process. As I wrote earlier, blogging rituals make it easier to get into the writing grove. In addition to that, they tend to set off an entire process of routines, that last beyond the actual ritual. For instance, not only will you start the writing process faster, with less procrastination, the sense of order present in the ritual will often spill over into the rest of the writing process.

When you consistently use the same routines, your entire writing process becomes more automatic. This order and automation reduces the amount of time you might waste with a more haphazard approach to your blogging

Your Turn

Do you have any writing rituals?

100 Posts in 100 Days: Are you Crazy?

100 Blog posts in 100 days featured image In today’s post I revisit a short portion of a podcast from long ago, because to date, it is one of the most inspiring interviews I’ve ever conducted. My guest was Ryan Hanley, an insurance agent turned content marketer, who, in spite of the people in his agency thinking he was crazy, embarked on a journey to prove that content marketing works.

One way that he did this was through writing 100 blog posts in 100 days AND creating 100 YouTube videos in 100 days as well. (He embedded the YouTube videos in his blog posts.) His results were nothing short of remarkable, and in fact, the agency where he worked turned from being skeptical about blogging, to making blogging and other forms of content marketing his full-time position.

Now whether or not I’ll publish 100 blog posts in 100 days remains to be seen. I have a lot of irons in the fire right now, and my publishing schedule will depend on whether or not some of those things come through. But what I do plan is to publish at least 31 blog posts this month. It’s a little easier to looking to the current month, and while publishing a blog post (with an audio, for my followers who prefer audio) will be challenging, it’s a doable goal for the current month.

One thing that IS certain is that shooting for the moon when it comes to the content we create will, at the very least, help us to land among the stars, even if we fail to reach the mega goal we set for ourselves.

With that in mind, I’d like to encourage you to set a big and scary blogging goal, and then do your best to reach it. Feel free to leave your scary goal in the comments below.

And now, here’s the interview with Ryan:

Transcript

Ryan Hanley: So I don’t know if any of your listeners or if you’ve ever seen Pulp Fiction. Have you ever seen that movie?

Rebecca Livermore: Yes.

Ryan Hanley: Where the woman OD’d and they take the adrenaline shot and they stick it right into her heart and she comes like bursting back to life gasping for air. That’s what I wanted to do with our website. So I said, “OK, how do I do that?” I’m going to write an article every single day for the first 100 days of 2012 and see what I can do. I didn’t just want to write. I wanted to really play into Google and how Google plays favorites with his own tools. So what I did was I answered 100 insurance questions in 100 days in two minutes or less on a YouTube video.

Rebecca Livermore: Wow.

Ryan Hanley: And then took that YouTube video, wrote about six paragraphs of content, embedded the video in a blog post on my website and then I also uploaded the video and put some content and a link to my website in Google+. So I connected YouTube, Google+ on my website and I did that for 100 days and it was exhausting to say the least.

Rebecca Livermore: I bet.

Ryan Hanley: But the traffic, just watching the little meter in Google Analytics, whatever that’s worth, the amount of traffic and attention that we were getting, it was well worth it.

Rebecca Livermore: Oh, that’s awesome. Was that also an attempt to kind of show your company that hey, this really works? I mean did you feel like you had something to prove when you set out?

Ryan Hanley: Oh, yeah.

Rebecca Livermore: To start doing it?

Ryan Hanley: Yeah, I mean something to prove would be an understatement. No. It was like I have been talking about this for so long and they finally kind of gave me the keys to the website and I didn’t want to drop the ball here. I wanted to show them that hey, this stuff works.

So we did the 100 days and the 100 articles in 100 days, 100 videos. We’re answering questions. The questions I think were the most important parts. When we really get into kind of the nitty-gritty of content creation and a lot of people are talking about VOC, a lot of the kind of content marketers out there talking about something called VOC, voice of customer.

What I did was in the month of December 2011, so the month before, when I knew I was going to be able to start working on the website before I could actually do it, I was out on Facebook. I was calling people. I was asking every client that came into my office. If you had one insurance question that you could have answered what would it be? Very simple. It doesn’t have to be mind-bending.

If you had an insurance question, what would it be? Over the course of that month, I collected like 147 questions and then some of them were duplicates and some of them were close and I paired those down to the hundred but I paired them down in the exact phrasing that my clients used.

So I was using the words that they used and that was an incredibly important part of the process because I wanted the way insurance customers talked to match up with the words and the language that we used in the content we created for these videos. Over the course of the 100 days, we saw our traffic on a daily basis increase by 150 percent.

Rebecca Livermore: Wow.

Ryan Hanley: So we were getting between 72 and 78 hits a day on our website leading up to January 1st and I could tell you we had three pages on our website up until that point and every single one of them was either the home page or a Contact Us page which had our phone number and our address. So, 72 to 78 people a week were going to our page to find our phone number or our address. When we started the 100 days, literally on day one, we got 150 people.

So we doubled our weekly traffic in a day, the first day that we did this. I mean there’s a lot of other promotion that went along with it. But then that promotion died off and it was really just everyday being consistent and we just watched a little meter on Google Analytics tick up and up and up.

We signed in those 100 days about 25 new clients just from people who contacted us who directly mentioned the videos and the articles which for the actual amount of time that it took to put all this together, which was about a half hour a day, is an incredible amount of revenue for us.

Rebecca Livermore: Oh, yeah. That is incredible. So how did your bosses respond when they saw that big of an impact just in the first few months?

Ryan Hanley: Well, first they didn’t think I was crazy any longer. This is a family business. There’s my father-in-law who owns it, my brother-in-law who works here, my wife and my wife’s twin sister and myself. So there are five of us total and I wasn’t like the crazy outcast son-in-law who would evolve his wild ideas on creating content and driving inbound traffic. All of a sudden it became, “Well, what else can you do?”

That’s actually how I ultimately got. So I was just a producer then. So I was doing all this in addition to the daily functions of a traditional insurance producer. I still had to do cold calls and do all the other stuff.

Three weeks ago, I was given the title Director of Marketing and now I’m fulltime head of marketing for the agency doing all this that we’re discussing and more. I’m no longer a traditional producer because using these kinds of inbound content marketing tactics or strategies, those are – I don’t necessarily like those words but using this type of marketing method, the concepts and theories behind it, I can bring much more revenue into the agency than I could as a traditional producer.

Rebecca Livermore: Wow, that’s amazing, and that really shows the power of what you and I both have a passion for and it’s not just some silly idea that may or may not work. When done well, it does work.

Ryan Hanley: I mean work is not even a question and it doesn’t even have to be done well. You can do it OK and still see results. I mean the truth is it’s really just taking the time to do it and the time becomes less and less as you become more proficient in how you create content and have a better idea of the content you want to create and you don’t even have to be that good of a writer or that good on video or that good on a podcast. Getting the content out there is really the first step. I think far too many people wait to try to produce something great.

Rebecca Livermore: Right.

Ryan Hanley: And it just doesn’t have to be. Just get started getting the content out there and then learn and you will get to great. Really this is Seth Godin. Just ship it. Just get it out there. Get it going and as long as you’re willing to learn, that your content is going to get to the point where you’re doing some serious damage but it will work day one.

The big question for you is what will YOU do? Do you think that you’ll try writing 100 posts in 100 days?

I hope that you enjoyed that inspiring interview with Ryan. My question for you is if you think that you’ll embark on your own blogging challenge. It doesn’t have to be 100 posts in 100 days. For example, if you haven’t been blogging consistently, it can be one post a week for the next 12 weeks, or if like me, you’re a bit uncertain about what the next 100 days holds for you, consider setting a goal that is for the next 30 days instead.

The important thing is to set a realistic but challenging goal and then do your best to stick with it and make it happen.

Feel free to share your goal by leaving a comment below, so that we can all cheer each other on!

Why Even the Smallest Pieces of Content Really Matter

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Most often when we think of the content on our website, we think of things like our blog posts. And in most cases, that is the main part of our content. But content is really anything that is on our site, and it’s important to consider how every piece of content on our website makes people feel, whether that content is blog posts, terms of service, the about page, or any other type of content.

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Your readers may not tell you how your content makes them feel, so put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you would feel when consuming the content on your site.

I’m inspired to write about this today because I just had an experience on a website that made me, a paying customer, feel crappy. I’m going to describe the situation, how it made me feel, and how a slight tweak in the content would have made my experience as a customer more positive.

Background

I purchased a plugin awhile back, and need to install it on my site. I did a search for the plugin on my computer and can’t find it. My fault, perhaps, for not filing it better, and I’ll admit that since I don’t purchase that many plugins, I don’t have a good filing system on my computer for the plugins I’ve purchased.

Seeking Support

Help

I went to the support forum for this product. The forum is only available to customers, and requires logging in. Thankfully, I did indeed remember my log in, so was able to log into the support forum.

I did a search for how to re-download a purchased plugin, and found that someone else had asked a similar question.

When he asked the question, the admin responded by chiding him, saying that if he had read the forum rules, he would know what to do to get the latest version of the plugin, with a link to the rules. I was a bit put off by this because of the harsh way it was handled, and had I been the person asking the question, I would have been a bit embarrassed by the response.

Reading the Rules

I wasn’t about to make the same mistake as the guy that dared to ask how to re-download the plugin, so I went to the linked-to rules, and after much searching, found another link to a document that explained how to get the latest version of the plugin.

Requesting the Download Link

According to the rules, there was a place to request the download link. Unfortunately, that form required not just my name and email address, but the PayPal transaction ID for the purchase. The problem there was that I used my credit card to purchase via PayPal, so didn’t have a PayPal transaction ID.

Some Good News. . . Or Maybe Not

The good news was that there was another form I could fill out if I didn’t have the transaction ID. At this point, while the whole process could still be deemed a bit frustrating, I would feel okay about it, had it not been for these words on that form, “If we cannot verify that you purchased a product we will simply ignore the request, so fill in the Registered Email Address field correctly.”

How this Made Me Feel

A worried woman holding her head. isolate

I was already feeling a bit on edge due to the way the person who asked a similar question to the one that I had was responded to, and to what I felt was a more difficult process than needed to re-download a plugin, but the words, “we will simply ignore the request” made me feel a bit insecure about this whole process.  Is there any way for me to know if there is a problem since they will just ignore my request if I make a mistake? How long should I wait before contacting them again?

I’ve always felt happy with this company up to this point and recommended their plugins to other people. But I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel what I’m feeling, and because of it would be less likely to recommend their products in the future.

How it Could Have Been Handled

Remember that my initial bad feeling started when seeing how someone else was reprimanded for the question they asked about how to re-download the plugin. In my opinion, a more appropriate response to him would have been for the admin to simply link to the necessary form, rather than to tell the guy that he was “doing it wrong.” Their strong response to him probably made him feel bad, but it also made me feel bad when I read it. It was a public demonstration of what happens if someone inadvertently broke the rules.

Giving him the assistance that he needed would have also helped me when I had the same question as him, since his post is what I found when I did my search.

In addition to that, rather than telling me that I would be ignored if I did it wrong, my experience would have been much more positive had I instead been assured that they would do all they could to help me, that if I didn’t hear back within a certain period of time what to do and so on.

Small Pieces of Content that Make a Big Difference

This site has many excellent blog posts, and the documentation for the plugins is also excellent. There are great tutorials that make using the plugins a snap. But just a few short words on their website left me with a less than positive feeling about the company.

This experience was an excellent reminder to me that the little things matter, and that we should always be mindful of how the content on our site impacts those who consume it.

 Your Turn:

Have you ever felt uplifted — or put down — by the content on someone’s site? Share your experiences in the comments below.

 

 

Responding to Content (and Social Media) Controversies

bigstock-Chicken-Man-Holding-Sign-6040246 Content (and social media) controversies abound. Heck, controversies in general abound, particularly in this age when videos and other forms of content are easily shared.

The latest video making the rounds in social media circles is one titled, “Facebook Fraud,” and it’s all about how Facebook ads are a ripoff.

Now this post isn’t to rip on — or defend — Facebook ads. Rather, it’s to consider the importance of avoiding knee-jerk reactions to the latest buzz when it comes to blogging, and all other forms of content marketing, including social media.

how to respond to content (and social media) controversies Controversy sells.

Let’s face it: controversy sells. This applies to all types of subject matter, so sadly, it is also true when it comes to business-related items including all forms of content marketing.

Think of how many times you’ve heard that “blogging is dead” or “email is dead.” (Remember the big stink over the gmail tabs that put promotional emails into their own category?) And yet most of us are still (or should be) blogging and using email marketing. Why? Because they work!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you hear about the latest Google algorithm change, or the latest complaint about Facebook.

Don’t be too quick to jump ship!

Chances are, if you just keep plodding along when others are jumping ship, you’ll speed ahead of them.

This doesn’t mean that you should never jump ship. There may come a time when you MUST jump ship if you want to survive, but it most likely won’t be at the height of the controversy.

Each side of the coin (or story) is different, but both are true. The only way to get the big picture is to consider both sides of any controversy.

Each side of the coin (or story) is different, but both are true. The only way to get the big picture is to consider both sides of any controversy.

Consider both sides of the story (a.k.a. both sides of the coin!).

An unfortunate aspect of human nature is that we naturally look to find things that support our own opinion, or feed our own fears. I’m not an expert (or even a dabbler) in human psychology, but I suspect that this is because we all like to be validated.

So let’s say that I was already disillusioned with Facebook in general and ads in particular, I would probably be all over the video that validated my opinion that ads are a rip off. I would share the video far and wide, perhaps because I had already expressed my doubts about Facebook ads, and the video proves I’m right!

But I know that there are always two sides to a story, so when I watched the video, I searched for responses to it and I found an excellent one by Jon Loomer. (You can read his post and watch the video here.) In this post, Jon refutes many of the claims made in the video, and shares his own statistics about his experience with Facebook ads.

After digging in to both sides of a story related to the demise of blogging, email marketing, Facebook marketing or whatever the case may be, you may still come away with the same, “the sky is falling” opinion of the matter, but at least you’ll be making a more informed decision.

blogging and social media controversies

The only way to really know what is working with your blogging and social media efforts is to monitor the results.

Monitor your own stats.

The stats that other people share may or may not be accurate, or may be accurate, but only tell part of the story. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but unless we’re able to log into people’s Google Analytics or Facebook Insights (or whatever) accounts, we really don’t know whether or not they are sharing the whole story, or whether or not they are telling the truth at all.

In contrast, we have complete access to our own statistics, and we know they haven’t been tampered with. In addition to that, it’s important to bear in mind that we all have different audiences, and what works for one audience may or may not work for another audience.

For instance, there are many different opinions about optimal blog post length. Which is better? Long-form or short-form content? The deal is, your audience may respond well to long-form content and another blogger’s audience may respond better to short-form content, or vice-versa.

The same principle applies to Facebook ads and all other social media and content-related items. Experiment, observe, and make note of the results of your own experiments.

Do not fear.

The bottom line is that the next time you hear of or read about a controversy related to blogging or email or social media, don’t push the panic button. Instead, take a deep breath, step back and observe your own stats, and then make an informed decision about how to move forward with your own content strategy.

This is incredibly important because people who react fearfully to every rumor seldom move forward with any aspect of life, including business.

Question: Have you ever been frightened by a controversy only to later find that the controversy had blown things out of proportion?

How to Be a Content Creation Machine Without Blowing a Fuse

How to  be a content creation machine without blowing a fuse If it’s true that “Content is king” (and I believe it is), then the more content you can create, the better off you are, assuming of course that the content you create is top quality. But how can you create more content without burning out?

Tips for Becoming a Content Creation Machine

1. Set goals.

One of the best ways to produce a large volume of content consistently is to set goals. Your goals can be a certain number of words, a certain amount of time, or a certain number of blog posts in a day, week, or month.

Goals can often push you to do something when you don’t feel like it, so definitely make goal setting a part of your content creation plan. Just be sure to try different things and adapt your goals as you figure out what works best for you.

2. Be accountable.

Being accountable can give you an extra push to reach your writing goals. I find it helpful to join blogging challenges, and to also share my goals with a few select people such as a writing buddy and my mastermind group. Just be sure to be accountable to those who won’t help you make excuses for not getting the work done.

3. Keep an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar can help you beat writer’s block because you’ll know exactly what content you need to create in any given week.

For me personally, knowing what type of content I need to create each week helps push me to get it done. For instance, if I know that I need to publish a blog post every Monday, if I don’t have the post written when Sunday rolls around, I push myself to get it done before I go to bed on Sunday night.

4. Create the bulk of your content at the same time each day.

Having a set time of day (or perhaps a few different designated content creation times during the day) can help ensure that you actually get your content created. The problem with not having a set time is that if you’re not intentional about it, everything else will have taken your time and you’ll be left with no time or energy to create content.

5. Establish content creation rituals.

In addition to creating content at the same time each day, establishing other writing rituals can help you get into the right frame of mind when you sit down to create your content.

A ritual is simply a routine that you put into place that helps you get into the right frame of mind to get the job done. For example, you may put on a certain type of writing music, or brew a particular beverage before you create content.

6. Remember that You’re Not a Machine

The bottom line is that no matter how productive you may be, you are only human and need rest. Work hard, but also play hard. Do your best to work ahead of time so that when you’re feeling under the weather or just need a break, you can take a break without falling behind.

Question: What tips do you have for creating a high volume of content consistently? How do you handle it when you need to take a break?