BLOGGING 10/30: Comment Sense Etiquette

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 10 of 30

Comment Sense Etiquette

I wrote about how I’m ok with public speaking, but have been taking baby steps to share my blog.  Since I’ve starting sharing my posts with the 30 Day Blogging Challenge Facebook group page and to my closest friends, I’ve been getting amazingly encouraging comments. I’m beyond touched and its fueled me to proceed with this project.  I make sure to thank each person who takes the time to leave such generous words.  But realized suddenly that I’ve completely lacked on doing the same for fellow bloggers!  It’s like I’m back in school and I’m too shy to raise my hand in class.

When you sign up to be part Sark eMedia’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge, in the introductory email one of the housekeeping rules was clearly to be prepared to comment.  The purpose is obvious – feedback and networking. Comments end up becoming an extension of your blog.  Blogging is a community. I need to be a better neighbor.

Moving forward, instead of feeling like I’m too shy to raise my hand in class because I’m scared I’m going to make a stupid remark… I’ll think of it as – I’m raising a glass to to make a toast.

sea-beach-holiday-vacation

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 9/30: How Public Speaking is Helping Me Blog

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 9 of 30

How Public Speaking is Helping Me Blog 

Right now, my fear is public blogging.  Meanwhile, one of people’s biggest fears is public speaking.  It’s defined as “to give a speech to an audience in a structured manner in order to inform, influence, or entertain.”  Pretty similar, no?

One of the most useful courses I completed as an undergrad was Public Speaking.  I took so much away from it, professionally and personally.  You would think that since I’m somewhat comfortable with public speaking, I wouldn’t have an issue with blogging.

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As I build my blog and this brand, I’m reminding myself to focus on that confidence I actually have and apply the takeaways from that class toward completing the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.

They’re There for a Reason

If someone goes to hear you speak, or goes to read your blog, something brought them there.  They chose to give you their time. They ARE interested.

No One Wants to See You Fail

Remember that your audience sees part of themselves in you and wants you to perform your best.  Think about when you watch someone giving a speech.  When you see them stumble, you cringe for them. You don’t laugh at them (hopefully!). You send them vibes of encouragement.  When they are amazing, you give a standing ovation.  Remember that your audience is doing the same.

Don’t Lose Your Personality

Don’t let nerves or the need to be “perfect” take away from being relatable. Emotional connection is a basic human desire. When you share genuine feelings in a genuine way, you get back what you give.

Prepare. Practice. Practice. Practice. Present.

If someone is going to give you their time and attention, then you should be doing the same. Take the time to arrange your words, to communicate your message thoughtfully to your audience. If content is king, then context is queen. In business I say, “it’s not about how you want to sell it, it’s about how your consumer wants to buy it.” And finally, when you present… be present.  Don’t just ‘get it over with’.  Follow through and deliver.

I think the best way to end this 30 Day Blogging Challenge post is with a quote on confidence: “The road to confidence is paved by daily accomplishments.” Good luck!

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 8/30: Taking Baby Steps Out of the Blogging Closet

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 8 of 30

Taking Baby Steps Out of the Blogging Closet

While I was drafting yesterday’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge #7  I was also drafting an email to my closest girlfriends finally disclosing to them what I’ve been doing on the side. I don’t know which is scarier – sharing my thoughts to the world [wide web] through a blog or sharing to my friends that I’m blogging.  But some great things happened once I decided to start coming out of the blogging closet.

30 Day Challenge Accepted

As I re-edited my email (for the fiftieth time) a video popped up on my Facebook feed.  My friend came out of her closet – she was also starting her adventure on the internet superhighway via video marketing. She talked about how she has been learning about the power of social media marketing, just returning from a conference on the topic, and her plans to go through training, then ultimately teach and motivate.  She said making the video was out of her comfort zone – but you wouldn’t think it. Her courage pushed me to finally hit ‘send’ on my email. Thank you Jenny Monzon!

Then I procrastinated as I prepared to take my next (big!) baby step – finally posting to the 30 Day Blogging Challenge Facebook group page. I texted my husband (yes, i’m THAT lazy) to tell him how nervous I was, and in his usual straightforward demeanor he responds, “then what’s the point of you being online?”  Touché. (Love him!)

30 Day Challenge Accepted

I knew that I would get encouragement from my friends.  What I didn’t expect was them to say things like “I always thought you should blog”, “You’ve always been a great writer. Finally!”, and thanking me for sharing. Then from Challenge colleagues, comments that they enjoyed my post, that my writing is entertaining, and that what I wrote resonated with them. I’m so surprised and relieved! Now I laugh at myself. Why was I so scared?

The lesson I learned here is that, it’s true – there’s no reward without risk. I should know this by now! The best memories I have in life are the times when I did something out of the box. I’m not trying to change the world, but I have been looking to do something more stimulating than a 9-5. I think I’m finding something here.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 7/30: Confession: I’m a Closet Blogger

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 7 of 30

Confession: I’m a Closet Blogger

My personal Facebook setting is private. My personal Instagram is private. I’m generally unsocial on social media compared to most. I don’t even do reviews on company websites if they’re going to use my name because I have a unique first name. Yet, part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge requires me to be ‘public’ in order for it to be successful.

30 Day Blogging Challenge 07

What am I hiding from?

Privacy

I’ve always been protective of my personal information. Now that I have kids, I feel like I have more at stake to protect. I don’t need strangers knowing details about my life or putting my kids at risk. I want to keep my private life private.  But if someone wants to find out something, there’s no stopping them.

Over-sharing

I’ve never needed to have the limelight; if anything, it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t over-share about how wonderful I think my kids are or boast about my marriage or friendships (imo). And I don’t do selfies. Often times I feel myself holding back from posting a particular photo or status because I think I’ll be the only person that finds it entertaining. That’s sort of how I feel about this blog.  But I won’t know if i don’t put myself out there. 

Failure

This is admittedly my biggest issue. Although I’ve grown a thicker skin over the years, I still care what people think. As this blog is just beginning, I don’t know what will become of it. I want to wait until I’m 3 challenges deep before I start telling my friends and family, “Guess what! I started a blog. Check it out.”  It’s like waiting until you’re in the second trimester before you start sharing the news that you’re expecting. But if I’m already prepared to fail, then I’m not prepared to succeed. 

 

Am I paranoid? Are there any bloggers out there that are incognito – that keep their personal persona completely separate from their blog? Or it is a given – if you want to blog, you have to expose who you are and be ready to take a headshot?

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 6/30: A Model Role Model

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 6 of 30

A Model Role Model

As mentioned in Day 2, I only follow one blogger. Her name is Marianna Hewitt. Her blog is LifeWithME.com Not to say I haven’t tried to follow other blogs, but her blog has been the only one I still follow. As I piece together my own blog, I have only her to reference and it begged the question – Why?

Here are the reasons I think LifeWithMe.com is a model Role Model:

1. Consistency

From content to imagery, there is a story Marianna tells and sticks to. Her brand has an identity that is put together organically. It comes across effortlessly and gives you a sensory reaction of calmness, romanticism, and simple beauty. Whether on her website, her Instagram, her YouTube channel, or even SnapChat, she doesn’t try to be anyone else but Marianna Hewitt. She also posts regularly – she doesn’t disappear for months, return with a obligatory sorry and no explanation (like most of the bloggers I eventually stopped following- because there was nothing to follow).

2. Personality

Of course, it stems from her makeup as a person – a former TV host, her childhood experiences as a Eurasian, a loving daughter who travels the world with her parents, and humbly being a part of a fabulous inner circle in L.A. (ie. Kim Kardashian & Co., whom she resembles!) Her professionalism and genuine charm comes across in her words, in her photos and in her videos. I don’t know her personally, but after you follow someone for a while (even if they’re only putting themselves in the best light – as we all do with social media), curtains come down and you see the person for whom they are.

3. Seamless and Accessible

Marianna keeps herself top by my mind through daily Instagram posts and announcements via Snapchat videos. From there, if I find a topic she’s writing about interesting, I access her blog via her mobile app or on my laptop. If she notifies that she’s posted a video, I go to YouTube. Her content rotates, whether it’s about hair or makeup or a recent trip she’s taken; it’s not one note. She even takes you behind-the-scenes and happily shares her tips and tricks of how she runs her business. And I can find it regardless of which social media platform.

I consider Marianna Hewitt an inspiration. In her genre of beauty and lifestyle, I think she’s making smart business moves and will be relevant for years to come. I feel she’s the epitome the adage “Love what you do, do what you love”. So, as a newbie blogger I will take what I feel are her strengths – being herself, all the time, everywhere – as characteristics I want my blog to achieve.

30 Day Challenge Accepted LifeWithME.com

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 5/30: How I Steal Time

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 5 of 30

How I Steal Time

“I have so much free time!” said no mom ever. I’ve had the experience of being both a working mom and a stay-at-home mom, and regardless of your mothering status, the last thing you have as an involved mom is “free time”. Minding my active toddlers starts around 7am and ends around 10pm. If I’m home or at the office (and for me, right now its both because I’m working part-time) those 15hour days are filled. So finding time to tackle this 30 Day Blogging Challenge means stealing time from being a mom, wife, and employee to be a blogger.

30 Day Challenge Accepted 05

Here are 5 things I’m doing to make time to blog:

1. Make a Date

Set a time every day, at the same time, with an agenda.  I dedicate at least an hour of my day to this blog (this is just a side project after all). I’ve always been more productive working at night, so every evening after the house and family are settled in, I take my 1hour, and I actually look forward to it! I go into that hour with an agenda so I know exactly what I’m going to accomplish during that time.

2. Find your happy place

Since my time is limited, it’s important to be efficient and for me that means being in a productive workspace. At home, that means leaning back on a stack of pillows, legs out, another pillow on my lap, laptop on my pillow. Doesn’t matter which bed or couch in the house, as long as I’m distraction-free.  No kids, no husband, no TV.

3. Make an editorial calendar

In addition to a daily agenda, I have my own editorial calendar, scheduling out what I plan to write days and weeks ahead. How do I want my story to play out? Sark eMedia provides tools to help as part of participating in the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.  You can customize it to what fits you now, and it will adjust as you’re inspired and as you evolve.

4. Have a Support Team

My husband doesn’t understand what I’m doing, but he understands why and what I need to get that done. Whether that means asking for technical help and using him for his geeky computer knowledge, or giving me my space and leaving me alone for an hour a night, he’s happy to oblige.

5. Have Goals

“Having a plan without a goal is just a wish”, or as I titled yesterdays post… it’s a waste of time. Without a goal, there’s no reason for me to commit. No motivation. No reason to take precious time out of my day. I write down my goals – what am I looking to accomplish with this single post? how does it fit into the blog’s objective? – and assign metric(s) so I know exactly when that goal is met. I celebrate when I’ve reached it, then start reaching for the next rung.

How do you make time to do your best work?

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 4/30: A Plan Without a Goal is Just a Waste of Time

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 4 of 30

A Plan Without a Goal is Just a Waste of Time

Most challenges have an obvious change you’re hoping to accomplish by the end. Doing squats for 30 Days results in a plumper butt. Eating clean for 30 Days results in losing weight. What is the goal of a Blogging Challenge?

I’m a planner by trade. With marketing, the goals are straightforward depending on the campaign, ie. increase brand awareness, increase revenue, decrease cost per acquisition, etc. Then the KPIs and metrics to measure how well you’re reaching these goals are aligned. Since this is how my brain works for business, I’m approaching this 30 Day Challenge with a similar mindset.

30 Day Challenge Accepted 04

Plan:

Goals:

  1. Have my own space. Both literally and metaphorically.

In an ocean of blogs, I know I’ll be binary numbers lost among many established blogs rich in original content and imagery. But creating this website in completion – having my own space in the world wide web of blogs – even if its a black hole that nobody reads or follows, will makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something I can be proud of.

The requirements to create a legit blog are allowing me to use my business school skills in a different way than I imagined, and frankly needed.  The main requirement being time.  As a mom, this practice forces me to set time aside for something non-mom-mode. For things other than tending to my toddlers, sorting out the house, or wasting free time watching Bravo. I’m creating space in my life to do something for myself.

2. Put it on my resume

Leaving the workforce for three years at a time that social media marketing was evolving was a blow to my advertising career that I’ve been trying to rectify. This past year I’ve put myself out there – I created a non-paid internship just to be able to get right into the trenches. I self-taught myself Google Analytics, AdWords, and took Hubspot courses just to update my knowledge on the new marketing landscape. I’m working part-time and getting trained in AdSwerve and DoubleClick. Yet, none of it seems to be enough to employers making this job search so frustrating. It’s like my job applications go into that same black hole. But I’m not stopping. So here’s yet another attempt at expanding my learning by putting social media marketing to practice.

Metric:

  • As each day goes by, it’s a tally mark towards 30. I don’t expect a certain number of website visitors or Facebook followers at this point of my blogging journey. So my KPI is when I write the title “BLOGGING Challenge: Day 30 of 30”

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 3/30: Blogging Blindly

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 3 of 30

Blogging Blindly

I was completely naive to assume that blogging was simply writing and posting. It’s only Day 3 of this challenge and I’m already overwhelmed by the amount of setup and back-end work required. Because of that, I couldn’t start this challenge for a few days and was already behind before I could even start. Between learning WordPress, figuring out keywords and SEO writing, and I don’t know what else yet… I feel like I’m blogging blindly, stumbling my way through a dark tunnel, hoping to make it to the other end.

30 Day Challenge Accepted 03

These are my three biggest hurdles so far:

1. What’s a good blog name?

Coming up with the domain name for my blog was not easy and took hours of exploring. “30DayChallengeAccepted.com” was 1 of 13+ names I generated and vetted, and it was not my first choice.  But now I’m very happy with the short, simple and descriptive name. Getting the site up and live was another task I was not prepared for and struggled with, and finally had to ask my tech-savvy husband to handle.

2. WordPress

I’ve never used it, but so far it’s user friendly. I know there are functions I’m not utilizing and because of that this site’s aesthetics isn’t looking exactly how I envisioned. There is so much potential, so this is definitely a work in progress. At least by the end of 30 Days I can put this new skill on my resume!

3. SEO Writing

Writing for computers, but to humans takes practice. That’s the purpose of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge – practice, practice, practice. A few months ago I completed the Inbound Marketing Course at Hubspot.com and got certified. I highly recommend this online course. It was a great refresher on basic marketing principles I learned long ago at business school. It also goes in depth on the concepts of content marketing and the best practices for blogs and social publishing, CTAs, landing pages, thank you pages, social monitoring, etc. I also supplemented this with Google’s Guide to AdWords, a quick and easy series of videos. Having this recent education, in addition to my 10+ years in advertising, I feel like I can see a little light at the end of this tunnel.

Truth is, blogging can be as simple as putting together a few paragraphs and posting randomly and treating it like a personal diary that happens to be online. But the reason I’m doing this challenge is to start a successful blog – to create remarkable content that can be found and shared. That is why the internet was invented after all.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 2/30: There’s a 30 Day Challenge for EVERYTHING!

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 2 of 30

There’s a 30 Day Challenge for EVERYTHING!

On Day1 I explained why I wanted to do another 30 Day Challenge.  In this post I tell you how I decide between the Blogging Challenges – because yes, there are multiples ones to choose from.

30DayChallengeAccepted_Blogging02

Blogging wasn’t my first choice. I follow one blogger and watch a lot of YouTube. I thoroughly read a blog post only if I’m searching for something specific, treating them as completely credible reviews. My search was one that I’ve typed in many times before: “30 Day Challenges”. The usual spit back at me; all fitness – squats, abs, beachbody, butt, burpees, flat abs, planks, arms. Is Google trying to tell me something?

So I skipped to SERP page 3 and things started to get more interesting. Challenges start to range from fun lists of Instagram photos to touchy daily spiritual practices. Then I fell upon a 30 Day Blogging Challenge. I wanted to know more.

Here’s my background:

  • I don’t read blogs regularly and don’t know the standard practice.
  • I am not a writer by trade, or an english, journalism, publishing or communications major. But I hope my business degrees in marketing count for something. (I’ve always been complimented on my memos and emails!)
  • I had a blog once that I kept during my pregnancies, only accessible by my family. After four years, it was a struggle to keep alive, but I love going back to it and reading about what we did. I wish I kept it going.
  • I’m not tech savvy, but my husband is.

There were three 30 Day Blogging Challenges I compared:

Why did I choose to attempt Sark eMedia’s program?

  1. it’s truly completely free of costs
  2. the focus is not about monetizing your blog, but growth and depth of content
  3. I’m a complete noob and need a friendly and supportive environment.
  4. Run by blogger couple, The Arrows, Sarah and Kevin (= Sark)

My initial idea was to share my experiences doing 30 Day Challenges. What better than my first challenge be blogging, and what better program than one that was created by a bloggers who are still the face of the program to-date.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 1/30: What Am I Doing Here?

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 1 of 30

What Am I Doing Here?

The short answer is –
I was looking to do a 30 Day challenge.  This is my next challenge: 30 Days of Blogging. 30DayChallengeAccepted_Blogging01

Now, the long answer –
I’m in between jobs. Technically, I paused my career to focus on my family and it’s time to go back to a full-time job. While I’m taking the actions required to return to the work force, my heart isn’t there. Part of it is still wanting to be with my kids every minute of the day, but most of it is wondering if all that effort I put into my higher education and years working my way up the ladder… if this field was what I was truly meant to excel at or just something I happen to fall into.

So, I’m here because of a recurring conversation about my career, trying to address the adage: “Do what you love. Love what you do.” The sad realization is that I don’t have a passion for anything specific. I mean, I know what I’m good at, but I don’t know what I’m great at.

Some people just have it – they cook instagram worthy dishes, sing covers better than the original version, do magical makeup tutorials, or put together effortlessly cute outfits. They have a wealth of knowledge, are motivating, or have strong opinions, no filter and a thick skin. How did they figure it out? And how can I?

When I get in these ruts, I look for something new to explore. Sometimes it comes in the form of a vacation, in a new class, or a DIY project. This time around, it’s coming in the form of yet another 30 Day challenge.

Then I realized – I’ve started so many of these mini-programs, tell my friends about, but never complete them. Now here’s a 30 Day Challenge I will be held accountable for because for the first time, I’m logging it.

Actually, I’m blogging it.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE