BLOGGING 30/30: I Actually Did It!

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 30 of 30

I Actually Did It!

My first published post was on 08/09/16.  It took me 33 days to complete this challenge, and I’m not mad at that.  I still can’t believe I actually did it! When I say “it” I mean both 1) a 30 day challenge and 2) blogging.

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I’ve tried, but I’ve never completed a 30 day challenge on anything.  Now I can say that I have!  And I created a blog with no knowledge of how.  Here I am… 30 posts under my belt! I couldn’t have done it without the guidance of Sark eMedia’s program.

Here are 5 reasons I think this worked for me:

1. Daily Emails

Blogging sounds like it would be easy, but there’s an art to it if you actually want to see success. The daily emails by Sarah Arrow helped me navigate the world of blogging. The resources she provides were relevant, easy to follow and executable. Before I started, I was already behind – because I was blogging blindly.  There were a few days I skipped.  But each morning an email popped in my inbox, reminding me of why I decided to start this particular challenge.

2. Goals

On Day4 I laid out my personal goals with this challenge.  Goal One was to make and maintain my own space, on the web and in my life, giving myself a creative outlet and stimulating my brain in a way I felt I was missing. I’ve done it by dedicating time each day to enjoy the process of writing.  Goal Two was to be able to put it on my resume.  Blogging is a key element to inbound marketing and building businesses in today’s world. Through this practice, I better understand Wordpress, SEO writing and optimization.

3. Community Support

I have my personal motivators, but was extremely shy about making my blog public.  Sarah Arrow provides a safe space through her Facebook Group page where 30 Day Blogging Challengers share their daily post, and get feedback from one another.  I was so scared that I didn’t join until day7 with my post “Confession: I’m a Closet Blogger“, but since then I’ve shared all my posts.  I’m still taking baby steps out of the closet to the outside world, but have been less reluctant because of the constructive input. There are some amazingly supportive bloggers out there and I’m proud to be part of this community.

4. I enjoy writing

I guess I always have, but I didn’t realize how much.  So I’ve rediscovered my joy of writing.  I’m not the type that likes to hear myself talk, but when I start to type, it flows out of me.  I even created an extra category and posted a bonus blog.  To be able to put structure to my thoughts has been meditative and trying to make my words resonate to a audience besides myself makes me feel productive.

5. Not a business (yet)

My intent going into this was not to make money.  I know blogs have the ability to be monetized, and lucratively.  My objective on the onset has been to create valuable content.  But with Sark eMedia’s lessons, I have the tools available once the opportunity to make this something more presents itself and then I can work even harder to become the boss in my blogging niche.

So, this is the end of my first 30 Day Challenge.  The Blogging Challenge was the perfect challenge to start this side project. I learned so much about myself, which was my purpose for doing challenges.

If you’ve followed me through this journey so far, THANK YOU (you know who you are!). There’s more to come as I continue onto the next one.  So join me for my the next 30 Day Challenge.

 

CHALLENGE: BLOGGING – ✔️ COMPLETED

 

 

BLOGGING 22/30: Who The Boss?

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 22 of 30

Who’s The Boss? 

Day21 I wrote about figuring about who my reader is.  Today, Day22, my homework for the 30 Day Blogging Challenge is to figure out who the leaders are in the blogging space I define as my niche.

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Step1 – what is my niche?

From my point of view, I can be narrow or broad. Based on my intent, I can narrowly define my blog as – personal life experiences, specifically doing 30 day challenges.  Based on yesterday’s post, I could be more general and define my space as self-help/motivational.

 

Step2 – who is the leader in my niche?

Unfortunately I can’t rely on my own knowledge since I don’t follow blogs. So I’m going to go to my friend Google.

If I narrow my blog niche category to – 30 day challenge experiential bloggers – I’ve only found a handful and it required digging deep into the SERP pages. When reading through their blogs most didn’t last long and stopped posting years ago. There are, however, endless posts on bloggers’ one-time experiences with a challenge, usually targeted to whatever their blog focuses on, usually fitness.   From what I can see, there’s no main influencer in this space.  Maybe I can be that person. Maybe I can be the #boss.

When I widen the niche net to the broad category to – motivational blogs – the results were a lot more interesting.  Although I was overwhelmed by the lists from the search results, I was inspired by what I came across in the first few minutes.  I’ve actually been seeing over the past 21 days as I learn to blog.

1 TED.com – motivational short videos spreading ideas from though leaders all over the world. If you want to go down a rabbit hole, but not necessary waste your time… take a visit (after you finish reading this post).  And start with this short ~3-minute video with almost 8million views where Matt Cutts speaks about trying something you want to add to your life for 30 days.

2 Gary Vaynerchuk – If you haven’t seen this guy, you need to. Every single “influencer” I do follow has referenced him as a motivator.  He’s the leader in the digital marketing/social media marketing space.  Although his medium is more video, I find his business blog is a wealth of information for a new blogger like myself.  Check it out.

3. MarcAndAngel.com – I discovered this site around 5years ago when I came across a link to their post “30 Lessons to Excel in Life in Your 30s and Beyond”.  It was happy to see them listed in the 2016 Top 100 Personal Development Blogs by StartOfHappiness.com I love the timeless manner of their content.

 

While I don’t have a direct blog influencer in the 30 Day Challenge Experience space, there are some major players I can look up to in the motivational blog category.  The reason for this homework is to follow the influencer’s footprint and figure out what content resonates with their audience… and therefore your audience.  I still have a lot more work to do. But maybe one day I can end up on a “Top” list.

 

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

BLOGGING 21/30: Who Are You?

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 21 of 30

Who Are You?

Up until today I was most concerned with creating valuable content – simple experiential posts that are appealing and entertaining. Today this changes. With today’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge task, I’m looking at it from a different perspective.  Task: “[Choose] content that your readers will find useful or intriguing, ideally it will help them solve a problem or help them reinforce a belief they have about themselves.” Wait – who is my reader?

The premise of this site was for me to do 30 Day Challenges and blog about them.  But I don’t want this to be a personal diary that just happens to be online.  As much as I want to write about what interests me, I want to write what interests you.

As a media planner by trade, dependent on the product or service, we create a consumer profile outlining demographic and behavioral targeting.  So let me try that… Who does or reads about doing 30 Day Challenges?

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Someone looking to try something new short-term to improve something specific in their life. Demographically, in my opinion, that could be male or female and during any life stage.  However, based on feedback I’m seeing it skews adult, female. Behaviorally, based on both opinion and feedback, it looks like someone who appreciates inspiration and motivation. Is that you?

(Leave a comment below!)

 

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

BLOGGING 16/30: Taking Time Off

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 16 of 30

Taking Time Off

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I didn’t quit the 30 Day Blogging Challenge after just getting half-way through! I just took some time off.

I purposely decided to use the time I would normally write a post and spent it learning instead.  As I said in Day #15, “blogging about trying to blog doesn’t change much in my 24hours.” I have so much to learn about blogging if I’m going to be blogging about blogging.  (Did you follow all that?)  So, I allowed myself only 3 nights self-educate.  I ended up only taking 2. But here’s what I worked on:

Facebook

When I created this website I also went ahead and made an associated Facebook page, but haven’t done anything with it. So Night1 was trying to figure out how to auto-publish posts from WordPress to Facebook. Following suggestions from google searches I tried the Facebook plugin, which was too confusing and took me longer than I liked. Then I tried Jetpack, which was easy but too expansive for my needs.  Then I finally came across a wonderful YouTube channel that recommended the AccessPress Facebook plugin, and I was good to go!

WordPress

Since day1 of creating this blog I’ve been trying to learn WordPress through trial-and-error. So on Night2 I went about searching and reading up on tips and tricks of WordPress. Specifically, things you must be doing as a blogger. And just as important, things you should not be doing. I somehow ended up back at the same wonderful YouTube channel focused on the ins and outs of WordPress and must recommend it.  Check her out: WebTegrity.

Yoast

It didn’t dawn on me until I was scrolling through WebTegrity’s videos that I should take the time to understand the Yoast plugin better and improve what I’ve been entering into the snippet editor.  One of Sark eMedia’s first suggestions for this 30 Day Blogging Challege was to use this SEO tool in order to optimize each post. WebTegrity has a 4part series on how to use it, and I’m so happy I came across it. I thought I knew what I was doing, but there was a lot of room for improvement.

I know there’s so much more to learn but I didn’t feel like continuing with Night3.  Instead I wanted to write this post!  I’m glad the first 30 Day challenge I chose for my blog is Blogging and that I took the past 2nights off to expand my knowledge on the above topics.  I will put them to the test for the remaining 15 days of this Blogging Challenge.

 

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.

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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