This guest post is by Ruth Zive Ruth Zive Copywriting.
Most of my readers and clients know me as a freelance copywriter and content marketing strategist. But the truth is, I’m operating under cover; my real identity is SuperMom to a brood of five rowdy children (including one that is a wee bit chromosomally enhanced).
I’m actually not that “super,” but I’m most certainly Mom, first and foremost. It’s a busy, messy, loud, hectic, demanding, and unbelievably rewarding job. Each of my five children has taught me valuable lessons that have informed all aspects of my life. Because of my kids, I am a better human being—and definitely a more effective professional.
There is a lot of crossover in my life—my work blends into my mom-related duties, and vice versa. My children have taught me a lot about blogging, writing, social media, and content marketing strategy (albeit an inadvertent effort on their part).
Hopefully these five epic blogging lessons, learned from parenting five rowdy children, will help you to gain traction and grow your online presence.
1. Stick to a schedule
Between dance lessons, basketball practice, speech therapy, school carpools, high school exams, doctor appointments, and parent-teacher interviews, it goes without saying that my head would explode if I didn’t stick to a schedule.
And forget about my sanity; my children thrive with a routine.
Similarly, you will create a sense of momentum with your blog if you settle into a routine—and you can incorporate this fundamental discipline in a variety of ways. For instance, you’ll want to:
- Map out an editorial calendar and write your posts predictably. Not only will you be more productive, your readers will come to appreciate your routine and will know when to visit your site for new content.
- Plan your blogging time strategically—make sure to budget time for writing, reading, commenting and social media.
- Work your blogging priorities into the rest of your daily schedule. Don’t forget to leave time for personal interests and priorities and other work-related responsibilities.
It took me a while to settle into a predictable routine (heck, life’s rarely predictable with five children). But going through these motions helped me to be much more productive and focussed as a mom and a writer.
2. Know your audience
I often have to tailor my parenting style to the unique interests of the specific child I am addressing.
One of my kids will follow instructions only if we make eye contact and I resort to threats and bribery. My youngest daughter, on the other hand, needs a lot of handholding and coddling, no matter the circumstance. And the middle child will do pretty much anything as long as it involves chocolate.
Your blog readers will invariably share certain qualities and it’s important to know what those are; but remember that they also have unique interests. Segment your target market accordingly and be flexible in your style to accommodate their needs.
For instance, on my blog, I’m essentially appealing to three different target markets:
- independent copywriters and bloggers
- c-level and marketing executives
- independent business owners and entrepreneurs.
All three groups are interested in learning more about content marketing strategy.
But I tweak my focus, depending on which group is on my radar. When I’m speaking to the first group, I might write about landing copywriting clients, setting your fees and injecting personality into your writing. But the second group, by contrast, is more interested in how to leverage the impact of social media to drive your content marketing campaign.
Same overarching intention, but a personalized and targeted approach based on the reader’s unique needs.
3. Get social
There is nothing my kids appreciate more than lively conversation around the dinner table, family game night, or a spontaneous adventure. The deeper the interaction, the more impactful. Mommy time trumps iPods, computer games, and the latest, must-have fashion accessory without fail.
And while my time is certainly limited, I seek out opportunities to engage with each child in a meaningful way.
You may have the most phenomenal content on your blog, but if you aren’t getting social, it’s a big fat waste of time!
Blogging is a big time suck, and it can be very hectic and overwhelming. But starting now, every day, make sure that you:
- take time to comment on other people’s blogs
- cultivate relationships with prolific bloggers and industry experts
- leverage the benefits of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
And most importantly, be authentic in your interaction.
I know what I’m talking about here. Some of the best professional contacts that I’ve forged have been on Twitter. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s 100% true. I was invited into a Mastermind group on Twitter; I was approached by someone on Twitter to edit an ebook; and I found a genius WordPress programmer on Twitter who solved some very troubling issues on my blog and saved me a small fortune. So don’t underestimate the importance of social.
4. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture
Some days, I feel that my time is entirely consumed with meal preparation, laundry, housekeeping, carpooling—with some hysterics thrown in for good measure.
On those days, I have to remind myself that the time I invest in menial (and sometimes unpleasant) parenting tasks fuels the bigger picture payoff. Hopefully, because of my efforts, my children will emerge happy, secure, and confident with a sense that they can always rely on their Mom.
Blogging can be an exhausting, tedious, and slow process.
You have to do the grunt work if you’re going to reap the bigger picture benefits. Write often; read even more often; solicit feedback; invest in your blog’s design; learn how to optimize your site … do it all over again.
At first, it was hard for me to see the forest for the trees; my blogging experience seemed entirely mired in minutiae. So I started to keep a journal—to track my progress from month to month, noting my higher level achievements so that I could have those in mind when I felt discouraged.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try keeping a journal so that you can maintain better perspective and not lose sight of the bigger picture.
5. Keep an open mind
Sometimes, no matter how well organized I am, irrespective of how much I’ve considered my children’s unique needs, and even with a perfectly planned schedule and a bigger picture focus, the stars misalign and my efforts are in vain.
Woody Allen once joked that if you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans. Things are bound to go awry with children, and with blogging!
Keep an open mind. Blogging is a journey (much like any entrepreneurial pursuit) and you learn along the way.
- Plans transform.
- Resources shrink or grow.
- Goals evolve.
You need to be flexible and adapt to changes.
I’ve encountered this reality first-hand in a dramatic way. After six months of blogging, my readership and subscriber base had skyrocketed.
I had faithfully cultivated relationships with other bloggers and using social media. I had great traction. But Danny Iny, of Firepole Marketing, recommended that I redo my site and position myself differently, to align my offline business and my online brand. It was tough advice to hear, but I very seriously considered his point of view, and after some strategic thinking, my old blog is no longer.
But my new blog rocks even more than my old one. And making this transition required a very open mind on my part.
So I suppose I owe my blogging success to my children. And now, maybe you will too.
What do you think? Have your children helped your blogging journey? What have your relationships taught you about content marketing and social media? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Ruth Zive is a freelance copywriter and content marketing strategist. Ruth works with B2B companies, across industries, to help them leverage their content to drive business results. Learn about my corporate workshops.