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What Mistakes Did You Make When You Started Blogging? What Would You Do Differently?

This morning, a new blogger asked me to name 3 mistakes I made when I started blogging so he could avoid the same pitfalls.

I thought this might make a good discussion starter and something that might help new bloggers. So… take a few moments to answer these two questions.

  1. What are the mistakes you made when you started blogging?
  2. What would you have do differently?

Here are my 3 mistakes and what I would do differently:

  • Not getting my own domain - I should have bitten the bullet and secured a domain for my first blog the day I started.

  • Choosing profitable topics rather than topics I was interested in – at one point I had 30 blogs, most of which I thought would be profitable. I couldn’t sustain them. I should have stuck to blogging about things I was interested in and passionate about.
  • Expecting that good original content was enough to attract readers – I should have spent more time OFF my blog, interacting with people where they gathered, rather than having a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality.

So now it’s over to you. If you started your blog today, what would you do differently?

I’m looking forward to hearing your responses!

My Experiment with Early Morning Free Writing Sessions

Lately, I’ve found myself settling into a slightly different blogging workflow to my usual one.

I’ve been getting up at 6.30am to write.

In the morning, our kids have to stay in their rooms until 7am. I’m not quite sure how we managed to get them to do that but it works… for now.

I often find my body wakes me up a bit earlier and previously, I’d just doze and dream a little for that half an hour, drifting in that fuzzy state between being asleep and awake.

A few weeks ago, I realised that in that sleepy half hour I was actually getting some cool ideas. I’m not sure why it’s so but I often find that after a good night’s sleep, my first few thoughts of the day have the most clarity.

For example, a few weeks ago I was grappling with a talk I’ve been preparing for a conference. I couldn’t quite get the flow right. One morning, during the waking up phase, it just clicked. I was able to get up and jot down the outline for the full talk in about 3 minutes flat! It was almost as if I’d been thinking about the problem too hard and by having a good night’s sleep, I took the pressure off. From there, it just flowed.

That day, I decided I should get up a bit earlier in the mornings and make that half an hour a time to write. I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and have had some good mornings and some not so great mornings. Overall, I’ve found it helpful.

The approach I’m taking is to not set an agenda for the half hour but to simply sit down with my journal or laptop and write. I don’t set a topic. I just write what comes to mind.

So far, around half of my weekday mornings (I only do it weekdays) have produce something useful. The other days haven’t really amounted to much, but that’s ok.

The days that were useful produced a variety of results.

  • I use my output from a couple of the days as parts of blog posts.
  • One of the days, I turned what I wrote into a reflection, I then posted on Google+
  • Another day, I wrote something that ended up in a presentation I’m giving.
  • Another day ended up turning into some thoughts I sent one of my team members about a project we’re working on.
  • One last day, I wrote something more personal that had a big impact upon motivating me in an area I had been wrestling with.

I’m not sure how this experiment will last but I figure that even if it only has a 50% success rate at producing the above kinds of results it is going to be very, very worthwhile to do!

Lost Your Blogging Groove? Kickstart it with this 2 for 1 Deal on ProBlogger eBooks

Can you believe that it’s almost the middle of 2013 already?

If you’re anything like me you started out this year with big dreams and intentions to deliver on some signficant goals with your blog.

However along the way to reaching ones goals often comes a lot of distractions and challenges to get you off track. Sound familiar?

If so – you’re not alone. A mid year slump is common with many bloggers!

Today I’d like to offer ProBlogger readers an opportunity that might help get your blogging back on track for the rest of 2013.

For the next 7 days we’re offering a 2 for 1 deal on ProBlogger eBooks.

Buy any ProBlogger eBook this week and you can choose another one that is of the same value or less for free – saving up to 50%!

There are 6 eBooks to choose from so the combinations of eBooks that you can pick up are many. For example:

  • if you’re a new blogger (or are about to start) – you might like to get our ‘Guide to Your First Week of Blogging‘ as well as ‘31 Days to Build a Better Blog‘.
  • if you’ve been blogging for a while but have stalled you might prefer ‘31 Days to Build a Better Blog‘ combined with our productivity guide ‘Blog Wise‘.
  • if you’re looking to learn about monetizing blogs check out our ‘Guide to Online Marketing‘ and ‘Blogging for your Business‘.

Choose your eBooks here.

But don’t delay, this offer ends in just 7 days from now.

Social Media: What’s it Good For?

Does social media drive sales?

I’ve been asked this question quite a few times lately from business owners trying to get their head around how to use social media in their online marketing mix. Many of them tell me that they don’t see a direct return on investment from their use of Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

In response, I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts on how social media benefits what I do. Keep in mind,  there’s no right or wrong way to use social media. I know of many online and offline businesses that use social media very differently.

For me Social Media is NOT Primarily about Direct Selling

Perhaps the biggest thing that I can say about how I’ve come to use social media is that I don’t see it as a primary avenue for selling.

I know some online businesses see substantial sales generated directly through their social media pages. In most cases, it is through offering coupons or running discounting sales. That said, the tests I’ve run have not seen a great deal of success.

In contrast, I see the vast majority of our sales of eBooks and events to be the result of our email marketing.

In a recent eBook launch, here’s a break down of where sales came from:

Screen Shot 2013 06 11 at 9 37 08 AM

Interestingly, over the 4 week launch of that eBook we sent/posted:

  • 4 sales emails
  • 3 blog posts
  • 17 Tweets
  • 5 Facebook Status Updates
  • 3 Pinterest Pins
  • 2 LinkedIn Updates
  • 3 Google Plus Updates

As you can see, we promoted the eBook quite a few times to our social networks. Those social networks have a combined reach of over 350,000.

In the same time we sent 4 emails (to around 700,000 people). The ‘return’ on sending a handful of emails far outweighed the effort in social.

That’s not to say we will stop doing sales related updates on social media – (there are ways to use it to sell) – it just isn’t our primary sales avenue.

Social Media – What is it Good For?

So social media hasn’t generated as many direct sales as other channels, and my business relies upon sales to be sustainable, so what is it good for?

I do invest a fair amount of time (and some money) into social media but for me, it is not a direct sales strategy.

Rather social media is largely about:

  • Building the Brand – by being useful, telling stories, answering questions, giving glimpses behind the scenes
  • Building Community and Engagement – asking and answering questions, listening to feedback, supporting the goals of those you connect with
  • Building Trust and Credibility – by showing you know what you’re talking about and an understanding of the niche you operate in
  • Driving Traffic – sharing links to new content (and highlighting the best bits in the archives)

By building a presence in places like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn (and more you) you create relationships with and create impressions upon those you connect with.

Those relationships may not directly lead to a sale but they have other powerful outcomes.

They all have an indirect long term positive impact upon the the bottom line of your business. In many ways, by building brand, engagement, trust and driving traffic you are building the foundations of a strong relationship. Once the time for selling comes, you’re much more likely to see a conversion at some point.

They also make business a lot more satisfying and fun to run!

What If We Put As Much Effort into Writing Blog Posts as Public Speaking?

In just under 2 weeks I’ll be standing on this stage at the beautiful Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, giving a keynote at World Domination Summit in front of just under 3000 people.

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It is an incredible honour to be invited to speak at this event and I’m very grateful to Chris for the invitation – but honestly – the thought of standing in front of 3000 to give a 45 minute talk make me a little nervous!

As a result, you can imagine that over the last few months I’ve been putting considerable time into preparation!

I have:

  • Filled many pages in notebooks with ideas and notes
  • Mind-mapped the talk many times, on whiteboards in my office
  • Spent hours fine tuning my keynote/powerpoint presentation
  • Talked with family and friends many times about the points I’m sharing
  • Read many articles, books and watched many videos on the topic I’m talking about
  • Started practicing the talk and honing how it flows. This is something I’ll do a lot more of.

I’ve already put 50+ hours into preparing for this 45 minute keynote and I’ll put more in over the next couple of weeks.

Yesterday, as I was working on the talk I found myself comparing the preparation of this talk for 3000 people to the process I go through when writing a blog post. There are some definite similarities (and I’ll cover them in a future post) but there is one difference that hit me like a tonne of bricks.

I spend considerably less time on blog posts, despite the fact that they have the potential to reach a lot more people.

Here on ProBlogger this blog receives around 20,000 visitors a day.

While a single blog post doesn’t get read by all of them… over its lifetime it has the potential to be read by many, many more.

However, I’ve never ever spent 50+ hours on a blog post!

A blog post certainly is different to a keynote. For starters, there is a lot less content. I have written some long posts in my time but none would take 45 minutes to read! Even so, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we put as much effort into crafting each blog post as preparing for a public presentation.

What do you think?

Blogger to Watch: Torre de Roche talks about her journey to big publishing deal

This is an guest interview by Jade Craven.

It is my honour to share the story of Torre De Roche, and her journey from blogger to author with an impressive publishing deal.

I first mentioned her on Problogger as one of the bloggers to watch in 2012. I was impressed with her self-published memoir and her creative approach to blogging. In 2011, she sold the rights to three publishers and sold the movie options.

Torre is a natural writer. Her memoir, Love With a Chance of Drowing, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. In this interview, I talk with her about her creative process and the books journey to publication. I recommend you check out the blog posts I’ve linked to; her story is really compelling.

You’ve previously said that you put a lot of effort into developing your personal brand. Can you walk us through the process?

Before I sold the book to publishers, I learned through my research that agents and publishers look for authors with platforms, like popular blogs. So I began brainstorming blog ideas that would:

(a) Fit with the theme of the book,

(b) Inspire, or offer the reader take-home value, and,

(c) Align with my voice and my self-deprecating sense of humour.

One day, while touring New Zealand by van, an idea struck out of the blue: the Fearful Adventurer! This theme would allow me to be open about my fears, while gently inspiring other fearful people to take leaps. Once I had that idea in place, I began designing a look and feel to align with that theme.

You write less frequently then most bloggers, but your posts are of a very high standard. How much effort do you put into the average blog post?

I don’t use a timer because that would be like weighting myself after a large, delicious meal, but yes, I always put a lot of effort into my posts. Some of my posts contain illustrations and when there is paint involved, a post can easily take me 16 hours or more.

I don’t plan them out—I let them evolve on the page. Sometimes that happens quickly over four hours, sometimes they’re created slowly over a week.

I don’t call it ‘work,’ though. It’s creative play.

Tell us more about the concept of creative play. How can non-artistic bloggers be more creative with their blog?

I don’t believe in the term ‘non-artistic’! Everybody is artistic. Creativity comes easier to those who embrace that trait in themselves and exercise it daily, but it’s a core part of who we all are.
Stephen Colbert once told a story about an epiphany he had in being able to fully be himself on stage: “Something burst that night, and I finally let go of the pretension of not wanting to be a fool.”
One more thing: ease off on reading How-To guides, and start filling your creative piggy bank with stand-up comedy, art galleries, books you wouldn’t usually pick up, and independent films.
To be creative, you have to surround yourself with creativity. There is no How-To guide that can replace that.

You’ve written about the difficulties trying to blog and travel at the same time. How do you manage to write such captivating blog posts while living a nomad lifestyle?

It’s tough to surrender into a ruminative creative headspace if you’re moving around a lot or worrying about where you’re going to sleep at night!

Travel gives me a lot of inspiration for what I create, but generally I have to wait until I’m fixed in one spot before I can process those ideas into any kind of art. I wrote Love with a Chance of Drowning a year after the voyage was over. By that time, I’d had a chance to process the experience retrospectively and make meaning out of the whole experience.

There’s a lot of value in fully experiencing the moment while you’re in it, and then turning it into art later on when you have the time and the headspace to spare.

Read:  The Problem with Being a Travelling Writer

You’ve talked about how you suffered from creative blocks, something that many bloggers would sympathize with. How did you overcome this?

Art is uncertain. Sometimes, in order to feel the delicious comfort of certainty, you might try to make art while grasping onto some idea or technique that seems safe. If you do that, your writing will come out stiff and contrived because you’re not creating, you’re imitating.

Loosen your grip. Let go of control. Embrace the freefalling sensation of having no idea where you’re going with something.

Good art comes from risk, experimentation, and play. A good way to discover this again is to take up a new form of art, one that you can’t control: sculpture, life drawing, ceramics… Squeeze some clay between your fingers, laugh like a child, and remember what it feels like to play without all that seriousness. Now, create from that space.

Read:  The Trouble With Blogging

The book

You were gaining traction for the self-published version of your book during 2011. What motivated you to accept a traditional book deal?

Before the book went to auction, I did some numbers to work out what the book was worth to me. I’d already invested a considerable amount into the self-publishing process, so it wasn’t good business sense to take a token advance just so that I could call myself a ‘published author.’ I also tallied up what I could reasonably expect to earn as a self-published author, factoring in all the limitations with distribution, etc. That’s how I got my magic number.

When the first offer came in, it was right on my number. I couldn’t believe it! We negotiated up from there. So I took the deal because the advance was considerably high, and because it was well above what I felt I could earn as a self-published author.

One of the things I loved about your book was that it was extremely polished. I’ve found that this is a rare quality in many of the self-published books and ebooks I read. How important is the design and editing? Was it daunting investing so much without knowing how people would react?

I spent several years writing my book and, while I doubted myself daily, I wouldn’t have written it if I didn’t believe in it. Investing at the end stages was a small price to pay on top of the time and energy I’d already spent writing the book.

Design and editing are extremely important! We live in an era of information overload, and people are now extra precious with how they spend their time. The cover has to immediately communicate one firm promise: This will be worth your time. Your purpose for getting the book professionally edited is so that you can come good on that promise.

You should strive to make your book worthy of the reader’s time from the moment they first lay eyes on your cover, to the moment they turn the final page. Otherwise you’re just creating noise.

 What role did your blog play in getting the book deal?

I wouldn’t have sold the book without my blog. It helped in several ways:

1. A Hollywood film producer randomly discovered my profile on Twitter two weeks after I self-published. He clicked through to my blog, read an excerpt of Love with a Chance of Drowning, and DM’ed me to request a copy of the book. I sent him a copy, and he ended up buying the film option.
2. A UK publisher chanced upon my book in much the same way: through random clicking that led her to an excerpt published on my blog. She also ended up putting in an offer to buy the book.
3. When my agent was pitching the book to Australia and the US, publishers could see that I had a blog and a following. This upped the value of the book. It has since sold to five publishers.

 More about her book:

What bloggers are you watching?

I follow a lot of blogs, but there are only a few that I visit regularly:

Hyperbole and a Half  – I discovered Allie Brosh a few years ago, and no other blogger has since made me spray tea out of my nose like her. It is, without a doubt, the most hilarious blog in the world.

Almost Fearless  – I’ve been following Christine Gilbert’s blog for several years now. Her life story is interesting to follow and she’s also damn good at the business of blogging.

World Tour Stories – This is a blog about a really, really good looking couple who are sailing the world. They are exceptional at telling a story through stunning photography.

A city girl with a morbid fear of deep water, Torre DeRoche, confronts her deepest fears after falling for an Argentinean man with a leaky sailboat and a big dream.

Set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful and remote destinations, Love with a Chance of Drowning is a sometimes hilarious, often moving and always breathtakingly brave memoir that proves there are some risks worth taking.

3 Ways to Get More Subscribers for Your Blog

I have hundreds of readers coming to my blog every day – but nobody ever subscribes to my newsletter. Help!?!

This request came in via email today and I thought I’d share my reply with the 3 suggestions I offered.

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Thanks for the question – I suspect you’re not alone with this problem. While a lot can probably be written on the topic, let me suggest 3 things I’ve found helpful increasing subscriber numbers.

Note: the #1 thing I did to building subscriber numbers on Digital Photography School was introduce a lightbox subscriber box. I spoke about this in my 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Blogging webinar so I won’t rehash it here.

1. Ask People to Subscribe

This sounds a little too simple to be effective but I’m amazed how many people do subscribe once you mention you’ve got a newsletter. I’m also amazed how many of our regular and loyal readers don’t know we even have a newsletter, despite it being promoted around the blog.

Some semi-regular calls to subscribe can be very effective.

You can do this in a number of ways, including:

  • Writing a dedicated blog post, every now and again, explaining you have a newsletter and the benefits of subscribing.
  • Mentioning your newsletter in passing in your blog posts. I don’t mean every single post, but a mention now and then will work wonders.
  • Promoting your newsletter across social media. I regularly mention our newsletters on Twitter, when I’m writing a newsletter and when it goes out.

The key to remember, when mentioning your newsletter regularly, is to find fresh ways to talk about it. Don’t just have the same tweet to subscribe every 2nd day.

  • Mention something that is in the next newsletter, that you won’t get anywhere else.
  • Mention that you’ve just hit a milestone number of subscribers to build social proof.
  • Mention that it’s a milestone newsletter. We recently sent out 250th on dPS and made a bit of a big deal about it.

2. Start a Series

Announce that you’re going to be doing a series of posts, on your blog, on a topic that you know will really be useful to your readers.

I remember the first time I announced that I was going to run the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series (the series that later became the eBook by the same name) I was amazed at how many people subscribed to my blog over the next 24 hours.

I was signalling to readers that I was going to do something that would serve them and in doing so, created anticipation among my readers. This anticipation (as I’ve written about in the past) is a key reason people will subscribe to your blog.

3. Place Calls to Subscribe in ‘Hot Zones’

One last tip is to identify some ‘hot zones’ on your blog, to place calls to subscribe. These zones are either places that your readers will be looking or pages that they’ll be visiting.

Let me suggest a couple:

1. Under Posts

I’m not currently doing this on my blogs, as I use the space under my blog posts for other things, but I’ve found over the years that the area under your blog post (and directly above comments) is a ‘hot zone’ where readers often look for what to do next.

Put yourself in the position of a reader. You’ve read the post and have found it useful. This is the perfect time to ask readers to subscribe because they’re hopefully feeling satisfied, stimulated and helped in some way.

A bold call to subscribe can work wonders here.

2. On Hot Posts

Dig into your blogs analytics package and identify which posts are the most read posts on your blog.

You’ll probably find that these posts are receiving traffic from search engines and are likely being read by first time readers to your blog – people that are often quick to leave again once they’ve got what they’re searching for.

These posts are a real opportunity to make your blog a little more sticky and to hopefully call some of those first time readers to subscribe.

You can do this either by adding a call to subscribe directly to the posts – or you might like to link from these posts to a ‘sneeze page’ (see below).

3. Sneeze Pages

Screen Shot 2013 06 20 at 1 25 12 PMLet me show you a page on dPS, which is a page that generates a large number of subscribers. It is our Photography Tips for Beginners page.

This page is a page in which I link to 33 of the best articles in our archives for beginner photographers. It is a page that ‘sneezes’ readers deep into our archives to good quality content.

It is a great page for driving traffic and getting readers deep into the site but you’ll also note we have a couple of strong calls to subscribe on that page. People click those calls to action like crazy because they can see on the page that we’ve created a heap of useful content.

We link to this sneeze page prominently in the navigation areas all around the site to drive traffic to it and regularly promote the page on social media (as I write this it has received over 90,000 ‘pins’ on Pinterest for example).

Take home lesson – create a sneeze page with a strong call to action to subscribe and drive as much traffic to it as you can!

Note: Sneeze pages are written about on day 18 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

How Have You Increases Subscribers to Your Blog?

I have barely scratched the surface here on how to increase subscribers to a blog and would love to hear your suggestions and experiences on the topic in comments below.

What has worked for you?

AdSense Turns 10 Years Old: Why I’m Grateful for it!

NewImageThis week Google’s AdSense program celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a post on their blog and a G+ Hangout.

While they launched AdSense in June of 2003, I first began to experiment with it on 7th October that year.

I had been blogging for around 11 months by that point and had begun to experiment with the Amazon Associates Program as a way to help me cover my costs of hosting, domains and design.

So I signed up as an AdSense publisher and set up my first ad to put on my blog.

I had no idea what I was doing and so put the ads at the top of my right hand sidebar to see how they would perform.

At that time the only way you’d earn anything from AdSense was if someone clicked the ads so I made them bright pink and green to stand out. Boy, were they ugly!

The next morning, I woke up to discover that I’d earned my first $7 USD from AdSense. I was pretty amazed by this as it was significantly more than I was able to make from Amazon. Over the coming days, I watched in amazement as I continued to earn a few dollars here and there.

It turned out that that first days earnings were artificially high as some of my loyal readers thought it was a good idea to click the ads repeatedly to make me money. Things quickly settled down and by the end of the month I’d earned $42 USD.

By no means was it spectacular money but it was enough to give me a little hope.

I began to experiment with placing a few more ads on the page and tweaking the design and colours I used. I discovered that blending ads into the design of the blog was better than making them stand right out. I also discovered that putting ads into the middle of blog posts worked well.

The results of my experiments were that I quickly saw my income from AdSense rising. The next month I made around $90 from AdSense, the following month – December – around $170 USD.

I began to experiment with a new blog in the months that followed – a camera review blog. This really helped things to grow a lot faster and blogging was fast becoming something I saw as a part time job.

  • May 2004 saw me hit over $1000 in a month for the first time.
  • 7th June saw earnings go over $100 in a single day for the first time.
  • By November 2004 AdSense had allowed me to go full time as a blogger with earnings of close to $10,000 for that month alone.

While there were ups and downs in my earnings over the coming months (in January it all took a big dive due to me falling out of Google Search results for 6 weeks) since then I’ve continued to earn a monthly income from AdSense.

The combined total of what AdSense has earned is well in excess of a million dollars! Yes – I’m glad I started using AdSense back in 2003!

In 2005, I posted here that Blogging had bought my family a house, something that a year before was not even in our wildest dreams. The bulk of that came from AdSense.

These days I don’t put as much focus on advertising revenue (Advertising revenue makes up about 25% of my business revenue these days) but the bulk of that revenue still comes from AdSense.

While I know AdSense is at times looked down on by some bloggers and online entrepreneurs – I for one am grateful for it.

Happy birthday AdSense!

Content Creation vs Content Promotion: Where is the Balance?

A few days ago we published a post on ProBlogger titled ‘Forget about Marketing: Concentrate on Blogging‘, which led to some interesting discussion on Twitter and in the comments.

I love the points author Nicholas Whitmore made in the post but I wanted to give a few thoughts, based on my own experience, on developing great content and promoting your blog.

Nicholas wrote some great arguments for focusing your energy on writing great content as the central way of growing your blog. He writes:

“When you write and publish awesome content on your blog, good things will come your way.”

I completely agree with this sentiment. As a blogger your #1 focus needs to be on producing content that is useful, engaging and of as high a quality as possible. Without it, all the marketing you might do will be wasted as you’ll just be directing people to something that is of no value to them.

As Nicholas goes on to write:

“When you write and publish boring content then spend hours on end building links to it, trying to force people to your website, good things will never come.”

Again, I agree with the sentiment expressed here.

However, on Twitter a discussion among some of my followers highlighted that some bloggers differ quite a bit on how much effort should be put into promoting a blog vs developing content for it.

  • On one hand, there were certainly people who felt that if you build a great blog that it markets itself.
  • On the other hand, there were people who felt that if you didn’t get out there and market your blog you ran the risk of all your hard work in developing great content going completely unseen.

While I think we all agree that the content on your blog needs to be of a very high focus, I’m also of the belief that if a blogger wants to grow their readership they also need to put effort into promoting that blog.

I like the idea of the marketing being taken care of by your visitors, if you have good enough blog post. In my experience, there are things you can do to promote your blog to help speed the process up, without compromising the quality of your posts.

In the early days of my own current blogs (here on ProBlogger and at dPS) I estimate I probably spent almost as much time writing content as I did working on growing the readership. In fact, I’m sure there were some weeks where I did spend considerably more time promoting my blog than writing content!

In short, I don’t see marketing and creating content as mutually exclusive – both are really important to me.

How did I grow my readership (or market my blogs)?

I recorded a webinar last year on this very topic with a load of tips in it. You can listen to it and see the slides here so I won’t rehash all of that but here’s a summary slide of the points I talked through.

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You can see that my process actually talks about the content that you develop as being a part of finding readers for your blog (both in points 2 and 8). But by getting off your blog to promote what you do you are certainly able to significantly grow your blog.

Point #9 shows that this is an ongoing thing.

For me, I’d say that the balance of creating content and promoting has changed over the life of my blogs over the years. This is probably partly because the life cycle of a blog but also due to my own personal circumstances and how much time I have available to work.

That said , I would always prioritise both on a daily basis… and would probably also add in that I prioritise other things too such as ‘engaging with readers/building community’ and also a focus upon ‘monetization’ (without which I can’t sustain what I do).

Where is the Balance of Promotion and Content Creation for You?

I’d love to hear how others get this balance right in your blogging?