I might be a little later than usual but I am excited to announce that the Comment 4 comment challenge is back on for 2021! It is time to get back on the wagon as a conscious effort to increase the engagement and commenting on our blog. Are you ready for this?
Blog engagement is the key!
Despite what we tell ourselves about how we blog for ourselves or how it is just a hobby, we love getting comments on our posts and meeting new likeminded bloggers.
Without such validation via comments or shares we may as well be just screaming into the void. Trust me that is just a sure shot way into blogger burnout – something that we all dread.
The comment 4 comment challenge has been greatly successful in the past (2018, 2019). I am sure the participants gained quite a number of blogger friends who not just commented and shared on their blogs, but also gained a good support system.
Let’s rebuild that one. Welcome to C4CC-2021 edition!
What is the Comment 4 Comment Challenge (C4CC) 2021?
The major issue for any small blogger is building an audience and increasing their blog engagement. And that means getting more visitors, comments and shares on your blog. If that sounds interesting to you, this challenge is for you.
The goal of C4CC is ‘leave no comment un-replied and un-returned’.
What do you have to do?
Replying all the comments you received on your blog
Visiting the said commenter’s blog to leave a comment
If you feel you are up for this challenge, SIGN UP right away.
What is the goal anyway?
If you have any of the following as goal for your blog this year
Be more social
Increase the number of comments on your blog, organically
Make more blogging friends
Improve blogging engagement
Increase your blog followers
Finding similar blogs
Then this Comment 4 Comment Challenge (C4CC) for you!
How can you participate in this challenge?
Sign up for the challenge here
Grab my button and add on your blog
Follow my blog and leave a comment to this post.
Share the news on social media
Bring in your buddy and as they say, the more the merrier.
Welcome to the final part of the series on making blogging schedules work for you, and this is where I tell what works for me and what doesn’t. Here is my typical day as a book blogger to inspire and help you make your own blog schedule that works.
Typically I spend more than 30 hours per week on my blog and book blogging related works, making me a part time blogger and more. I also juggle between beta reading, writing and content development work for my clients. And none of this would be possible without a proper blog schedule that works for me.
I normally post four times a week and I have a bookstagram where I post thrice a week. And I am nothing if not being consistent. Yes that sounds like a lot for a hobby blog, but fortunately Elgee Writes is not just a blog that I work on for fun.
To put it in perspective, I work so hard on my blog because it acts as my portfolio and this is where I generate my paid clients from. You will understand it better if you start substituting “content marketing” every time you call it “blogging”.
I love spending the first hour or so on writing, so that I can actually focus and not worry about answering texts or calls.
7 to 8 30 AM: Usually I have prepared outlines for the blog posts or article for my clients the previous day or so, and I just have to put my thoughts into words without having to use the browser for research (AKA the distractions) much.
8 30 to 9 30 AM: Once that is done, and as my family wakes up I make a quick breakfast and coffee hustle. If you personally know me, you would understand when I say “I need a breakfast before 9”. Else, you will have to believe me when I say “HANGRY” was made up to describe me.
Since we are all working from home at the moment (and possibly until the end 2020 at least), things are kinda slow for now. Else this would be my peak time in terms of household chores.
9 30 to 11 00 AM: This is when I write down my to-do list for the day and check if any weekly goals have to be changed. Speaking of goals, I also do a check in of my Google analytics and social media stats on a daily basis.
I also quickly hop on to the social media to check if my scheduled posts are getting posted and answer any DMs or mentions I have received. This invariably ends up with my scrolling my Twitter and Instagram feed for a while.
If there were any client calls I schedule them here, so that I can alter my schedule if needed.
Depending upon the day and the work schedule, I usually spend the morning reading something for work (AKA beta reading a manuscript) or a non fiction.
11 00 AM to 1 00 PM: This is the time I spend on cooking lunch, catching up on errands and household chores. I also have a very long curly hair routine which I try to squeeze in here too.
1 00 PM to 2 00 PM – I usually hit the gym on weekdays just before lunch. This is a practice that I am trying to build again, now that the gyms are open in the UAE and we are free to use them.
Being the bookworm that I am, I usually read on my phone while workout on the treadmill or so just to keep me distracted from the fact that I am actually working out. I will let you know when it actually works.
2 30 to 6 00PM – This is the time I completely spend on research and development which means I am doing email outreach and pitching for clients.
This is probably the second most productive time of my day.
The daily chores can range from clicking photos for bookstagram to logo designing for a client. And one day is like no other. There is always something going on and fire to put out.
One of the major blog goals I had when I started was to have a consistent post schedule and be more organized. While I have things in control, it took me so long to reach this place of peacefulness. Let us talk about a few tips that can help you create a blogging schedule that you’ll stick to easily.
In our next post we will talk about the blog schedule that I have been following for a while, so that you can use it as a guide to make your own.
Set your blog time aside
Everybody’s life and routines are different. So to start with, identify the best time for you and your blog and set aside a few hours to spend only on your blog. When I say blogging it may include everything that you do for a blog from researching a topic to scheduling your social media or answering your DMs.
Next, you have to make some tough calls. Note that there is no magic number or correct answer to these questions. You just have to choose what works for you. Remember we are aiming for consistency, so think of the long term when you choose your blogging schedule.
How often do you want to publish on your blog?
Who are your target audience?
What are the broad topics that you will write on and does that match with your audience’s interest?
What are the items that you depend on someone else’s input?; and
Which ones can you outsource or automate?
Once you honestly answer these questions you will have a realistic idea on what you can and what you can’t do.
Create an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar is the correct place to start with while creating a blogging schedule that you’ll stick to. A blog schedule and editorial calendar are closely interlinked.
An editorial calendar will act as the backbone of your blog and will keep a track on what is being published and when, and also what are you planning to publish in future. Usually it is filled for a month and I know bloggers who do it for a year even.
I use Spreadsheets for marking down the special days on the calendar and the blog content for the month. If you participate in any memes or link ups, you can put them down on it too. This will ensure you won’t forget what is pending and what’s written up.
Build an idea tank
How many times have you sat in front of the screen and waited for inspiration to strike to write a post? Not knowing what to write is one of the major reason why we do not post as per schedule.
And that is why you need to build an idea tank. Yes it is exactly how it sounds. You need a place to dump all your ideas without judgement.
I use Evernote for that and any topic that remotely feels like it can be a blog post topic goes into a note. It is not the right time to think if it is a good idea or not, just dump it there and stop thinking about it.
A quick tip to get things done faster – batch similar tasks. If you are designing header images for a post, do it for the entire week or even month at a time. Work on SEO research for all the posts at a time instead of repeating the same task for each post.
This is one of the best things that I learned in the last few years and it only saves me time but ensures I don’t get bogged down by small tasks repeatedly, and thus keeps me on the blogging schedule that I have been following religiously for a while now.
So ensure that your blogging schedule includes time for all these social media activities like following your peers posts and engaging with them. And these activities should not be affect your other blog schedule.
Get a partner or ten
Another quick tip to ensure you stick to your blog schedule is to rope in a partner or two to keep you accountable. Or you can quickly join a Discord or Facebook group of like minded bloggers who are also working towards similar goals.
While all the above tips might help you to create a blogging schedule that you’ll stick to, I believe everything starts from your inner self. So when the going gets worse and it feels like the blogging schedule is getting out of your way – slog through it. Because slump begets slump.
The more you procrastinate or cancel things, harder it gets to go back to your routine and schedules. So as much as possible push it through and get yourself on to that discipline of following the schedule.
Of course that doesn’t mean you have to overwhelm yourself. Just take one step at a time and get things done.
You have made the plans and post schedules for the blog. You have great ideas for new posts. You are ready to soar high and make blogging successful. But why does your enthusiasm wane and you struggle to stick to the blog schedule in the long run?
So when things get hard or the initial enthusiasm to blog starts to dissipate it is natural that you let yourself off the hook easily. You start thinking what am I losing if skip once, and end up in a blogging slump before you know it.
Tip: Reward yourself for every successful streak, say weekly. Create a calendar and mark each day you blog on it, and try not to break your streak.
You are not accountable to anyone
Yes, not all of us have millions of monthly readers in our blog. Or maybe it is just your mother and her cat. And they are not gonna judge you if you post once in a month or NEVER.
Before I moved to Elgee Writes, I had had my blog for almost five years and never told anyone about it. I assumed I was writing for myself and that I was blogging pretty consistently. But guess what?
Within a year, I had published more posts than I published in the first five years. The difference? I had begun talking to others (bloggers, friends and even colleagues) about my blog and I started getting regular readers and engagements.
Sure, you can hold yourself accountable too, but has it worked previously? If no, it is better to involve a friend or better, another blogger friend to hold you accountable.
Tip: Announce your next post topic to your readers. Put up an blogging schedule on the sidebar so that your readers would know when to expect your next post and hold you accountable to it.
You are waiting for perfection
I am no stranger to this flaw. I am not perfect and my blog posts aren’t either. But I can wait for the perfect word to flow, the perfect blog topic to spring in my mind and for the perfect time to write it out.
But they rarely come and my blog can’t wait until then.
Starting with an imperfect plan and then continuing to make it better, is so much more productive than to wait for the perfect plan.
Tip: Aim for good, not perfect. Write down everything in your mind or draft an outline, and then you can edit and perfect it.
You are waiting for motivation
You cannot expect yourself to be always motivated and full of enthusiasm. The going will get tough and your initial enthusiasm will definitely wane.
But if you had planned to work only when you are inspired, then you will be working only for about 30% of the days. Following through any plan or goal, needs inspirations but most critically you need determination.
I am sure everyone has days that they don’t wanna work or go to the gym, but only people who step up and do what is needed to be, even when they don’t feel like, become successful.
Tip: Don’t look for external motivations – just hitting the publish button on your blog or being to be able to stick to the blog schedule itself can be motivating enough. And even if it, just do it because you are professional.
You want instant gratification
Often we want to see the effect of our hard work almost immediately. And when that doesn’t happen, it is natural to feel disheartened and we may even want to stop our hard work.
But this lack of patience and attitude towards instant gratification is keeping from being able to stick to the blog schedule.
Tip: When you make plans, get into a mindset that you won’t see any tangible benefit right away. And have a visual reminder to see how many days you stick to the blog schedule to quench your thirst for instant gratification.
So go on, let me know what other blogging challenges do you face? What’s stopping you from achieving your blogging dreams?
It is no secret that many of us struggle with blogging consistently. And many bloggers consider putting out content regularly as a success parameter. Let us talk about why it is so important to have a blogging schedule to ensure that you are blogging consistently.
Every time (or so) you add a post or update something on your blog, the Search Engine Gods (aka Google or Bing) make a note of that. And that is a good thing because they understand that you are still relevant and show yours more frequently on the search pages – and that leads to? YES, MORE TRAFFIC!
Builds trust and authority
We only take in advices and suggestions from people whom we trust.
Gaining that trust and subject authority from your readers takes a long time and needs hard work. And that comes from a portfolio of articles you have written on the topic by blogging consistently.
For instance, the index of all my reviews here usually acts as my portfolio for the authors before they ask me to review or beta read their books.
Having more than 200 book reviews somehow helps them make that decision. What do you think?
Keeping your readers happy
Oh we almost forgot the most important reason we are screaming into the void here blogging. Our dear readers!
Having a good number of traffic or ranking high on the Search Engine results would not matter if we are not able to retain the visitors on our site. And we can have happy and returning visitors only when we post consistently.
If you post 20 times in a month and then go missing from your blog for the next three months, chances are your blog readers would forget you. There are thousands of other blogs they might move to, and it won’t be their fault.
Avoid that dreaded blogger burnout
We all have been there. The blogger burn out is real and it is so damn painful. You watch your fellow bloggers posting such creative posts and all you can do is stare at the blank screen.
Well, let us talk about how to finally defeat (or avoid, let’s be realistic here) the blogger burnout – blogging schedule!
Social media is fun and entertaining. Unless you are a content producer or a blogger trying to use it for your business. Well, then it is a chore and is definitely soul sucking. The balancing of your social media presence and your blogging schedule is a constant struggle.
Blink twice if you have tried to balance between your goal to get a huge following on social media, churn out content as your calendar and trying to breathe, and failed miserably. Well, you are not alone and this post especially for you, naïve one.
Balancing Act of Social Media and Blogging
It is hard to balance social media and blogging, when your work and business are mostly online and it is exhausting to say the least. There is no way out, in this age and technology but you can still try to stay sane by following some of these techniques.
With all that is going on in life and your blogging schedule, it gets harder to sit down and do things that require your focus and deep work.
The more your sweat over small things and your routine, the harder it gets to any planning or focused writing done. And that is why it is important to set aside a particular time block each day, away from distraction from the pesky social media messages or Netflix binges.
Use this time to create, write and do things that require your uninterrupted attention. Extra points if they add up to your long term goals.
Create a social media strategy
Keeping up with the news and staying relevant is one of the vital points as a blogger and a business. But doing that all by yourself is definitely impossible.
And that is why you need a social media strategy that includes
The social media platforms that your blog will be active
The number of times you will post per week
The number of hours you will spend engaging, re-sharing and commenting on the platform
What is your goal for each platform – short and long term?
How will you track the progress?
Creating out a social media strategy might seem too pretentious if you are a micro blogger or a small business, but writing out them in detail would hold you accountable and give you more clarity on what you do.
Automate whatever you can
Once you have set your goals and task lists in stone (or paper) automate, automate and automate. Use a scheduler like Buffer or Hootsuite to send out your posts on premeditated time.
You can allocate a specific time to schedule posts for the following week. Scheduling for a week will reduce the amount of time you spend on social media for promoting your blog/business.
Batching similar processes
Another great time saving technique is to batch similar processes together and get them done together. For example, instead of spending time creating graphics or images for each social media separately, batch them out together and do it when you are designing the header image for your blog post.
You may even spend a dedicated time every week (or whatever works for you) to analyse the data and tweak your posts.
Put yourself first
This is the single most important thing I learnt in creating a balance between social media and blogging is putting myself and my mental health first.
How much ever we plan there are going to be days when nothing goes as per our plan and that might overwhelm us. We should have to understand that and keep ourselves prepared for unplanned breaks.
Also, plan for some self care routines into your day and don’t forget to take some breaks.
What my social media schedule looks like
What my social media schedule looks like
As a book blogger, I try to be active on Instagram (though it offers little to no traffic to my blog), Twitter and Pinterest. I also schedule posts on Facebook, but I am not active on FB, personally or for blog promotion.
I post four times on my blog per week and share the posts on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest as soon as the post go or some time on the same day. To be honest, I am not really strict on the time for this process.
Weekly once I spend an hour or two to choose the posts from the book blogger community to reshare on my social media platform during the following week.
Next I spend another 15 to 30 minutes to choose posts from my blog to promote all through the next week.
On Monday I schedule these links (both from my blog and the ones I loved from the blogging community) to publish over Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest at different times with customized messages for each platform.
Every day I spend about 15 to 30 minutes on each platform to talk, engage and make friends. Usually I spend about 60 to 90 minutes on the whole each day.
That is it. This is my minimal schedule to allow me to stay on top of social media and blog promotion and breathe as well.
Well, sometimes these schedules don’t work and that is okay too. I stopped worrying too much about it, because I know I have a routine that works for me, most of the days and I can get back to it soon enough.
The trick to balancing between social media and blogging is knowing what you want and when to say enough.
If you like my posts about social media and blogging aspect of it, you should try some of these related posts.