Rookie Blog Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Like most folks looking to start a professional blog, I had great plans. More than many, I suspect, I had an actual strategy beyond the basic “Step 1: Write Posts. Step 2: Attract Customers. Step 3: Profit.” And yet, It’s been nearly 6 weeks since my last post. Do as I say, not as I do, obviously.

So what went wrong and what should I have done differently?

Make Blogging a Priority: It’s the number one rule. You can’t go a day or two without someone posting about how important it is to treat blogging less like writing in your diary when you feel like it and more like a client deliverable. I know this, but when the chips were down, I prioritized it lower than everything else I was doing to get SageLark up and running and prep for the holiday season. Then I convinced myself I was “on holiday” and it’s not like anyone’s hanging out online the week between Christmas and New Years anyway. What I should have done was hold my feet to the fire and carved out a few hours a week to keep things rolling, even if it meant delaying sleep a bit longer or wrapping some presents a bit later.

Start With a Backlog: My initial content strategy was to put up at least one post a week about general social media strategy issues and then drop in “of the moment” posts related to whatever the internet was chatting about or a funny, relevant thing I came across. While I certainly couldn’t stay on top of current events in a backlog, I could have launched with 3 or 4 general posts in the queue. That way, even if cookie-making called or I needed to spend an evening writing up a contract from scratch, I would have something to post. I have done something right. I may not have a backlog of posts, but I have several drafts lined up with a few inspiration-preserving notes. Getting back on my feet should be pretty easy.

Have a Backup Plan: I launched without any backup content because I expected to spend the first few weeks (if not the rest of 2012) working on My goal was to launch in November and take the time I wasn’t cultivating my few client leads to finish up by putting my portfolio online, drafting template documents and creating that coveted blog post backlog. I was going to be in a great place once 2013 started and I gathered enough clients to sustain me. Instead, those leads quickly became clients with deliverables and more leads cropped up to take their place. By the time 2012 ended, I had lined up enough business to sustain me well into 2013. Nobody was more surprised than I was–it turns out everyone had more faith in me than I did–but that meant that my content plan fell apart around me. Without a backup plan, I was forced to temporarily abandon my content in favor of more directly-profitable tasks. Terrible problem to have, I know.

Bonus – Avoid the Shiny Objects: Don’t also take up knitting when you’re trying to launch a new business venture and prepare your house and family for the holiday season. And if you do, don’t decide to add “quick” hand-knit scarves to your gift list and to make a baby blanket for your sister who is due by the end of February. I regret nothing, but seriously, don’t.

Things are starting to calm down, thankfully. The work opportunities are still flying at me as fast as I can grab them (such an awesome problem), but with the holidays behind me and a full dance card, I should be able to establish some sort of rhythm to my days.

I just need to make sure that I save at least one dance for my blog.

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