When you decided to start taking blogging seriously, you figured you would be spending the majority of your time…well, blogging, right?
Instead, a myriad of other tasks have showed up to the party, taking more time than you ever expected. Before you know it, writing became a smaller and smaller slice of your blogging-activity pie chart. Trust me, you’re not alone.
Tasks like promotion, emailing, optimizing, designing, and socializing can be major time-eaters, and before you know it, the sun has set with that brilliant article still residing in your noggin.
The most rewarding (and effective) task of blogging is to build and connect with an online community. If everyday tasks are keeping you from engaging with your readers through writing and responding, your blog will begin to suffer — and you will likely get burned out.
Outsourcing tasks to other trusted professionals — whether they are freelancers, agencies, or even virtual personal assistants — can free you up to do the things only you can do. It’s your job to keep things running smoothly, and part of being in charge is delegating when necessary.
Money is certainly a factor, but not a roadblock. Perhaps the return on investment (in both time and money) will make it worth your while; consider the growth your blog would see if you could do all of the important things without letting other areas suffer. If you have a challenge to overcome, outsourcing may be your answer:
Challenge 1: You want to increase traffic from search engines
Organic search traffic is a valuable source of new visitors to your blog. Organic means the unpaid website links that naturally appear after a user searches specific keywords or phrases. What you may not realize is that simple wording changes can have a big impact on your ability to get organic search traffic.
For example, if you have a blog about health and fitness, you might consider putting “eating healthy foods” in your site title or articles. After a keyword analysis, you might change your mind about that.
It turns out, the term “eating healthy foods” has medium competition and 368,000 monthly searches, while a similar term, “how to be healthy” has low competition and over 16.5 million monthly searches. Assuming the two phrases are interchangeable to your audience, It’s easy to see which phrase might attract more traffic.
If the idea of increased traffic excites you, but the idea of maintaining an effective SEO plan drains you, consider outsourcing to an SEO specialist. If your goal is to increase momentum, a consultation and detailed strategy may be all you need to do it on your own. But if your blog is large enough, the money spent on letting the pros do all the backend work might be worthwhile.
Challenge 2: You want to keep communication a priority (without spending hours in your email each day!)
Email is the interstate of communication in the online world, and it’s understandably a priority for many bloggers. Unfortunately, we can become victims of our own success, and spend hours of vital writing and connecting time answering a flood of emails that could be delegated elsewhere.
I can already hear the tires screeching in your brain — the idea of letting someone else handle your email can feel a little uncomfortable at first. Tim Ferriss of the Four Hour Workweek observed, “E-mail is the last thing people let go of. Fortune 500 CEOs, bestselling authors, celebrities — I know dozens of top performers who delegate everything but e-mail, which they latch onto as something only they can do.”
I’m not suggesting that someone else answer all of your email — it’s a good thing to be personal with your readers. Just take a step back and consider a few tasks that take up time, but don’t require your personal touch. Examples include communicating with guest bloggers, sending frequently-requested information, answering frequently-asked questions, and assisting with technical problems (like downloading an e-book).
Some issues can be dealt with auto-responders and email software, but if you’re still spending several hours a day on email, you should consider outsourcing that task to an assistant — so you can spend your valuable time on the things that earn the big bucks. A virtual assistant can filter out and take care of emails that don’t require your personal attention, so you only worry about the few items that do.
Challenge 3: You want to spend time writing rich, in-depth articles, without compromising the frequency of postings
Cue the guest bloggers! A proven method of attaining links, increasing online authority, and getting brand exposure is having guest articles posted on reputable blogs. With all of those businesses and bloggers out there looking to guest-post, why not open open your blog to it?
Even if your blog is highly personal, a guest post on a relevant topic can add a fresh voice and perspective and fill in between your blog posts. Having a supply of guest posts can especially handy for when you’re away for vacation or even longer. Kat Griffin’s recent Problogger article explained how she used guest posts to take a ten-week maternity leave from blogging.
With a supply of guest blog posts to beef up your schedule, you’ll have more time to focus on longer, richer articles while maintaining a suitable posting frequency. If you intend on posting guest articles more than just occasionally, you may benefit from outsourcing guest blogger communication and even editing to a virtual assistant.
Challenge 4: You want to maintain an active community on several social media pages
Outsourcing social media isn’t for everyone, but it can have some major benefits. A good social media manager will know the ins-and-outs of social media, and can help you set realistic, attainable goals. They can take the burden of frequent postings off of you, so you can enjoy posting again without feeling obligated to say something just for the sake of it.
Not only will social media managers send out messages, they will be able to handle incoming messages and comments. In the fast-paced online world, social profiles can turn into customer service centers, and your ability handle issues and complaints quickly will make a big impression on your audience.
If your blog is primarily a brand — like SitePoint — and not a personal name, there’s no reason why someone else can’t be the “man behind the curtain,” as long as they get to know the ins-and-outs of your brand.
One of the most important considerations, of course, is trust — so if you don’t have a personal relationship with this person/company, be sure to check their references and see for yourself what their work looks like in action.
Challenge 5: You want to run giveaways and other promotions
Giveaways: all the cool kids are doing it. They may be effective at gaining spurts of short-term “buzz”, but you should really consider whether the time and money running them are producing lasting results. Other questions you should be able to answer:
- Do I have any legal considerations?
- Do I have a dedicated page for giveaway rules and disclaimers?
- Should there be any requirements from the entrants, like location or age?
- Am I offering the right prizes for my audience?
- Should I seek out sponsors or just purchase the prizes on my own?
- How will I promote my giveaway to get the most bang for my buck?
If you are unsure about some of those answers, it would be a good idea to at least consult with a public relations or marketing expert. Once you have the structure down for one giveaway, you might be able to achieve the rest on your own, or with the help of a virtual assistant. If your promotions are large and/or frequent (think expensive items), an experienced promotions agency could streamline and manage the process well enough to make it worth outsourcing.
Share your two cents
Have you successfully outsourced blog work? What can you share about your experiences?
This post was written by Willie Deutsch, who is a blogger that works with Belatrix Software Factory.
Are You Trying to Rank or Help People?
Check the intent behind your blogging actions. What are your drivers? Some bloggers desperately want to rank, to place articles on page 1 of Google, to drive sweet, passive search engine traffic. Good luck with that. Nobody succeeds ranking until you give virtually all of your attention and energy to helping people with your blogging efforts. The rank comes after the generous help and that generous help often spans years of your life because developing page 1 Google skills is no joke. If it were easy, everybody would rank on page 1, right?
But you would be surprised by how many folks struggle blogging because the focus on rank over help dominates their minds. I never fell afflicted to this common limiting belief because I give scant attention to ranking on Google. Most of me could care less. I help people through my guest posts, blog posts, course and eBooks. My intent is to help people not to try to get traffic and money through manipulating things. Be honest about the big difference between the two because making this shift will improve your life tremendously, along with positioning you to experience increasing blogging success.
Focus heavily on people and little on things to discover the secret of blogging success. Bloggers succeed by generously helping human beings for sustained periods of time. Imagine some blogger who appears to be all over their blogging niche. Study this individual. Guaranteed, this bloggers generously helped people for years, hours daily, through multiple methods of helping people. Imagine guest posting, blogging, broadcasting live on Facebook and podcasting. See how the top bloggers always seem to be assisting people from a generous, genuine energy? Be that person. The tops never obsess over ranking because doing so attaches you to outcomes. Attach to outcomes. Feel fear. Attachment is fear. Any time you blog from a vibe of fear, you will struggle, fail and quit eventually. Top bloggers feel fears but release the energies versus panicking and bailing on generously helping readers. Everybody else panics, bails and tries to manipulate things to get traffic and money, failing horribly over the long haul.
Nobody gets ahead trying to manipulate things because money flows through humans mainly, then, through things which act as receiving channels. Imagine if I sell a copy of my blogging course. Generously helping human beings instills trust in the person who bought my course. Money flows from them to me through Selz, and my bank account, from their credit card or bank account. The things – Selz, bank accounts – are receiving channels, facilitating the sending and receiving of money, but generous service and trust put the financial transaction into action.
Stop trying to rank before all else because dealing with things solely – SEO and Google – moves you out of the realm of reality, into thing-ality. Bloggers who succeed keep helping folks generously and keep promoting themselves, realizing the things are just tools humans use to connect with each other, to help each other and to prosper each other. Focus on helping humans, not trying to rank on page 1 of Google, to uncover the secret to successful blogging….and to uncover the secret of ranking on page 1 of Google.
Why Blogging Jealousy Is a Damaging Emotion
I spent today enjoying lunch and a hike through the forest with my wife. But like the past goodness knows how many years, I will work 6-8 hours daily….or more. I put in an hour or so this morning. Now I get to work a bit before 5 PM. People love my travel photos. Folks often tell me how jealous they feel, envying our life. We are so lucky! We are blessed. We are aligned. All that jazz. But the same folks NEVER feel jealous or envious of the fact that I worked 6 hours daily for the past goodness known how many years of my life. I tell folks about my workload sometimes; most look at me like I have 3 heads, people proclaiming themselves lazy and definitely, believing I can have this workload because working long and persistently is not for them.
Before you envy my movie-worthy life, envy my movie-worthy workload. Before you jealously bust my chops about my photos in Fiji and Bali, be just as envious and flat out jealous of the 20,000 hours I have blogged over the past decade of my life. You cannot have the sweet fruit unless you patiently water the seed and allow for it to thrive, during growing season. Likewise, you cannot have blogging success unless you patiently, persistently and generously work, to succeed.
Jealousy and Damage
Most bloggers never realize the intense jealousy that damages their blogging campaign. Why does jealousy hurt you and your blog? Delusion, that’s why. Take my Fiji or New Zealand or Costa Rica pictures. Most people who see the pictures envy my life because most folks CHOOSE to work a 9-5 job and CHOOSE not to travel. In the same breath, after expressing intense jealousy at me living a cool life of travel, I advise the person to begin blogging, to engineer a similar life for self and family. In an instant, most bloggers complain about having no time, no time, and no drive to design such a life of fun and freedom. Why? Being jealous of bloggers immediately places you in a “they have it, but I cannot have it,” type victim, non-empowered, weakling energy. If you believe only I can live this life, and envy me, and you foolishly believe you cannot life this life, you make endless excuses to cling to your belief system. Said excuses guarantee your unhappiness and comfort.
If you envy my life of travel, envy the 6 to 10 hours or more I have worked every single day of my life over the years. Do you envy working 8 hours every Saturday and Sunday? Are you SOOOO jealous that I will work 6-7 or more hours today, after being out of the house for about 6 hours, hustling into the evening? Nope. I did not think so. Few human beings envy someone who works generously, diligently and persistently because most people hate doing the very thing that sets them free. Why? Doing the thing that sets you free forces you outside of your comfort zone, to face deep, pulsating fears. Facing these fears seems highly unpleasant. Nobody enjoys facing fears, but you need to face fears in order to grow, to succeed, and to live a life of movie-worthy levels, you being the object of blogger envy.
Stop being jealous. Get to work, admire industrious bloggers who live their dreams, and you too will live your dreams.
Do you need to face deep fears on your blogging journey?
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How to Ride out Traffic Swings
Traffic swings occur for every single blogger who ever blogged.
Literally, nobody is immune from seeing traffic stats swing high, low, back, medium and all over, in between. How do you ride out these swings? Blog for the love of blogging and see traffic as an extra, a bonus, or some add on to your blogging campaign. Make the blogging work, the reward. See all else as extra, or a bonus, and you become totally chill in response to inevitable traffic swings. Way too many bloggers become obsessed with traffic stats. Even more make the foolish mistake of obsessing over traffic stats on a daily basis. Guys; this is nuts. How can you focus on daily traffic swings when you know all good, lasting things take time, energy and a willingness to have a vision? Relax. Slow down. Calm down. Trust in yourself. Trust in the blogging process. Good things take time and generous service.
Imagine if Jeff Bezos panicked over day to day traffic and sales numbers on founding Amazon over 2 decades ago? Imagine how doing so would have crippled his campaign? Everybody experiences swings – usually, wild swings – as a newbie entrepreneur and blogger because no growth is perfectly linear. Over time, with generous effort and a blanket trusting in the blogging process, you traffic increases month over month. But day to day analysis is a silly way to assess how you are doing. How in the heck can you honestly make a blanket assessment of your blog over a 24 hour period? It’s only 24 hours! We measure success in thousands and tens of thousands of hours…..not 24 hours. Come back down to earth. Get your head out of the clouds. Nothing of meaning, of lasting value, unfolds in 24 hours. Please be gentle with yourself and be even more gentle with your silly mind because the mind wants fast results but your heart knows; successful blogging is a long term gig.
Check Stats Infrequently
Do you have an absolute blast checking stats? If so, check stats monthly. Allow momentum to gain by generously helping people daily, over a monthly period. Observe your traffic stats to iron out any kinks and to not be swayed by the day to day fluctuations leveling most bloggers, creating a roller coaster wave of emotions in mind. I barely check metrics because if I love what I do, trust in the process and trust myself, the more generous service I put into blogging, the more blogging generously serves me. Simple equation here. Why in the heck would I assess my success based on 24 hour increments? Blogging success hinges on thousands of hours of generous service, not 24 hour blogs of work, right?
Pump your breaks guys. Get uber busy helping your readers by creating as much quality content as humanly possible. Be generous. Focus heavily on giving, not getting, to allow your daily stat checking obsession to dissolve just a wee bit. Blogging become uncomfortable here and there but does get easier and easier the more often you give freely of your time and talents. The challenge is not to panic when you resist checking stats for a few weeks as most folks go bonkers mad, ready to explode, once they try to detach from frequent stat checking.
Do you want to make more money blogging by managing my energy?
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