The Problem with Blogging

Fingers on keyboardThere's no point in beating around the bush. The main problem with blogs is that they're hard to maintain.

After the first few months, you begin to understand that like anything else, it's work. And not just a little bit of work. It's a lot of work.

I began blogging in 2007 and have been both a faithful and an unfaithful blogger in the time since. However two years of steady writing at a time is the most I've been able to accomplish before falling off the blog wagon.

Oh, there's tons of excuses. I've used them all. But once you stop writing on your blog, it's easier to stay stopped than it is to start again. I've probably spent more time thinking about NOT blogging than I have about what to write in the first place.

My most successful blog was my children's literature blog –Crazy4KidsBooks Upon reflection, I think the reason that blog was successful comes down to three things.

  • Clarity – I reviewed children's books. Just for the joy of it. Since things on the Internet never die, the blog is still there. The content is mostly book reviews with an occasional rant about funding school and public libraries. I was totally clear on the blog's purpose and function.
  • Community – Once I began, I was almost immediately welcomed into the community of children's literature bloggers. A wonderful ragtag group of teachers, parents, librarians, writers, illustrators, and folks from the publishing industry. And what's not to like about talking books with other readers and finding boxes of books on your doorstep each month?
  • Contribution – Although the most popular books might be reviewed on multiple blogs, there was an interesting lack of redundancy between children's book blogs. Each reviewer had their own interests and experience that colored their choice of titles. So together (at that time roughly 500 of us), we produced a large canon of book reviews and opinions that celebrated our love of good stories. They, of course, have continued to create wonderful content in my absence.

So, can I extrapolate anything useful from this experience and apply to my now third refresh of this marketing blog?

At this point I can tell you that being passionate about marketing or even about helping teachers and students is not enough to keep most people showing up at the keyboard for weeks, months, and years.

I think the three points above are actully key success criteria for any blog. It's not enough to love what you do.

It's about finding clarity, building community, and making a contribution.

In our world of educational publishing, being focused and clear about who our community is and how we can help them is the first requirement. What information do they need to accomplish their goals?

Building a community of people who resonate with what we have to share is another key ingredient. Learning and sharing with others is collegial and fun.

By helping educational companies share their customer stories, we contribute to the body of information called  'What Works' in education.

My goal continues to be helping educational companies tell their stories about changing the lives of teachers and students. In restarting this blog, I'm going to keep in mind the three lessons from above – finding clarity, building community, and making a contribution.

We'll see if I can beat my two-year blogging record by sharing successful marketing strategies with educational publishers and providers.

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The #1 Blogging Mistake and How to Fix It

It's easy to do. We're all so busy in "regular" times that when we hit "extraordinary" times, our too-full schedules quickly come unraveled.

I'm no different, which is why it's been since late May since my last blog post. I have perfectly good reasons. Most of us do. A family wedding, a funeral, a conference, travel, a summer cold and VOILA!! More than a month has passed without a blog post.

If I were one of my own clients, this is what I'd say:

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4 Ways to Use Your Blog to Win Over Decision Makers

First published April 11, 2008

As you build up your company blog, one of the primary objectives is to provide information that satisfies the needs of your reader community – customers, prospects and influencers at school sites and district offices. You also want to promote your product offerings as solutions for your community.

On a traditional website, these objectives can be difficult to accomplish without your content coming across as shameless self-promotion. In a blog, the two goals can be done easily in a way that doesn’t turn your readers off.

Here are 4 ways to connect with your blog community while furthering your educational publishing company’s business aims.

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Review: ProBlogger – Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income

First published September 4, 2008

So, why would I recommend a blogging book targeted to those legions of budding entrepreneurs who are convinced they can turn their blog into a money machine to K-12 publishers? Quite simply, because it is one of the best books on blogging by two practitioners who have worked at it longer than almost anyone else. Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett are both rock stars in the online world. They pioneered professional blogging and now make considerable amounts of money from their blogs. However, their primary businesses are client services. Darren hails from Australia and Chris calls the U.K. home, but in the online world, it doesn't matter where they live. They have arguably had as much impact on the business of blogging as any two people in the world.

ProBlogger, the book, is an outgrowth of their writing on their blogs and both are a treasure trove of how-to information for a vast array of blogs. Although their target reader is someone on the same path they've both traveled, there is a tremendous amount of information in this book that applies to any business wanting to create a blog.

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