I must admit I was completely overwhelmed when I started the Ultimate Blog Challenge at the beginning of this month.
It wasn’t the writing. I’ve been doing that for a living for decades and rarely find myself at a loss for ideas or words. It’s been a little time consuming because I set a goal for myself to keep all posts under 800 words. Writing tighter is harder than doing a brain dump. But, the routine of daily time devoted to writing for me has actually been a blessing as I’ve faced an extremely difficult week of personal and property challenges.
What had me flummoxed was the social. The first day I logged into the Facebook Page for this group my jaw hit the ground over the sheer volume of posts and people participating. With the FB changes, posts are no longer chronological and a comment you’re reading can completely disappear off the page in seconds as the feed is rearranged to spotlight the latest activity. Everyone was throwing up blog post links in a way that made me feel like I was standing alongside a passing train trying to talk to passengers as they whizzed by at 60 mph. Where to start?
Fortunately, some kind and savvy professionals involved in this Challenge jumped in to lend a hand as I tried to sort through how to be an involved participant without devoting full work weeks to the task. With encouragement and a few tips, I felt like I hit my stride by about day three. The lessons learned this week alone will serve me well for a long time to come.
Everyone has their own style, but I figured I’d share how I’ve managed to be an active and supportive contributor while getting some eyeballs and comments on a blog that was launched just before the Challenge began.
What’s worked well for engagement in the Ultimate Blogging Challenge community
- Getting to know a few of the powerhouses and reaching out for guidance (and help getting the conversation going)
- Installing the Comment Luv plug in on my blog so it’s quick and easy to find the blogs of those stopping in on mine (thanks Alan)
- Posting early in the morning – I realize it’s an international crew, but there doesn’t seem to be much activity between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. US EST. Getting your blog pointer up near the front of the queue increases the chances of people seeing and commenting or checking you out.
- Compelling pictures – most are scanning and if you can find a photo that grabs attention, people are more likely to pause and read further
- Responding to all comments both on the FB feed and the blog
- Reading and leaving a comment on the blogs of those noted in the point above
- Tagging names in posts on the FB page
- Good writing (it helps J)
- Introducing the blog post on FB with a brief comment that compels people to check it out
- Using #blogboost in Twitter posts and RTs
- Limiting my time, outreach and comments to a manageable number of connections
- Featuring blog posts with tip lists that are relevant to a majority of general readers
- Understanding the personalities and style of folks and using this to engage in online banter (if you don’t have comments on your FB thread it will disappear off the page in seconds)
- Offering to help others
Mistakes I’ve made and hard lessons learned
- Trying to follow the stream – unless you have nothing else to do with your days and don’t sleep nights, you can’t keep up.
- Attempting to find someone’s blog announcement in the FB thread – instead, I’ve subscribed to a good number of fellow participant blogs and have pings hitting my e-mail when posts are put up
- Getting caught up in the social sharing enthusiasm and forgetting where I am – I made the dumb mistake of offering my opinion to a comment on another’s blog – and got slammed for it
- Spending too much time trying to share on a blog that has huge barriers in place to do so
- Not checking in at least a few times a day to scan e-mail after announcing a post – the comment function was down on my blog for a day and a lot of people went out of their way to alert me – but I didn’t see the messages until the end of the day (thanks for this, by the way – you rock).
Participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge has already been a wonderful experience for me. I’ve met many interesting people. Reading the blogs and interacting has provided some fantastic learning opportunities. Witnessing the kindness of the community is inspiring. I hope some of these lessons learned (so far) will help make your Challenge (and social) experience better.