What I’ve learned about blogging in 9 months and 100 posts

My WordPress dashboard for the first 27 weeks of this year

My WordPress dashboard for the first 27 weeks of this year

Though I am slightly stunned from attending the midnight premiere of the new Harry Potter movie last night, I don’t want to fail to mark this little milestone:  my 100th post.  In my work helping small non-profits to build marketing capability, I found myself proselytizing about the importance of things like websites and the value of blogs.  Problem was, I’d never blogged.  But, as a surgeon once told me, “Brain surgery isn’t that hard.  See one, do one.”

It took me about 4 hours to set up a template on WordPress, and I wrote my first post last October.  While I know this blog meets my personal goals, I’d consider it fairly successful as an example of a professional blog that isn’t actively promoted or optimized for key search terms.  In this post, allow me to share the stats, the stupidest things I did, what’s worked best, and what I could do better.  I’ll also share a link to my personal favorite post and a link to the most searched-for post.

First, the numbers going in to today:

  • 99 posts (beginning in October 2008)
  • 3,979 views
  • Lowest views/day:  in the teens
  • Busiest day:  246 views
  • Busiest week:  609 views
  • Comments:  57
  • Number of tags I’ve used:  236
  • Average frequency:  3 times a week
  • Sources of traffic:  tweets/re-tweets of links; links from other people’s blogs; occasional link on Mashable; searches – primarily for “communications plan template”

Without hesitation, the stupidest thing I’ve done (so far anyway) was to go completely silent for the month of June.  It was especially stupid because I’d had something of a breakthrough just a month before.  I joined Twitter and joined the active tweetstream at Nonprofit Technology Education Network conference in late April (which was a gas).  When I shared links to blog posts about sessions I attended, traffic on my blog shot up and stayed up.  I didn’t plan to go silent.  I just got overwhelmed with real-life stuff.  One day led to the next, and it got harder and harder to get back to blogging.  I poked fun at myself when I finally resurfaced.

What’s worked best is exchanging information across the range of social media.  I can’t believe how synergistic and intertwined social media are.  Topping the list is Twitter.  I am constantly turned on to great information thanks to tweets.  Quite a few people have stumbled across my posts that way — some through tweets generated by me, and some by others.  I love the fact that the LinkedIn WordPress app automatically posts thumbnails of my posts on my LinkedIn profile, and that I can use SlideShare to share content across platforms.  I use Facebook primarily for personal relationships, but occasionally it makes sense to mention a post there – and the post-a-link function makes it incredibly easy.  It’s easy, free and fun.  That’s a hell of a value equation.  (Drive with strategy and you’ve got a home run.)

I also think I’ve found a more comfortable voice, and a focus on topics of interest to beginners.  Lots of my peers are in my shoes — deep marketing experience but relative newcomers to social media.  I define everything when I write.  I assume that the non-profits who find my posts of interests are beginners and are trying to figure out their first steps.

I started to write a long list of what I could do better, but one of my self-criticisms is that I don’t ask for input enough.  What do YOU think I could do better?  What would you like to see me write more about, or less?

OK, I’ll work on that write-shorter-posts-thing next time (right about when I start using fewer parentheses).  I’m gonna close out with two links:

One of the things I’ve learned from reading other blogs (and there are some bloggers who are real heroes to me) is that most bloggers write because they like to do so.  Something about the experience of learning and thinking out loud is appealing to them.  That is certainly true of me.  Writing is a labor of love as is working with non-profits and causes.  Philanthrophile lets me think out loud about opportunities to have greater impact on the community – especially here in Sacramento, my home town.  Thanks for playing!

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4 Comments

Filed under Blogging

4 responses to “What I’ve learned about blogging in 9 months and 100 posts

  1. Great work Betsy! Our communications world is changing every day — every minute. It’s all about trying, failing, succeeding, trying again. I appreciate your observations and ideas.

  2. Thanks for not saying “old dogs/new tricks”! It’s amazing how much great information and experience is available via blogs, tweets, LinkedIn, Facebook and more… like drinking out of a firehose, maybe, but exciting and gratifying. I really do learn something new every day. Saw your Facebook post about Sutter Health’s new interactive Community Report. I’m interested how you’ve integrated video, etc. Congrats! (http://www.sutterhealth.org/about/annual_reports/)

  3. Kim

    Betsy: I really appreciate that you stay with practical, both in terms of what you share and even here as you look back on those 100 posts. And mostly, I’m impressed you made it to 100! Congratulations. Here’s to the next 100.

  4. Thanks, Kim. Believe me, I get more than I give to the professional community via blogs…