Dear Beginning Blogger,
It’s time for another tidbit of wisdom and encouragement from me to you. Today’s message? LEARN.
Little by little, I’m writing to you with all the things I wish I’d known in those first months of blogging.
Step one: just focus on writing. Get comfortable with words and discover your voice.
Step two: just be awesome on social media. Engage in conversations and not just infomercials for your blog.
Step three: learn. This blogging thing isn’t easy. There are a lot of different things to learn and you don’t have to do it alone.
It’s not just writing. It’s figuring out all the technical “hosting things”, the fiddly bits of HTML and CSS, and the incomprehensible logic of when to post what to where. It’s all the statistics you slept through in college. It’s the unspoken etiquette on Pinterest and Twitter.
It’s enough to keep you up at night. All night. Every night.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Dear Beginning Blogger, Learn
I’m not sure there is any way to learn everything about blogging. It’s just too much (and it keeps changing). What you need is blogging school.
Remember school? Where someone else figured out what you needed to learn next? The place where someone else gathered all the information and handed it to you to learn? Remember the sense of mastery when you finished a class and moved on?
Yeah. That would feel awesome for blogging.
The good news is that “blogging school” actually exists. Kinda. Sorta. If you hold your mouth right.
At any rate, there are ways to learn everything you need to learn without losing all that sleep.
Learn For Free:
join a group
When I first started blogging, I was thrilled to discover the SITS girls. They regularly feature how-to articles on their blog that are useful and easy to follow. If you did nothing but follow their advice each day for the next few months, you would grow by leaps and bounds as a blogger.
Beyond that, their forum was a safe place to ask questions, make friends, and get comfortable with blogging.
If you’re curious, yes I did attend Bloggy Bootcamp. I loved it. I would recommend it as a first conference for ANY blogger. (That part wasn’t free.)
follow some thought leaders
For writing and blogging, you can’t go wrong with people like ProBlogger, Jon Acuff, Jeff Goins, and Michael Hyatt. Don’t try to follow all of them at once – start with one that inspires you.
(for an ever changing list, check who is speaking at the bigger blogging conferences and follow a few that resonate)
In February of 2014, I joined a group of people that Jon Acuff was putting together under his “30 days of hustle” initiative. It’s a private Facebook group where entrepreneurs of all kinds ask how-to questions, crowd source solutions, and cheer each other on. Jon sends out email challenges to the group that have helped moved things along.
I’ve lost count of how many small businesses and ebooks have been launched from that group. It’s been amazing.
It was FREE.
I’ve attended webinars from Jon, Jeff, Darrin, Michael, and more. They’ve taught me the importance of SEO, how to create evergreen content, and lots of fiddly how-to details on how to use my existing writing tools better.
They were FREE.
I regularly get bits of advice on social media by following Post Planner and Blog Clarity (among others). They keep me up to date on the ever changing rules for Facebook, the latest quirks on Pinterest, and how to start gaining followers on Instagram.
I get it for FREE.
Learn For a Fee:
take an online training class from a successful blogger
I’m a graduate of Content Brew. If you’re looking to master the why and how of an editorial calendar, I would totally recommend it. (affiliate link)
If you regularly find yourself staring at a screen and wondering “what am I supposed to write about today” then you NEED Content Brew. Really. It’s only $50… you’ll save that much by having time to cook dinner instead of scramble for a blog post.
She offers several other classes that I’ve heard rave reviews about. The Pinning Perfect class opens this coming Friday and it’s supposed to be awesome. It starts in January and the woman who leads it totally rocks Pinterest. (I’m sure you’ve seen some of her Pins. Trust me – everyone has.) It’s $65. Seriously. Go look.
(I took a different Pinterest class that is no longer offered, and I think I took it WITH the woman who is teaching Pinning Perfect. If you’re struggling with Pinterest, training can make a HUGE difference.)
At $14, her DIY blogging critique workbook is a steal. If you’re struggling with “I don’t even know where to start” and feeling overwhelmed, having a workbook may be just what you need.
I hinted at this last year when I published my list of gift items for bloggers . This time, I’m going to be blunt.
Nothing could be more exciting than opening a gift that says “I believe in your dream!”
Time to dream. If someone else was paying the bill, what training class or blogging conference would YOU like to attend?
Me? I’d love to attend Allume and She Speaks. I’d also love to have the time to finish the Google Analytics training, but I’m a little weird.
What thought leader do you follow that I missed?