Today is my Blog-iversary!!!
On July 7, 2016 I posted by first ever blog post and 440 posts later – yes 440 posts, I actually counted them, I feel like it’s something that needs to be celebrated. (If you’ve read my book, When In Doubt, Delete It!, you’ll know I believe in inserting moments of celebration in our lives. Also an FYI – that book came about because of this blog!)
Not only has my blog opened up windows and doors of opportunity, like that book, I watched how my content changed and evolved just like my life. Which brings me to my first thought.
1. My Blog Evolved Like My Life
My first blogs were about sharing knowledge. Things I’d learned in my PR and journalism career. If you go back to the very beginning, you’ll find posts about writing tips, PR strategy, building a communication plan on a shoestring budget, and speechwriting. Then you’ll see a shift.
I began working very closely with the Alpha Delta Pi chapter on my local college campus. My writing became focused on college survival. What did students, especially female student, need to know to successful manage that transition from home to college to career. How to stay safe? How to navigate sorority life? How to deal with difficult people? The importance of networking. And since I worked with a lot of the leaders in that organization, how to grow your leadership skills and deal with the emotional side of decisions.
And now that I’ve grown professionally, I deal with workplace issues. From getting noticed and getting hired, to the impact of culture on how we feel about the work we do and about the person or company we work for.
2. What If No One Read It?
When I first started blogging, I didn’t really have a plan. In fact, it was a little overwhelming and frightening to think about sharing your idea with the world. What if no one cares? What if they think you’re stupid or you’ve got it wrong? Initially, I lived for the comments people made on the posts. As I continued writing, I realized I wasn’t as focused on whether someone liked what I wrote or not. I was writing what mattered tome. I was sharing thoughts and ideas that I hoped would help someone else.
I also learned it didn’t matter if someone didn’t agree with me. I’ve shared some lively banter with readers over some posts. I’ve also heard from several who used the tips, found some type of inspiration or just appreciated the confirmation of their own thoughts.
Blogging for 7 years has taught me it’s not about what you write, it’s about being real and connecting with your people.
3. Mistakes happen
Just like in life, you don’t always get it right when you blog. You pick the wrong font, template, format, or host. You say something that offends. You post the wrong picture. You leave someone out you should have mentioned. You spell something wrong.
You can try all day long to get it right all of the time, but that’s not reality. Mistakes happen. You fix what you can. You apologize when you should. You try not to make the same ones over an over. But most of all, you learn to give yourself grace. My blog isn’t about perfection. If you’ve followed me throughout this journey, I’m sure you’ve seen the bumps in the road. You’ve seen me get on my soapbox and then swiftly fall off. But I hope you’ve seen that I get up, brush myself off, and get right back to it. That’s really the lesson that matters.
4. I Cut Myself Some Slack
When I started blogging, I was posting as often as possible – but at least twice a week. Somewhere I read that’s the only way you show up. I knew consistency mattered. I remember working all day, grabbing my computer when I got home and trying to come up with something to write that was worth reading and getting it ready to post. If I got off schedule, I felt like I failed or I let someone down. Now, I’ve settled into an once a week routine (mostly).
I’ve also learned, it’s ok to skip a week if I need to or if life is just complicated or there is a work project pressing. Taking a break isn’t bad. In fact, it can be healthy. When something begins to feel like a “have to” instead of a “get to” then you really need to evaluate why you are investing your most precious commodity – your time – on it.
5. Don’t Try to Be Someone You Aren’t
It took me a while to settle into what I wanted the voice of my blog to be like. What if someone thought I was too “southern”? What if they didn’t like the way I looked?
Like I said early, it’s evolved as my life has evolved. Life circumstances have made my focus more clear. That just comes with age and time.
When you are starting out, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by comparison. Is someone else doing this better than me? Is there content more meaningful than mine? Is my site good enough? Did I put enough thought into the SEO so that the right people can see and read my blog? Are my thoughts original enough to be interesting? Does anyone care?
I’m here to tell you – you are enough. How you show up is how you show up. And you know what? No one else can show up like you. Your brand is who you are. Own it. Glory in it. Be proud of it. No one else can do you like you can. Blogging has given me the confidence and peace to just write and be honest about what matters to me. I’m not in a competition with anyone else.
6. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Like anything you start, the first few months you’re excited. You’re giving it all your extra time. You’re talking about it with everyone. You try new things. Ideas are flourishing. But then the 6 month mark hits and it’s not new and shiny anymore. Then 12 month passes by. Then the next thing you know, 7 years (that’s 84 months or 2,555 days, in case you’re counting) have passed and you’re struggling to come up with your next topic.
You’re trying to remember if you’ve already written about something before. Trying to tie the latest viral TikTok or popular trend into your content so that Google will bless you with happy analytics again. I’m here to tell you that’s normal.
It’s also ok to talk about things more than once. What’s the rule? The average person needs to hear something 7 times before it sinks in. So don’t stress if you address a topic more than once or you repurpose content. I promise, no one else if going back through your pages looking to see.
I’ve also learned to batch create. Let’s face it. There are days I have more time than others to create content. On those days, I write a few posts. I can save them to the site and hold them for a time I’m really busy or maybe I just go ahead and schedule out content for a month so I don’t have to think about it every week. Whatever way works for you is great. And the good news is, if something comes up and you want to change it – you simply put what you had previously written into draft mode and it’ll be waiting for you when you need it.
7. It’s About Relationships
I chose to call this my Blog-iversary instead of my Blog Birthday. Why? Because to me an anniversary symbolizes a relationship. That’s what this has become. It’s a relationship between me and my thoughts and it’s a relationship between me and you. It’s about opening up and letting you in to see me as I really am. It’s about not being afraid to be authentically me and not worry that you won’t like it and never show up again. It’s a way to share a little bit of life together as we all navigate things thrown our way. And hopefully, it’s a way that I inspire you, comfort you, provide justification for you or just entertain you.
Whatever the reason you are here…. Thank You for being by my side for this journey. I hope the next 7 years are just as good.
But before I go and keeping with the theme of 7….
Here are links to my 7 most highly viewed blogs going back to day one in case you’d like to check them out.
- 50 Thoughts on my 50th
- Developing Your Creativity
- When Less is More: A Guide to Knowing When to Self-Promote
- 7 Strategies to Embrace Change at Work
- Tips for Adults Going Back to School
- 4 Steps to Increase Your Leadership Skills
- Ignite the Impact of Your Employees
If you want more secrets to building a successful career brand, you can:
Listen to the Culture Secrets Podcast on your favorite platform.
Grab your copy of the book Culture Secrets.
Booking now for speaking and training events.
Join Successfully Ever After an online course designed to help you create a personal brand designed with career success in mind within 30 days.
Join my private Successfully Ever After Facebook Group for trainings and information designed for success-seekers.
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