I was at a client meeting with Paul yesterday, and he made an interesting point:
“Blogging is a lot like dieting. You won’t see any results in the first three months. It’s that 3 – 6 month period of faithful dedication that you start to see the results.”
We see this a lot in our business: companies dive into their social media and blogging efforts, go gung-ho for the first month, slip a few times during the second, and give up after the third after nothing happens. The same is true with dieting (excuse me, lifestyle changes). But most dieting experts have the same advice that we offer our clients. So whether you’re trying to lose weight or grow your blog, here are a few tips that both sets of experts will tell you.
Set Specific Goals
“Lose weight” is not a specific goal. “Get more readers” is not a specific goal. What’s “more?” What’s “lost weight?” By this nebulous definition, if I get one more reader or lose one pound, I’ve met my goal. Instead, set up a specific, measurable goal. “I want to lose 20 pounds in six months,” and “I want to grow my readership by 30% in three months” are both specific and measurable.
Don’t Weigh Yourself Every Day
As you’re losing weight, you’ll occasionally plateau or even gain weight. You may have worked out, drunk plenty of water, and avoided carbs but you still put on a pound or two. You may have promoted your blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but your readership stats still dropped. Dieting experts will tell you not to step on the scale every day, and we’ll tell you not to check your Google Analytics every day. That’s because you’ll freak yourself out with every off day, and stress about how to keep your victories going. You’re in this for the long haul, not the quick loss (or gain), so just check your overall efforts once a week to make sure you’re on the right track.
Stick With It
Like we said earlier, you can’t give up after the third month, because you start seeing results between the third and sixth month. And you really start to see a dramatic improvement after six months. That’s when everything is becoming a habit, when you’re firing on all cylinders, and when people start to notice what you’ve been doing.
But more importantly, once you hit your initial goal, you can’t quit. You can’t give up your dieting efforts, because the weight will pile back on. And you can’t give up your blogging efforts because you’ll start to slip in the search engine rankings again. Once you reach your initial goal, set a new goal, find new techniques, and focus on those.
Get An Accountability Partner
Tell someone else what you’re trying to do, someone else who will hold you accountable for your efforts. It could be a workout partner or food buddy to make sure you stick with your diet and exercise plan. Or it could be someone in your company or department to make sure you’re blogging on schedule. They’ll
incessantly nag remind you when you missed your workout session or blog posts.
What’s your blogging strategy (or diet tip)? What have you done to make sure you’re doing what you originally set out to do? Share your secrets in the comments section, and let us know where you’ve found success or the pitfalls others should avoid.
Photo credit: RoadsidePictures (Flickr)
My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy, who I also helped write Twitter Marketing For Dummies (another affiliate link).