Writing that many blogs has taught me a few things, so here are the three most important lessons I've learned. By the way, I didn't expect #3 to happen when I started writing them.
1. It's a Grind
The biggest single thing I’ve learned about blog writing is it’s not just about writing the blog itself. It’s much more than that.
Writing the blog is the easiest part, for me anyway. I have written everything from radio news copy, to social media content, to speeches for the last 40-years or so. The actual writing and editing of my weekly blog usually only takes about 45-minutes to an hour.
As I have discovered, that’s just the first step. I then need to copy and paste the blog from a Word document into a blog page on my website. That’s the easy part, but I also need to find and crop images to use, set up tags and keywords to help more people see it, along with links to other blogs of mine. Sometimes video creation is required too, if it’s part of the blog.
The next step is to get it ready to send electronically to my mailing list. It’s auto-released every Monday morning at 9am Mountain time and the people on my mailing list get it first. You can subscribe to receive it here and get a free e-book download too.
Each Monday I do several social media posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to promote the blog – once again giving it as much exposure as possible.
Finally, I track the numbers to see how well read each blog is, when it’s been read, where, and so on.
All in all, I would say each blog takes about three hours of time. Only about a third of that is the actual time to write it.
2. Get Help
The second thing I’ve learned is, there are tools that make the job easier.
My website company Mediashaker designed a blog page template for me that I’ve used for years. I just clone the previous week’s blog and put the new content in the same locations. That saves a ton of time and once I get the format I like, I keep using it to save time and add consistency.
I’ve used the free version of Mail Chimp for years to distribute the blog to my mailing list. The paid versions have more features than I need, so the free version is fine.
I use Adobe Express to create graphic images to use with each blog and normally do five slightly different images each week to give the blog a different look in social media.
I use Buffer if I want to write my social media posts in advance and then select the times I want them posted to social. However, I like writing each post on the social media platform itself as much as possible. I think my writing is better when it’s done for a post that will get sent right away. Sometimes though, that’s not possible, especially if I’m doing a media training session (or on the golf course.)
Finally, I use Google Analytics to track the stats for each blog. Everyone with a website should have a Google Analytics account. If you don’t, talk to your web company.
3. Hits and Misses
Many years ago, the Tragically Hip had a song called It Can’t Be Nashville Every Night. People have different opinions of what The Hip’s lyrics mean, but I don’t get that deeply into it. I think they say not every gig they did can be great and not every day can be great either.
Neither can every blog.
It’s not that I don’t give each blog my best effort, but some are just better than others. Some are more topical. Some are more controversial. Some are written better.
Sometimes a blog will go viral for a reason I didn’t expect. That happened last fall when I wrote a blog about how the City of Edmonton screwed Edmonton Northlands. It was the runaway winner of the most-read blog I had in 2022. I certainly didn’t expect that when I wrote it.
There are others that I thought would be widely read, but they weren’t. I always work to analyze why, but sometimes there are no solid answers.
It Can’t be Nashville Every Night.