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How To Build Reputation With A Blog – Write Constantly

Post Series: How To Build Reputation With Your Blog

This is the second article from the series “How To Build Reputation With A Blog”.

Why Writing Constantly On Your Blog?

Writing is about reachability, about making you findable in the huge ball of information that we call the blogosphere. But it’s also about proving what you stated in the first article. Namely, your expertise. You can’t become an authority unless you start getting out there and stating your point.

The difference between a good article and a good blog is that in the first case people will remember the main idea from the article, while in the second they will remember the blog name. A good article is nothing but a good article. A good blog is much, much more than that: it’s a reputable brand.

It’s like the difference between a one night stand and a long time relationship. In a one night stand you can enjoy a little bit of satisfaction and novelty, but on the long run, a long term relationship tends to be more fulfilling. You get a much deeper connection and the benefits are there to stay long before the physical satisfaction died. A good article will leave your readers with a one night stand taste, while a good blog will create something more powerful. A relationship.

How To Write On Your Blog Constantly

Easier said than done, I agree. Many bloggers are starting full power, keeping the posts going on for a few months and then stop. Something happens. It may be boredom or a blogging burnout, fact is that very few bloggers are reaching the first year mark. I know, because I was there too. And from my own blogging experience I created a few scaffolds which helped me stay on track. I will soon reach 2 years of constantly writing on DragosRoua.com and here are some of the tools that helped me reach this milestone:

1. Create a Publishing Strategy and a Blogging Setup

One of the most basics activities in blogging is writing. What do you use for this? Are you using a text editor? Do you write directly in WordPress? In my case, after a few trials and (substantial) errors I created a blogging setup, using some GTD principles. It involves using a journaling software for Mac and a few tweaks. I use this for more than one and a half year now and I also teach this approach in my blogging workshops and one to one sessions. It just works, I guess.

2. Keep A Blog Posts Incubator Idea

Another popular reason for not writing constantly is the “writer block”. What should I write about today? I have no idea. My head is just a big empty balloon. Well, if you ever been there, you may want to create a blog posts ideas incubator. I had the best blog post ideas while driving and if I wouldn’t have this capture and store system, most of my blog posts would have never been written.

3 Monitor Your Writing Goals

It’s easy to get caught in some other things and forget how many articles you set up to write for the current week. Or for the current month. I know I forgot this quite often. So, I wrote my own little WordPress plugin to help me with that. In the process, a few features have been added: how many comments I would like to have and how many trackbacks. Go check out the Blog Audit WordPress Plugin, it’s totally free.

4 Write Series of Articles

Like this one, exactly. It will help you spread your writing for one-two weeks, while still forcing you to keep your focus on a very narrow topic. And that’s good. It’s good for you, as an exercise, but it’s also good for your readers who are expecting valuable information. At least for a reputable source like yourself, right? Series can expand into very interesting collaborative projects, like I did with this massive guest posting experiment (which, in my opinion, it was a total premiere in the blogging world).

5 Participate In Blogging Challenges

There are two types of blogging challenges (maybe there are more, but in my experience, those 2 are the most common). There is the head to head challenge, and then there are the collective projects.

In a head to head challenge you establish a common goal with one of your blogging friends. And then check out the progress. As easy as that. Writing in a challenge forces you to keep a certain pace and also keeps your focus on the quality. After all, you gotta be better than the other one, right? I did this at the beginning of this year, when I wrote 4 books in one month, and my blogging buddy was Steven Aitchison, for the Change Your Thoughts fame. I won the first month and lost the second one. But we both won a lot of experience and, most of all, we had a lot of fun in the process.

In a collective project, you start (or accept the invitation for) a collective ebook on a certain topic. Make the invitations and then wait for the posts. Or, if you’re invited, just deliver your post. At the end of this process, the ebook is released, usually for free. There are few variations about these collective projects, if you want to know more, have a look at my about page, you will find there all the collective projects I’ve been involved in.

Blogging Burnouts

That’s something you should be aware of. At some point, especially in the first year, you will eventually be hit by a blogging burnout. The words are not listening to you anymore, ideas seems dry and shallow, you can’t write more than 2 sentences in a run. And you can only have a run every half an hour. This is a blogging burnout. Just like every other burnout, the job burnout, the relationship burnout, it’s a signal that you reached the bottom of your resources.

What you can do when hit by a blogging burnout? First of all, acknowledge the fact that you’re having a blogging burnout and not something else. It’s easy to get caught in a mild depression, because you will feel the pressure of getting out there and you will realize that you can’t. Just relax and accept it. Let the cup fill back by itself.

Blogging burnouts are the best use case for keeping an idea incubator, or, even better, keeping some buffer posts handy. If you have 3-4 posts you wrote earlier but never published, just schedule them a week in advance and take a week off from blogging. The blog will still be genuinely updated, it will be your content and once back, you will respond to all the comments.

Another approach is to announce a guest posting opportunity. If you can’t write at all that doesn’t mean others can’t. Give them the opportunity to write on your blog and enjoy some time off. It’s called interaction and it’s good for you.

The Skill And The Habit

Just because you know how to write, how to express your best feelings, that doesn’t necessarily makes you blogger. You need much more than skill to be there. You need a habit. And habits are one of the most powerful weapons in our daily life. So powerful that we often overlook their power, especially when they are used backwards. And we only feel it when a bad habit kickback instantly.

Let me ask you a question: do you brush your teeth? Daily? Good. You have good teeth, then. Maybe nature gave you good teeth by design, but brushing them every day ensure the fact that they will stay like this. Now, do you write daily? No? Then you didn’t make a habit out of it. You may have some innate writing talent, just like you may have good teeth by birth, but if you don’t make a habit out of keeping your writing shiny and clean, every single day, you will lose it. Or, to be more clear, you will lose the benefits it may bring to your reputation.

Why Is This Important And What Are The Benefits

Writing about what you’re good at will gradually make you become better at it. It will refine your expertise. Your know-how and experience will grow just by doing it. You will be forced to find new ways of expressing what you want and that will refine your creative skills tremendously.

As for the “constantly” part, that will make your blog a powerful reference in your reader’s heads. Suppose you’re writing about minimalism. And your name is Leo Babauta. Now, if you write constantly for more than 2 years, every time somebody on this planet will think about minimalism, will be drawn to your blog. Being constant has this incredible power of building mental links which will work on auto-pilot at some point.

Yes, it works exactly like this.


The World, Dripping - All You Need Is Attention


In a dystopian world driven by incessant hunting for attention, a few characters are embarking on a journey of discovery. Pushed forward by ambitions or just curiosity, they will eventually discover that life, as they knew it, was simply a cover for a much deeper, sometimes elusive, order.
If you want to know how their journey unfolds, check out my first science-fiction book on Amazon. Click the link below or the cover on the left.

The World, Dripping - All You Need Is Attention

This Post Has 38 Comments
  1. I know, I’m late with my comment, but I just like this post :). You dont find THAT MANY of good practical posts inspite of millions of blogs out there… Expecially “And habits are one of the most powerful weapons in our daily life” is really true, so I guess it just means to keep writing πŸ™‚
    Also the burning our is an important factor to be aware of

    Thank you for sharing

    Denny

  2. […] How To Build Reputation With A Blog – Write Constantly. marketing tools    Compare Bing & Google Rankings | Bing SEO Month | Hobo […]

  3. Dragos, this was really good. I struggle with it constantly. My problem is that I have lots of ideas but I usually don’t like how the article turns out and don’t publish it. The funny thing is my judgment of a good article doesn’t seem to match my readers. I’ll write some quick and dirt article that I think is trivial and get great comments. Next I slave over what I think is a deep post and get little reaction. I probably should just get used to hitting the publishing button and forgetting it.

  4. This should be with a caveat. Don’t write if you have nothing to say. This push everyone feels to “write constantly” can actually have a counter effect. If you are publishing marginal material just to publish often, your “blogs reputation” will decrease and and you will have achieved the opposite of what you intended.

    1. If you don’t have something to share with your peers constantly maybe you shouldn’t think at a blog as a value distribution outlet? There are many ways to distribute your value, coaching, consulting, whatever. Blogging is just one of them and it has its own specificity.

  5. Dragos,

    The greatest tip that I use of all the ones you mentioned is the blog post incubator. I usually have a list of about 25 ideas handy at all times. One of things that I’ve found is that if you write down an idea, you should actually let it “incubate”. For some reason, when you do this, it gives the idea time to cook in your head, and then when you do sit down to write it a few days later, it makes writing it super easy.

    1. Yeap, I saw that too. Sometimes, when the article is too “fresh” it just doesn’t take off and it feels like unfinished. Some ideas need incubation, I agree. But on the other hand, there are some times when I just feel inspired and everything just flows away gracefully and then come back into words perfectly. Guess you just have to assess constantly.

  6. Hey my new Blogging Guru πŸ˜‰
    I love this series so much. Am learning so much form you. I’ve been hit with the burn out in the first year of blogging..but now in this second year, I have formed habits. Good posting and writing habits. I jot ideas in my wordpress editor..and leave them to simmer. When I feel like I have one of those days..where my head is giant hot air balloon…i open them up, and am revived, personally as well as creatively. It works for me.
    I also love what you said about the lasting relationship instead of a one night stand. And we are all the long lasting awesome relationship types na πŸ™‚
    Thank you for sharing your lovely wisdom here…you are awesome!
    Much love,
    Z~

    1. Thank you for being around Zeenat and you can lighten up on the “guru” thing πŸ™‚ I’m only sharing what I’ve learned from my mistakes here. The more mistakes I do, the more I learn. πŸ˜‰

  7. Hi Dragos,

    Interesting series in general, but this post is sure one I like (in the queue for my post “Best reads for August and September”!). I guess we all have felt burning out sometimes.. I had a small hiatus in my posting a few months, because I was a little down on ideas, and then I realised I had stopped following your advice (it is something I already knew… working on research you also need an Ideas Drawer). Since then, I don’t have run out of ideas (my mind map of post ideas in iPod’s iMindmap, the mind mapping tool I prefer) is already at around 30 post ideas or side projects I can blog about, and I have around 3 posts sketched there or ‘working’ behind the wheels while I’m having a shower or shaving.

    But I don’t want a blogging schedule. I tried several times, and I have come to realise that this just presses me to write. Blogging is just a fun thing to do to spread random thoughts I’ve had, how I have done something or ask a question. I have a work… Blogging is just a hobby. When I set blogging deadlines, I get urged to do it, and I write worse posts then. I’ve come just to a “noschedule I like”, in the form of commandments:
    * Post at least once a week, unless burned out,
    * Don’t post more than each two days, unless one of the posts is newsworthy,
    * Don’t rush to post. If a week goes with no ideas, or just with sketches that need more polishing look at the drawer for a simpler post and do it.

    This works pretty well, as I can spread my time management post (which usually take a long while to write, because I want to tie all the knots) with programming (which takes a really long, because I need a project and time to code, comment and test it) and linux stuff (which I write sparingly). As I also write reviews of iPod apps, books or stuff I buy, I can get something written when I feel it is worth of sharing, only.

    The only problem with this schedule is writing guest posts: I have written two (one is awaiting approval, the other one is already in the air), and they are harder to come by. They were in the time management category, and as guest posts, I wanted to write them more clearly than usual (because once published I may not be able to correct unclear sentences) and also wanted my best ideas for them. Oddly enough, I wrote three posts the day I submitted the two guests, but after that I needed a week off from ‘serious’ posting and I just wrote some review or the like.

    The best advice I can give is to get the schedule to adapt to your needs, and not getting a schedule and forcing yourself into it, if you know what I mean.

    Just my 0.02 Γ’β€šΒ¬ (or 0.02$ depending on local currency πŸ™‚

    Ruben

    1. I love it when I get comments almost the size of my post, that means somebody really had a chord touched. As for you posting routing, I do things pretty much the same. The “hard” scaffold was needed only in the first year, right now the habit is ingrained and I do it naturally. I also use a lot of mind-mapping so I guess, great minds think alike? πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for stopping by and for the nice words. Don’t give up, you are already building a valuable asset here, namely… reputation, of course. πŸ™‚

  8. So happy to read your post Dragos, and right after I’d stopped by Steven Aitchison’s blog. There’s no substitute for plain old-fashioned persistence but it has to be fueled by authentic passion or it will falter and you’ll drop out of the race panting from all the exertion and may never know what life had in store or the true dimension of the gift you came to the world to give.

    1. Absolutely. Giving up on a big task, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll free up some resources, but that you’ll lose all the hard work you’ve done so far.

  9. Hey Dragos I hope all is well with ya,

    I really enjoy your articles, they can be so helpful yet entertaining….

    I’m lovin how you somehow made sense of one night stands and blogging, definitely dragos signature type of writing.

    Good stuff man,

    cheers!

  10. Hi Dragos,

    All great points, but I would also add that when you have an great idea for a post, run with it. It’s all fine and good to have an ideas incubator, but sometimes when you are inspired to write something you should write the complete post and try to publish it as soon as possible.

    I have tons of ideas that i thought were excellent and put into draft mode, but when I go back to write them, I’m not inspired anymore. I’ve been caught like this a few times, too, when I’ll have a great and unique idea for an article and sit on it, rather than going with it. Lo and behold, I’ll read the same topic on someone else’s site the next day or a few days later. If only, I had listened to my muse then…! πŸ™‚ Then, it’s too late to write it because it’ll sound like you’re copying someone else’s stuff.

    Karen

    1. Inspiration i a precious asset. Did you read the 30 days challenge that Steve Pavlina is doing on this topic? Lots of great insights there πŸ˜‰

      1. Yes, I’ve been skimming over his recent Challenge posts. I prefer the older posts though as I’m not really getting too much out of the recent articles.

        I’ve learned my lesson – when inspiration strikes, go with it! Don’t wait around and expect it to be at the same intensity as when it first appeared, otherwise you will lose out.

  11. Dragos this is a great guide for bloggers.

    I think sometimes with bloggers they just run out of things to say, which is why it’s important to blog about what you are passionate about or know a lot about. I’ve been writing for CYT for 4 years now and there is still tons that need to be said and old ideas that need to be updated so I could write for 20 years and still have lots to say.

    You’ve certainly pushed the boat out as far as blogging is concerned and the writing project was a great idea and a great success, and it’s these things that make you stand out as a great blogger. Doing something different is always good to get readers attention and gets you on the radar of those higher up the ladder as well, which is always good.

    I am loving this series Dragos.

    1. Thanks for commenting on these, Steven, highly appreciated. You are so right in the fact that the passion parameter is the glue that keeps the posts together. You can’t write for 1-2 years if you’re not genuinely in love with what you write. You can’t lie to time, at least not on this one πŸ˜‰

      And thanks for the nice words, it was a pleasure and I really looking forward to a new challenge. πŸ˜‰

  12. Constantly blogging is an important factor of bloggers reputation. Some good thoughts to help your blog constantly?
    1. Brainstorm a lot
    2. Read a lot of related blogs, post responses
    3. Check our your archives, get some more ideas
    4. Freshen up, relax for new ideas
    5. Use google tasks for noting post ideas in advance

    I use these techniques to blog constantly. Guess it’ll help you too!

    1. Yeap, I agree with all of them, especially the part related with reading related blogs. Although it can be tricky at times, can lead you into thinking your post ideas are yours when in fact you’re only picking up inspiration from other bloggers’ experiences.

  13. Yes, you touch on a very important benefit of writing constantly is that we are teaching constantly… and teaching constantly makes us learn the lesson deeper, thus refining our expertise.

    It is a noble aim to share those wonderful ideas that YOU want as part of YOUR character. These teachings unlock the door to a refreshing new you. Persistence brings out the truth

  14. Wow, Dragos, this is the kind of blog post I needed!
    I left my blog unattended for a while (ok, wedding plus transition to a new career are pretty good reasons) – and now lack the motivation to get back up and running at the same pace.
    These are excellent tips!
    Are you still doing your blogging workshops?

    1. Happy to hear from you, Maria and glad that things are ok with you. I’m thinking to start a new series of my blogging workshop in September. If interested, hit me with an email.

  15. A one night stand versus a life time relationship, ha? πŸ˜‰
    Just kidding – of course we want the meaningful relationship, Dragos!
    This is such a huge topic to address. Running out of ideas. I think your blog ideas incubator post articulated on this very well. I use Evernote with turning my screen black in the background to avoid distractions. I still need more discipline – or maybe a stronger habit. I like the idea of developing my habits better. Thank you for a great post yet again on this fantastic series, Dragos!!

    1. Well, we all have our little fantasies about one night stands, and, quite often, they can lead to meaningful relationships (well, maybe not that often πŸ˜‰ ). But we won’t create something valuable or long lasting out of those one night stands. On the opposite, on a long term relationship, things will be much more fulfilling. As for the discipline, what can I say. We just need it, sometimes πŸ™‚

  16. Ahh the old blogging burnout scenario. I had one recently and in my experience they can be pretty destructive. After about a month away from blogging over at the life thing I appear to have lost much of my readership, though not in numbers but definitely in commenting and involvement.

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