My first week of blogging was like a dream. I went through it in a hazy fog of anxiety, excitement, happiness, and disbelief that I never could have anticipated.
As I write this, on Friday, May 21, my first-ever two posts have received 159 comments and have been tweeted 272 times. I'm simply stunned. It would be nice if I could say that I'm glowing, but the reality is that this week has kicked my butt.
My first foray into blogging has shown me that it can be a Herculean task to keep up with responding to comments and tweets while balancing clients and life.
But it's all been worth it. When I look at the amazing comments from my readers in regard to how my blog posts have resonated with them, and in some cases helped them tremendously by giving them a bit of direction or perhaps an ounce of inspiration, then it makes the lack of sleep and sense of discombobulation all worthwhile.
I have to be honest, though, I almost didn't go through with it. The night before my planned launch I DM'd (direct-messaged) my friend Mack Collier on Twitter and told him I wanted to "chicken out and crawl in a hole." He proceeded to send me such an inspired litany of DMs that after reading them I pretty much had no choice but to launch my blog!
So, I did.
I've learned a lot in this first week, and I know there is no magic blog launch formula, but I do have some theories as to what went into the success of the week as I begin to reflect...
I spent a lot of time learning about blogging before I ever considered starting a blog
I attended the MarketingProfs Digital Mixer last October in Chicago, where one of the best seminars I attended was Mack's session on blogging. It was a "hot seat" session where three different types of blogs were chosen as examples for us to learn from. Mack did a masterful job of showing how even small tweaks to a blog or to a blogging strategy can have significant impact on your success. I took a lot of notes!
Up until last October I had been sporadically attending (mostly observing as a "lurker") #blogchat, which takes place on Sunday nights at 9:00 pm Eastern Time on Twitter. After the MarketingProfs conference, I decided to make a much more concerted effort to attend regularly and to try to jump in and participate where I could. The #blogchat community is, quite simply, inspiring! The spirit on Sunday nights during the chat is genuinely one of helping each other to succeed, and I've learned a tremendous amount from the participants over these past many months.
I did a lot of hard work to understand what resonates between bloggers and their readers
I started reading a lot of blogs. I tried to get up a little earlier each day to browse my Google Reader and find blogs of interest to me that day. It gave me a feel for what readers respond to when it comes to some of the top bloggers in the field.
I began making a concerted effort to comment on blogs. I commented on Mack's first because I felt pretty safe with him as a new friend, and then slowly I began to comment on others—Brains on Fire's, Shannon Paul's, Amber Naslund's, Joe Pulizzi's, Beth Harte's, Valeria Maltoni's—and I even realized I had commented on Chris Brogan's about a year ago. By doing so, and by being attuned to their responses back to me, I felt more confident that I had opinions that others would be interested in hearing.
I allowed myself to be inspired
I went to SOBCon 2010. Ever have the feeling that you are meant to be somewhere? That's exactly what SOBCon felt like for me. The fascinating thing is that when I had asked Liz Strauss (SOBCon co-founder) on the phone prior to the event who, exactly, attends SOBCon, her response to me was, "the people who are meant to be in the room always find their way there."
It was a weekend full of blissful inspiration about growing businesses, and mutual encouragement from the 150 attendees who were in the room.
My network wanted me to succeed and helped me do so
I absolutely could not have been so successful in my first week of blogging without the encouragement and support of my personal network.
Since I decided, just last Friday night, to launch the blog, I did not have any lead time to let people know about my plans. So, the morning of my launch, I DM'd about 15 of my friends and colleagues from SOBCon, and from my clients, and let them know I had launched a blog and would be honored if they would stop by. I emailed a few as well. All of them sent out tweets on my behalf and many of them left comments on my post, too.
Having a group of supporters cheer me on and encourage me throughout that first day felt amazing and made the entire launch experience fun and memorable.
I wrote in my own voice, from a unique perspective
Writing in my own voice—that was the scariest part of all. It is the ingredient without which you cannot set yourself apart, yet it makes you incredibly vulnerable.
As a woman who has spent much time working with CEOs and other high-level executives, the majority of whom have been men, I wanted my readers to hear a truly unique perspective on important issues such as vision and vulnerability in leadership.
I felt compelled to put the word "goddess" in my tagline, though I knew it was a risk. I also knew that I am at a point in my career where I am ready for the risks—and the sheer thrill of the journey. And so, with a little nudge from Mack, I jumped off the cliff—with a smile.
It will get harder from here, with the excitement of the first week behind me, but I know that I have a strong foundation on which to build!