Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Introvert's Guide to Blogging

     I'm honoured to welcome Sweaty from Do Sweat the Small Stuff into the Kitchen today. I love her blog/writing and am thrilled she consented to do a guest post for me. Without further ado, drum roll please, here's Sweaty.



An Introvert’s Guide to Blogging
If you’re an introvert like me, using social media to enhance your blog can be more than a little daunting.  All of a sudden, it’s like high school again, and most likely you’d feel like the new kid who had transferred in the middle of a semester, complete with volcanic pimples and shiny braces.  
While I’m far from being a social media expert, I do know a few things from my days of being a blogger.  Below are the most basic, but essential tips that could help you fit in without having to reinvent yourself into someone you’re not.
1) Read, comment, and reply.
Blogging, first and foremost, is about sharing.  It’s a give-and-take thing.  If you want people to read your blog, then read others’.  Leave sincere and thoughtful comments that showed you have paid attention to what they’ve written.  Every one wants to feel validated; for bloggers, nothing could be more rewarding than a comment that acknowledges his or her post’s relevance.
The same goes to the comments left on your post.  Remember that those people have spent their precious time reading what you wrote instead of a million other things they could be doing at the time.  Show them that you appreciate what they’ve done by replying to each of their comments.
2) Set up a Twitter account and Facebook page for your blog.
Believe me, you need at least those two.  Why?  Because it’s the easiest way to communicate and advertise your blog to others.  Unless you’re a celebrity, chances are people don’t know you exist.  Twitter and Facebook provide a way to make yourself known.  And no, you don’t need to be tweeting or posting a new status every minute for these two forms of social media to be effective.  Remember, the most important thing is to make others aware of your existence.  At the very least, tweet your latest post at regular intervals throughout the day, and post it on your FB page right after you publish it.
3) When you find blogs you like, follow AND visit them regularly.  
What I mean by ‘follow’ is: follow them through Google Friend Connect (if available), subscribe to their RSS feed or via email, add their Twitter accounts, and ‘Like’ their FB pages.  
I personally use Google Reader to organize my subscriptions, and Hootsuite for all the tweets I follow.  Without these tools, it could be quite difficult to stay updated.
I really don’t recommend following just any blog for the sake of quantity.  You’d just end up crowding your inbox and Reader list, and soon enough, confuse and overwhelm yourself.
Next, visit the blogs you’ve followed on a regular basis.  It’s important to let them know that you are in it for the long run, not just a once-in-a lifetime occurrence.  Especially with established blogs with a high number of followers, you would need to visit them at least a few times if you want them to notice you.  There is no short-cut to building meaningful connections when it comes to friendship.  If you want loyal followers, then you must be loyal to them too.
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4) Join Blog Hops or Writing Prompts linkys. 
Joining a Blog Hop is a good and easy way to make your blog presence known and for you to get to know other bloggers.  You just click on the links submitted by the other bloggers and you’d instantly be transported to his/her blog.  The same goes for you.
Writing Prompts are more specific, but I personally like them because they tend to be more selective.  You’re more likely to meet bloggers who have the same interests as you there than through Blog Hops.
5) Don’t bite more than you can chew/be yourself.
It’s normal to want tons of followers, to be popular and well-liked.  Just don’t expect it to happen overnight.  Besides, how you define success for your blog is relative.  I know many prided themselves on the number of their followers (me included--boy, was I obsessed with the numbers!).  However, if you’re in it for the long run, you’ll find that what matters most is the connection/friendship you build with others.  Believe me, the last thing you’d want is to have hundreds of followers and still feel ‘lonely’ at the end of the day.
You must be honest and reasonable with yourself when it comes to setting up goals for your blog.  Just because it works for some doesn’t mean it will work on everyone.  What’s right for me might not be right for you.  Don’t feel like you need to post x amount of times per week just because so and so does it.  
Take into consideration the life you have ‘outside’ of blogging, your work commitments, your relationships with your spouse/partner and children (if you have any), and your sanity.  Establish a schedule that you are comfortable with and can stick to in the long run.  I’ve seen many bloggers who over commit themselves in the beginning and ended up quitting because they got burnt out .  
There are an endless amount of resources on blogging out there that you can tap into.  I really encourage you to make full use of them.  By no means the five tips I highlighted above could encompass all there is to know about blogging, but they’ve served me well in the one year that I’ve been blogging.  Hopefully you’ll benefit from them too.
You can find Sweaty:
And as a contributing writer at Just Be Enough

     I couldn't agree more. Thank you Sweaty for sharing your wisdom with us. As a small aside, #4, I can't tell you how much my readership has changed since I started doing Monday Listicles with Stasha and Rorybore's Coffee Chat on Tuesdays. Sweaty knows what she's talking about.

     Want to add your two cents? By all means, email me and have your say. Your post could be the next here in the Kitchen.

31 comments:

  1. I've been blogging for almost 3 years now but I still look for advice like this. And yes, I have become completely overwhelmed at times. What makes blogging even harder is that I have to do it behind my Partner's back for fear that he'll accuse me of ignoring him or the children because of it.
    Just set up a Facebook account a couple of weeks ago and that's enjoyable. Can't seem to commit to Twitter however. When I do visit, I see the same SAHMs have been tweeting all day. Where do they find the time??? I wanna know!
    Great post, Sweaty!
    Paul's Friend, m.

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    1. I'm glad you found my post helpful, Mark. Juggling life and blogging could be challenging at times; it must be even tougher without your partner's support. I do hope that you'd be able to find a balance we're all striving for!

      Re: Twitter, believe me, I used to hate it! Being an introvert, I'm quiet by nature and most of the time really didn't have much to say. How the heck was I going to tweet if I didn't have anything to say? But what I've found out was that I could still use Twitter as an effective tool to enhance my blog, even when I'm not talkative or tweeting every minute. At the very least, tweeting your posts could be the fastest way of advertising your blog--that you exist. And people do really read tweets. There were many followers of mine who wouldn't have stopped by ever if it weren't for Twitter ;)

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    2. Funny how many of us have that bit of guilt over time spent blogging. I know I get the side eye from time to time. As for getting overwhelmed, it seems to happen to everyone at some point or another.

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  2. my dearest Sweaty - so nice to see you here! It's like your one of the family now!
    such excellent advice - as always.

    seriously everyone - follow her - anywhere and everywhere!

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    1. Aw, thank you, my sweet Les! Your words warmed my heart a zillion times over. Truly!

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  3. What an awesome post! I think the only thing I'd add is something Mark brought up above - try Twitter and Facebook, but if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work.

    I tried Twitter twice before I got the hang of it, and I love it now. It's my go-to social media outlet, save for my blog. I'm still waiting for that aha moment with Facebook, four years later, though. My reluctance to jump into the FB fray has led me to believe that it's just not for me! And hey, you know what? That's okay. If it doesn't work for me, I'd rather spend time on other things that do than continue to struggle and waste my time on something that doesn't.

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    1. You're right, Brandi! I used to hate Twitter and preferred Facebook, simply because I was more familiar with it since before I started blogging. However, after dipping my toes a few times, I've found Twitter to be a great way of communicating with other bloggers. Now I even prefer it than Facebook. It's an easy and effective way of enhancing my blog, that's for sure. But even more importantly, so far it's been the fastest way of reaching out to all of my bloggy friends :)

      Thanks for stopping by. Big hugs to you, dearie!

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  4. Great advice, Sweaty!!! I agree with so much of what you wrote----I still do not have a dedicated FB page for my blog and have been tossing around that idea. It just all can take so much time, can't it? I have so many blogs that I love to follow but sometimes there are just not enough hours in a day. I have good intentions and I do try to comment and reply to comments on my blogs. I have decided to unsubscribe from some of the blogs that I subscribed to a long time ago that I just don't read. I use the WordPress platform for my reader and that has worked out great since they have updated it so that you can include non WordPress blogs. There is much still to learn and I so totally enjoyed this post!!! Thanks, Sweaty, and thank you, Paul for having her guest blog!!! Awesome!

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    1. Beth Ann, always a pleasure to have you comment on my posts! I'm happy that you've found my tips helpful. I can totally relate to feeling overwhelmed with all the social media out there, and a lot of times I too would feel like, "Whaaaat?? How on earth would I find the time to manage another thing on my already full plate??"

      I think it's important to just stick with one or two (for our sanity ;)) and use them wisely, rather than having all but erratic in their usage. Like you, I've also unsubscribed from a lot of blogs lately. Quality is better than quantity. I find it more me to spend time on those I've found a connection with rather than just blog hopping ;)

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  5. FABULOUS post. You are spot on with all the advice, too. :) Hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Aww, thanks, Angie! Definitely looking forward to feeling better. It's been a little over a week now. Can't wait for this flu and sore throat to go away! :)

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  6. Sweaty, Thanks so much for being a guest here. I hope you're feeling better soon. Great advice as always. You're the best, welcome in my kitchen any time.

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    1. Thank you for having me, Paul! The pleasure's all mine. I hope my post could contribute in some way in our struggles to become better bloggers :)

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  7. Such great advice, Sweaty. Feel better soon!

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    1. Thank you, dear Alison! Yes, this dang bugger better go away soon ;)

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  8. I’ve been browsing recently over the internet looking for posts that are useful and helpful, and I’m glad that I made it here. I get some important ideas for enhancing my page since I am a newbie for this field. Thanks for sharing great ideas.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! I'm happy to be of some help. Welcome to the world of blogging, Christian. I wish you the best with your new blog!

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  9. Great advice my friend.
    Quality over quantity.
    Always.

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    1. Thanks, Leighann! Yes, that should be a mantra for all of us bloggers ;)

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  10. This was wonderful, Sweaty.
    I love twitter, it's how I came over here. I jump on links that are from my friends.

    Twitter is amazing: instant connections, fast communication, you can support your friends with RT's and shout outs.

    It's my tool of choice, and I love it.

    FB..people have tried and tried and bless them, for trying to talk me into FB..but it's just too multi layered for me.

    Twitter is my thing.

    And, yes, be careful who you follow in the beginning, b/c when you try to unfollow later just b/c there is no connection of the soul, you may just get an email telling you how you suck b/c you unfollowed.

    Oh, yeah, don't think that online life is any different from IRL.

    People's feelings get hurt all the time.

    Signed, Twitter Addict

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  11. You know what else I was thinking? Don't take things personally...you can't determine who you hit if off with or what the chemistry is about.

    You either dig someone or you don't.

    They either dig you or they don't.

    It is clear as that...so, please, people, no hurt feelings if someone gets along with someone else, but not with you.

    It's just blogging.

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    1. Thank you, Empress! For validating my tips as well as sharing your words of wisdom. So, so true. It's so important to not take things personally. Relationships in blogging is very much like the ones you have in real life. It's as sincere or insincere as you make it to be. You're only going to hurt yourself if you measure yourself in terms of whether or not so and so likes you etc.

      Paul, if there's anyone you should look for advice, it's the Empress. She's my blogging life line. She truly is.

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  12. Great post Sweaty! I agree with everything you wrote here. Although I never imagined you as an introvert.

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    1. Hi Germaine! So good to see you here! How are you, dearie?

      Thank you for stopping by! Yes, believe it or not, I'm an introvert. A super-duper one, actually ;)

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  13. Sweaty, great advice. I try very hard to always answer comments on my blog(I get very antsy when I can't get to it fast enough.) and leave comments on others, especially the ones that I truly enjoy. I recently found you and it's great to see you here. :)

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    1. So kind of you, Susi to let me know! It's always so encouraging to receive positive feedback. We bloggers love comments, don't we? ;)

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  14. Really great tips, Sweaty! (And that's coming from one introvert, to another) :)

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    1. Hee hee... high five, fellow introvert! ;)

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  15. These are great tips Sweaty and so true. I agree, numbers can be friend or foe. It is great to be read a lot but you loose the sense of community, because you humanly cannot communicate with that many bloggers... Twitter and FB will help with that but ultimately it is nice to 'know' at least some of your readership! Love this and I would have never pegged you as an introvert!

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    1. You know what, you're not the first to say that, but it still makes me pause and ponder every time! I've always found it easier to communicate via written words rather than verbally (one reason why I love writing so much!), because I feel that I can express myself so much better. Most of the time, in real life, I just stayed quiet even though in my head I might be making jokes, rolling my eyes, having a discussion (yes, I silently talked to myself ;)), or coming up with some witty retorts. In short, I could be quite a 'smarty pants' inside my head. Maybe that's why in writing I don't seem like such an introvert. hahaha.

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Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".