I’m hoping you haven’t noticed that it’s been nearly two weeks since I last posted on this blog, especially if you’re a client of mine. (Wait, I just gave it away, didn’t I. Blast!)
Here’s what I say to my clients:
Consistency in social media is critically important. You need to show up regularly, engage, and offer valuable content regularly.
The thing about my clients is that all of them are busy people: leading businesses, traveling, working with clients, speaking, writing, and enjoying their families.
Although I don’t mentally keep track of my clients’ schedules, I know from our volley of emails and difficulty finding time on the calendar for even an hour call, that they often feel overwhelmed or at least stretched very close to their limit.
And then — I’m asking them to blog regularly, to tweet daily, to post on Facebook occasionally, and to check out tools like Pinterest.
Now that I am building my own growing business and leading my delightful team, I am beginning to understand and empathize a bit more.
When I describe my clients’ lives, I am describing my own.
My days begin with work before my girls wake up, then there’s breakfast, lunch packing and running the girls to school. Once I get to my desk, many of my days are packed, hour by hour, with calls, up until the moment of kid pick-up in the afternoon. So it feels difficult to find time for me to blog these days.
But I need to take my own advice, so here it is:
Have a plan. Block out time on your calendar for growing your online presence and treat it like any other important appointment.
Choose a sustainable blogging schedule. If you’ve been around since the beginning of this blog, you’ll know that I started with a Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday schedule. For a long time, that schedule worked quite well for me. If I hear a busy client say,”Let’s blog four times a week,” (like I did this week), I put on the brakes. I want clients to feel — and be — successful. Over-commitment can lead to burnout and discouragement. Instead, choose a schedule that feels comfortable and do-able, then stick to it.
Use shreds of time. I love this quote and use it when I present:
Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces,and which most men (and women) throw away.
~Charles Caleb Colton
Find patches of time in your day, and use them purposefully. Dip into Twitter for a few minutes to engage, connect, and encourage others. Or use a few minutes to connect on Facebook. Those bits of time, used consistently, will help you move your online presence forward. Other people might throw that time away — and you can differentiate yourself by redeeming them. If you need ideas about how to use small amounts of time to grow your online presence, visit my website, 12 Minute Media. We add new tips every week that you can implement to grow your online influence.
Learn how to use the right tools. There are so many great (free) tools to help you manage your online presence. But figuring out which ones to use can be a major time drain. So get some direction from an experienced coach or consultant who can train you in using time-saving tools to make your online time more effective.
Get support. Recognize that you can’t do it all alone, and invest in help if you can afford it. My team provides support to a number of clients, and the work we do frees them to do what they do best.
A plan + support implementing the plan = consistency and growing influence.
So, here’s my plan, in case you’re interested:
I’m committing to blogging twice a week. I haven’t picked the days yet. I’m going to block out two hours per week for writing these posts, and I’ll enlist the help of my capable team to help me promote my posts. I’ve also asked my team to contribute to this blog regularly. So I’m hoping, with their help, that we’ll provide interesting, helpful content here at Weaving Influence three times per week.
Tell me something! How do you maintain a consistent online presence? Who supports you?
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
Consistency is a great objective but difficult to achieve with so many interruptions, some of which we may not control. However, that said, I try to post about once or twice a week somewhere, either a blog or on twitter although occasionally take a break from all social media. Our last Seminar was called Leadership Unplugged and it was a classic “retreat” in every good sense of that word, stepping away from the usual and the ordinary to experience the extraordinary. Being at home with one’s self and finding the time and the place to reflect, renew and regenerate seemed to be eagerly welcomed by our 30 invited participants. The response and feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
What I observed and shared the other day is that the social media, and technology, is getting way too complicated for this brain. Part of the reason seems to be that “they” keep adding things, more apps, more choices, more connections, and just plain more of everything and there is a law of diminishing returns. So, my response is to say no thanks and limit how many, how much and how often and not try and absorb and integrate every new thing that comes down the road. That said, Blackboard Illuminate is a cool piece of software that we’re planning to use to teach an online course this Fall! And I have to learn how it works and how to use it.
Becky, I SO appreciate this post for many reasons!!! Thank you!
One of my two blogs is suffering from neglect as well…and guess what I’m doing? Getting ready to launch a third blog (it will only last for 30 days, though!)
You bring up such great points here that I need to heed. The other thing I know will help me is getting in the habit if writing every day. When it’s been a while, I find it harder to come up with ideas…but when I get “in the groove” of writing, I find the ideas come easier.
It’s always so easy to let things slide, and much harder to start good, new habits. This summer, I’m committed to getting better at this!! So glad to have a friend like you walking by my side!
Erin, I love your new blog idea. Can’t wait to see how it works out. I hope my kids and I can implement some of your ideas for a peaceful summer. (and – I totally get the private husband thing.)
Great post, Becky. I’ve had a goal of two posts per week, roughly on Mondays and Thursdays. But it’s hard to keep up. I use way more than 1-2 hours on writing a post; I’m trying to take the research of others on leadership issues and add my own perspective and that takes a lot of time. I’ve been thinking of switching to one post like that and one that’s somehow lighter — and easier to write. But I feel like my reputation is in part built on heavy-duty content.
And then there’s the guest opportunities that come along. I’ve learned enough now to be super selective with those, and will continue cutting back. But when I do write a guest post, I ask to cross-post it a week or so later at my own site, so at least I get “credit” on my own blog for that work.
I like your ‘patches of time’ perspective for getting in an interactive tweet or two. It’s possible that my tweeting is too self-promotional, so that’s important.
Anyway, lots of good advice. Good luck!!
Good advice, Becky. Twitter, Facebook and now Pinterest! It can be a blackhole if we don’t manage it. I find your 12 minute media tips quite helpful.
my blog is content rich also. I weave in theory and research and try to include practical advice and then whittle it down to 600 words. It takes a lot of time. I had started out 3 times a week, then went down to two. Now I usually post just once a week and it seems to work fine. I think everyone has to find the stride that works for them.
I do have a question that I would appreciate your advice on, Becky. One of my biggest time consumers is the time I take to respond to each person who comments on my blog. I’ve noticed that you and many others do consistently respond to all comments, Are there any guidelines when and what types of comments to respond to?
Jesse – good question. I typically try to acknowledge every comment, but not always as a reply on the blog. If I am short for time, I’ll send a tweet to say thank you.
I read and value every comment, for sure. But I have made a strategic choice to spend my time in other ways, while looking for other ways to appreciate and support the people who comment.
I hope that insight helps, Jesse, and please know that the time you’ve invested in engaging conversation on your blog is likely one of the reasons your blog is such a vital and important community.
I’ve noticed that you’re more of a “once a week” blogger, Jesse, and maybe that would be enough for me, too. However, at my current rate of expansion, it’s going to take me about 9 years to have as many Twitter followers as you do 🙂
I’m trying to write a book and simultaneously build up a “platform” for getting the ideas in the book “out there.” For now, I’m inclined to try to keep up with twice a week, even though I’m not always consistent, and to stay at the level of ‘heavy content’ that I’ve been at.
Regarding replies to comments, I try there, too, at least on my own blog, although I don’t always manage that. I had an entry get picked up by the Guardian this week (over 4k Fb shares!) and the discussion there was rich, but I decided to see my role as getting the ball rolling and let the discussion develop on its own.
Now, time to blog!
Good post, Becky.
That is one of the hardest tasks we face, following our own good advice.
The key does seem to blocking out times for getting all the necessary things done. Working fulltime, taking few classes and trying to get some other things going it a real feat in finding a good rhythm that works with your available time. Then there are the other important factors to consider- family activities, knowing when our best “creative” moments usually occur, and peak energy times. Trying to learn new apps and websites on an almost weekly basis often deprives us of the very things we want to get done, and the things we claim to value.
Yes, the best thing we can often do for ourselves is say, “No.”
This post is esp relevant to me as a brand new blogger, thanks so much for bringing experience and sense to a question I’ve been pondering for a few weeks now. I have a deep well of anecdote, but the process of transforming anecdote into meaningful content is a painful struggle. Between the struggle of “day job” and the struggle to write a coherent sentence, I feel blessed to publish once a week. Love the blog, the encouragement, and the spirit.
I post about once a week sometimes more frequently but burnout is an issue. Guesting has helped me drive traffic and also preprepare posts so that I’m not hit with nothing to say at busy times. I like the quote about shreds of time. That’s brilliant