To succeed at anything, you need to work at it consistently. The same goes for blogging, and content marketing on the whole.
By building up the right habits, you can dramatically increase your shot at success.
Here are the habits you need to adopt in order to heighten your blogging success, and how to apply them to your practices.
Building (and Changing) Habits: How?
In the book "Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard," the Heath brothers explain that to motivate the elephant (our emotion), you need to shrink the change.
Image via Heath Brothers
In other words, smaller changes are more effective at producing results. Every habit you want to build can be broken into a sequence of smaller steps. The key to success is honing in on and focusing on these small steps.
As you master these steps, you’ll build winning habits in everything. If you aim to go to the gym every day after work, it is easier to focus on putting your gym bag in the car trunk every morning before you head out to the office than it is to focus on the entire process associated with going to the gym (packing up your gym bag, driving to the gym, sweat the heck out of yourself, driving back, showering, etc.).
This same basic principle applies to blogging. If you focus on small changes and build the right habits, you will improve your odds of success. Here are five habits in blogging you should dig into right now.
Related Article: Content Marketing: How to Achieve More with Your Blog
Takes Notes Anywhere, Anytime
Take notes when you have an idea for a blog, no matter where inspiration strikes. That way, when it comes time to produce a post, you won’t have to stare at that anxiety-inducing blank page. You will have notes from which you can develop content.
The key to success is to find the most convenient way to keep all your notes together. I use Evernote to record all of my readings and ideas. It makes it incredibly easy for me to synchronize everything between my tablet, PCs, and mobile phones. You might have your own tool—a notepad, your phone, or whatever. The bottom line is that you need to develop a system that works for you.
Always Ask the Right Questions
The most important lesson I learned from Robert Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad Poor Dad" series:
Image via Amazon
Saying "I can't afford it" shuts down your brain. Asking "How can I afford it?" opens up your brain and triggers your financial genius to come up with a creative solution.
We should apply this attitude to everything else, blogging included, in life. Ask, “How can I do that?” instead of saying "I can't do this and that".
For example, let’s say you listened to Pat's Smart Passive Income podcasts and think it's the best blogging resources ever in the world. Ask yourself, “How can I do something like this?” When you look at other bloggers' income report, ask, “How can I make more money blogging like them?” By asking the right question (how?), you will open yourself to endless possibility.
By asking the right question, your brain doesn't stop at admiring others; it starts looking for ways to replicate the success of others. When you learn how to ask the right questions, you keep yourself busy searching for a way to make others admire you as well.
Related Article: 14 Resources to Reference When Writing a Blog Post
Write with Search Engines in Mind
It is a bad idea to rely on search engines exclusively as a traffic source.
However, the reality is that search engines, primarily Google, are a very important source of target traffic.
Therefore, you do want to optimize your content for search engines. Perform thorough keyword research (to understand searchers' behavior better), network with other bloggers regularly (for linking and JV opportunities), and always pay close attention to your on-page optimization (on-page elements like page title, schema markup, image alt text and internal site linkings are elements that you can control easily; hence, should not be missed).
There is a variety of great tools that you can use for research and SEO. Buzz Sumo and Topsy are very useful in finding influencers and trending topics in your industry. Uber Suggest, Spyfu, Google Trends, as well as Google Keyword Planner are tools I use regularly for keyword research.
Post Content to Social Media at the Right Time
I bet all bloggers now agree that sharing content to social media is no longer an option, but an absolute necessity. Social media posting can help you to boost your visibility and exposure dramatically, helping you build a larger following more quickly. When it comes to social media, it matters when you post. In fact, the right time can have a huge impact.
Consider this: If your targeted audience is mainly in the United States, your retweet rate could be 2x higher if you post at 6 p.m. instead of 6 a.m., according to Kiss Metrics. Facebook shares on Saturday could be 100% better than shares on Sunday.
Image via Kissmetrics
To get on your social media A-game, you need to figure out when is the best time to post for your target audience. Then, share important posts during prime-time.
Stay Away from Distractions When Writing
The human brain is simply not designed for multitasking.
You can’t actually do two things at once. When you are attempting to do two different things simultaneously (like watching your favorite “Seinfeld” rerun while trying to write a blog post about social media marketing, for example), your brain is actually switching back and forth between tasks rapidly to trick you into thinking you are doing both at the same time.
This isn’t good for concentration or productivity. Don’t believe me? Listen to the experts break it down for you how multitasking affects your brain.
People who multitask are not being more productive—they just feel more emotionally satisfied from their work.
This is what researcher Zhen Wang, Ohio State University assistant professor, states in her recent study on multitasking. She mentioned that people get a great feeling of fulfillment when they juggle multiple media sources at the same time: for example, going from texting a friend, to reading a book, to watching an online video.
But feeling fulfilled and efficient doesn't mean that you are efficient. In many studies done in laboratory settings, people actually show poorer performance on a variety of tasks when they try to multitask.
So, how can you get rid of distractions while you are writing? Turn off phones, email notifications and TVs. Of course, you will also want to log out from your favorite social media networks.