Posts tagged bloggers
7 Tips for Never Running out of Inspiration

Inspiration - it means everything to creatives. Whether you're a blogger, photographer, designer or another profession, the truth is we need it. With it we feel like we can conquer everything. But what happens when we don't have it?

Sometimes you might want to write something, make something or cook something. Yet you sit there, your mind blank and you have no idea where to start. You're stuck and inspiration just doesn't want to play with you.

I believe that most of us have our best ideas inside us. It's how we get them to appear that's difficult. But I've found that there are some things you can to bring your inspiration back and help you create your best work yet.

#1 Think About Your Purpose

Only you and you alone know your true focus and values for yourself and your personal brand online. When you're struggling to come up with ideas, think back to the meaning of your blog or business. Think back to why you started all of this in the first place. Knowing that was key to helping you come up with your original ideas, and it'll be just as much help in the long run. 

Why do you blog about what you do? Why these topics and nothing else? These will really help you to expand your mind. You can let your thoughts wander and think about what you wish you’d known about this topic when you were just starting out or what you want to learn about it in the future. Idea generation doesn't just have to come from what you know - it comes from within and what makes you, you.


#2 Have a Running List of Sources

I’ve always had a Plan B. I’m the type of person that likes being organised and prepared. I like having a back-up plan in various aspects of my life. When you don’t have any inspiration, you don’t want to feel stuck like most of us too. So why not have a Plan B?

If you know that you can get inspiration from certain sources, it’s going to be really valuable for you to keep those in a safe place. That way, when a block hits you, you can refer back to this list of sources and get your inspiration back straight away.

Evernote is the tool I’d recommend for this. I use it to keep all my blog post ideas in one place for all my different topics and for inspiration too. One of my notes is a list of all the sources I look at when I feel stuck. Here’s a list of some:

  • Magazines
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • My journal

Failing that I know that the other source is to step away. And that leads us straight onto number three.

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Why You Should Never Blog Alone

You get really excited about your blog. You’ve got ideas flowing around your head all the time. But when it comes to actually choosing one, you keep changing your mind. Why is that? Well I know, and I’m going to tell you.

I’ve got seven things for you today, friend. Seven reasons, actually, how to take away your fear. The fear of no comments, no interaction and no one listening. 

Blogging by yourself is exhausting, not just with all the work you have to do, but mentally too. If you try to do everything by yourself, you’ll never see as much growth as you want. Lately, I’ve seen some negativity in our community and this week, I know I’m not the only one who’s felt overwhelmed. 

The biggest thing I’ve found to help me along my blogging journey hasn't come from a tip, a tool or a piece of information. It’s come through the support of other people. So if you’re in this blogging thing alone, this is a reminder that you don’t have to be. Here are seven big reasons why.
 

#1 You Learn More

We’ll never know everything there is to know. And it’s actually better that way - would you want to be in a place where you couldn’t learn anything else? I definitely wouldn’t. That’s the beauty of the blogging world. Part of the reason you have a blog is because you’re sharing what you know, whether that’s beauty products, interiors inspiration or social media tips. You have some sort of knowledge to share these things - and other bloggers have knowledge on completely different things.

Asking for help from other people always allows you to learn more. A great advocate for this is Twitter chats. I can guarantee that I’ll learn something new from every Twitter chat I join that I can try out. I’ve even given advice to fellow bloggers and their reaction has been “I never knew that.” So just think - you might look at someone and wish you knew what they knew. But there’ll be plenty of other people looking at you that way too.

A great saying I learnt is “if you do what you’ve always done, then you’ll get what you’ve always got.” Your blog develops as you develop and there’s always so much room for growth.


#2 You Create Relationships

The first interaction between anything is the start of a relationship, whether it’s active or passive. When someone hits the follow button on your blog, they’re entering into a passive relationship because they want to see your content. If someone hits follow on your Twitter profile that could be the start of you both actively interacting together every single day.

The more you reach out and get involved, the more relationships you create. It’s not down to you alone to promote your blog and what you do. Part of that comes down to your readers, and the people in your community who are there to shout about you to others. This comes down to forming relationships and you can’t do that when you’re hiding behind the internet and not getting involved.

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6 of the Best Stationery Staples All Bloggers Need

If there’s something that’s always guaranteed to get me excited, it’s new stationary. Nothing feels better than opening up the first page of a fresh new notebook or using a beautiful pen for the first time. I know you know what I’m talking about. I’ve got a pile of unused notebooks at home, but let me loose in a shop with gorgeous stationary and you won’t be able to find me again.

I’ve always been a paper and pen kind of girl. Even though I use digital tools for some things like my blog editorial calendar, I use paper for everything else. Plans, lists, thoughts, dreams and anything else. So if you’re a stationary lover too, today I wanted to share my favourite everyday staples that will be useful for bloggers everywhere.

#1 To-Do Lists

I used to be the type of person who’s to-do list was written on sticky notes all around the room. Now I do it differently. To-do list pads are an absolute life saver. You can see everything you’ve got to do in one place and they’re usually compact enough to take with you everywhere.

I recently reached out on Instagram to ask for advice about to-do lists, because I was feeling overwhelmed with my own. I was given some great tips that I’m going to start implementing:

  • Prioritise tasks in order of urgency (based on deadlines)
  • Eat the frog (do the task you’re dreading the most first to get it done)
  • Number them - ask yourself what needs to be done today and what can wait till tomorrow
  • Break your tasks up into smaller ones.

I’m still trying to find the perfect method - but a pretty pad makes it even easier to start.

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Holly Suttonstationary, bloggers
Why You Need to Stop Trying to Do Everything

I’ve always been the type of person who likes to please everyone and do as much as possible. I want to do everything - have a fulfilling career, post content seven times a week for my blog, exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week, spend time with my family, do my hobbies and relax too. 

So far this year, this hasn’t been working out that well. I’ve been saying “yes” to everything, taking on a lot of projects alongside my day job and pushing myself with my blog, while wanting to do a lot more. And it’s really taken it’s toll - I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. 

When I told all this to my mum, what she said really interested me: “what if you said no to something?”

The truth is, I fear the word no. If I see an opportunity, then I want to take it. I don’t want to regret not doing things. Even when I’m working two late nights a week for my day job and struggling to post content everyday, I still don’t want to say no. I don’t want to give up anything - even when I know I can’t balance it all. 

But after getting to the point where this all been affecting me in a negative way, I’ve realised that you can’t do everything. And we need to stop trying to do it all. If I say “yes” to everything that comes my way, it doesn't just end there. It means saying “yes” to giving up more of my time and the aspects of my life that I want to prioritise. 
 

When you start to realise that your work and side projects are impacting on your relationships and you as a person, that’s the point when you need to stop and evaluate. 
 

Saying “yes” to a full-time career, a part-time blog and freelance work meant that I was saying “no” to lots of other things that made me happy. I was saying “no” to hobbies, time spent with family and time dedicated to looking after myself too.

I get that sometimes, working that extra bit harder is necessary. When I was doing the Blogging Breakthrough series on ABOH and turning that content into an eBook, I was really pushing myself to get the work done, and it’s been worth it. Sometimes when you’ve got the chance, it’s great to work that bit harder. But when you work too hard and spread yourself over too many things, you can start to see the negatives hit you in a bad way.

You also run the risk of not doing as good a job, especially if you’re rushing something. At the moment, I’m just about coping with my seven-day publishing schedule. I know that if it gets too much, I’ll have to stop and make some changes. Whenever I complete a job for someone, I don’t want it to be inadequate. I want it to be to the best of my ability - and we need enough time to make that happen.

Can you relate to this?

I bet you’ve been in this place before. Some of you might even be there right now. But I’m telling you this as someone who’s going through this right now - you need to stop.


Why? Because you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re setting yourself up for burnout. And you’re setting yourself up to lose a lot.

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7 Inspiring Quotes (+ What They Can Teach Us About Blogging)

Quotes never fail to inspire me – some that I keep strike a chord with me every time I look at them. If you don’t regularly browse Pinterest or your Twitter feed for the quotes people are sharing, I really recommend you do so. Although some of them might not be to everyone’s tastes, there are always words you can find that will really resonate with you.

We know that quotes can mean different things to all of us, but I find that many of the ones I come across really make me think about my blogging journey. When you think deeper, a quote can actually help you out a lot if you’re struggling or need to make certain decisions. So today, I want to share seven inspiring quotes with you and what they can teach us about blogging.

NUMBER ONE:

“Celebrate every tiny victory”
 

Each of us can be in very different places compared to someone else’s journey. The place I'm at right now with my blog will be completely different to where someone is when they've been at it for eight years. You might see someone say they've launched an e-course or their own product line and think like you’re failing. But you shouldn't.

Just because someone reveals they get 100,000 pageviews a month and you get less than 10,000 doesn’t mean you’re not good at what you do.

I’ve always believed in celebrating every milestone, no matter how big or small – this quote reminds me to do that. Whether you’ve put loads of effort into a blog post and it becomes one of your most popular ones, or you get the chance to host a Twitter chat – these are all really great things.

For me, getting my first gigs for the sites I freelance for were huge achievements. Now, I celebrate every time something I’ve written goes live on one of them, because I know how hard I worked to get there.

Each time you feel a sense of achievement, write it down. If something makes you smile, that’s always worth remembering.

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Official Launch – Get Your Hands on the Blogging Breakthrough Ebook!

Well we spent the month of January on the Blogging Breakthrough challenge. As we were coming towards the end I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if people could get their hands on this all in one place?”

That’s where the eBook started.

For the past few weeks I’ve been busting my butt to get the content sorted and trying to get this book as close to perfect as possible. I always wanted to write an eBook, and although this project has been challenging, it’s also taught me a hell of lot.

So today, I am really excited to announce that you can now get your hands on the Blogging Breakthrough eBook!

Here’s what you can expect to find:

  • 28 tasks
  • 100+ pages
  • 1 Breakthrough
  • Unlimited support
  • FREE

Yep you read right – this will be 100+ pages of free content for you.

 

Look, I get it – I’ve been there. You’re throwing everything into building your blog, yet you feel stuck like you’re not getting there. You’re on social media and publishing content, but you’re not seeing the growth you want. You’ve got lots of ideas, but you don’t know what direction to go in and there are too many things to look at which is clouding your vision of who you are.

Here’s the thing – many people think they’re stuck in one of two places: they’re either just starting out with their blog and trying every single strategy to see what will work, or they’ve been blogging for a while, want to try something new and don’t know where to start.

Let me tell you something – it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to waste time and spend money to start growing your blog and online presence.


You don’t have to do it yourself.

The Blogging Breakthrough eBook is the only no-fluff, self-study guide to growing a fulfilling online presence you’ll find of its kind online.

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How to Put Everything into Action to Get a Blogging Breakthrough

We made it – today officially marks the final day of the Blogging Breakthrough Challenge. Can you believe it? I really hope you’ve found this series as worthwhile as I’ve found creating it. But it’s not over yet. We've still got the final day to go…

Over the past 28 days we've covered a lot. We've talked content. We've talked social media. We've talked organisation. We've talked inspiration. We've talked about all the main things you need to get a breakthrough with your blog.

Really, there’s only one thing left to do. So to wrap up the 28 Day Blogging Breakthrough challenge, it only seems right to talk about how we can put everything into action. It’s all well and good doing these tasks for 28 days. But you want to keep on doing them. Some are tasks you can do every day – some are ones you can do every month. So on Day 28, we’re going to go through all the tasks we've done and block out when they need to be done so you can achieve a constant breakthrough with your blog.

I figured that the easiest way to do this would be to split these into daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and one-off tasks. That way, you’ve got this to come back to or you can make notes in your own planner to remind you. I'm going to put the number of the task by each point so you know exactly what day of the challenge you need to refer to. So here we go!

 

Every day

Plan your day (9)

Find something that inspires you (11)

Snapchat away! (20)

Interact on social media (21)

 
Every week

Write a list (8)

Find your optimal social media posting times (17)

Do something on Periscope (22)


Every month

Create your editorial calendar (4)

Sort out your blog files (7)

Write a list (8)

Plan your images (13)

Create and review your social media plan (18)

Plan content for your mailing list (23)

Take a break (27)

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Why You Need to Update Your About Page & Profile Pics

What’s one of the most important pages on your website? What’s one of the places where first-time visitors will go to get to know a bit more about you? Know the answer?
 

Your “About” page.


This is one of the most useful, and will probably be one of the most popular pages on your site. It’s where your readers, whether they’re new or not, can go to learn more about who you are, what do you and why you’re doing it.

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Yep, it is. And there are blog posts upon blog posts out there that will tell you how you can create a killer About page.

But that’s not what today’s about. That’s not the point. Day 16 in the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge isn’t here to tell you what you need to put in your About page. It’s here to tell you why you should update it regularly and how to do just that.

Now that leads me onto a very important question to ask you.
 

When was the last time you updated your About page?


Think about it. I read blogs every single day. More often than not, I’ll head to their About page. But the information will either be really really short or just completely out of date.

When you’re constantly trying to attract new readers to your blog - even though you might not actively be doing this all the time - it’s not the best thing when your About page is “old”.

So writing one up to make it the best About page ever is great and something you should definitely do. But do you just leave it forever once it goes live?

Hell no!
 

When Should I Update My About Page?

We can split this up into three scenarios:

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5 Ways to Tidy up Your Social Media Channels

When it comes to spring cleaning, you always start off with good intentions. Making a list is what usually happens first - room by room, task by task, you write down what needs to be done. Then you think it’s time for a brew - Netflix goes on, you jump on Twitter and whaddaya know? Two hours have passed.

But with some things, spring cleaning really needs to happen way before Spring even starts. With some things, it needs to happen now. Like your social media channels.

Most of us are guilty of never going on our social platforms other than to check our notifications and have a good scroll. When actually, there’s something we’re missing. There’s something we need to do at least once a year that doesn't really involve being social.

Let’s face it - your bio could probably do with an update (and possibly your profile photo), you’re still trying to create the “perfect” Instagram feed, but don’t know what that entails, and Twitter is still quite a mystery to you. Sound familiar?

You’re not alone, friend. If you want to feel better about social media, it starts with cleaning up your channels. Day 15 in the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge is going to tell you five ways you can do that right now.

Go on an Unfollowing Spree


I'm gonna’ start off with the most unglamorous task first, but arguably the most important. You've got to go through those followers. I'm serious. I know you might be following hundreds (or thousands) of people, and it might take you most of your afternoon, but trust me. This is what you want to do. And here’s why.

Sometimes, we follow people on a whim, without really paying much attention to who they are. Sometimes, the cheeky channels do it for us! But if they’re not relevant, you don’t have a clue who they are or they’re not bringing anything positive and valuable to your feed then they’re pointless being there. It’s not worth following them. Don’t be afraid of hitting the unfollow button!

I did this at the end of last year and cut who I was following down by about 300 people. It felt so good. Why? Because I knew I was getting rid of accounts that were meaningless. It left me with more room for the people I actually wanted to follow.

Keep scrolling, read all the bios and if they don’t float your boat, just hit unfollow. It’s as simple as that.

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How to Tidy up Your Blog's Menu and Sidebar

Have you ever gone onto a new blog, read an article and REALLY wanted to read more from the person...I mean they had such an awesome blog post....but then you take one look at the navigation and the sidebar, and you can't seem to figure out where the rest of the blog posts are?

The menu is cluttered with topics that don't make sense, the sidebar is full of unrelated ads and buttons from random "organizations" that the blog is apart of. And yet you can't find anymore posts to read ANYWHERE.

After a quick scan of course, you give up and click out of the page. Too bad, you really liked that first article.

We've all been there right?
 

Let's talk about actions that you can take to be sure that your menu and sidebar are user friendly and easier to navigate.

The first rule, that applies to both sidebars AND menus is to keep it simple and give as few options as possible.

Often, we think that by breaking up our content into tons of tiny categories or having a bunch of different pages, we are sure to meet everyone's needs when they come to our website. When actually, we have much more difficulty deciding what we want when there are too many options.

Think about visiting a big city with a ton of new, different restaurants, all with different foods and a good variety - you'll more than likely have a hard time deciding on where you want to eat and sit and debate about it until you end up drawing restaurant names out of a hat to decide. Now think about visiting a small town with only two restaurant options - maybe one is pizza and one is a diner. Your choice is going to be MUCH easier in the small town.

Although we like the idea of different choices, and maybe all of those choices ARE wonderful, people on the internet do not often spend time searching through each of these options available on your site. They like clear, defined choices so that they can get exactly where they want to go with just half a second of looking.

So what does this mean for you?

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How to Find Your Own Unique Image Style

This is one of the fun parts! Researching and determining what image styles will suit your blog should be enjoyable (especially if you’re a Pinterest freak like me) and not time consuming. I know it’s easy to get sucked in and start collecting a million ideas, then agonizing over what will actually work. So let’s break it down and get you some gorgeous images!

 

 

What Do You Love & What Does Your Audience Love?

This is probably something you think about often when considering your blog and who you’re trying to reach. And it plays a big role in finding imagery that works for you. 

First and foremost, anything you do has to strike a chord in your heart and then you can think about others. So when you’re looking at images make sure they light you up, feel inspiring, and resonate with who YOU are. 

Once you have that piece you can start incorporating how the images relate to your audience and what they love to see. Obviously some common sense should come into play here - if your blog is about chic interior design, posting selfies of you and your cat probably won’t win your audience over. Find that sweet overlap between what you love and what your audience loves and that will guide your images.

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Why You Need To Try Publishing Content Every Day

This online space has been running for over two years now. But I've actually enjoyed it and learnt the most about it during these past six months. This is my number one side project above all others, and it makes me so happy to create content for you and interact with you all each day.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not easy. There have been plenty of tears and stress levels have been high. But it’s been more valuable and rewarding than I ever could have imagined. Now, I couldn't imagine my life without this blog. I know it won’t stay the same – it’ll grow as my life does. But I want it to always be there.

But there’s something I always wanted to try – daily blogging. When I first started out, I posted three times a week. Then for a while I went up to five posts a week. As of this year, I'm pushing myself to publish a blog post every single day.
 

Why? Well that’s exactly what this post is going to tell you.


On Day 12 of the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge, I want to talk to you about why you should definitely consider blogging consistently for a whole week. By the time you’ve finished reading this post, I think you’ll start to see the benefits.

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Why You Should Always Write About What Inspires You

Not so long ago, I found myself in the depths of my worst ever blogging rut. It's a situation that most bloggers will be familiar with: I grew more and more reluctant to write and photograph, and became increasingly convinced that I wasn't good enough, creative enough or talented enough to be blogging at all.

The answer was of course a simple one... My concerns about "branding" and "fitting in" meant that I was rushing to hit publish on posts that didn't resonate with me. Instead of being excited to write and share my content, I was left feeling flat and drained, unable to think of a way forward.

If this is where you are now, today's post is just a friendly reminder that we all end up here. Blog for long enough and you are bound to hit a low; it's just part and parcel of being creative. To help get you moving forwards, here is my very best advice for finding the posts you love to write...

TAKE A STEP BACK

I ended up not blogging for around 3 months, but this lull ended up being exactly what I needed. Removed from the pressure of sticking to a schedule and meeting readers' expectations, I could clearly see that the problem was not that I was lazy or stupid: I was simply no longer in love with the content I was sharing. 

By Her Mirror was a beauty blog at the time, and the step back gave me a chance to realise that beauty posts weren't the ones that satisfied me most. Lifestyle and photography pieces were the ones I was excited to share, and that felt authentically me. I realised that for By Her Mirror, this meant a shift in focus was needed; I said goodbye to beauty content and I haven't looked back.

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A Space of One's Own

Finding a space in which to work that makes you comfortable and free is an essential part of developing your voice.

How often has someone told you not to work in bed? That you should create an area in which you can be strict with yourself and focus, probably at a desk or kitchen table.

The people telling you to work that way will only have had your best interests at heart. They will have been teachers, tutors, parents, whoever and they’re correct - but only to a degree.

What's essential to being able to write, is having a space that is entirely your own, somewhere you can disappear into your own thoughts, theories and ideas.


And if you’re in your pyjamas under the covers, who cares?

In A Room Of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf wrote: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

While Woolf used the rest of her famous essay to put forward some of the trailblazing feminist theories that shape our thinking today, the practicalities of the situation remain the same as they were in 1929. It is essential for a writer to have personal space in which to write.

So while it might not be ideal to write from your bed, and you should try to ensure that you have the correct orthopaedic support, if your room is the only place that you have to write privately, then you should write there.

Whether you live with your parents, with friends or housemates, distractions are everywhere. Coffees being made, dinner being prepared, discussions about the day at work, university or school, all waiting to suck your attention away.


Writers need to be able to lock into a thought process and get thoughts onto paper as soon as possible, without being distracted by the delicious smells of a Sunday roast.

 

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How to Create the Perfect Structure to Your Day

Building a structure into your day is an important and useful habit to become accustomed to, and if blogging is factored into that, even better. As part of the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge so far, I sat down and really thought about what I wanted my blog to be this year. This involved where it had come so far in 2015, and also where I want to make improvements, inspiring me to write a list of Blog Goals for 2016.

You may notice that right at the top of the list is “blog more regularly” – something that in my fledgling first nine months of blogging I have found difficult to grasp, with some weeks posting nearly daily and others only once. Having usually planned a whole bunch of great posts, not only does this push your schedule back, the sporadic nature can be irritating to your followers and appear erratic.

Therefore this year on Wooden Window Sills, I'm determined to design (and more importantly stick to) a regular calendar, both for blogging and more generally in life. Don’t know where to start? That’s exactly what Day 9 of the #BloggingBreakthrough Challenge is here for!


How Do I Start?

Firstly, use some of the pointers given on days 1-8 of this challenge. Trust me, they will be amazingly useful. For blogging in particular I especially refer to Day 4 on planning your editorial calendar, and equally yesterday’s Day 8 on writing lists. Because ultimately, the key to organization is both of these things – planning when you’re going to do things, and making lists of what you want to achieve.

I tend to use three calendar systems in my day to day life, and the beauty is, you may choose to not use any of them! The main thing here is finding what works best for you, so that it fits into your life and is easy to stick to.


What System Do I Choose?

To start, think about what style suits you.

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Let's Talk About the Amazing Power of the List

Let me ask you a question. Are you ready?

Do you have a to-do list for your blog?


It's great if you do. But if you don't, it wouldn't surprise me.

You see, being productive and being organised are two totally different things. You could write the best to-do list in the world. Completing it is a different story.

I can see the problem, though - because I've been there myself. Last year, I was trying so hard to come with a system for completing all my tasks for my blog. I tried out lots of different ways and none of them worked. Until recently.

I bet it's safe to say that many bloggers have a to-do list. But I bet it's also safe to say that you're making it more complicated for yourself than you need to be. That's where Day 8 of the #BloggingBreakthrough Challenge comes in.

I find reading about other people's productivity processes really interesting. And honestly? My blogging life would be nowhere near as successful without my to-do list process. I couldn't keep track of everything without this list, and since using it, I've been more ahead with my blog than I've ever been before.

So today, I present to you my process for creating the best to-do list ever for your blog.

So the main list I want to talk to you about is one for your actual blog content.

If you've been joining in with the #BloggingBreakthrough Challenge, you'll have sorted out your editorial calendar on Day 4. That's the foundation I use to create my to-do lists.

I don't have a monthly to-do list - my editorial calendar does that for me. My lists consist of weekly ones that I create every time I've planned the following month's editorial calendar.


What's in the List?

This list is to help you understand where you're up to with creating content in your blog schedule. I use paper and pen, but you can feel free to do it on Word or online too.

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How to Sort out All Your Blog Files Really Quickly

The other day I needed to find a pretty important document that was in my bedroom. I remembered that I'd put it on my desk. But over a few days (plus Christmas), I'd also put a lot of other things on my desk. So much so, that I couldn't see the surface.

I was going back to work and my untidy bedroom had made me feel like my whole life just wasn't organised. So I tidied and cleaned it - afterwards, I felt a whole lot better.
 

So let me ask you something - can you relate to this with your blog?


Something we all want as bloggers is to be organised. We've got so many images, documents, calendars, ideas, printables and so much more that we want to be able to find quickly.

But if these are all over your computer, then it makes it quite difficult to stay organised, right?

Welcome to Day 7 of the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge. Today I want to talk to you about how you can create dedicated places on your computer for all your blog-related items that will save you a massive chunk of time. Plus, you'll be able to get it done quickly. I'll be telling you the system I use so you can start using it too. All you need is some motivation and your drink of choice (tea for me). Let's go.

Spoiler alert – I don’t have anything on my desktop.

 

Nope. It’s a free zone of everything. All I’ve got is my pretty desktop calendar from The Blog Market and that’s it.

Some people have their desktops full of everything. And that might work for you. But to me, that just shows mess and clutter, which makes me feel like I’m not on track with anything.

The method I use takes away all of that. It’ll feel like a breath of fresh air!

If you’re on your computer reading this and you’ve got your folder open with all your documents that’s a fab place to start. But first, there’s something else to tackle.

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How to Tell People What You Do in Just 5 Minutes

If there’s one question I know we all hate answering it’s this: “so, what do you do?”  We pause and think. What’s the right thing to say here?

I’ve been asked this question many times over the past few years. And if like me, you stumble across the words and can’t think of how to answer this question, then today’s post is for you.

The #BloggingBreakthrough challenge is all about getting a breakthrough with your blog, right? Part of that means you’ve got to be recognised and remembered.

How you answer this question makes all the difference. I was so sick of my response being “I work in marketing and I’m a blogger.” That sounds so boring, right? I mean, how many people work in marketing? And how many people are bloggers?

You want to be different. You want to be the only one that a person will remember when they ask you this question. So you need a good answer. You get that by creating a brand statement,



HOLLY, I'M LOST - WHAT EVEN IS A BRAND STATEMENT?

I first learnt about brand statements during my Masters course in Journalism, two years ago. For every brand we created during that time, we had to create a brand statement for it. This was so we knew exactly what each brand embodied. It was so if someone said, OK, tell me about [insert brand name here]”, we knew exactly what to say to blow them away.

Let’s say you answer “so, what do you do?”  with “I’m a marketer and blogger.” Boring, right? Or you could answer it like this:

"By day, I market one of the top sixth form College’s in the country through online content, email marketing and social media strategies. By night, I write for my online community about building a fulfilling online presence, reaching your dreams and getting to where you want to be. I also use what I learn on a daily basis as content ideas to teach my audience. It seems that people know what sort of what they want to do in life but they don’t believe they can get there. That’s what A Branch of Holly is for."

Which one do you think is the better answer?


Which one would be remembered the most?

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The 28 Day Blogging Breakthrough Challenge

Are you excited by that title? I know I am! Welcome to the official Blogging Breakthrough Challenge. Yep, starting on January 4th we’ll be going through a challenge to help push you out of your comfort zone and get a real breakthrough with your blog. 

You heard right. For 28 days we’re going to be doing some game-changing tasks to get your blog ready for a brand new year and take it to the next level. I’ve been planning this challenge ever since 2015 started. It’s easy to just coast along, doing the same things for our blogs all the time. So I’m saying, why not switch it up a bit? 

But this challenge is different. These tasks won’t take you hours or days. It’s all about working smarter, not harder. You know High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) - where you do a lot of work in a shorter amount of time? That’s what this is going to be like. 

So really, there’s only one thing I need from you. A maximum of 30 minutes each day, for 28 days to complete this challenge

WHO IS THIS FOR?

You. All of you. If you’ve not started a blog yet, this can be your launch checklist. If you’re a beginner, these are great things to tick off as you’re starting out. And if you’ve been blogging for 6 months or 6 years, this is for you too. 

If you’ve never taken part in a challenge before or you’re thinking you want to reach the next step with your blog, the #BloggingBreakthroughChallenge is for you. 

If you feel stuck, uninspired, unmotivated or you’ve simply lost your blogging mojo, this is for you. And hey, I’ll be doing it with you. So we can be accountability partners too. 

OK, I'M INTERESTED. TELL ME MORE... 

The challenge will start on Monday 4th January with Day 1 and will end on Sunday 31st January. Every day during that time, there’ll be a new post up on ABOH with the next task in the challenge. We’ll be covering everything - small things that make a big difference. 

You can choose to start the challenge with me on the 4th. Or you can pick it up and start it whenever you want. That’s the beauty of it. There’s no set way to do it. You don’t even have to do it over 28 days. You could do one task a week if you wanted to. It’s all about doing it at the pace that works for you. 

But this is doable. If you’ve got a full-time job, a house to look after, a family - this is doable. And it’ll make a difference.

So, to get your mind rolling, here’s a quick overview of what we’ll be looking at on each day of the challenge. 

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Hey Blogger, it's OK...

As bloggers, we have a huge to-do list to tackle on a daily basis. From answering emails to keeping up with social media, sometimes it feels like we can’t do it all.

I believe that we are brilliant people. When you think about everything we do, it makes us sound like superstars. But with all the work we put in, we might not always see the outcome that we want. That can make us feel low, fed up and downright blue.

There are times when I don’t want to publish another post. Times when I think, well, what’s the point?

Here’s the point – no one’s journey is the same. There are people out there who want to read what you have to say. Even if they don’t leave a comment and even if you don’t know who they are. There are people in the background who care about what you do.

You don’t have to feel like you have to do everything. If you beat yourself up about not getting things done, this is for you.

So, because it’s the festive season and because, well, let’s face it, a lot of us go through difficult times during this part of the year – here’s some pep talk.  

Today, I want to remind you (and myself, too) that hey blogger, it’s OK. It’s OK to feel lost, it’s OK to feel stuck. But it’s also OK to feel really really good. So, shall we get going?

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