Yes, well, when I figure that one out I’ll get back to you. This week is a prime example. Armchair BEA crept up on me and bust into my reality about a day after the event began. Managing my blog in the midst of my already heavily planned week became a real issue.
Armchair BEA is the virtual version of Book Expo (BEA), that once-a-year glimpse of nirvana that book lovers, book buyers, book writer, and book bloggers attend with high hopes and expectations. If you’ve been to Book Expo, then you know how exhausting, exciting, and exhilarating the live BEA can be. Books up to the roof, authors at every turn, book sellers at every table, book buyers at every turn, and book writers everywhere. The place is packed and there’s a whole lot of bumping going on.
So you might think, given that Armchair BEA is online, that the frenzy is contained and turned down a notch. Not so. You might not be physically bumping into each other but the blog hopping is incredible. Each day events are posted, videos watched, photos examined, and discussion topics posted. For us bloggers there is a lot to do including writing posts for the daily topics and visiting everyone else’s blogs and posts to keep up with the discussion and meet new folks. Managing a blog in the midst of Armchair BEA is a bit like roping chaos.
Why do Armchair BEA?
Armchair BEA offers so much value to those of us who love and write about books, writing, and authors that it’s well worth the effort to participate. Managing a blog during this busy week requires us to do the same things we always do but with an added boost.
The reality of keeping a blog
Whether you blog for fun or you’re blogging for money, the work is the same. A blog requires time, effort, and maybe some money depending on your intention. So how to you keep your energy alive, stay up with the work, and stay fresh? Make sure you are blogging from a place of passion. You love what you do. You love your subject. If you’re a book blogger, books gush forth. If you’re a writer, you ooze writing. That’s the secret.
Managing a blog often means you take on small and large projects. Participating in Armchair BEA is definitely a project of mine. I now realize I need to update my calendar and make sure I keep my week free next year so that life is much simpler.
Other projects could include a special round of book blogging or writing reviews for particular events. All these things require a little more thought and planning in order to be fully successful. Projects may be added work but the results are often helpful when it comes to reader interaction, reader awareness, and blog growth.
Managing a blog takes time. Today you can’t seem to get away from the need for time management. This week it really hit home because of the extra activities I had planned for the middle of the week. I had to prioritize my days to set aside the time needed for Armchair BEA.
Blogging is simply another form of writing. It requires the same butt-in-chair approach all other writing demands. Whether you carve out the time in small increments or block large time spans to complete your work, it simply has to be done. As the blogger, you are in control of managing a blog and meeting the requirements you’ve set up. If you’re having trouble meeting your expectations, take some time and revisit your plans.
Go back to the basics: Why are you blogging? Who is your audience? What are their expectations and needs? What do you want to do with your blog? Find that sweet spot and you’ll find renewed motivation and energy that will you in managing your blog. Then make it happen and Eat That Frog!.
Personal reputation management
Managing a blog includes maintaining an online presence and insuring that your personal reputation is protected. More and more is being written about this and it’s good to run checks every now and then to see how things are going. While you can’t manage what others say and do, you can take responsibility for your own actions in what you write and how you comment and interact with your readers. Reread, think, check and walk away if necessary before you hit “publish.”
Customer service management
Managing a blog means you have readers. Your readers are your customers and good customer service is as valued in online world as it is in the real one. Follow the Three Bs: Be proactive. Be positive. Be polite.
Managing a blog involves writing. Your writing is your product. Whether it’s your posts or any other piece of writing you create for public consumption, it reflects you and your blog and what you are all about. If you’ve taken the time to learn to write, why not take the time to learn the hows and whys of managing a blog? You don’t have to do it all at once. Start small. Work up gradually as you feel your way around the blogosphere. Eventually you’ll find your little bit of virtual space and make yourself a home.
Enjoy your blog and blogging
Whatever your reasons for owning a blog, managing a blog does have a learning curve. The beauty of a blog is that it is your own personal publishing platform and you can make of it what you will. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Reach out to others and introduce yourself. If you’re inclined, enter into some short or long term partnerships with other bloggers. Find a blogging buddy. You can be each other’s accountability partner.
If writing is a problem for you, join some groups where you’ll have the encouragement and energy of others to help motivate you to participate. If you love reading the classics, The Classics Club is a great group of readers who are passionate about books and love reading, talking, and writing about the classics. You determine your own participation level. There are many more opportunities out there. Don’t be afraid to join in. Here’s my reading the classics project list.
Find some helpful blogging tools
Finally, be on the lookout for blogging tools that will ease the task of managing a blog. Here’s two I use.
- Have an editorial calender – Editorial calendars are great tools whether on paper or as a plug-in. One of my favorite blogging tools to help me stay on top of my blog is the WordPress editorial calendar plug-in.
- Use a kitchen timer – Kitchen timers are terrific and simple tools that really enhance productivity. Discover ways writers can use kitchen timers.
When it comes to managing a blog, there are many more resources and help available. When you’re feeling stressed and a bit overwhelmed, try this: BREATHE!