Blogging with consistency is difficult.
Hell – starting anything new and practicing it consistently is difficult.
I started “Morscheck – On Branding” on Dec. 27 of last year as an experiment and a challenge to myself – one of my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions.
Could I find the discipline to write and publish 90-120 posts in 2016?
The realistic goal remains 100 posts, and – I’m proud to say I’m still on track.
But the number of posts was always secondary to their message – the more difficult part has always been striving for quality.
Could my posts teach, inspire or entertain others?
Would they be found, read, or appreciated?
But the biggest challenge was internal – the willpower and persistence to write and publish regularly – slowly build enough of a body of work to begin to discover my true voice.
Among my many discoveries?
I tend to hit about 25 posts per quarter.
While I’m running about a month behind that pace, I’ve also taken about 8 weeks off throughout this year so far.
Here are some of the key milestones so far – small successes that have inspired me to keep writing, keep going:
1. 250 page views at launch
I received 250 page views in the first four days after launching this site, an average of more than 60 views a day.
While these were almost exclusively my friends and family, it was the sort of instant gratification and validation that helped me keep writing throughout that first month.
Also notable: It would take 7 months before I once again hit more than 250 page views in a given week (this time, organically…from fans and strangers alike).
2. The Shout-out
The post of which I am most proud so far is “Is Owned Media Obsolete? Content Strategy Shifts Toward Syndication.”
The post came about by accident. I was browsing others’ marketing posts for a “Best Marketing Reads of January” compilation, and one I stumbled upon happened to have been written a year earlier – in January of 2015.
But that gave me the perfect excuse to revisit and evaluate the post’s (fairly controversial) thesis a year later – did it still hold true?
And so I summarized the original post’s points, then added two additional case studies from the intervening year (from social media platforms LinkedIn and Medium, respectively), that in fact validated the original hypothesis.
It was a solid post, particularly for a brand new blogger.
So the win here?
Somehow the post’s original author – marketing luminary Mark Schaefer – got wind of it (presumably via a Google News alert) and tweeted my post – with his endorsement – to his thousands of followers.
3. Inspirational Post
The background here is simple – earlier this year LinkedIn changed its algorithm such that posts published to its Pulse platform were no longer automatically distributed to one’s connections and followers on LinkedIn. Predictably, this tanked both views and engagement.
At the same time, the cat was out of the bag, so to speak. Everyone was now aware of the potential power of LinkedIn Pulse to reach large audiences, so the sheer number of new posts made it exponentially harder to crack the Pulse algorithm that could spread your reach far beyond your own followers.
The upshot – whereas last year it was merely difficult to get a post featured in Pulse, by this summer it was nearly impossible to get a post featured to a top Pulse channel unless you were a corporate brand (i.e., The New York Times, Inc. Magazine, etc.).
4. Viral in China
As I noted in this week’s post on Agile Content Marketing, one of the reasons to experiment with various types of blog posts is you never know which ones may go viral – or when.
As of today, the most-read post on my blog is on basketball player Jeremy Lin as a case study in perseverance. I wrote it in early June on a lark – having been inspired by a documentary on Lin that I’d caught on Netflix.
It randomly went viral two months later – the week of Aug. 8, when a reader posted it o a basketball message board in China and it got picked up by Baidu – the Chinese version of Google.
The result? Hundreds of views within a 48 hour period, with dozens more daily for the next few weeks.
5. The Date
My January post “Politico in Peril – End of an Era?” has been viewed (let alone read) exactly four times in the nine months since its publication – and I’m pretty sure one of those was just me checking it how it looked on a smartphone.
It was fairly niche on two fronts – a) it was a news story (short shelf-life) and b) about a DC-centric policy trade with little appeal to those beyond the Beltway.
And yet, one of the three people who read it?
A blind date of mine a month or so later who had (as one should) Googled me beforehand, found my blog, and read far enough back to find that post. Turns out, she worked for Politico and had lived through that drama. It encouraged her to meet me.
The lesson here? It’s not how many people read your posts, but who they are. Literally only three people have ever read that post, and yet – one of those who did mattered.
Any new project takes dedication. And there will always be set-backs.
But sometimes it’s worth celebrating the small milestones along the way — those wins (like those described above) that keep you motivated and give you the strength to push through even when your uninspired or just plain tired.
Feel free to share your own small milestones in the comments below.
In the meantime, remember: