As you may or may not have noticed, I managed to publish (at least) one blog post every day for the past 30 days.  My sister and I participated in a 30-day Content Challenge hosted by marketing coach Joshua Coffy at FlightMedia.  Yes, it kicked my butt.  But you know what?  It also taught me a lot about preparation and commitment … okay, and procrastination, which I apparently do.  A lot.

But the best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t do it.  So … Challenge?  Ok!

Why did I do it?

First, it should be known that I have two active personal blogs: this one and The Lost Scrapbooks, plus I’m a contributor on the FGS Voice blog once a week.  I also contribute to my society’s blog Off-Shoots when I remember … which probably should be more often.  All this is quite challenging already, thank you very much.  But I couldn’t say no to this challenge for a couple of reasons:

  • to support my sister and her new marketing company (For real. She knows her stuff, and I’m not biased at all)
  • to see if posting content more often would make a difference in readership (page views on my blog, email subscribers, feedly readers, etc.) and twitter followers
  • eventually, I’m going to be begging looking for research clients – I’d like to go ahead and start getting my “brand” out there now

How did I do it?

WWMDltpkI had a little over a week to prepare for this challenge.  I had no idea what I was going to do … fresh new content every day for 30 days?!  I must be insane.  So I thought to myself, “Self, what would Melissa do?”  (That’s my sister. She’s a Virgo. I really shouldn’t need to say anymore).

So I started with a blank calendar.  Then I went to a couple of different websites to see if there were any “National _____ Day” things.  One of the best ones I found was Days of the Year.  If you’re looking for obscure holidays, this is the place (seriously … Iguana Awareness Day, anyone?).  I also went to Geneabloggers and made notes of all the blog prompts there.

Once I had those topics mapped out on my calendar, it was time to figure out what to write for each topic.  I wanted to compare my plan to what was already on my blog to make sure I wasn’t repeating the same information, but I also wanted to make sure that if I provided updated information, I linked back to previous posts if necessary.

I color coded my topics on my calendar so I could remember which topic was for which blog.  I ended up maintaining my once-a-week schedule for the FGS Voice blog and decided to focus on “Throwback Thursday” for my Lost Scrapbooks blog (since all of those revolve around newspaper articles from the early 1920s).  I also decided to keep up my “Throwback Thursday” post on this blog since I was already doing it.

Fortunately, I had a long Labor Day weekend leading into this challenge, so that gave me three days to focus on nothing but writing blog posts.  I managed to get 24 blog posts written over the course of those three days, marking them off with nice big check marks.  Once you make the decision to not let anything interrupt you (housekeeping, sleep, personal hygiene) it’s really easy to knock out some work.  I don’t recommend it as a lifestyle though …

I continued to work on writing blog posts here and there after work during the week, but only made a little progress because … you know, work.  Tired.  Plus, there were a couple of posts I wanted to write but I still had to do a little research before I could put the finishing touches on them … and I needed several straight hours to get that done, and that wasn’t happening after a full day of work.

Editorial Calendar SeptemberThe first weekend in September, I managed to get 8 more posts written, including one that required hours of research.  I was quite proud of myself!  By this point, I only had about 7 posts left to write, and they were all for the last week of the month.  I felt like I had a little breathing room … which is usually a mistake for me, from a procrastination standpoint.  But I kept my editorial calendar on the corner of my desk where I couldn’t NOT see it.  Turns out, those big check marks (or more accurately, the days that were missing those big check marks) were a great motivator to keep going.  I ended up having all of my posts for the month written by September 14 (with the exception of this one, which couldn’t be written until I was done!)  Thanks to the new WordPress Editorial Calendar’s drag-and-drop feature, when something came up at the end of the month, I was able to move some stuff around to make room for a new post that needed to be published right away.

And the results?

Obviously, these will be skewed a little, since I won’t have today’s results (which I’m sure will be through the roof, right?), but you can still get an idea.

Twitter followers increased by 5% (from 365 to 385)
Feedly subscribers increased by 12% (from 114 to 128)
Email subscribers increased by 32% (from 95 to 126)

Hits per day for September:

page views for SeptThose two very tall columns were created because apparently forms are like crack for genealogists.  Whatever, I’ll take it.

Average views per day increased from 89 to 142 (59%):

Avg per day

Hits per month increased from 2,750 to 4,041  (46%):

hits per month
Will I be doing this every month?  Probably not.  Will this help motivate me to be more consistent with my writing? Absolutely.

Do you have any hints or tips for keeping your blog content fresh and consistent?


Do we share ancestors? Email me: lostancestors AT gmail DOT com

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30 Days of Content: How I Did It — 25 Comments

  1. Congrats to you! I admit I kept seeing your posts and was thinking “she’s on a roll”!! Just means I have lots to catch up on when I get at a good point with my unpacking and sorting (STILL!!). I am hoping to do a similar challenge next month but may change it to November. My thought is I will have a 3 day weekend for Columbus Day and can really brainstorm during that time.

    Guess you have thrown down the gauntlet!!!

  2. Jenny, you are amazing and it’s hard to believe all the stuff you are involved in. It wears me out just thinking about it! Keep up the good work!

  3. Wow Jenny – I am very impressed. It always takes me so long to write just one post that I am always gobsmacked when it is suggested that you write several in one day and schedule them. I think perhaps I write too much in one post and need to write shorter posts! I giggled when I read your line that forms are like crack for genealogists. I need to go and look for those posts now!!

    • I know the feeling, Alex. I have started breaking my long posts into a series of shorter ones (which creates more content in the process). It’s easier to write these all at one time (so you don’t forget where you left off) and then break them up and schedule ahead. It feels like killing 497 birds with one stone.

  4. Pingback: Recommended Reads - Empty Branches on the Family Tree

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