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11 Important Things Every Startup Blogger Needs To Remember

11 Important Things Every Startup Blogger Needs To Remember

We live in an amazing time when anyone can publish their thoughts, ideas and projects online for the world to see. I assume that the Gutenbergs would be totally amazed! If you are a startup blogger there are a few best practices that you will want to remember to make sure you have the right foundation. Trust me, these will save you time and energy later.

Start Writing With Your Mission In Mind

Sure, you can begin publishing your thoughts online, like a private journal turned public, but most people aren’t going to want to read what about what you had for lunch, where you are going, or how crummy your day was. Instead, sit down and think about what your mission with your blog is and write from that place on every post. This will make it easier to decide when to scrap or publish a post.

Know Your Audience

You won’t know, at first, who is going to be reading your blog until you start publishing, but you can begin by thinking about who you would like to have read your blog. If you are really into design or fashion, you would gear articles towards that audience. If you are a happy vegetarian and are publishing recipes, you would write to other current vegetarians or would-be vegetarians. Think about writing each post with the reader in mind.

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Write In A Compelling Way

People want to learn something new, feel better about themselves, or get excited about a topic when they read a blog post. Your blog needs to be informative, inspiring or affirming with each post. Don’t worry, at first, if your blog posts are too long or too short, but remember the average attention span gets smaller. Consider bite-sized information in short paragraphs that tell a great story!

Collaborate, Don’t Compete

Blogging isn’t a competition. Everyone has value in the blog world and your voice is appreciated and needed. Get in the game and be friendly with other bloggers! It is a pretty welcoming community and if you want to guest post, share content on Twitter, or get to know other bloggers and introduce yourself. Even the bigger bloggers take time to help newer bloggers.

Promote Your Blog

It isn’t enough to just write and hope they will come! You have to promote your blog posts online and off. Join an online blogging community and share your posts, tweet about your new blog posts, pin your photos on Pinterest, have your blog printed on your business cards, go to blogging conferences and get involved in your local and regional blogging communities. A quick search online or on Facebook will help you find groups of people blogging about similar topics. By joining these groups you can promote one another and grow your audiences. People who write about gardening also read about it and you will have found your built-in audience!

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Be Aware Of Time-Sensitive Topics And Trends

Being current about a topic is always a good time to publish. Did a celebrity just say something really demeaning about his mom? Is there a new trend in your field? Are new colors coming out for the season? Having an opinion about those things will more than likely get your blog post read.

Know When To Publish

You can’t always react to trends and you don’t always want to be controversial on your blog because readers get tired of that and want to know your own ideas. Remember, your blog is open for the entire world to see and what you publish is available for anyone to read. Don’t get hotheaded some night and write a flaming open letter that you are going to regret someday. Exercise the “wait a day” rule when you are publishing something that might be sensitive or difficult!

Know What Is Your Story

Tell your own point of view on your blog, but remember you do not own other people’s stories. If you are writing about sensitive information about your family, local community, or even the world around you, be careful that you don’t assume you have permission to tell someone else’s story. This is particularly true of children. Think about how they will feel in 20 years when they see unflattering pictures of themselves online from when they were kids. Ask permission, don’t share real names, and be sensitive to how others will feel with their story broadcast worldwide.

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Lead An Interesting Life

You can’t just blog. You have to actually do interesting things in your real life to have topics and ideas to blog about! Step away from your computer and plan something fun and blog about that. Your blog will remain fresh and fun if you are balancing a real life with blogging.

Be A Real Person

You aren’t a huge publishing house. You are a person; please blog like one. It doesn’t matter if you are blogging for your business or writing a personal blog, write like a real person. What makes blogging so interesting is getting to know the real people behind the blog. Your story is what is most important; not how slick you can write an article.

Just Do It

Don’t let the idea that you aren’t a great writer, photographer, or have the perfect idea stop you from blogging. The more posts that you write the better your writing will get and the better your blog will be. If you wait until the perfect time you might just be waiting forever.

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Now is the perfect time to start a blog and the blogging world is waiting to hear your voice and your story. Get started and share what know with the world.

Featured photo credit: Blogger. Man holding chalkboard with word Blog written on. via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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