This is a guest blog by Judi Holler, Personal Branding Expert, National Speaker, Improviser, Event Emcee, Coach, and Trainer. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, let us know here!
It was 2 years ago this month that I went LIVE on my blog.
I’ll never forget clicking “publish” on that first blog post and feeling so exhilarated at this notion that I had NO clue what was about to happen.
And I actually like that feeling if you can believe it?
I like standing on the edge. I like not knowing what may happen next but going for it anyway. I like looking fear in the face and saying “I just don’t care.”
I’m an improviser.
I graduated Second City‘s Conservatory in Chicago and improvised there for almost 4 years.
I have this passion for Improv. I was watching it change my life. And I needed to tell people about it.
I’d been anxious to start my own blog and really had a deep desire to make a positive change in the world.
The only thing was… I had no idea where to start.
But I did and that’s 99.9% of the battle.
You must start before you are ready. Terrifying I know, but so necessary.
If you are considering blogging, if you have a passion and if you want to share it with the world … I’d love to send a little inspiration your way.
And let me tell you … there is no better way to build your brand than by blogging. It will help you stand out in this very crowded and noisy marketplace that we live and work in.
It’s all about standing out … NOT fitting in.
Blogging is an incredible tool.
Maybe this will give you the little kick you need to START … or at least save you a little pain along the way:
Here are 6 easy steps you can take now to start blogging:
- Research: The fist thing I did was read Michael Hyatt’s book Platform. It served as my road map. Michael takes you step by step though what he did to build his platform to where it is today and he saves you a lot of pain. He also gives SO many incredible tips and tricks to avoid you costly mistakes. He makes it simple and provides incredible support. Check out the book and his website at: http://michaelhyatt.com.
- Get Tech: You’ve got to set up the blog. After reading Michael’s book I was way more in tune with my options. Where to get my domain, setting up a hosting site, working in WordPress, Picking a Theme, managing my widgets. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, don’t stress, neither did I! The book Platform taught me about all this.
- Get Visual: I watched this video on Michael Hyatt’s website to start the official process of setting up the blog. This video will walk you through step-by-step setting up your blog. I did this all by myself. I do not write code, nor did I speak geek. (I can proudly say I do speak a little geek now… and that makes me smile.)
- Phone a Friend:Once my blog was up and running, I met face to face with tech experts/friends who could help me fine tune the blog and answer my questions before I went live. Find someone in your network that you can call on for help. Buy them lunch or coffee in turn for a little tech advice. It will not only save you cash, it will also save you headaches.
- Launch: I started. And way before I was ready. I clicked “Publish” and the rest is history. Each week I learn more and more. As you play in WordPress and add widgets and publish blog posts, the better you get. You just have to start. My blog started as a written blog and now it has become a video blog. You’ll be amazed at what you can do!
- Stay consistent: The best piece of advice I got on blogging is to be consistent. If you want to blog, find a publishing schedule that works for you and stick with it! Whether you write daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, commit to a schedule and do it. My sweet spot has been writing weekly and I have not missed a Tuesday in 2 years. Readers want to hear from you and if you are inconsistent they will not take you seriously. Stick with it, be consistent and you will build a platform in no time.
And if you’re thinking right now, “this is all great but how the heck will I come up with content?” Have no fear … I’ve got your back! Here are a few of my tips for generating content:
- Always be a student and never stop learning. I read all the time! Blogs, books and trade pubs. I use my reading as a content lab and share things I learn via my blog.
- Pick a niche! Once you have your niche/your passion … you will want to laser focus there and write content that stays on point with your passion.
- Take things that happen to you in real life and write about it.
- Conduct guest interviews.
- Do book reviews.
- Have guest blog posters on your site.
- I organize my thoughts and blog posts via Evernote. It helps keep me organized. For example: When I’m out and I think of something that inspires me to write about… I make a new note in Evernote in my “Draft Blog Post” folder and this way I don’t forget.
- I write weekly… this allows me to keep up with the production schedule and never feel writers block for content.
Lastly – here are the blogging tools I’m obsessed with:
- GoDaddy for my domain
- BlueHost for hosting
- WordPress for creation
- Evernote for organization
- Buffer for content distribution
- YouTube for my video content
- Canva for graphic design
- MailChimp for my newsletter
- Clicky for web analytics
I hope this post has helped a little and that my nuggets o’ wisdom gave you the push to JUST DO IT!
Judi is an expert on personal branding… and she is also a professional improviser and a graduate of Second City in Chicago. She has taken her love for the two and blended them together in one epic mash up called Brandprov ™.
Brandprov ™ is the conceptual blend of personal branding with the skills learned in Improv theater to help people think on their feet and create a life they love.
Judi hosts “The Brandprov show” every week on Holla! TV and works as a coach and trainer teaching the Brandprov framework to hospitality professionals.
Judi has been in the hospitality business since the age of 13 and was just selected as one of Connect Magazines 40 under 40 in the hospitality industry.
Judi sits on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Area Chapter of Meeting Professionals International and is the current President-Elect. You can reach her here.