There is only so far you can improve by yourself, getting a blog buddy will challenge you to be a better blogger and keep you motivated.
This is the third post in our series on writers workouts:
- In episode 86 we looked at “morning pages’ which despite my initial scepticism I’m still using and still finding helpful.
- In episode 87 we looked at writing with simplicity. I gave you two tools to try out that would force you to write more simple text.
This week is a bigger challenge in some ways. I’m challenging you to find a blogging buddy.
Listen – All about blogging buddies
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I first heard the term ‘Blogging buddy’ on Darren Rowse’s Problogger podcast.
A year later I was sitting in a hotel in Co. Carlow, Ireland for the first meeting with my blogging buddy.
Weirdly I’m not sure we’ve ever formally called ourselves blogging buddies. Our quarterly sessions aren’t just about content, we discuss tactics to grow our business over the coming quarter but because we’re both fervent content marketers we tend to plan the content that will help us achieve our goals.
What is a blogging buddy?
In the show notes for his episode on the topic, Darren describes a blog buddy as
“…another blogger (or bloggers) to help you improve your blog.”
He goes on to say:
“Blogging doesn’t have to be a solo venture – in fact, it can be incredibly social and when we grasp this idea of doing it together it can lead to all manner of great things.”
My blogging buddy is a fellow content marketer who I can run ideas by on a regular basis, celebrate success with and analyse failures with. We meet once every quarter for an in-depth session but much of our buddying is done online through instant messaging.
The idea of a blog buddy wasn’t something that instantly appealed to me. I like to think I can do everything myself. I thought I’d be scared to reveal my vulnerabilities.
Of course, those two traits are terrible traits for a business owner so I shrugged off my anxieties and somehow found myself in that hotel bar, computer out, with my soon to be blog buddy.
The advantages are huge:
1. Talk through ideas and spark new ones
We all have ideas knocking around in our head. Things we’d like to do to market our business and improve our blogs. Some of these could be genius but if we don’t’ discuss them with others they can stay in our heads. By sharing these ideas with a buddy you can start planning how to make them happen. You’ll also find that when you set them free you’ll come up with lots of other ideas.
2. A new set of eyes
When we look at our work every day we can start to loose perspective. We’re too close to what we do. I know I’m not the only one who has moments of thinking everything I do is rubbish.
The opposite can happen too, we can write a piece, think it’s fantastic only to look at it later and realise it’s riddled with mistakes.
Having an honest blogging buddy will help you realistically assess your work. When you’re not sure show it to your buddy, if they give you the OK you’ll know it’s OK.
I do this a lot, particularly if I think I may have pushed my ‘bubbliness’ too far. My blogging buddy is always on hand to tell me.
3. Keeps you motivated
There’s something about setting a date that can make things happen. Even if you are an at the last minute person having a concrete date will make you get stuff in order beforehand.
Consider your blog buddy dates as immovable, It’s wrong to break a date with them. Like Christmas, you may end up doing your Christmas shopping (or in the case of blogging, blog planning) the day before but it will get done.
I will always find an hour the day before our meetings to look back at plans made at our last session and come up with ideas I want to float for the next quarter.
4. Two minds are better than one
Consider your blog buddy someone to brainstorm with. Start with an idea and bounce it off each other until it becomes better, until it becomes the best idea ever. You’ll be surprised how far you can push and develop what you already thought was a great idea.
Choosing a blog buddy
Are you ready to find a blog buddy?
Don’t just jump into it, you’ll want to choose your buddy carefully.
- Is their business different enough from yours so you won’t’ be competing
- Will they be honest with you and do you feel comfortable being honest with them
- Are they at a similar level, quality and experience as you?
- Do they blog regularly and are they committed?
- Do they have a similar vision for their blog? Growth, business etc
- Will it be a two-way relationship where you help each other?
- Do you like them? This might be frivolous but if you’re going to spend time with this person and stay in touch via instant messaging you don’t want to be groaning every time you see a message from them.
- Are physical meetups possible? This isn’t essential. Online video calls can work well but I don’t think you can beat sitting in the same room with someone.
Incidentally my blogging buddy contributed to that list. She did want me to ‘will they buy you cake’ too!
What should a blog buddy meeting look like?
Your meetups will be different depending on you and your blogging buddy.
One thing that will be important is to make sure you are prepared, not just with ideas for yourself but ideas for your buddy.
Make sure you split time up equally so you spend enough time on each blog.
Consider setting an agenda in advance and using the brainstorming techniques we talked about back in episode 55.
Are you ready? Do you want to go get a blog buddy?
Well, go on then. A good place to start looking would be my Facebook group. I’ll be adding a thread there where you can ask for a blogging buddy and get to know others in the group.
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