Tools I use to make blog challenges more fun & rewarding

by | Oct 2, 2013 | Blog Challenge, Business, Tools | 18 comments

Yesterday I mentioned tools I use to make blog challenges a little easier.  But it’s not all about tech either. Part of what makes a blog challenge (or any challenge) really fun is telling friends about it.  So I naturally invited my friends to participate too.  Some thought it would be too hard, others figured they wouldn’t have enough to talk about on their blog, and a few even worried their readers might leave because they blogged too much. I’ve had those same concerns too.

Want to know how I deal with it?

When I worry about it being too difficult….

I tell myself I only need to participate for a week. If  I still love it, I can keep going.   It seems to calm my mind & I’m able to jump in with both feet & do my best to finish the first week, and then the second and third.  And, if I don’t get to the end I’ve still made significant progress. Especially with challenges like this. Winning (for me anyway) isn’t about getting 31 blog posts written. It’s about connecting with new people, hitting “Publish” more often, fixing things that were broken & learning new things. Already by the 2nd day I’ve accomplished that – and it just keeps getting better.

When I worry I won’t have enough to talk about…

I do this!

blog challenge calendar

I pull out a blank sheet of paper and doodle, until it feels possible (In this case, it felt like I had TOO much I wanted to write about). And even if this isn’t the format I’ll end up using, it gave me a great start last week & I’m able to move things around to make more sense during the remainder of the month.

This same simple process is what I use to plan out my year too. It’s just a guideline (similar to the map you use to get from here to Disneyland) It’s not super important that you take one highway, vs another, but it’s important you know the direction you’re headed, so you can eventually get there.  This is my way of glancing at my map, for a little while & knowing I can do it!

When I worry about readers possibly leaving because I blog too often…

I write a little note at the top of my first couple of posts that say something like,

I’m in a blog challenge.  If you’re reading this on your RSS or are set to daily emails you’ll see a lot of extra messages for the rest of the month. I hope that’s cool!

That’s it! Nothing fancy. And so far it’s worked out just fine!  No mass unsubscribes.

And the tools!   I’ve made a short video to share two of the tools I immediately used during this challenge.

The tools I mention in the video:

  1. Hootsuite  – I use the free account, but they’re currently offering 25% off Pro plans until Dec 31, 2013 with  Coupon Code: HOOTXA25413 – including their University
  2. Editorial Calendar  Plugin for WordPress – Free

What do you use to help make challenges easier?  Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Nikole Gipps

    I need to do that whole thing with the just worrying about today … I don’t need the whole month, I just need to get through today.

  2. Cheryl Foss McDaniel

    Great blog! Will be following. Very informative,

  3. Robbie Schlosser

    Hi Loralee,

    Thanks for so much food for thought! I’ll be re-reading and chewing over all these tidbits. First one that I notice — that it’s perfectly fine to post fewer than 31 times this month. I’m real busy with my music, and blogging is important but far from my main focus.

    But these blog challenges (as much as I can participate) help me blog better. So I’m grateful to everyone who participates and helps me along.

    • Loralee Hutton

      Yeah! I think you and I both really benefit from participating & getting more content out there, but it’s an interesting balance, isn’t it? I’ve also considered writing 31 blog posts during the month & scheduling them forward for the next 31 weeks & participating by commenting on blogs & sharing only a weekly post. Could be an interesting approach, right?

  4. Morgan Eckstein

    For me, it is remembering all the other crazy things that I have accomplished (or attempted) that keeps me sane during times like this. For instance, I have made several attempts to do the NaNoWriMo (which involves fifty thousand words in thirty days)–the first time I attempted it I was in college full time. One can imagine the fun of that attempt.

    • Loralee Hutton

      will you do NaNoWriMo again? I participate with a group of business owners during a challenge alongside NaNoWriMo called ContentPalooza. It’s awesome fun & we either write 30,000 words or create 30 pieces of content (if I remember the rules right). The first time I participated I blew right past 50,000 words, and it was a huge eye opener for me. It gave me the courage to finish other projects. See you in UBC!

      • Amy Scott

        Hmm, I wonder if we’re doing Contentpalooza again this year… I think it’s usually in November, but I haven’t heard a word from Kelly about it.

  5. Amy Scott

    Nice one, Loralee! I just remembered the editorial calendar plugin yesterday, which I already had installed and never used. It made it really easy to get an overview of my planned posts for the month. But I hadn’t realized you could actually create a draft post straight from the calendar—even better!

    And, I completely forgot about the Twitter aspect of the UBC, so thanks for the reminder. I just set up the stream in Hootsuite so I’m ready to go!

    • Loralee Hutton

      Thanks Amy! And something about what you said (maybe because you’re a pro user of hootsuite) reminded me that I had a 25% off coupon for hootsuite in my inbox. I’ve just added the link above. I’m loving seeing your posts too! You’re a whole day ahead of me now, right?

      • Amy Scott

        Thanks! I’m having fun with the challenge so far. I’m 15 hours ahead of you, but have been getting my blog posts done pretty late in the day my time, so they’re often being published in the morning your time. At least for the challenge, the time difference is working in my favor, I think! 🙂

  6. Shasheta

    Good tips, this is my first UB Challenge and I’m in the process of learning.

    • Loralee Hutton

      I hope you have lots of fun in this challenge Shasheta. Ask for help if you need it. We’re a friendly bunch.

  7. Renee

    Thank you so much for the calendar info..I will be doing this. So far I have several drafts waiting on me..but this sounds more doable! And the hoot suite I don’t know about…but will check on it in the morning.

    • Loralee Hutton

      I think you’ll love how easy it is to move things around. Even when I have drafts pre-scheduled something often comes up & it’s so much easier to re-arrange posts, or start something simple while the idea is fresh, vs having to properly open a full post. Have fun!!

  8. Holly

    Thanks for the tips! This is my 2nd Blog challenge and I learned a ton the first time, hope to grow again in leaps and bounds this time too! I will watch for your other tips, thanks!

    • Loralee Hutton

      Would love to hear what you learned from your last round in the blog challenge too Holly. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  9. Melissa

    Hi Loralee!

    Thanks for the video tip! I LOVE tutorials like this, as it makes it so much easier for me to understand. I look forward to going through your previous posts 😉

    • Loralee Hutton

      Do you create tutorials like this too? I started them because it’s what I love to watch too. And it turns out they’re super easy to create!

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