While poking around on my Blog Post Ideas spreadsheet looking for goodies to write about, I came across a Harvard Business Review blog post by JD Schramm, which touches on the importance of Consistency in Communication.
In recounting the story of a professor who for years and years consistently sent a typewritten newsletter to readers, Schramm explained how the newsletter itself spoke more than the words it carried.
“When [the professor] celebrated issue #400, I found the one and only working typewriter at NYU’s Stern School of Business so I could type him a note of congratulations. He appreciated my gesture, but in issue #401 or 402 pointed out my improper spelling of the word occasionally as occassionally. Over the years these monographs came to represent more to me than the anecdotes on the page. I saw the lifetime commitment of an educator who enjoys teaching years after retirement. And the stack of [newsletters] growing on my desk reminded me of the kind of educator I aspire to become: committed to my teaching and connected to my community. His efforts, which are herculean compared to the ease of an email distribution list, blog post, or twitter feed, remind me of simpler times.”
That story, supported by mental images of an old academic bent over his ancient typewriter, led me to inquire within.
I suppose that I, like the professor, write for this blog as a way to connect with others who, like me, care about matters of communication, writing, editing, and online marketing. I do this work because I am committed to helping my readers improve and grow their businesses. I also love to learn new things, and I love to share what I learn.
My blog gives me a forum through which I can do all of those things.
But -- aside from this 30 Day Blogging Challenge I'm in the midst of (Day 16 here) -- what’s been lacking in my blogging has been consistency.
Funny--as a marketing writer and editor, I should, and I do, know better.
Case in point: A few weeks ago, before the 30 Day Challenge started, my husband walked into the office chuckling. He said he saw me typing away on the keyboard, and was reminded of Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty.
He then asked what I was writing.
When I told him I was writing to “my adoring public, which has waited far too long to hear from me,” he quipped, “You know, someone once gave me some really good advice--if you’re going to start a blog, you need an editorial calendar and a backlog of content so you don’t run out of material and stop publishing.”
Hardee-har-har! That advisor was me.
And before the Challenge I DID create an editorial calendar. (Actually, it was a supply of blog posts that would, I hoped, last me through even the busiest of times.)
But of course I ran out of pre-written posts. Of course my blog fell silent.
(If a blog with no readers falls silent, does anyone notice?)
Despite my knowledge, despite knowing how much an editorial calendar and a storehouse of blog posts keeps a blog moving forward, I let consistency lapse.
I let myself get too busy, which communicates to readers who visit this site that I’m not really interested … that I’m out of business … that I ran out of steam … that I suck at the follow through … that I jumped on a bandwagon without counting the cost.
I know what I think when I see a business blog with a very old post in the number-one space: it ain’t something good.
The 30 Day Blog Post Challenge, a shindig for which I am responsible, has forced me to stay on top of my blog posts. It'd be pretty embarrassing to lead a 30 Day Blog Post Challenge and then fizzle out on Day 13.
But that's not the issue. I know I'll complete the Challenge, even if I have to stay up until 2am to get that bloody post written and posted!
The issue is ... beyond the Challenge ... how committed am I? To my blog? To my readers? To myself?
I'm sure the professor got busy over the course of writing 400 newsletters.
I'm sure he got sick ... had to drive the kids somewhere ... got into a virtual fist-fight with his website when the technology stuff stopped working.
He had ALL of those excuses.
And yet he kept on publishing, newsletter, after newsletter, after newsletter.
All 400 of them.
I'm not sure what drove him to do so.
But I offer deep, virtual respect for his follow-through.
And somewhere deep within myself, I vow to keep my commitment to writing on the blog at least weekly after the Challenge is over.
If I can handle 30 blog posts in 30 days, I can surely handle four blog posts in one month.
Of course I can!
Time to stop being wishy washy.
I hereby commit to publishing a new blog post once a week after this Challenge has ended.
Even if no one reads. I'll keep writing and publishing, if only for consistency, if only to honor my commitment to myself.
P.S. This is post #16 in my 30 Day Blogging Challenge!
P.P.S. Curious? Join my tribe to learn more!
Do you sweat the small stuff? Do you want your online presence to inspire trust and confidence? Do you grit your teeth when others don't care enough about YOUR web experience? Are you all about creating an excellent website and excellent content that makes it easy for people to get to know, like, and trust you and buy your stuff?
I think we might be soul mates. And I'd love for you to join my tribe.
When you do, I'll alert you to new blog posts, new programs and products, and new ways for you to create excellent, frictionless, online experiences that lead more people to YES! I promise to be relevant and real, and to send only thoughtful content and advice.
Renae Gregoire is a content mentor and clarity expert changing the world one outstanding leader at a time. The coaches, consultants, and experts she works with have big visions for creating transformational change--if only they could create that content! Her work typically involves a blend of strategy and wordsmithing, with a heavy focus on the reader's perspective. Renae is also the creator of the Blog Post Inspiration Deck, the Blog Your Brilliance online program, and the Content Coaching Club.