Today is July 31, which is significant only in that today is the last day of my 31 Day Blogging Challenge, the first such challenge that I have hosted.
It’s been an interesting learning experience and I thought I’d share what I learned with you.
What I Learned:
1. It takes more effort to run a challenge than it does to participate in one. This might seem obvious to you, but it didn’t actually hit me until I was a week into the Challenge. My original intent was to use the Challenge as a prompt to write more blog posts for my blog. The reality was that the Challenge itself took so much of my time that I actually had less time to write for my blog.
2. Marketing and promotion don’t happen overnight. I decided to host this challenge at the end of June and spent two days creating the sales page and sign up forms, which left only a couple of days for promotion. I promoted the Challenge to my list and my clients and did a bit of promotion via social media; there simply wasn’t time to do more. As a result, only a handful of people signed up. This lack of planning for marketing is a mistake that I see my clients make all the time, so I was surprised that I made it as well.
3. If one person receives value, you’ve done your job. Even though only a handful signed up, they were enough for me to understand the value of what I was offering. Receiving emails that say, “I used your tip and wrote this post,” or “I’m being inspired by your tips,” help to reinforce that I have something to share of value, something that people need me to share. This feedback has inspired me to offer additional support for bloggers.
4. Summer is not a good time for making this kind of commitment. I chose July without much thought — it was just the next month that followed my decision to do this. Being the middle of summer, many people already had commitments for the month that prevented them from saying yes to participating; in fact, I had a number of people take the time to write and tell me they were interested and would have signed up if it wasn’t for these other commitments. In the future, I’ll experiment with other times of year to see if more, or less, people have conflicts.
5. Creating something for the first time takes work; tweaking it and offering it again is a piece of cake. Now that I have all of the pieces created, it will be easy to offer this Blogging Challenge again. I’m already planning the next one, which will be in September.
It can be tempting to look at this process and see it as less than successful. After all, only a handful of people signed up, which wasn’t the hundreds that I had hoped for. But that would be missing the point.
When you have an audience — even when the audience is only one individual — it is much easier to create materials that serve that audience. Creating in a vacuum and trying to guess what the audience will need is REALLY, REALLY hard.
Leaving adequate time for marketing and promotion is a challenge for everyone, even the so-called experts. Deadlines help, but the reality is that we often take as much time to do something as we have available. It’s human nature.
So, instead of stressing about it, just get the thing done and accept that the number who initially sign up may be small. Don’t let that be a problem. Instead, accept that this is your beta test group and create and deliver your program. Once you get through it once, then turn around and sell it again. But the second time around, you can focus all of your effort on the marketing because the rest is done.