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As a new blogger about two years ago, I felt like the only thing that would get me blogging more was to try blogging every day. So in 2013 I blogged each day, and I actually made it with only a couple of hiccups—some days I posted twice but by the end of the year I had 365 posts. One of the things that I learned on this adventure is that fresh material can be particularly difficult to come up with.
This post is brought to you today from an awesome guest poster. Author Bio: Kimberly usually writes about whatever inspires her at Inspirefly. Typically, she is inspired by her reading, her knitting projects, and her students and teaching them. Follow/connect with her on Facebook or on Twitter @KimberlyNHawks as well to see what inspires her on a daily basis.
This brings me to the whole point—find challenges! They do a couple of things for you.
- Help you with new material.—So essential for a blogger!
- Keep motivation going!—You have a deadline, and people encouraging you.
- You can interact with people!—They will come to your blog, you go to their blog—you get new followers, and more exposure.
I thought that it might be nice to share some of the challenges that I have come across. There are challenges out there that are more “niche” blogs and not “niche” blogs. However, you always can go look at those blogs and comment on their posts, which will give you more exposure. Bloggers love to know that people are reading!
Challenge #1: A to Z Challenge
This challenge takes place annually every April. The basic point of the challenge is to post every day except Sunday in the month of April with a new letter of the alphabet. So on April 1st your blog post is about A is for _________, April 2nd is B is for _______, etc. A lot of bloggers will post in a theme. For example, if they are a blog all about cars maybe they do an A to Z list of cars. One year I followed a blogger whose theme was his children. He had his two daughters make a list of one word per letter and then he would write whatever came to mind that day about the two words. You also don’t have to do a theme. I did anything I could think of in 2013 and 2014 I tried to stay closer to my idea of catching up on how far behind I had gotten on my blog! (After blogging for a year, 2014 struggled a bit!)
One of the great things about this challenge is that it really is all about exposure. The “hosts” “co-hosts” and “assistants” try to see everyone’s posts—last year there was 2,009 blogs signed up! The hosts encourage everyone to try to write ahead of time and schedule ahead of time so that the time you would spend on blogging is spent on reading and commenting on others. The hosts also try to hype up newer blogs with less than 100 followers or good posts that they see. Finally they do a sub-challenge after the month called the Road Trip. People sign up and they go around and see others’ blogs that have signed up—no posts required, no rules, or time limit.
Challenge #2: Five Minute Friday
This is the newest challenge I just stumbled across, so I have actually only participated once. However, I have enjoyed it thoroughly. The idea of this challenge is that on Thursday at 10 pm EST the current host, Kate, will announce a word. You free write for five minutes on that word, to quote Kate: “This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”
Though this might seem like a “niche” blog for writers, I think that you can take the word and connect it to what you currently write about. The great thing too is that they ask you to look at the post of the person who linked just before you. This way everyone gets at least one visit and hopefully a comment! They also are pretty wide on Twitter—so if you want to get more Twitter exposure—check out the chat at #fmfparty.
Challenge #3—Bout of Books
Bout of Books is predominantly a reader blog challenge, so most of the people that are involved talk about reading on their blogs or review books. However, I think that anyone can participate, because we can all stand an excuse to read more! This is a week-long challenge that is three times a year—typically January, May, and August. The challenge is to read as much as you can! For me, that usually means I try to finish a book that week, but it can be anything you want. The two hosts, Kelly and Amanda, do a great job organizing Twitter chats for people to talk about what they are reading and getting other blogs to host mini-challenges that you can hop on and do to get more exposure. A Bout of Books event just finished at the beginning of January. Mark your calendars for May 11th to 17th for the next one. Kelly and Amanda always recommend following them on the blog because they will post for people who want to do mini-challenges and help out about a month ahead of time.
I hope this was helpful for everyone/anyone looking to get involved in the blogosphere with some new opportunities. Come check out my participation at my blog! I love these challenges and can’t wait to get involved with them this year.
Thank you Kimberley for sharing this great post with all of us. I really enjoyed reading it myself. I love finding new blogging tips and ideas.