Blogging is like exercising or eating broccoli or avoiding too much alcohol: we know it is good for us, but sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing.
When I meet with clients I emphasize the importance of blogging, because it:
1. Increases inbound links, which helps your position in search results (also known as SEO)
2. Positions you as a thought leader in your industry
3. Allows potential clients to get an idea of who you are and what you can do for them
4. Increases your website traffic
5. Affects inbound leads and, ultimately, fattens your bottom line
But, like exercising, just because we know the benefits, doesn’t mean we will do it.
That’s where rewards come in.
Recently, I spoke with Shannon Wilkinson of Perception Studios about how our brain is wired to respond to rewards. Shannon says that rewards work because they inspire you to keep going. For this reason, she advocates rewarding yourself frequently, especially since the research shows that reward systems are effective in modifying behavior.
If a task like blogging seems especially overwhelming, then break it up into its component parts and reward yourself for each step.
For instance, the tasks I identified for a blog post include:
1. Brainstorming and selecting a topic
2. Creating an outline
3. Free writing
4. Researching any links or references to include in the post
5. Creating the rough draft
6. Editing the draft
7. Rewriting the draft
8. Formatting the piece and including hyperlinks, headings, tags, keywords
9. Hitting the “Publish” button
In addition to extrinsic rewards like a bubble bath, a massage, or a walk in the park, Shannon helped me to identify the intrinsic rewards that come with blogging:
1. The blog helps to break the ice with prospective clients. (it’s especially motivating when they bring up a particular post)
2. There are feelings of accomplishment after a blog post is finished.
3. I am actively doing something that supports my business.
She suggested taking a few minutes after completing each task to daydream about these intrinsic benefits.
I have a feeling that it might be more motivating that booking that massage…
Flickr photo by sk8geek