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What I Learned From My 28 Day Blogging Holiday

There’s always a dilemma when you leave the office for your holidays. You have finished off all the client work, set up your auto responder, changed your answer phone messages but what should you do with your social media and blog? 

In the past I’ve scheduled blog posts to publish whilst I’ve been gone, I’ve even written posts whilst away. This time I decided that I’d take a blogging holiday.

I’ve been working hard on improving my blog all year and it’s been working. I’ve got lots of new readers and they do convert but I felt I needed time out. How could my blog be better? Maybe taking a break would show me?

Here’s what I learned from my 28 days of blog free holiday:

Review the frequency of blog posts

If I was going to schedule posts in advance for my holiday I’d have to be careful. I couldn’t write any ‘how to’ posts or even commentary. In the ever changing world of social media what I write today could be totally irrelevant next week. The sort of posts I could have scheduled would be curated posts, best of posts, fluffy posts. The problem with these is that they’d lack quality.

That old cliche is true. Quality is more important than quantity. At my prime I write four blog posts a week and although I strive for quality in each one there is no doubt that I won’t achieve it every time. It’s too heavy a schedule to allow me to give my clients the attention they deserve and write really great content.

Takeaway – Review the frequency of posting and strive for better quality posts.

Variety of content

Out of the four blog posts I write a week three are text based. One is a video. Variety of content is important. Not everyone can digest a large amount of text, video is often a better way to show people how to do things than a written tutorial.

This year I’ve also been looking at podcasting. Audio can help you reach people who may not usually digest your content. The nice thing about podcasting is that people can listen on the go or whilst doing other tasks. Podcasting is definitely finding it’s way to the top of my agenda.

Takeaway – Look at making one of my written blog posts a video post and one a podcast post.

Finding a niche

People tend to associate me with Facebook. I do love working on Facebook, it has so many quirks and tricks that I find it an interesting network to write about. It’s great to be considered as knowledgable on this topic but I don’t really want it to be my niche. I like to work with businesses cross platform. I’ve always seen my niche as working with Small Businesses on social media marketing.

Is small business a strong enough niche? I’ve learned I need to work harder at applying my posts specifically to small businesses. I need to tailor my social media marketing more towards this audience.

Takeaway – Make sure every post is targeted at a small business audience.

Use social media like others do

This is the most valuable lesson I have learned. I think it’s important for social media marketers to take a step back and use social networks like everyone else from time to time. It is only when we look at our Facebook or Twitter feed as a user rather than a marketer that we understand how they really work. Taking time out from marketing helps you do this.

Here’s an example:

When I was in Southend On Sea for the night a RNLI helicopter was circling over the pier. I did what any curious tweeter would do and typed #Southend and ‘Southend’ into the Twitter search box to see if I could find out what was going on. I didn’t find out what the helicopter was doing, I did find a restaurant that was actively tweeting about it’s food and re-sharing complimentary tweets from customers. This isn’t a tactic I’d have recommended restaurants to do in the past but it did make me want to visit. Time for me to rethink some Twitter tactics.

Takeaway – Take my marketing hat off every weekend and use social networks as a user.

I had ideas

Pretty much 24 hours a day 7 days a week I’m focussed on my work. My head is full of ideas and tasks and campaigns. This leaves little room for creativity. Taking a step back left my mind free to wander and think about other things. This meant I had new ideas and sitting down in front of my computer this morning I was fresh and ready to try something new.

Takeaway – Strive for better work life balance.

I missed important stuff

Some of the things that happened whilst I was away:

  • Twitter animated Gifs
  • Facebook psychological test
  • Facebook sidebar ads improved

I’m sure there is more so do let me know if there’s something I should know about that I didn’t pick up from my feeds this morning.

The biggest thing that I missed was a share from the wonderful Mari Smith of my last blog post. Not only was it great to get the share but it picked up a vulnerability in the tool I was recommending. I’ve now updated the post so thanks to Mari and her fans.

Takeaway – Think about hiring a VA (virtual assistant) to keep on top of trends whilst I’m away.

Your Turn

What do you do when you are on holiday? Do you switch off or do you schedule? Let me know in the comments.

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  • http://www.writeontrack.ie Lorna Sixsmith

    I wholeheartedly agree that in one way a holiday from blogging is great, as long as it is a planned one. If unplanned, the guilt sets in and it can be hard to get back into it. I always find I come home buzzing with all sorts of business ideas when I’ve had a rare holiday.
    Interesting that you think you are focusing too much on Facebook – I think you are seen as a facebook and twitter expert which is a strength – you’re now making me wonder if I’m focusing too much on blogging and pinterest as I rarely blog about facebook or twitter! I’m limiting my blogging on Write on Track to once a week now as with everything else going on, blogging more than that makes me feel that it’s just not going to be of good quality at the moment.
    I had intended looking at podcasts too – maybe we should chat about it on Friday – maybe even do one!

  • jahid khan

    Social Media Marketing is really helpful.It helps every one.

  • jahid khan
  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    I think your focus is good Lorna. You are the Pinterest expert! Great minds think alike, yes a joint podcast was in my head too :)

  • jahid khan

    Social
    Media Marketing is really helpful.It helps every one.: http://mediaconnective.com/

  • http://www.greensideup.ie Dee Sewell

    Butting in but I think you complement each other well! Looking in from the outside, we know which blog to go to for which information. I found your observations interesting Amanda and impressed you took a complete break from everything. I was publishing three posts a week at some points but do wonder whether people have time to read them all and often wonder if posts are published less frequently, will folk look forward to reading them more.

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    There’s the other concern Dee. Are we overwhelming our best readers and advocates with too much content? I’m cutting down for sure :)

  • http://www.writeontrack.ie Lorna Sixsmith

    Did the break affect your traffic much Amanda? I’ve noticed a slight dip now that I’m only posting once a week. Probably down by about 15%

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    Thanks to Mari Smith no :)