Over on Twitter, there is a delicious meme called #MondayBlogs that was created by my friend Rachel of @badredheadmedia. Her purpose was to get a lot of people together to meet each other, discover new voices and build community. It doesn’t hurt that you get more traffic to your blog, gain a few followers and generate a sale or two.
I’ve been participating in #MondayBlogs off and on for a few weeks and every time I do, two things happen. One: I’m thrilled with the results I get. I’ve met a lot of fascinating people. I gain followers and I have fun. And two: I’m baffled that so few participants give this their best.
#MondayBlogs offers anyone the perfect chance to make a good impression. The hashtag puts us all at equal footing. It doesn’t matter if you have 60 followers, 6000 followers or 60K followers. This is your big chance to dazzle the world. I find it strange that generally speaking, that so many participants don’t work harder at making themselves awesome.
#MondayBlogs has been very, very good to me. I’ve made a list of things I do to make it work. Like any endeavor, you get out of it what you put into it. Perhaps these suggestions can help you spit and polish next Monday’s tweet and make it shine. Perhaps if you do these things, you’ll get more retweets, more favorites, more followers and more readers.
Be Overly Dependent On This One Thing: #MondayBlogs is NOT the only thing that I do to meet people on Twitter. It shouldn’t be the only thing you do either. Some weeks, I’m on fire! Some weeks I’m not. Because I haven’t put all my social media eggs in one basket, it doesn’t matter if I skip a week.
Compare Yourself To Others: In every area of life, this is a bad idea. But here, if all you do is count how many retweets you didn’t get, then you’re missing the point. You also need to realize that because it is a #hashtag, it puts us all at equal footing. In fact, if one of Rachel at @badredheadmedia’s 76,000 followers sees her tweet about #MondayBlogs, and then follows the hashtag out of curiosity, it benefits all of us. If all you care about are the numbers on Twitter, then you will always feel like a loser. Somebody will beat you. Every. Single. Time.
Complain: This is the number one way to insure that I DON’T RT you. “Poor me! Nobody noticed me today!” You want to come to the cocktail party and stand in the corner? Fine. But don’t go home whining about how no one talked to you when all you did was feel sorry for yourself.
Forget To RT: Confession: I forget to RT. But in my defense, I do RT those who I think have left a good first impression, written an interesting headline and had a good attitude. I want to do this more. Please, please, give me lots of reason too!
Have High Expectations: You will probably not see tons of new followers as a result of #MondayBlogs. You will probably not get RT’d as much as you’d like to. And don’t even think about sales. Instead of looking for immediate results, look instead at the conversations you started, the blogs that you visited and the new faces in your feed. This is why we do this. We’re in this together.
Take Yourself So Seriously: Overly serious people are often prickly and self-absorbed. Light-hearted, jolly people (jolly is an adjective that is NOT used enough, IMHO) are attractive and interesting. Everything about this experience will improve for you if you look at it as fun not work.
Plan ahead! Spend time on your blog post and make it sing. Don’t slap it together on Sunday night. Then use a scheduling system like Hootsuite to get it all in place. Mondays come around every week. (This article was written on May 3 and scheduled for May 13.) This takes effort and foresight, but it is well worth the trouble.
Consider Your Content: Your blog post should do at least one of the following: Enlighten, Inform, Entertain, Move a reader emotionally, Demonstrate, Educate or Inspire. If your blog post isn’t doing any of those things, then you need to throw out that idea and start again. Stick to one main thesis. Try not to go over 1500 words. Add a graphic or a photo. Use lists. Be clear. Crack jokes.
View This As A Networking Opportunity And Your Blog Is Your Clothing Choice: Pretend for a minute that #MondayBlogs isn’t something we can do while wearing our pajamas. Pretend instead that it’s a big fancy cocktail party in a ballroom. We’ve all been invited to network and have fun. Would you show up in sweatpants and a hoodie? I wouldn’t. I’d be in my LBD, trying not to fall over in my heels. (Rachel, you wanna hold me up?) Take the time to clean up nice. We’d all love to meet you. If you’re sloppy and disorganized, then you’re telling the rest of us that you don’t care. If you don’t, we won’t either.
Write An Interesting Headline: I wrote last week about how specific, emotional headlines get attention. This is your handshake. This is your business card. You’ve probably heard this: you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so put some time on your headline.
Be Yourself, But Stay Professional: I’m all for freedom of speech and being true to ourselves. But I think that if you are participating in #MondayBlogs to sell something, establish yourself as a writer, influence others and change the world, you should cut back on the f-bombs. Profanity does not enhance professionalism. At times it’s funny. At times it’s the only thing to say. But no one ever says, “I just wish she’d cuss more, then I’d like her.” I was going to suggest that only say on Twitter what you would say at work, but then my husband works in advertising. Nevermind.
Do What You Can: In a perfect world, I would RT everybody who participates. In a perfect world, everybody would RT me. But sometimes I can’t. I have to make lunch for my 5 kids. I have to work on my novel. I might not see your tweet (which was probably awesome, life-changing, and make me want to hug a kitten). I don’t want to feel guilty for not doing enough. I don’t want you to either. Like everything else in life, walk in grace here. It’s a meme. It’s not like lives are at stake or anything. If you feel like it is too much or others aren’t doing enough, then this may not be for you.
Have Fun: Let’s get back to that cocktail party image. It’s a party! Our point is to enjoy ourselves and meet others. The fruit of this may be a long time coming. So what? Use #MondayBlogs as a place to start conversations and build relationships. And unlike a cocktail party, you don’t have to worry about getting drunk.
This is a highly competitive medium! Readers will not just come to you! You need to do something that stands out, demonstrates your professionalism and entices a reader to stay.
So, what do you think? Do you have any suggestions? What have you learned from #MondayBlogs?