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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to Hyper Blog Like a Pro!

The best way to increase your chances for having a great Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge experience is by actively working specific areas of this blogathon to meet goals you have (whether formal or informal) for your blog in April. Even among bloggers who do not have solid long or short-term goals for blogging through the 26 letters of the alphabet; chances are that when you sign-up, you do so with a set of expectations or hopes for what you want to get out of your participation in the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge.

On Monday, Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out filled us in on the secret to this challenge – it’s about the letters, but it’s also about the numbers. 

"Hyper Blogging" is what he calls it; a kind of blogging on steroids that is necessary action for participants who aim to see any real significant increase in your number of subscribers, fans, friends, followers, visitors and comments – or whatever area you are seeking a boost in for your blog. As founder and ruler-of-them-all when it comes to the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge, Arlee has a great point when he emphasizes that you have to put in the work to see results.

I’ve participated in this challenge long enough to understand how its mere size can be enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned bloggers. Since we cannot be everywhere all of the time, while trying to visit nearly two thousand blogs in 26 days, it’s beneficial to use those A-to-Z goals, expectations and/or hopes as a foundation for your plan of attack on this April blogathon. Focus on activities that lead toward what you want and do less of the online stuff that doesn’t move in that same direction. Here are some ways that you can get your numbers up during the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge without returning to your blog empty-handed by the time May rolls around.

The Key to Playing the Numbers Game

Locate the objective that most matches what you want out of the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge and then focus on doing the activities listed for those particular goals during April. You don’t have to ignore all of the other activities altogether; just make sure to pay close attention to the actions that directly serve you, your blogging interests and your reasons for participating in the challenge.

Want more comments on your blog? Do these activities:
  • End your blog post with a question
  • Leave a comment on every blog that you visit. 
  • Blog about a controversial topic (Tread lightly here when swimming in controversial waters, and choose topics at your own risk.)
  • Reply to comments on your own blog.
  • Write a blog post comparing something such as baby names, products, people, services, situations, songs, movies, etc.
  • Reciprocate comments by visiting and commenting on the blogs of those who left a comment on your blog.
Want more people to visit your blog? Do these activities:
  • Visit additional blogs on Sundays when we have the day off from blogging in the A-to-Z Challenge, and then leave comments on these blogs.
  • Use the #atozchallenge hashtag on Twitter when mentioning your blog posts that are related to the challenge.
  • Add your blog URL below every comment you leave on other blogs. You do not need to know HTML to do this. Writing out the URL address (www.yourblog.com) will suffice.
  • Become a minion for one of the Co-Hosts. (It’s a lot of work in addition to what you already have in store as a challenge participant, but being a minion also comes with various perks such as having your blog featured on in A-to-Z Blog posts as well as on the blogs of Co-Hosts.)
  • Make your blog posts shareable by adding a “Share this” button or related social media links to your A-to-Z Challenge posts, allowing readers to share them on their blogs or among their social networks.
  • Link to other blogs that are participating in the challenge and/or feature another blogger in one of your blog posts. He or she will likely announce the news – either on his or her own blog or in their respective online social circles.
  • Swap guest posts with another blogger who is participating in the challenge. (For example, you can write a guest post for letter L or N on another blog and that blogger can give you a guest post for Letter M or O. This can be an effective way to increase readership outside of your own circle of visitors.)

Want more subscribers/followers/fans, etc. of your blog? Do these activities:
  • Place subscribe buttons and/or forms in your sidebar above the fold (near the top of the sidebar, positioned high enough that visitors do not have to scroll down the page to find it).
  • Add your social media handle (FB, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google + or whatever your pimping) to your signature at the end of your blog post or in your comments when visiting other blogs. (Don’t go crazy here, or else people will be quick to consider you a self-serving spammer. Pick a social profile...or two but I really wouldn’t recommend listing more than two...that is most important to you and use that one and that only. Notice I did not mention your blog URL. That’s because if you’re interested in followers, then it isn’t necessary for your blog URL to be listed in your comments because your blog address should already be prominently featured somewhere on your social media profile and easy for your social network to access. Duh!)
  • Make hybrid content for your blog posts, that can double as content for your social media websites and/or vice versa. (Meaning....If you are active on Instagram, write a blog post about one of the photos that you posted there, add the proper tags such as #Instagram, etc. and then share the blog post URL on FB or other social networks that you belong to. Grab a quotable section from one of your blog posts such as a short blurb that could stand on its own and Tweet it or Pin it or Tumblr it, all while making sure to add/embed a permalink back to your original blog post.)

Happy Blogging!

What are the reasons why YOU participate in the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge?

Do YOU get the results that you hope for when it’s all said and done?

Nicole Ayers at The Madlab Post

33 comments:

  1. I participate in the challenge simply because it is fun. I approach this challenge like all blog challenges - I post content that I enjoy and hope my readers enjoy too.

    As an aside, seeing page views jump during the first two weeks of the challenge is addicting!

    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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  2. The reason, I enjoy Blogging and love the challenge of the A-Z.
    As for results as long as peole enjoy the photos I show that is good enough for me

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  3. Very precise tips for getting more out of the Challenge.
    I participate because of what the very first Challenge did for my blog and because I enjoy participating and giving back to the community.

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  4. I signed up to be a minion this year, my third year as participant. It is hectic and I get a little burnt out in the last week. Lots of great advice.

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  5. This is excellent advice in a very well organized post. Nice job.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  6. Great post with some tangible ideas. I'm torn on what to choose as my theme this year! It will be March before we know it, and I always start prepping in March with at least half my posts ready to go.

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  7. I liked this challenge because it opened my blog up to the possibility of building relationships with so many more bloggers. I also liked getting to know those who had done this before and hearing their stories about how exhausting yet fun it was. They were right, it was fantastic!

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  8. I do like the A to Z it is a grand idea, but I just dont have time to do all the things on the list.

    But I enjoy the few new links I make and a couple of my favourite blogs and followers are a result of doing it.

    As Mr Spielberg would say . . . . Get off my yacht Rob or I'll call the police again . . . .

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  9. Tami,
    That's the way it should be...at least on the most basic levels for wanting to participate in a blog challenge. If it's not fun, why bother, right?! That spike in traffic sure doesn't hurt either, lol.

    Bill,
    One of the great things about the A-to-Z Challenge is that there is something for nearly every area of interest. Your photos help to bring some fun into the mix by offering variety for those who might prefer images over reading lengthy stories or writing tips all of the time. Plus, who doesn't love looking at pretty pictures! Thanks for commenting :)

    Alex,
    Thank you Mr. Ninja man! I too share your enjoyment of participating in the challenge so much that a year hasn't past where I haven't done it ever since my first year signing up. My blog hasn't had the same results that yours received from doing the challenge but I believe that it serves its purpose nonetheless while keeping me productive where daily writing is concerned.

    Susan,
    Kudos to you for taking on the task of a minion during the previous challenge. Many participants can relate to that burnout that comes on the very last stretch of the challenge, where the letters get even more difficult to tackle. Good thing you keep on going!

    Arlee,
    Thank you kindly for checking out this post. I'm glad to know that you find it to be useful for bloggers participating in the challenge. My hope is that it will bring about more positive experiences that will be mentioned in reflections posts when it comes time to write those in May :)

    Pam,
    Now THAT's the spirit...and a heck of an undertaking, for sure! Feel free to share any secrets to tackling the massive list of blogs that you may have. Visiting all the blogs is like going on an amusement park ride that spans for miles....we're trying to make it to the end without giving up.

    Dobson,
    The community that has blossomed because of the challenge is one of many perks that I share your enthusiasum for when it comes to deciding to participate year after year. I'm glad it has brought more attention to your blog and I welcome your continued participation in A-to-Z challenges to come. Also, make sure to encourage your blogging friends to sign-up to participate as well. We must share the fun! Thanks for your comment on this post.

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  10. Just wondering when the signup for 2014 will start.

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  11. This will be my third year to participate in the challenge and it has been so worth it! I love AtoZ because I've connected with many people (especially that first year) who remain friends as part of my support group. I love the sense of community and the variety of blogs. I am a writer but I by no means limit myself to reading only writing-related posts. There is such an eclectic mix of people/blogs/interests and I LOVE it!

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  12. homecomingbook - signup starts Monday!!

    I do A-Z for the lovely people that I meet every year. Sure, it's great to have the extra hits, but finding people who consistently write funny and engaging posts (like all of the co-hosts! you're all so great :) ) really makes it worth it.

    I'm so excited for the Challenge to start! Now if only I could decide upon a theme...

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  13. Nicole, this was awesome! Such solid, concrete advice.
    As to the minion thing...we will be advertising for volunteers next week, so consider it. Like Nicole said, the exposure for your blog is huge. In exchange, we work your fingers to the bone ;-) Kidding. But you will be busy...
    Tina @ Life is Good

    @TinaLifeisGood

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  14. I'll be on my third year too! Thanks for such a great list of ideas, Nicole!

    I'd love to swap some posts. If you know how to Foxtrot or Tango I'd love to hear from you; if you're called Oscar or Romeo ditto - and if you're a radiographer I have a subject for you! Just leave a comment on my blog and I'll get in touch. (It won't show up unless you're a subscriber already, in which case I'll delete it form public view))

    http://jemimapett.com

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  15. Thanks for all the tips. Blogging from A to Z is a lot of work, and I didn't think I'd be participating again. However, I'd be stupid not to. It's the best blog hop on the Net. This will be my third year!

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  16. This is great info Nicole! Thanks for sharing. I participate for a number of reasons. It's fun; it gets me writing; it makes me think creatively; I meet a number of awesome people; and my follower numbers skyrocket!

    For me, the challenge lies in continuing the following and commenting and blog building AFTER the challenge is over!

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  17. Hi. I'm new to this blogging thing and I want to participate this year. How do I sign up? Thank you.
    leelyonsauthentic.blogspot.com

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  18. Hi Nicole and all team leaders for the challenge with their associated helpers .. it's a brilliant concept that Lee started: all credit to him.

    I love it - but last year made the decision to do what I could, I had fewer followers ... but many have remained constants in 'my blogging world' and that I like - the relationships we make.

    It made it easier .. I did check out many of the blogs .. electing to comment where I could see the most likelihood of an interaction ...

    Nicole - great advice here for Lee's incredible idea ..

    Cheers to all and see you in April - Hilary

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  19. Because who doesn't love a challenge?! Not to mention it's so much fun. Love the way you clarified so many things in this post, making it easy for people to understand, Nicole. It's true, you get out of it what you put into it. So we should all have fun, roll up our sleeves and hyper blog like crazy :)

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  20. Great tips, though I doubt everyone will be able to do every single thing. I'll be putting two blogs in this year's Challenge, though obviously the posts on my onomastics (names) blog will be pretty short and easy to write. I'm also going to try to include as many pictures as possible for the posts on my main blog, hopefully finding good ones for each day.

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  21. Rob Z,
    The items on the list are suggestions. Participants can do as much or as little as they want. It's all about what works for each blogger. So long as participants blog along the letter of the day and visit a minimum of five blogs each day on the signup list, the rest is just extra.

    Sue,
    The signup for 2014 opens on Monday, January 27th. We look forward to your participation!

    Dawn,
    Three years....you're shaping up as an A-to-Z Veteran by now. Go Dawn! Yes a sense of community is why I think the challenge continues to thrive because whole participants are part of the bigger one, I've noticed that there are lots of smaller communities that develop within the A-to-Z Challenge sphere. Just look at the Ninja Captain Alex and his (no-so-little) planet! The mix of non-writing blog topics definitely makes the challenge worthwhile, finding an audience and learning new things that stretch beyond our circles of interest. I love it too.

    ayjay,
    We're in the same boat on that theme thing. I still haven't narrowed down exactly what I'm going to do on that front. I'm considering winging it like I did the first year but that could be a dangerous move given all of my co-hosting and challenge participation duties. Maybe we can do a theme on not having a theme and write about our lessons learned from not having one versus having one and/or the advantages and disadvantages of both?!

    Tina,
    I'm glad you found this advice to be useful for our A-to-Z Participants. I just want everyone to have as much fun as we do during the challenge. If that happens, then this served its purpose :)

    Jemima,
    Cheers to you....another among (what will hopefully be) the Third Year A-to-Z Challenge Survivors! I think my team of Co-Hosts might have to come up with a cool badge celebrating the special group of bloggers who complete the challenge multiple years in a row. What do they call that in sports? Undefeated champions or something? We gotta come up with an MVP-esque badge or something for guys and gals who take this thing on every year.

    I like your being open to swapping posts with other participants and I hope you get some takers to your offer!

    Jolie,
    Thank you for reading and commenting on these tips for the challenge. You hit the nail on the head with your menion about it being a lot of work. Hopefully, participants can view it as an exercising regimen for their writing or productivity goals for their blogs. It's a sad day in the blogosphere when you're not participating in the A-to-Z Challenge. It would be kinda strange not to see you running along one of the tracks in our alphabet blogging marathon. Thanks for reconsidering your position and being willing to do it for a third year.

    Also, allow me to extend sincere gratitude on behalf of the entire Co-Host team for calling the A-toZ the best blog hop on the net. That makes me feel like we are doing something worthwhile that benefits our fellow bloggers and for that....I would love to quote you via one of our social media channels and on my blog, if I may? You rock Jolie!

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  22. Jen,
    You've identified something that many of us don't realize until the summer, following our recuperation in May; the challenge of keeping up that momentum is hard and sometimes less fun given that we all go back to our corners of the internet and blog in isolation. The good news is that this A-to-Z Blog is updated year-round and we have the Post A-to-Z Road Trip -- an informal activity for participants who want to continue visiting blogs on the signup list. I guess the real task is staying active, even during the off-season, that keeps all of the things we love about A-to-Z in the forefront of our online activities.

    Suzanne,
    Thank you and I hope they will come in handy for you during the challenge!

    leeeelyons,
    The signup list opens on this blog Monday, January 27th.

    Hilary Melton-Butcher,
    Thanks and I'm glad you found my advice to be helpful in carrying out this great challenge that Lee created!

    MJ,
    You are sooo right! After all, that's basically what pursuits like new year's resolutions boil down to...challenging ourselves to do something; to meet a goal. I like a good challenge that helps me grow and get closer to reaching my potential. I'm glad you found this post to be well-organized and yes, I agree with you about having fun and blogging like it's 1999! lol.

    Carrie-Anne,
    Thank you for your planned participation in this year's challenge. The tips outlined in this posts are mere options to help bloggers capitalize on their A-to-Z experience by customizing their daily activities in April, to meet their individual needs and interests as a participant. While planning pictures and short posts -- it looks like you're off to a good start :)

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  23. Perhaps not many people know I was the first to sign up on the first A to Z Challenge, thought I was crazy but Have thoroughly enjoyed ALL of them. I have met many friends over the years, Every one friend Alex and I actually met Lee in 2012 whilst in LA. He is a most genuine person and showed us around LA and Hollywood, a day and person to remember indeed.
    Yvonne.

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  24. Yvonne--:) You are part of the A to Z Hall of Fame. Thank you!

    Lee

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  25. Thanks for some great tips. This will be my fourth year and I'm looking forward to it. Happy to learn the sign up starts soon so I can delete that daily reminder off my calendar.

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  26. This is my first A-to-Z. It's going to be fun! And this post about blogging is terrific advice for posting anytime. I'm bookmarking it as a reminder. Thanks!

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  27. Thanks Nicole, very useful tips. This will be my 2nd year of A-Z, is it really almost here again?

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  28. Thanks Nicole, very useful tips. This will be my 2nd year of A-Z, is it really almost here again?

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  29. Thank you for the advice. I'm doing the challenge for the first time, want to build my blog readership and increase reader engagement.

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  30. OMG - these are fantastic tips! Totally what I want - more visits, more comments, and more followers. I really love the idea of hyper-blogging and seeing how I can stretch my creativity for an entire month (it's really a marathon - 26 posts!) and I'm looking forward to the benefits of this challenge. I can't wait to see what other folks are going to be blogging about! marcilicious.com

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