If you’ve been a member of my community for a while, you may remember the post from last year around this time, called I Made The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014 (And HOW I did that!). If you didn’t get a chance to read that post, I suggest you take some time to do that–because I reveal my top 3 tips for building a blog that will brand you as an expert.

As I checked my email on January 19 of this year, you must imagine my excitement, once again, as I saw the following message in my inbox, from Heather, Assistant Editor, at The Write Life:

“Our 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2015 post is now live, and we’ve included your website in our list!” And…when I clicked through to check the list, I saw that I was named among some of the best copywriters and content marketers out here: Seth Godin, CopyBlogger, ProBlogger, FirePole Marketing, and Michael Hyatt.

I’m not gonna lie–my heart skipped a beat, my breath caught in my throat, and tears filled my eyes. Why, you might be wondering?

Well, let me break it down for you:

I am committed to providing quality content, each and every week, to my readers. This takes WORK. This takes FOCUS. This takes TIME. This takes CONVICTION. This takes STRATEGY. This takes LOVE.

  1. WORK: Writing is hard work…I know this, and I love writing. I enjoy it very much–I’m an author, HuffPo writer, blogger, blog commenter, and Facebook posting fanatic. If anyone tells you that writing is easy, don’t buy it. There are ways to make it easier, there are tools to help us along the way, but in the end, writing is WORK.
  2. FOCUS: There are days I don’t want to write. But guess what? I am determined to continue writing so I can help more people, just like you, understand that crappy copy and crappy content has got to go. This takes FOCUS. When I FOCUS on the writing, and what my audience needs and wants (and not on social media, and not on the dinner that needs to get cooked, and not on the next trip I’m dreaming about) I am proud of what I write.
  3. TIME: Producing 1-2 quality blog posts a week takes TIME. And because I know that a stellar blog post is not just a quick spattering of words on paper, but instead, is thoughtful and engaging content, complete with keyword research, compelling images, and strong calls-to-action, I schedule TIME for each phase of a blog post into my weekly calendar. When I sit down to write on…let’s say Wednesday, I know that this is the TIME I will spend drafting and revising. And…when I sit down to write on Thursday, I know this is the TIME I will spend on keywords and images.
  4. CONVICTION: I hear from a lot of bloggers and business owners who are upset because they aren’t getting “results.” When I ask them what results they are looking to “get”, I am often met with silence. Blogging is one piece of the entire strategy in content marketing. It takes CONVICTION, first and foremost, to believe in yourself and believe in the content you are passionate about writing. Then, it takes CONVICTION to believe that people will find your writing of value. It also takes CONVICTION to keep on keepin’ on, even when it seems like things are slow, and you don’t want to write one more blog post. In the end, I assure you, it will pay off–in so, so many ways.
  5. STRATEGY: You must have a strategy for your blog. And that strategy should tie back to a program, service, or product that you are looking to sell more of. The number one game changer in my income this past year was having a solid blog STRATEGY. In fact, I am now teaching this to my clients–because I have seen the results. A blogger who is just putting stuff out nilly-willy, without a STRATEGY for a bigger vision or plan, is like a boat with a hole in the bottom of it–the content is slowly leaked out, but readers can’t really grasp the bigger vision of the your business.
  6. LOVE: I LOVE my audience. I LOVE my brand. I LOVE the content I produce. And the LOVE never fades. You know why? Because I don’t write about stuff I don’t believe in. I don’t copy anyone else. I have my own brand voice, and I LOVE using it. I spend time thinking about my own ideas and beliefs, and I LOVE sharing those with others!

Above all, I want this post to be about YOU, not me, and not the award. I want you to print off this list and hang it next to your computer. I want you to know what it takes to own your expertise and build that through the power of blogging. I want you to LOVE your blogging journey!