Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So... Now What?

Cue the dramatic music. I'm about to ruminate on the future of the Sparkly Runner blog.

Ok, so it's not all that dramatic. But, in my little corner of the internet, it's kind of a big deal.

Since the Dopey Challenge, I've been thinking about what to do with my blog. When I started blogging in July, I wasn't exactly sure where it would go. I knew that I wanted to share my running experiences AND keep myself accountable on my journey to my first marathon. And I think I met both of those goals.

But there's a lot to blogging that I didn't expect. Most of the unexpected has been really, really cool - meeting new people, having an opportunity to express my creativity, becoming a better writer, and having a stronger connection to the running community. However, it takes a lot of time. Like, a whole lot of time. From coming up with ideas, the actual writing, editing text and photos, and then promoting the post- I'd estimate I spend at least 10 hours a week on the blog. Not that 10 hours is a big deal, but when you add it into an already stressful week filled with 50+ hours at work, it becomes more like "work" to get it done.

Which brings me to the point of this post- where do I go from here? What do I want this blog to accomplish?

In a former job, I managed the social media for my department. I always answered (and still try to) these three questions before posting anything: 1. Is this relevant? 2. Is this valuable to my network? 3. Is this expected? Moving forward on this blog, I want to make sure I follow those same guidelines and am still enjoying blogging (which I totally am). So what does that mean?

That means that I keep writing relevant, valuable, and expected posts. For me, this means writing about things that are relevant to the running community- this includes physical fitness, nutrition, racing, products/technologies, etc. This also means writing about things that my readers will find valuable- I think I have an idea of what this is, but I want to solicit more feedback from you all. In addition, this means that what I post is expected- I am my authentic self online and what you see is what you get: I write posts that sound like me, on my own timeline.

Part of following these guidelines means that I blog more consistently and that my readers can come to expect certain relevant and valuable posts from this blog. Now there are some really awesome bloggers out there that manage to post 5-7 times a week- which is like a miracle to me. I honestly don't know how they have the time, energy, and creativity to do all that and work full-time, have successful relationships, work out, shower, etc. Kudos to them for being amazing :-)  I'm not quite that awesome yet and don't think I can manage posting more than 2-3 times per week.

However, after reading this post by fellow blogger Kathryn, I realized that there are some things that I can do to be more consistent, provide more valuable content to my readers and still keep myself accountable. So, how does that translate for you, dear reader?

Here's what you can expect from me in the coming weeks:
  • Posts on Tuesday and Thursday mornings about training, products, upcoming races, nutrition, etc. Posts on Saturday/Sunday about race and expo recaps and reviews.
  • Guest posts from people who inspire me, who I then hope inspire you.
  • More outreach to those of you reading on what you'd like to see here, what questions you have that I can take a stab at answering, more feedback about what would be helpful for you.
I still feel like this is one big experiment and that every once in a while, I'll change things up to see what happens. One thing will remain the same- the reason I started blogging; to share my journey with you and the hope that you will share yours with me.

Happy running, friends.

QOTD (Question Of The Day): What are your favorite running-related topics to read about?

14 comments:

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    1. Thanks! I'll keep them coming :-)

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  2. Wow, didn't realize my post had such an impact, Sarah. Like you, I was fearful of the commitment of trying to blog more frequently, and although it does take time, its not as difficult as I feared it would be.

    I love reading about a variety of topics - race and expo recaps, product reviews, and training in general. What I love most about blogs is reading about the individual. As long as you're you, that's what is most important.

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn! I aspire to blog like you! Your post was really fantastic and really helpful- I started using bloglovin and buffer (one of your readers commented about it) and they both have been really awesome. :-)

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  3. I also love the race recaps... and I would love if you'd post different running methods/books/methods/etc for increasing pace, opening stride, and other helpful tips from "experts" you know of.

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  4. I love race recaps because I like to know what's going on out there and different responses to it. I don't think your blog has to focus solely on running. It's YOUR blog. If you see a great movie or go someplace fun, and you want to share that, write about it. I'd rather read about someone's opinion of an exhibit at a local museum than one more product review of Nuun.

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    1. Jennifer, this made me literally lol! I love it! And for the record, nuun is pretty cool but I don't think I could write an entire post about it :-) And I think expanding my topics is a great idea- there's a lot more I'd like to share other than running and I think I'll try some of that soon :-)

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  5. I also love race recaps, but I also like hearing about someone else's training! It makes me feel like I'm not alone when I'm struggling, and I feel like I can also experience someone else's excitement in earning a PR or conquering a new race distance. :) I think your plan sounds perfect -- I definitely struggle with the amount of time it takes to keep my blog current, promote it, etc., and you've inspired me to start thinking about my own goals -- thank you! :-D

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    1. Thanks! I like reading about other people's training as well- I'm always looking for new ideas to keep it fresh and exciting. And it makes me feel better when I realize that everyone has bad weeks, or months! By the way, I love your blog :-) Good luck with your goals!

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  6. Just found your blog from a Google search for Shamrock recaps (I did the Whale Challenge) and loved your recap. Congrats on your big half PR! Your schedule sounds great, looking forward to reading more from you!

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    1. Thanks, Tracey! Congrats on the Whale Challenge- what an accomplishment! I may just have to do that one next year. The whole race weekend was so phenomenal- what did you think? Have you done that one before?

      Thanks for reading :-)

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    2. Thank you! I had done the half in 2012 (my first half ever) and 2013, but I hadn't done the full before. I love everything about Shamrock weekend except the courses :/ I just think they are so boring compared to other places I've run.

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    3. Yeah, I could see how the course could be boring. I've run at Disney World a lot so there's really nothing that compares with that :-)

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