I have a confession to make. I am a hypocrite. Yes, I admit it.
For the past two years I have preached to authors about the need for pre-planning. Have a marketing strategy in place, I said. Be prepared with several ready to go blog posts so you’re not left high and dry in the event of an emergency. I forewarned my authors of this, and then shamelessly disregarded my own advice.
I put off doing precisely what I’d told others to do. Why? Because like most everyone else, I thought emergencies wouldn’t happen to me. Wrong. Emergencies happen to everyone, even well-organized, totally-in-control me.
On November 28, 2014, life smacked me up one side of my head and down the other. First, my husband was admitted to the hospital with serious cardiac issues. That in itself is a major stressor and can cause even the most dedicated professional to stop and consider their priorities. Then adding to the craziness, on December 2, I was offered and accepted my dream job. This new position required upending from my home and family in Chicago, Illinois and relocating to Corpus Christi, Texas, which is 1200 miles away. Now I had the trifecta; a husband to worry about, a new job to settle into, and the need for housing in Corpus Christi. So, dear readers, you now know why I have been absent from The Author CEO for over 3 months.
Was I pre-prepared as I’d advised my followers to be? No. I did not have those extra blog posts set aside for an emergency. I no longer had time to chat on Twitter and Facebook. I was as I had forewarned others…left high and dry. So, what did this lack of planning cost me? Let’s take a look:
- My Alexa rating plummeted like a bag of rocks thrown into a lake. It took a lot of work to get a rating that high and I let it slip away. Maintaining blog visibility is something that requires DAILY attention. My three months of neglect might have just as well been 3 years. It will probably take three months to get the Alexa rating back to where it was…not where it should be.
- I lost Twitter followers because I was not out there daily or at the least a few times a week. People who are active on Twitter clean their list periodically and one of the big criteria for getting rid of the dead wood is to eliminate followers who have not tweeted in the past 30-60 days. It’s an electronic process. It doesn’t mean they no longer like you or are interested in what you have to say; it simply means you slid onto the list of those who have tweeted in that period of time—but you are gone nonetheless.
- I missed opportunities to expand my followers on The Author CEO’s Facebook page. Again, the algorithms do not take kindly to those not posting and sharing.
- I missed critical networking opportunities with authors and vendors to further promote The Author CEO
- I have now had to push back the release date for The Author CEO: The Book in order to first reestablish my visibility.
Bottom line; this has cost me time, visibility and money, all of which could have been avoided with a bit of preplanning and preparation.
So, learn from this hypocrite, work ahead on marketing strategies. My suggestions:
- Develop a calendar of relevant posts and write to them. Just because the posts are written does not mean that they have to be posted. They can be updated and saved for a rainy day.
- Seek out blog guests to assist you when emergency situations occur. If they can’t do a post, see if they are willing to let you publish one of the original posts from their own blog.
- Utilize tools such as Hootsuite to schedule tweets and Facebook posts. Remember these postings can be scheduled well in advance.
- Utilize hash tags such as MONDAY BLOGS (#mondayblogs) on Twitter. These hash tags continue to get your message out when you can’t and could lead to retweets and new followers when you can’t be there. Like all other tweets, these can be preprogrammed.
- Consider bringing on a virtual assistant, even if it is temporary. The cost of an assistant is small in comparison to the cost of recouping lost standing. Utilize your assistant to manage stashed blog posts, social media sites, calendars and networking opportunities.
To wrap up, I wish I had heeded my own advice about being prepared. I am now faced with the challenge of climbing back to where I was. It will take a long time to do this and hamper my schedule for the foreseeable future. But I will work through it and hopefully come out wiser in the long run.
I’d love to you hear from my readers. Have you gone through similar experiences? Do you have advice to share? Do you know of other ways to prepare for an emergency leave of absence? If so, leave a note in the comments and I’ll share your thoughts here on the blog.