Guest Post by Natalie Hartford

It is because our special guest loves all things pink that I have decided to declare this day an “International Day of Pink” throughout the entire blogosphere! In the Pink means to be the very pinnacle of something, and that something would be none other than Natalie Harford.

Natalie, back away from the Bedazzler! I said back away! Whew, okay, now where was I?

Natalie comes to us from the beautiful province of New Brunswick, Canada where she lives with “the Hubby”, an 18 year old step-son “the Dude”, her furry baby, a 10 year old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named “Tess” and lots of snow.

No, I said no glitter, remember Natalie? Now put it down. Thank you.

Writing and journaling have been an essential part of Natalie’s life from just about as long as she can remember. She has since embarked upon her first novel, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and at her day job she moonlights as a communications specialist.

No surprise there! Hee, hee! Oops, I’m sorry Natalie. I didn’t think you were paying attention.

Natalie is a previous graduate of Kristen Lamb’s “Blogging to Build a Brand” workshop. She has been blogging for just over a year and is here today to share some of that Urban Redneck inspiration that she’s so famous for, along with tried and tested “What to do and what Not to do” recommendations for blogging.

So without further ado, may I please introduce to you, the always uberlicious Natalie Hartford!
 
 

Thank you Karen! I am delighted to be here.

I was super pumped and honored when Karen invited me to do a guest post on her blog! But then the anxiety set in. What would I write about? Should I write about something funny, maybe a little urban word fun or a post on a ridiculous gadget? Or maybe her readers would be interested in something poignant about my greatest inspiration; my Mom? Yikes! It’s a lot of pressure to “guest post” and this is only my second time, so I feel…well…like a newbie!

So what did I settle on?
 
 

Five pieces of Intimidating Blog Advice I Somewhat Ignored and Made My Own 
 

Tip 1) Determine what your blog will be about. It is important to have a solid idea. Try to be as specific as possible. This can make your blog distinctive and stand out from the rest in that category. Also, the blog subject should be something that you are interested in. If you can’t produce content regularly on that subject, it is a good idea to think of something else.

Yikes! Talk about pressure. I have to have one solid idea that is specific, distinctive and will stand out from the rest while still being a subject I am interested in and can produce regular, great content on. Good lord. Do they know how many blogs are out there? Honestly, I’m not sure it’s possible. The elusive totally unique, never-been-done blog?!?!

This will be difficult. Not to mention, I really don’t have any specific interests that are totally unique and different from everyone else that I can blog about and really “wow” people with. I’m just an urban redneck with a serious addiction to anything pink and sparkly. I like to write about typical things in life and add my own humorous spin. I like to think I am funny (actually hilarious…I am surprised no one has scooped me up to be a standup comic yet?!?! Weird!).

In the end, I took Kristen Lamb’s advice and made ME the topic! Definitely distinct. Certainly specific. And I think I am totally a stand out! Voila!
 

Tip 2) Start planning. Determine the number of pages you will have and what will go on them. Generally, the home page will be where you’re recent blog posts go. A page should be made for what the blog is about. The rest is up to you. Be creative, but remember to stick to your subject. Don’t stray too far.

Ahhhh shikes! I messed this one up as well! Dang it! My plan—to write a blog. BAM. That was it. I figured inspiration would hit constantly. I mean, when I’m with friends and family you can’t shut me up. Surely to God I’ll have something uberliciously amazing to say every single day and the readers will FLOCK to me, right?

I started with my Main Blog page and About Me page. Then a few months later I saw someone had a Contact page so I got me one of those. Then a few months after THAT, I added my Disclaimer page – everyone’s gotta that to protect their fab content. My last two pages were added recently; one on Impaired Driving and one for ROW80.
 

Tip 3) Produce a good foundation of content. It is a good idea to do this first before creating the blog. If you have a lot of content, you can make your blog substantial before it’s even launched. Try to have at least 5 to 10 blog entries written before the launch.

Oops. Well it’s not my fault. I didn’t read this tip until just now and I launched over a year ago so?!?! But I mean really—who does that? I launched my blog with my hello world post, an About Me page, and not much else in the Hopper. Then I waited for inspiration to strike.

Ok. So that didn’t work out so well. This is actually a good piece of advice. Inconsistency is something I have learned (by my stats) that readers do NOT like. For nearly a year I posted sporadically at best. And it led to a dismal downward spiral in readership. When I started writing consistently, numbers went up. So now I have drafts for each day in the Hopper for those weeks when I get busy. Not posting on my scheduled days is not an option.
 

Tip 4) When writing your blog entries, remember who you’re writing for. Write for your target audience, not for you.

DANG. Can I do anything right? Seriously? Write for my target audience and not me? I’m not sure I can do that since if I don’t enjoy the writing, I doubt I’ll keep up with it. Ok. Wait. Let’s see—who would be my target audience?

I’d say anyone with a pulse and a sense of humor. Hmmmm…not very “targeted,” eh!? Well, I guess I could go further to say its likely people like me: primarily women, ages 30 to 65, urban or rural, single or hooked up, and with a good sense of humor. There. Voila. I will write for me and in that way, I AM writing to my target audience. How convenient!
 

Tip 5) Update your blog daily. It is acceptable to update once a day, but aim for more. Blogs that update four to six times a day are the ones that become popular. If you are struggling to come up with content every day, take the weekend to plan out your blog entry schedule.

Seriously? Every day but more like four to six times A DAY!?! Give me a break. Who ARE these successful bloggers? Do they have a life? Who writes this advice? I think they’re on crack! When I started out, I blogged on average of twice a week. Now I am blogging five days a week and I can tell ya, that’s my maximum.

I will say I learned from Kristen’s course to create themes for each post day and that’s helped me immensely in creating content and staying consistent (in blog post frequency and style). My overall tone is funny and quirky.

As with any advice I dispense, I think it’s important to take what’s useful for you and ditch what isn’t. Besides, I know I’ll be a famous blogger someday regardless. I just know it! I mean…have you SEEN my blog…its inevitable!
 

Thank you everyone! It was an uberdelight to be here and I hope y’all enjoyed the post!

Thank you sooo much for having me Karen!

Visit me at: nataliehartford.com
Talk to me at: natalie@nataliehartford.com
Follow me on: @NatalieHartford
 
 
 

No, thank you sooo much for coming Natalie!
 

This was an awesome post full of helpful advice for everyone! Whether you are just starting to blog or have blogged for several years, we can never learn enough. And to have the benefit to learn from someone else’s mistakes and successes is a real gift! No, thank you Natalie Hartford for your most kind, ubergenerous post!

What about you? What fahhhbulous blogging advice have you taken, made your own, or totally ignored? What tips or mistakes have you made along the way that you can you share with others?

If you’ve enjoyed this post, feel free to follow by email. And thank you all for your many kind thoughts and salutations!
Karen
 
 

A big shout out to Kristen Lamb and all my new WANA classmates and friends. And to all others that may grace my presence by visiting this post, take care and make it a great day!

46 thoughts on “Guest Post by Natalie Hartford

    1. Natalie Hartford

      Hi Serena! Wonderful to meet a fellow PINK lover! Woot woot. Love Signature Color – that’s AWESOME!
      Yes I would say that the best advice I’ve gotten, taken, and seen success from is posting consistently. Buckling down gets easier when you get used to it and get into a routine. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Natalie Hartford

      Yip. After Kristen’s class when I started thinking about my blog structure, that’s sort of what happened because I didn’t want to let any of my theme ideas go…how insane am I?!? LOL!! I liked them all sooo much I decided to suck it up and post 5 times/week…I’ve did ponder combining Tuesday and Wednesday but as it turned out, they are two of my best days so I think it’s worked out. And honestly, I love them so much I couldn’t part with them.
      Oh well…lol…
      Someone mentioned to me that when I get deeper involved with my WIP, I’ll likely have to cut back and that’s probably true but we’ll see. LOL!!
      Natalie Hartford recently posted..FAB posts on blogging, tweeting, writing, living and laughing…My Profile

      Reply
  1. Jenny Hansen

    One of the advantages I had when I started More Cowbell was that I’d blogged for almost a year with Writers In The Storm. It takes a while to get your unique voice on the page in a short post.

    When I look at my earlier posts, I can see they were my earlier posts, but it WAS nice to have that backlog to fluff up.

    I have veeeery little structure to my blog and that works the best for me but it’s likely that we’re gonna laugh on Mondays, learn on Tuesdays, think on Thursdays, get inspired on Fridays, talk babies or parenting on Saturdays with a ROW80 post added in someone else. I agree with you that a loose framework like that really helps you crank out blog posts much faster.
    Jenny Hansen recently posted..Give Your Writing Some Physical TherapyMy Profile

    Reply
  2. Pingback: ROW80 – Round 4 – Check-in #17 – Natalie Hartford

  3. Shannon Esposito

    Okay, now that I can look at my screen without getting nauseous (flu, bla) I read this fab interview and I have to say, I was so intimidated when I first read your blog, Natalie, because you seemed to have it all together & already a superstar. (LOVE your little pink lady shopping icon!) But then I found out what a sweet, down to earth person you were and now I’m just a little bit intimidated 🙂

    (Thanks for having the guts to ask Natalie for an interview, Karen!)

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Awe Shannon, I hope you’re feeling better! Don’t be intimidated my dear friend. You’re doing great! We’re all newbies here. My having Natalie post was for all of us, not just for me! I love Natalie’s honesty. And look how much we can learn from others. Keep up the good work Shannon! Thanks so much for coming by even though you’re sick. Take care of yourself, okay? Big hugs! 🙂

      Reply
    2. Natalie Hartford

      Intimidated…by moi?!?! Girl, I am nothing to be intimidated by since I am flying by the seat of my pants just as much as everyone else. LOL!!! You swing by anytime, fire off some off-the-chart comments and we’ll have ourselves some FUN!! LOL!! Thank you for the WONDERFUL blog feedback and compliments…sniff…totally made my day!! 🙂 I’ll be over to visit your digs later to say hello…I mean, we are all in this blogging thing together!
      Natalie Hartford recently posted..FAB posts on blogging, tweeting, writing, living and laughing…My Profile

      Reply
  4. Louise Behiel

    Great post ladies. Like so many I refused to blog, then procrastinated and then caved. Before I could figure out blog press i had a dozen ideas and even a couple of blogs written. Who knew? now I’m struggling to get in three a week…because I’ve used up my cache . the best thing about this last month is that I’m okay with what I’m doing and not doing. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than I thought and best of all I’m enjoying the process.

    I think a focus will come out as I write them and I think I will settle into a routine once I’ve got some time under my belt. Thanks for affirming my process.
    Louise Behiel recently posted..Wild Weather in the Canadian WestMy Profile

    Reply
  5. Debra Kristi

    Oh my gosh! What a great guest post! Love seeing you twice in one Natalie. Thank you for hosting her Karen.

    Well, I am one of those that jumped in totally unprepared at the beginning of October. I am working on getting post written ahead now so that I have that buffer. Just thinking about it makes me feel better. I like having a focus on Mondays now that I added the theme for my target reader. I wanted to theme out my other days but was advised against it. Hmm But I really love and get all that you are saying. Help me Natalie, help me! LOL
    Debra Kristi recently posted..Immortal Monday ~ The God of Thunder * Badass ThorMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Natalie Hartford

      Woot woot!!! 🙂 I think that’s the way most of us started out Debra – just dive in and swim.
      Sounds like you are getting your feet under you and as you do, the writing and buffer of posts gets easier I think. 🙂
      Hmmmm…I am not sure why having themes for all your day would be a negative? All of mine have themes and that totally works for me.
      Monday is for whatever I want about my life – try to make them funny but sometimes out lessons learned. Tuesday is something twisted like insane stuff I find online or amazing videos – something to make people smile. Wednesday, a funny twist on a word from the urban dictionary. Thursday is link love. Friday is a post on impaired driving. So?!??!
      It works for me. It helps me stay focused and build a constant stream of content that’s varied and fresh. I love it! It works for me.
      What were you thinking for your other days???? I think the key to themes is making sure they are broad enough to give you LOTS of content possibilities. Email me if you want to chat/brainstorm at Natalie@nataliehartford.com! I’d be happy to help! 🙂 🙂

      Reply
      1. Debra Kristi

        Cool! You’ve linked me in. 😀 The one advising against is the hubby. You know how that relationship goes. He doesn’t want to see me box myself in, but feel free to write on anything. He wasn’t exactly happy when I put Immortal Monday into play. D’oh! He said I should have a year’s worth of posts written first. A YEAR! Oh hell no. It’s my highest day right now and the one geared towards my target audience.

        And I just have to add – like Shannon I was terribly intimidated the first time I stumbled upon your blog. I was afraid to say anything because you were so confident. I stopped in many times before I posted. 🙂 Guess I was shy.
        Debra Kristi recently posted..My Father I Am?My Profile

        Reply
        1. Natalie Hartford

          Is hubby a blogger? Hmmmm…well I don’t want to get into a “row” with hubby but…I think you can apply some pretty loose themes (like Jenny Hansen says above) that help you draw on great content, give you consistency, but still keep you FREE to write whatever!
          I found that having themes has actually helped me feel more free. Who can honestly write just WHATEVER three times a week. That was actually crushing me. If I had a boring or plain week, I was at a lost as to what to post. When I added a wee bit of structure, I found a WEALTH of content ideas AND really felt like I found my voice as well.
          I think your Immortal Mondays are AWESOME! And like you said, so tuned into your target audience AND your personal interests so?!?! I’d toss around some ideas for other days of the week and just have fun. See what you come up with. And remember, blogging is about being flexible – try something. If you like it and it works, awesome. If you don’t enjoy it, drop it and try something else. Just have FUN!!
          A YEAR of content?!?! Ok hubby Kristi…are you on CRACK??? I aim to try and have around 3 or 4 weeks of Monday through Wednesday content in the hopper…I can opt out if inspiration strikes but they are there if need be…that’s as far ahead as I can get. LOL! Besides….ya wanna be relavent, right?!
          Intimidated…seriously ladies?!?!? I am a total redneck, country girl – ultra relaxed and uber friendly so…comment ALL you want! Say the first thing that pops into your head and let’s have us some LAUGHS!!!
          HUGS!!!!!!
          Natalie Hartford recently posted..FAB posts on blogging, tweeting, writing, living and laughing…My Profile

          Reply
    1. Natalie Hartford

      I am glad that reading my post helped you feel better because I think that’s been most of our experience. Just jump in and hope for the best.
      I think the best advise I can give is to just stick with it and keep tweaking – don’t be afraid to try new things, ask people questions, and really examine other blogs that you love and try to see how you could incorporate the things you like into yours. You’ll find it gets easier as your blog voice and persona gets more and more solid! Keep at it! 🙂

      Reply
      1. Karen Post author

        Hey Coleen, I feel the same way. Just learning as I go along. Sometimes I think that’s how most of us do learn. You posts are really cool! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!:)

        Reply
  6. Sheila Seabrook

    Natalie, I love your blog site. It’s absolutely gorgeous with all the pink!

    Tip #3 is one I ignored. So I’m always scrambling at the last minute to come up with something interesting. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

    Thanks for a great post!

    Reply
  7. Ginger Calem

    Hi Girls!!!!! What a fun post. I like the fact that in the end, I can make my own rules because I’m a rebel and will do what I want anyway. Haha! Ok, my blog is still it itty-baby (started in late Sept, I think) so I have 2 goals. 1-get consistent with 3 x a week. I’ve done that once maybe twice. I’m pretty good with 2 x a week. 2-I really want to get a cache of blogs in the cue. I don’t need a ton. I love to be spontaneous and blog about what tickles my fancy at the time but it would be nice to have some waiting for those days with no inspiration and no time!

    Thanks for a GREAT blog-read!

    Have a pink sparkly day! 🙂
    Ginger Calem recently posted..Thanksgiving or Grocery Derby??My Profile

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      See, I told you it would be worth waiting for! Oh Ginger, you don’t know how much I wanted to give you a hint yesterday, but I didn’t want to give the surprise away! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And it was GREAT info wasn’t it? Thanks so much for dropping by! 🙂

      Reply
    2. Natalie Hartford

      Woot woot Ginger!! Those are FAB goals!! I think Kristen Lamb recommends trying to post 3 times a week as the magic number BUT in the end, it’s all about consistency so keep at it. It’ll get there!
      I love having a cache of posts to draw from if need be but like you, I still like to fly by the seat of my pants if a topic so strikes me. It’s the best of both worlds. It does take time to build a hopper of drafts and then to keep it stocked but it’s a worthwhile investment.
      Sooo glad you enjoyed the read! Have a FAB post-International Day of Pink! LOL!!!
      Natalie Hartford recently posted..Urban Word Wednesday: Blumpkin (Warning: brace yourselves; a bit R-rated and kind of gross)My Profile

      Reply
  8. Julie Hedlund

    Hilarious post guys!

    I will say that I have never, not once, had even one post pre-written for those times when I get busy. I’d really, really love to be that organized person who can do that, but alas, it’s not me. I try to post at least three times a week and figure if a week or two slips here and there where I post fewer, so be it. Not the best approach probably, but I’m probably not going to change myself.

    Also, did you really get the advice to post on the blog 4 times a day??? That’s just crazy talk. I’d honestly stop following someone who did that. I don’t have enough time to write and read blogs as it is, much less dedicate myself to reading one person’s four posts a day.

    Just my two cents.. 🙂 Great post!
    Julie Hedlund recently posted..How I Got My Agent: Susanna Leonard HillMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Natalie Hartford

      Hey Julie!!! 🙂 Thanks for the fab compliment.
      I have actually started to get really solid drafts for my Monday through Wednesday posts (like nearly 4 weeks worth – OMG) and it’s been a huge help. I am usually NOT that organized but it sort of came together lately so I will run with it. When I can, great. When I can’t, I’ll adjust. 🙂
      YES, that was an honest to goodness piece of advice I found online and was like “my God, I am glad I didn’t see THAT when I started out?!?!?” I do agree with Annalise that it was likely advice if you are trying to make money on your blog but even still – there aren’t many blogs out there (other than group blogs – like problogger etc) that I know post more than once a day. Insanity! Who could READ that much content! LOL!!
      Happy IDP!! 🙂
      Natalie Hartford recently posted..International Day of Pink…in honor of me?!?!?My Profile

      Reply
  9. Lynn Kelley

    Thanks for sharing your blogging experience, Natalie. Gosh, a disclaimer page? That’s the first time I heard about that. I’ll have to check your blog and see what that’s all about! I started my blog in May and didn’t even think about having some posts all lined up and ready to go. It sure helps, though, doesn’t it? Happy International Day of Pink to you and Karen.
    Karen, thanks for hosting Natalie. We can learn a lot from her!
    Lynn Kelley recently posted..Raising TeenagersMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Fabio, you did a GREAT job on your blog! We’re in this together my friend! We’re all learning new things, but I thought this would be helpful. Thank you so much Fabio for support! I hope you had fun! 🙂

      Reply
    2. Natalie Hartford

      So glad you enjoyed it!
      Fabio, I started out the very same way! 🙂 I am not sure anyone ever embarks on this blogging thing with a bunch of pre-written content.
      I will say, if you are just starting out, that having themes around your posting days will help. Posting consistently is a big one (whether it’s once a week or five times a week). And if you can manage to get a bit of content drafted in advance, that’ll help. Those are the biggees that really help me anyway. ENJOY the blogging!!!
      I am off to “check you out”! 🙂
      Natalie Hartford recently posted..International Day of Pink…in honor of me?!?!?My Profile

      Reply
  10. Annalise Green

    #5 is one that boggles my mind. It only makes sense if you’re trying to make money DIRECTLY off your blog, IMO. Otherwise, to be honest? I delete blogs that post that much from my feed, because I just CANNOT keep up and it’s way too overwhelming.

    Great article! Your blog is one of my faves so I think your rules definitely work!

    Reply
  11. Jennette Marie Powell

    I remember the advice to blog every day. Are they crazy? I tried that back in 2006. Might have lasted for a month. Six months later, my posts had dwindled to once in a blue moon. Not only did I try to do it all at once, I wasn’t focused. This time I am, and while I only blog twice a week it’s at least consistent, and nowhere near as hard to keep up with. Thanks for sharing you insights and laughs, Natalie!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..My Town Monday: Doorway to DominationMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Did Natalie do an awesome job or what? It was uberlicious! Remember to think in the Pink today Patricia! Thanks for popping on over to my digs! Nice to meet you and I hope we’ll see each other soon! 🙂

      Reply
  12. Lynette M Burrows

    Thanks Karen and Natalie. It’s so nice to know that the ‘rules’ don’t have to be set in stone. It’s also really nice to know that feeling like a newbie isn’t just for shiny new newbies like me. (Natalie, I didn’t mean that kind of shiny!)

    So far I’ve not been consistent. But give me a break, I just started in October! Thanks to the WANA1011 class and the WANA community, and posts like these, I’m learning.
    Lynette M Burrows recently posted..CAN A BAD HAIR DAY BE A GOOD THING?My Profile

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Hey Lynette! Whew, I’m with you. I hate rules. But it’s nice to know we great people out there to give us the guidance and support we need to help make us successful! And Lynette, you’re doing a great job! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      It was my pleasure Natalie! Thank you for being such an awesome guest! Couldn’t have done it without ya. Thanks for all your support! It was soooo fun! 🙂

      Reply
  13. Pingback: International Day of Pink…in honor of me?!?!? – Natalie Hartford

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