Last year, I was challenged to blog daily for a full year.
Apparently, I was waiting for the permission to do it, because the thought of creating new blog content daily excited me and immediately moved me to action.
Similarly, for many years, I’ve been wanting to build a team.
And, I have maintained a small team over the last few years. But they were more like task doers than fully contributing members.
This year, I decided to take on an intensive leadership and management program. And within the structure of the program, there was virtually no escaping being in a team and building my own.
Apparently, I was waiting for the permission to do it, because it only took a few weeks to build a team of seven (along with three advisors), who have already raised several hundred dollars benefiting the education of underprivileged children. All before the launch of the new membership that’s supposed to be the main vehicle for fundraising.
Here’s the rub:
If you want to be powerful in life, don’t wait for permission.
Follow what excites you instead.
And this is not just some hollow statement about following your bliss or your passion.
It’s a critical discovery for all ambitious creatives.
If we go and do, instead of waiting for someone to tell us that we can, we’ll begin moving the mountains in our lives. And we’ll discover, before long, that these were little more than molehills disguised as mountains.
Publishing daily for a full year will solve all your business problems.
Urged on by this lofty promise, on July 28, 2020, I set out to create and publish new blog posts daily for a full year.
Although I was skeptical of the promise itself, when I was presented with the challenge, it was almost as if I was waiting for the permission to do it. I got excited and got started as soon as I could.
It’s now a year later, and I can honestly say I barely recognize myself. But I will get to that. Let’s begin with the key details.
Where I Published
I’m a big believer in publishing on platforms I own.
Though you can get more views on trending social media and publishing platforms, the tradeoff is that the traffic you earn for your website is yours to keep, and you can enjoy the long-term benefits of SEO. Not to mention – you mitigate against the risk of changes to said platforms.
Nevertheless, I was encouraged to publish on Medium. And although over the course of the last year I published on my own blog, News Break, Tealfeed, Steemit, and Music Entrepreneur HQ, most posts were ultimately imported onto Medium. I even shared a few dozen unique pieces on Medium.
Some days I published more than once, as I did not count my professional writing duties or podcasting efforts as publishing. Sometimes, I doubled up with multiple platforms, and at other times, I published three or four times in a day.
I did all this while working as founder and CEO of Music Entrepreneur HQ, staff writer for Music Industry How To, curator-host for The Indie YYC, and as a freelancing web and graphic designer, video editor, and ghostwriter.
In summary, I published on:
- My blog
- Music Entrepreneur HQ
- News Break
What I Published
I recently shared on the evolution of my publishing efforts. I would encourage you to refer to that post if you’d like a more detailed look into how my writing efforts have changed during this past year.
Generally, I published on the themes of entrepreneurship, self-improvement, productivity, creativity, and inspiration.
Some posts were long and detailed. Others were short and pithy. Not all posts were of the quality I wanted them to be. I engaged in the craft regardless.
In total, I wrote well over 262,000 words (an average of 798 words per day), and that doesn’t include the unique posts I shared on Medium, or anything I published on News Break, Steemit, or Music Entrepreneur HQ.
I averaged 10,000 words per week with Music Industry How To, so you can add at least 520,000 words to that count if you were to include paid writing activity.
During this challenge, I also live streamed quite a bit, and published new audios (podcasts) and videos I otherwise would not have, which contributed to growth in other areas.
The night I scored $5.55 as a live streamer.
What I Accomplished
Here is what I got out of publishing daily for 365 days:
Total stories: 557 (started with about 100 when I began this journey)
Total followers: 1,404 (started with about 100)
Curation rate: 0% (best to my knowledge)
Total earnings: $149.37 (June 2021 was my biggest month with $29.09)
Most stories I shared on Medium were first published on my blog.
From July 2019 to July 2020, I generated 1,828 visits to my blog. From July 2020 to July 2021, while publishing daily, I generated 3,108 visits. Which means I boosted the traffic to my blog by 70% in a year.
I also started a new email list from scratch and built it to 24 contacts.
Total articles: 22
Total page views: 464
Total earnings: $538.54 (and people wonder why I think News Break is a better use of my time…)
News Break just announced they will be removing base pay for their articles. I’m thinking I will be dropping them like a hot potato. I don’t have time for that.
While publishing daily, I urged my website visitors to subscribe to the Music Entrepreneur HQ YouTube channel. I started with a little over 100 subscribers, and today, it has over 306 subscribers.
Music Entrepreneur HQ
Between July 2020 and July 2021, I sold 174 books. As a bonus, I sold four courses and one coaching session (this side of the business tanked while I was busy developing the new membership platform – coming soon).
Music Industry How To
This is work I would have done anyway, but I wrote over 100 pieces for Music Industry How To.
This is probably where the juiciest results were:
- I got invited to write for multiple Medium publications. Some publications I asked to be a part of. Others I was invited to create for. Either way, when I first started, DataDrivenInvestor was the only publication I could submit to. Now, I have numerous others to choose from – Any Writers, Writers’ Blokke, ILLUMINATION, Content That Connects, Wholistique, Lifework, Get After It Today, Bootcamp, Hackwriting, The Shadow, Advice to Younger Self, Content Grind, Noteworthy – The Journal Blog, SYNERGY, Better Content, CircleOver, Ascent Publication, Woodworkers of the World Unite!!!, and Booxify. I’m beyond blown away with all the opportunities. My thanks to you!
- I created two Medium publications. I created Music Business Training for all the music business related stories I created, and Abundance Attraction for all the stories I knew would not find a home on other publications. Music Business Training now has 10 followers and Abundance Attraction has 30.
- I got accepted to write on News Break. And it was a fun ride.
- I landed a five-figure ghostwriting contract. I’ve got myself a book to work on!
- I got invited to publish on Tealfeed. It’s a new platform, but I’m grateful to have been invited as a writer on Tealfeed.
- I experimented heavily with other platforms. I also wrote a story about this. In total, I gained 14 followers on Brighteon.Social, two contacts on MeWe, one follower on Gab, four subscribers on Telegram, and one follower on Steemit. I’m not entirely clear on the difference blogging made for my presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube (my other channel), VK, Odysee, Minds, or Parler, but it’s fair to say my online presence remained on a gentle growth curve. My focus on Twitter yielded some results, but nothing to write home about. I also earned $5.55 while live streaming.
- Boosted engagement on Twitter. I started interacting more with a small community of engaged followers, some of whom I now collaborate with.
- My Tumblr following grew. And all I did was use Jetpack’s publicize feature inside WordPress to syndicate posts. I’m not clear on where it started, but I now have 225 followers.
- My blog was added to FactBites’ best content marketing blogs list. And as of now, it’s at the top of the list.
I’m sure I generated other results as well. I just can’t remember all of them.
What I Discovered
Now that we’ve looked at the results generated, it’s time to share the journey with you.
Here are some of the key things I discovered while publishing daily:
It Really is About the Unicorns
Out of the hundreds of stories I published on Medium, only a few were noteworthy in terms of traffic or results generated. Only about one in every 60 posts got over 100 views (and these were generally closer to 200 views). And not a single post published in the last 365 days exceeded 300 views.
I published plenty of detailed, well-written, unique, research rich, entertaining, and inspiring posts, most of which never lived up to expectation. In my view, at least a few of these should have been curated and never were.
Perfect example of a unique, detailed, insightful post I think is deserving of more love.
As CEO of Mobile Monkey Larry Kim often says, it really is all about the unicorns. If you publish daily, you will add to the sea of donkeys in a significant way. But there will be some unicorns. And there are some major takeaways in identifying, studying, and recapturing the magic of those unicorns.
It’s Not a Bed of Roses
The prospect of publishing daily was exciting at first. But I would be lying if I said it was all fun and games.
I had days where I didn’t want to write, didn’t feel like I had anything to offer, or was much too tired to think clearly. Last Sunday night, I had a serious case of graduation goggles knowing I was nearing the end of the experiment, and almost forgot to publish.
And if I’m being honest, there were a lot of other things that didn’t go right. I burned out last September and spent six to eight months recovering. Some days, I published after midnight. There was at least one post that refused to import onto Medium. I did #StrategySunday planning sessions for a while, and then completely gave up on them. My publishing efforts gradually became less organized and more chaotic. Both of my grandmas passed. And so on.
Despite it all, I soldiered on. Because writing isn’t a chore. It’s a pleasure and a passion. But it’s a smaller piece within the greater ecosystem. Sometimes, your global settings are out of whack (you feel exhausted, things are going wrong in life, you’re sick or injured, etc.) and that affects your work.
I would love to say otherwise. Steve Pavlina seems to have had a great experience with his year of daily blogging. Seth Godin swears by it and has kept it up for at least a decade if not two. Jeff Goins saw a breakthrough in his career after publishing daily for two years. I’m sure you can think of other names.
To me, it still comes down to your priorities. What do you want to accomplish? Pick your top three to five goals and leave all others alone. They’re just distractions.
When you say “yes” to something, you’re always saying “no” to something else. This is a blessing when it’s in perfect alignment with your goals. It can become a curse if you later realize you would have chosen something else. Nothing is ever a throwaway though.
Stay in Your Lane
Everything takes time. Most entrepreneurial endeavors require at least two to five years of consistent effort to see meaningful results. Some take 10, especially if you have no idea what you’re doing.
I don’t understand the “six months and you should have results or you’re doing something wrong” crowd. Perhaps you can explain this to me if you are a proponent.
Yes, if you work out daily for six months, you should be in better shape than when you started. But unless you were already in good shape, it’s unlikely you’ll have achieved your ideal weight or shape in that time.
It’s the same thing with publishing. If you create daily for six months, you should have built a bit of momentum with your following, traffic, and earnings. But it would be unrealistic to expect you’d be earning a full-time living by then. You might only earn a few cents in that time, as reflected in my own experience.
What that means is you need to put your blinders on, show up, do the work, and keep digging until you strike gold. Most people get distracted, give up, and/or spread themselves out too thin (I’m guilty as sin). This is not a winning formula.
You will not see results with blogging, podcasting, YouTube, your projects, or your business endeavors immediately. So, plant your feet, put your stake in the ground, build your fortress, and keep expanding your empire. Keep your eyes on the prize. Good things take time.
You Might Not be Off Track
Publishing daily for a full year, for me, played right into soul searching. And in some ways, though I already felt very comfortable as a writer, I also found my voice all over, having tackled many topics I might not have touched on otherwise.
So far as soul searching goes, having invested heavily into my business over the years, I was starting to feel discouraged with the results, not seeing the bigger picture that was forming. That had me reflecting on whether I was on track and experimenting newly, especially with my publishing efforts.
Basically, I ended up spending another year zigzagging across my calling.
Nothing is a throwaway, though, and everyone goes through this. Arguably, it’s essential. We gain valuable skills and experiences we can bring back to our calling for expanded results.
It Might Not Solve All Your Business Problems
It didn’t mine. And to qualify, I will explain what that would look like to me:
- Generating a steady flow of news leads.
- Replacing income from freelancing, ghostwriting, and other writing duties with Medium, book sales, course sales, coaching, affiliate sales, and advertising.
- Freeing up at least five hours per week to work on my music.
- Reducing my work hours to 30 to 35 hours per week, so I can spend more time just enjoying life.
- Growing an engaged following. Yes, my following grew this past year, but the numbers don’t tell the full story of who’s engaged and who isn’t. I don’t care about quantity. I care about quality.
- Increasing my YouTube channel to over 1,000 subscribers. I’ve got hundreds of great videos on the Music Entrepreneur HQ channel – videos I can’t even monetize until I’ve got 1,000+ subscribers.
Obviously, I still got results. I did not fulfill on the above, and that to me would be “solving all my business problems.” But it’s fair to say I made progress.
Would I do it Again?
Yes, I would. But not right away. That doesn’t feel in alignment to me.
What feels right to me now is stepping back, taking a break, and getting my publishing efforts aligned with my goals.
While publishing daily, I sometimes found myself putting something together at the last minute, or posting something random because it was the thing to do. And without question, I ended up creating content that wasn’t in alignment with my goals.
This, as a marketer would say, is the difference between strategy and tactics. If the two aren’t cohesive, you probably aren’t producing desired results.
I plan to focus on my music, books, and music business membership.
In terms of content, I’m thinking about publishing three to five times per week – Medium, Music Entrepreneur HQ, and my blog.
But I’m sure I will start to get a better sense of what this will look like after spending some time in reflection.
If you’re thinking about publishing daily for a year, or even just for 100 days, do it!
I may have given the impression that you need to be perfect with your publishing efforts to get somewhere with it, but the reality is you don’t. Plenty of people have done it and have achieved mind-blowing results.
Even if you don’t create anything extraordinary, there is virtually nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Whether it’s clarifying and organizing your thoughts, documenting your journey, growing your following (even if it’s only incrementally), making a bit of money, becoming more self-confident, or otherwise, you will create fresh results in your life by doing the work.
Now it’s your turn. Go and write!
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On July 28, 2021, I made the commitment to publish daily for a full year.
Tomorrow, I will have fulfilled on that promise.
And if I’m being perfectly honest, I published as many as four times on some days. That may not be evident from the archives, but if you go looking across Music Entrepreneur HQ, Music Industry How To, MIDINation, Medium, News Break, and Steemit, you’ll see what I’m referring to.
I seriously considered whether to continue for another year. That’s how rewarding this process has been. But I’ve come to see it’s not in full alignment with what I’m up to creating in the world right now.
First and foremost, it’s time for a bit of a break. Though publishing daily, on average, only takes about an hour per day, in some ways it has basically consumed my attention and mind space.
Aside from that, it’s time to get into action concerning key endeavors – especially the leadership and management program I’m currently taking, musical projects, books, and my new membership (to be added to Content Marketing Musician).
This is all basically just a teaser, though, because I’ll be bringing the full scoop to you tomorrow. Keep an eye out for it!
For more inspiration, be sure to sign up for my email list.