Last week I completed my 30 Day Star Wars challenged, and while I enjoyed it, it was most definitely a learning experience. I wanted to share the things I learned from my 30 day challenge so that others can feel better equipped to take on a 30 day challenge because while it is a massive undertaking it’s also hugely rewarding.
1. Pick your challenge & timing carefully
In hindsight, choosing to do a Star Wars challenge in May due to Star Wars day sounded like a great idea on paper but it really didn’t pan out. I’m also a much bigger Star Wars geek than most people and probably went into more detail than people cared to know about – I was very niche at times. While I don’t regret that, the luxury of hindsight and seeing some other Star Wars challenges has pointed out my mistake. People respond better to this particular franchise in the run-up to a major new release. So a new film or TV show/season.
My next 30 day challenge is planned at the time of a big event, anniversary and probably a big release. I suspect that it’ll get a lot more interest because people will have that franchise on their mind.
2. Remember it’s for you too
While it’s important to remember your audience it’s also just as important to remember that this challenge is about YOU, the person writing it. Completing this challenge even if it doesn’t go to plan, even if you don’t get it all done because life gets in the way; you still contributed some amazing pieces of writing to the world as a result of even trying! Be proud of what you achieved and don’t worry about how many comments, or views you get.
3. Pre-schedule Everything
My aim in April was to pre-schedule at least 5 posts so I would be ahead of the game. Health and other life stuff prevented that from happening and so I ended up posting day-to-day and it was a nightmare. I got absolutely nothing else posted throughout May apart from Seriously Geeky Sundays, and even those I struggled with. I didn’t end up hating my challenge, although I was definitely pretty burnt out on the topic of Star Wars by the end of it.
This was the biggest lesson I learned from my 30 day challenge and if you’re planning one I would really advise starting work on it a month or two before you’re wanting it to go live. Give yourself plenty of time to have everything scheduled so you can still continue to post other content while the challenge is going on.
On a positive note it has given me a massive motivation boost and I have so many ideas for posts now.
4. Plan Ahead
One of the biggest mistakes I made with my challenge was not reading ahead in the prompts and planning how I was going to answer them. I learned from my 30 day challenge how important that was, and I started doing it about halfway through. By that point I’d already facepalmed several times as I realised ‘crap, I should have saved X for that day!’. Don’t do what I did, sit down from the start and plan out what you’re allocating for each day. I used the memo app on my tablet and did it on my downtime.
5. Post Prep takes longer than you think
Depending on the topic of your 30-day challenge you may find that your posts take more prep time than your usual ones. Whether it’s researching information, confirming things you already know, sourcing images or taking screenshots in video games, the entire process of putting a post together takes a lot of time. You can make things a bit easier by automating the process as much as possible using templates, but at the end of the day, you just need to set time aside so your challenge doesn’t eat into other blog work.
6. Know your limits
I was smart enough to limit myself to 5 things per topic, with the exception of one prompt which I knew I wanted to explore in more detail. What I didn’t do was limit myself to just the challenge during the month of May and I ended up promising content which inevitably I couldn’t deliver. So know your limits and make sure you stick to them no matter what idea comes along.
7. Titles are an obstacle you never see coming
One of the silliest most mundane problems I found was finding titles that sounded eye-catching and not repetitive. Even then I still ended up repeating ‘5 of my favourite…’ quite often. It may sound trivial, but the title of your post is the first thing people. This was the one thing I learned from my 30 day challenge that totally blindsided me so I’d thought I’d pass it along.
8. If you miss a day it’s not the end of the world
If you end up posting every day by choice or by accident like I did there will be at least one day where things don’t go to plan. It’s inevitable. You’ll not feel well, work will be really busy, there will be traffic, or something random will happen that results in you not being able to get the post done that day. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a day. At the end of the day, your challenge isn’t a collaboration with other people so you’re only answerable to yourself and your readers will understand.
Be prepared to catch up and be on top of things ASAP though. If you don’t you’ll end up falling behind and it’s a downward spiral from there.
9. Planning includes things like social media
If you use social media for promotion my advice is to keep on top of it and again pre-schedule posts as much as possible. I fell behind on posting to Instagram and it just felt like another thing I needed to do. After a while, it begins to wear you down. I would have perhaps been better posting a weekly summary of the topics I’d covered rather than trying to keep up with a daily post. Instead of taking time to think about it and formulate a plan I just rushed in.
10. Try a shorter Challenge
As I said at the start a 30 day challenge is a fantastic achievement, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that any future challenges have to be that long. Try changing up the length of the challenge to 1-2 weeks or spread it across 2 days rather than posting every single day. At the end of the day, there’s no rule that says a blog challenge has to be X number of days. Do what works for you! I know I certainly will 🙂
Over to You
Thanks for reading 10 things I learned from my 30 day challenge. If you have any questions or something was unclear please do not hesitate to ask. One thing I will say about a 30 day challenge is this; don’t be put off by it. It is a lot of work, it is a wee bit stressful, and it’s also a lot of fun. You get 30 days to gush over a subject of your choice and it looks fantastic on your blog. Just prepare, plan and schedule and don’t make the mistakes I did and you’re good to go!
Have you ever tried or completed a 30 day blog challenge?
What advice would you give to someone who’s never done one before?
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