I know how overwhelming the One Room Challenge can be, especially now that it has grown to so many participants, so I thought it would be fun (and helpful hopefully) to do a how-to post about how I approach this fun challenge. It might sound strange but I really think there is a specific way to tackle those 6 weeks to make the most of your time. And after 5 rounds as a linking participant I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two!
Have a Post Schedule & Format
This may seem pretty self-explanatory but having a planned schedule for your posts will help you organize your tasks week by week. It also helps break down the process into reader-friendly posts. I like to choose a topic for each week and make that the main focus, for example:
Week 1: Lighting, Week 2: Choosing a Rug, etc.
A post format is also crucial for keeping things organized. Make it easy for visitors to see what you’ve done and what’s ahead. Start each post with links to each of your previous posts for this ORC and end the post with a preview of what you will tackle the following week(s). Have a running to-do list across all of your ORC posts with slashes through what has been accomplished.
Here is a format cheat sheet:
Intro (include link to Calling It Home)
Links to all previous posts for this ORC
Photos and updates of what has happened this week
To-Do list: check off what’s been done
Closing: what’s on the agenda for next week
Link to Calling It Home
This makes it a cinch to cut and paste the repetitive parts from week to week!
Consider it a 5-Week Challenge
Once you decide to jump into the ORC, (which you should!) plan to start one week before the official start date. No no I am not telling you to cheat but you should get all of your ducks in a row before your first post. Sit down and write out your post schedule. Even if you don’t usually keep a blog editorial calendar, do it for this challenge! You could even be an over-achiever and cut and paste some of those intro and closing portions for the weeks to come.
This will also help to determine shopping and order-by dates so everything will arrive in time.
Leave week 5 for styling and photographing your project. Last minute snags always come up so leaving this buffer week will help your sanity!
Have a Strategy
A huge reason we all do the ORC is to complete a project but, let’s be honest, we also want people to follow along with our posts. It’s nice to have that support rallying you on and for some of us this is a great time to gain blog readership. Make the most of this time when thousands of potential new visitors will be scanning the link up.
In years past I was able to take a little time and go through each participant’s (official and linking) post each week. But, as this series has grown it has become harder and harder for me to see each and every post. Visiting other blogs is a great way to show support and also get your name out there so people will come and visit you. Have a strategy of how you are going to cover as much ground as possible. Here are some tactics I have used in order to make the rounds:
*I consider the official participants a given so this applies to the linking participants
Visit 5 blogs/day between link ups
Choose 5 familiar blogs and 5 brand new (to you) to follow consistently each week
Choose 1 blog from each row of the link up to visit
Comment, click over to their other social media outlets, and maybe even do a round up post of some of your favorites!
Link Up Like a Pro
As I’ve already mentioned, the ORC has grown into a huge blogging series. Hundreds of bloggers link up each week and it is easy to feel lost in the shuffle. Take a little time to make your post stick out so people are enticed to click on your link. This means choosing a photo for each post that will be attention-grabbing. When I am planning my post each week I concentrate on including at least one picture that will be clear, crisp, and interesting. I would love for every photo to be this but some of these update posts can be boring and don’t always include tons of great photography so it is important to make sure at least one photos is eye-catching. Maybe you do a clean design board of lighting options or a great teaser of your fabrics. This will be the photo you choose for the link up image so nothing too busy and that can be easily translated from a tiny link image.
*Also important is your link-up title…keep it concise like, Choosing a Couch or tempt people with a little drama like, Where Things Went Wrong!
And include your blog name if possible!
I certainly don’t have this down to a science but I have found that following these tips I am able to stay more organized and make the most of the 6 weeks. I have met lots of new blog friends through the ORC and have gained countless new readers. It’s a great time to finally finish that room but also to grow your blog a little. Best of luck to everyone who is wrapping up for the big reveals tomorrow! And if you have any tips to add please leave them in the comments section- I would love to hear how you tackle the One Room Challenge!
Now head over and get ready to drool over the official reveals!