First things first: let’s set some goals and plan for success.
Welcome to Blogging 201: Branding and Growth! We’re pumped about what we’re going to cover over the next two weeks, and we’re excited you’re joining us for the ride.
Today we want you to do a bit of thinking about your blog. With apologies to Marty Hart of True Detective, we’re going to ask you to make your blog the focal point of silent reflection:
Today’s assignment: consider what you want to accomplish with your blog. Write down three concrete goals you want to achieve.
Why are we doing this?
- Because writing down goals forces you to think carefully about what success means to you — “success” is different for everyone.
- Because having goals helps you focus your blogging energy. If the thing you’re doing isn’t helping you achieve your goals, ditch it.
- Because achieving a goal is a great feeling that motivates you to set and meet new goals, creating a continuous cycle of awesome.
Here are some questions to mull over to help you uncover/refine what’s most important to you about your blog:
- Why do you blog? To gain notoriety? To secure a book contract? To self-publish your work? To establish yourself as a leader in your field? To gain followers? Traffic? To connect with others? To work through and clarify your own thoughts?
- If your blog exceeded your wildest dreams, what would that look like? Would you have a different design? How many followers would you have? How much traffic? What sort of community would participate? What discussions would take place? How often would you post?
Answering these questions helps you create a vision for your blog. Next, translate that vision into three specific goals. You can articulate your goals however you’re most comfortable, but we recommend making them simple, concrete, and time-based to create laser-like focus, like:
- Gain 20% more followers by October 31st.
- Increase my average daily hits 30% by the end of 2014.
- Publish three times each week during November, December, and January.
- Spend one hour each week visiting my followers’ blogs, reading their posts, and commenting on their work, from now until April 1st.
- Establish a new weekly feature on my blog by December 31st (Throwback Thursdays, Wordless Wednesdays, Soup Sundays), and publish that feature each week through June 30th.
- Create an editorial calendar for the next three months by November 1st.
- Gain 100 new Twitter followers for my blog by December 31st.
- Publish posts from three respected guests over the next three months.
For bonus points, write a post detailing your blog’s goals and publish it. Making your goals public ups your accountability. Your readers will cheer you on, and might even find ways to help you achieve your goals.
Stuck on what to pick for your goals? Not sure what’s actually reasonable? Ask your questions here, or head over to The Commons to bounce ideas around fellow challenge participants. You know the old saying: 1000 heads are better than one.