In my experience it seems to be a fairly common trait that bloggers often start a blog without any real sense of purpose or end result that they are trying to achieve. They want to do well, they just don’t know how well or how they are going to go about it. They change direction often and the blog seems to have no “mission.”
These kinds of blogs often achieve a moderate level of success but rarely do you see this kind of blogger make it past a few hundred subscribers. The reality is they often give up and quit blogging altogether.
If you don’t have a “strategic” plan for your blog, then you are essentially “blogging naked.” What I mean by a strategic plan is where do you want your blog to be in 6 months, a year, 3 years? How are you going to achieve these goals? What are the steps you are going to take?
These are all questions you should ask yourself both when starting your blog as well as when you progress. Every serious blogger should have a strategic plan for their blog.
My niche is the MMO niche which is clearly loaded with blogs that have no clear end goal in mind. They exist simply to try and make some money. They don’t have any idea how they are going to accomplish that or even how much they plan to make, yet they blindly blog away hoping to hit it big.
Unfortunately in this niche, it is quite common to run across what I call a “dark” blog. What I mean by dark is a blog that might have been started with the best of intentions, but after a month or two of blogging, the posts get further and further apart. Eventually they grind to a halt. The lights go out, nobody is home. It’s a dark blog.
Another naked blogger bites the dust. Keep in mind it is especially important not to blog naked if you happen to be a video blogger. Fortunately Mark is top notch.
Blogging backwards is a great idea.
When I say you want to “blog backwards” I am saying that you want to determine where you want to go first. What is your end goal? Make 2k a month? Increase 200 RSS subscribers? Hit 10k visitors a week? Whatever the case may be you need to define your actual goal and then work backwards to determine how you are going to get there.
A well thought out strategic action plan should almost always include the factors I have listed below.
- Content Creation – What’s your mission? What do you intend to give to your readers? Why should they come back?
- Theme Design – An attractive theme will encourage readers to give your content a chance.
- Branding – How are you going to “brand” yourself. What will separate you from the 2 gajillion other blogs in your niche? How will people remember you?
- Social Media – A good Social Media strategy should be a critical part of your plan. Social media sites like Digg and StumbleUpon can send you hordes of visitors and potential subscribers.
- Networking – Who are you going to partner with? No question that a network of bloggers helping each other out would be much more effective than a lone wolf. Travel in packs.
- Marketing – How are you going to market your product? You can’t just build a blog and expect people to start lining up to read it. Some would argue that you are better off to be a great marketer than a great writer. John Chow would be a perfect example.
I am sure you might be able to add to my list but these that I have listed should be considered the cornerstones of any good plan.
It will to take time to find the strengths and eliminate the weaknesses of your plan but that is to be expected from new bloggers. If you monitor your success monthly then you can adjust, adapt and make changes to ensure you stay on your plan.
It would not be uncommon to make adjustments to your plan several times as you progress. Very few of us are blessed enough to nail our goals the very first time we try. These small setbacks are normal and shouldn’t derail you from your plan.
The Wright brothers crashed an untold number of planes before finding the right combination that kept them airborne. Persistence paid off. Most of the A-Listers you see writing today started out on other blogs and cut their teeth there before hitting it big with their current blogs. Stick to it.
In my niche, you often read comments such as “nobody could become the next John Chow” or “John got in at the right time” or “he couldn’t do it again today” or “the niche is saturated.” I have no doubt the origin of these kinds of statements come from frustrated MMO’ers that are not experiencing any success.
If truth be told they are likely frustrated because of their own failures. Rather than placing the blame where it belongs, they make unfounded excuses to justify these failures. They are Victims.
The fact is that you can make it happen, you could be the next whoever, it could be done again. You could choose to hope that it happens to you or you could MAKE it happen for you. Success is a Choice and it all starts with a goal and a plan to get there.
So…confession time…..how many of you are naked right now? Come on, fess Up.
If you enjoyed this post then please make sure you check out my own blog at The Blog Entrepreneur. You can find a lot more content just like it including “Are you Destined to Be Mediocre?” Otherwise, you can find me back here each and every Friday, with new advice and thoughts on the blogosphere.
Originally posted on April 4, 2008 @ 8:00 am