Why am I doing this anyway?

I was wondering how to approach the planning of a blog.

Do the pros plan a month in advance? A quarter? A year? Or do bloggers wait for inspiration to strike? For life to happen?

Darren Rowse runs ProBlogger. A video blog by Rowse describes a full-day planning meeting held with a core team of four colleagues to discuss the upcoming schedule for 2013.

Firstly, the team reviewed the past year’s activities in 2012 and the blogs’ current position based on four critical areas:

  1. Content: reviewed publication frequencies and types of content, including feedback received via comments. Assessed survey results about content.
  2. Community: reviewed quality of comments and signups. Assessed whether people joined forums and engaged in social media channels. Gauged quality of community interaction.
  3. Stats: reviewed analytics on traffic quality and quantity, visitor types, and traffic sources. Assessed balance of new and repeat visitors and whether they arrived via search engine or social medial referrals.
  4. Monetization: reviewed their income generation and evaluated opportunities where they could capitalize on their established brand. This area is critical since the company desires to be sustainable over the long haul.

The review also examined areas for improvement as well as ways to further develop successful ventures. Unsuccessful initiatives were evaluated for improvement or elimination. Throughout, they brainstormed.

Secondly, they listed activities such as product launches and scheduled events; then slotted them into their annual calendar.

Thirdly, they reviewed their goals and sought ways to achieve those goals, scheduling them into their annual calendar. This allowed them to break down the process to milestone those goals and engage in project planning. Some initiatives were penciled in for trial. This way, they could launch a trial and assess it before committing it more permanently in their annual calendar.

Once the calendar was complete, they reviewed the entire year and scheduled new initiatives in the gaps. This creates momentum for the year, and the framework provides clear direction for the next 12 months.

For new bloggers, Rowse’s video suggests that planning an entire year ahead is critical to success.

For solo bloggers whose operations are smaller and less formal, planning is still mandatory. There may be prolific seasons followed by fallow seasons. Write while the well is deep to shore up those dry spells!

For this new social media-ist, before dashing off to brainstorm a list of bloggable topics, I need to re-examine my reasons for entering the blogosphere. Yes, I am aware this is an effective delaying tactic…

WordPressVanGoghWhat is the main purpose of my blog? Who is my key audience? What are they interested in learning? What am I interested in researching? What are my niche areas of expertise? What is the tone of my blog? How can my personality better permeate my writing? How can I attract more traffic to my blog? How can I build community?

All good questions that demand great answers.

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Artist. Communicator. Word nerd. Motivated by curiosity and dark chocolate.
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