What’s Your Long-Term Blogging Strategy?
Unless you have a staff of full-time writers, a professional designer, an existing audience you can leverage and money to pour into promotions, the process of becoming popular rarely happens overnight. Or in a matter of months.
In fact, most of the world’s most popular blogs plugged away in relative obscurity for several years before they made it big.
It seems that an essential aspect of becoming an A-list blogger is to write well over a long period of time. You might be writing well now, but what’s your long-term strategy? How well are you preparing yourself for the long-haul?
In this post, I want to share nine tips you can use to prepare your blog for long-term success. The tips focus around three key areas: inspiration, motivation and focus.
1. Write for a target audience. Confining yourself within set topics can be a one-way road to burn-out. You’ll get to a point where your range of topics doesn’t inspire you, or when you feel you’ve done a particular topic to death.
A question I often get is: how can I broaden my scope without losing some readers along the way? The key is to write for people, not topics. Work out who your target audience is and write posts that fulfill their needs. The range of ways you can do this will always be limitless. It’s hard not to be inspired when you’re writing with a target audience in mind.
2. Make regular deposits to your idea bank. Remaining inspired over the long-term is essential to any long-term blogging strategy. Once you know what you want to write, it’s simply a matter of doing the work: of sitting down to write it. If you don’t have ideas, however, there’s nothing to help you start.
The key to dealing with this problem is to come up with many more post ideas than you need. It means you’ll have the creative work done for you in those inevitable periods where you’re feeling uncreative.
3. Engage with readers. De-personalizing your readership can be one of the key causes of dwindling enthusiasm for blogging. When you start to think of the people who read your blog as a set of fluctuating numbers that either go up or down each day, you’ll stop caring about them.
Each single digit in your feed count and each single digit in your traffic reports is a person who’s taken time out of their day to read what you write. Take the time to interact with them, get to know them and help them out. Be active in your comments and respond to every email you get. The rewards you get through personally connecting with readers vastly outweigh the cost in time.
4. Set long-term goals. Long-term goals and long-term blogging go hand in hand. Set goals that are too modest and you’ll grow complacent as soon as you achieve them. Set goals that are too far out of reach and you’ll question whether it’s worth trying at all.
The best approach to take is to stagger your goals. Think of your aspirations like a ladder: put your dream at the top, and work backwards down to a very modest goal (get 50 more subscribers, for example). The next step might be a hundred subscribers, then five-hundred, and so on. You get the satisfaction of completing goals and the motivation to strive for those that are further out of reach.
5. Make money. If blogging helps your finances then that’s another motivation to stick with it. If you’re not monetizing your blog, why not give it a shot? If you’re monetizing and it’s not working, try something different. Get some freelance work, write and sell an eBook, or try to raise money for a cause you’re passionate about. Turning a hobby into a money-maker can do wonders for your enthusiasm.
6. Reverse engineer your actions. If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll never know what you should be traveling towards. Defining your overall goals will allow you to reverse engineer your blogging.
For example: If you want to make a full-time income online, every action you do should be oriented towards that goal. If you want to get 1,000 subscribers, you should focus mainly on increasing your subscriber base. Once you know where you want to end up, it becomes much easier to map out the route you need to take if you want to get there.
7. Keep track of milestones. Your milestones sheet should be something you look to all the time. When your subscriber count reaches 100, or 500, or 1,000, write it down. When an A-lister comments on one of your posts, write it down. When a popular blog links to you, write it down.
Assembling all your best achievements into a blog timeline will help you feel enthusiastic on days when the mere thought of blogging is getting you down.
8. Work out a sustainable rhythm. If you feel like the time you spend writing posts is negatively impacting on other aspects of your life, it’s time to slow down. Blogging at an unsustainable pace will make you want to stop all-together. Believe me — nothing cripples your blog more than an unexplained hiatus.
Consistency is key. Set your posting rhythm at whatever feels comfortable — even if it’s just once a week. You’ll write better posts and approach blogging as a hobby rather than a chore.
9. Build a safety net. It’s inevitable: there will be days, or weeks, when you don’t even want to look at your blog. It’s important that you prepare for those times. Once you’ve neglected your blog for long enough, it can be tempting to abandon it all-together. You need to build a safety net to avoid this outcome.
A safety net is a reserve of at least one week’s worth of posts. You can dip into this safety net whenever you’re feeling uninspired, or bored, or going away. All it takes to build an effective safety net is to write one extra post a week for one month. It’s simple to build, priceless once you’ve built it. A safety net can also help prepare you for a blogging emergency.
What’s your long-term blogging strategy?
23 Responses to “What’s Your Long-Term Blogging Strategy?”
“respond to every email you get”. Hi, Daniel. I believe you receive many emails everyday maybe near to one hundred. Do you still respond to each email you received?
That’s a great idea, Sheila. Nice work!
Sheila Lindsay Martin
Your post today inspired me to put together a form for tracking blog successes.
It’s called “Blog Milestone Celebrator” … http://silverceocafe.com/free-stuff-the-blog-milestone-celebrator/
I agree, motivation to keep working month after month is a key factor, and many people lack it.
Even though with so many motivation for us to continue blogging, one big factor that ensures that this hobby will continue is to enjoy it, either the blogging process itself or the topic we are blogging about.
If we are not interested in our blog, we might easily find that we are lazy to blog or out of resources on what to blog about.
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