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A New Year’s Survival Guide for Bloggers

survival guideThis is a guest post by Karol K from Theme Fuse.

Chances are that any minute now you’re going to get blasted with myriads of “new year’s resolutions for bloggers” posts. Or is it already happening right now? Anyway.

New year’s resolutions are all nice except for one little fact – they rarely find their place in reality.

Did you know that only 3% of new year’s resolutions are successful? You didn’t? That’s because it’s not true. But I’m sure you know well enough that most new year’s resolutions are bound to fail anyway. It’s almost like “a list of things I will try to do, only to fail miserably.”

So instead of the “resolution post” I’ve decided to write a “survival post.” Not only for you, but for myself as well. Of all people, I’m probably the one who really needs some serious survival guidance. Here goes, the 7 lucky steps of survival for bloggers – 2012 edition.

1. Set a nice and shiny set of new year’s goals

Yes, I know, if you had a nickel for each time someone gives this advice you’d be rich. But you know what … if you had a nickel every time you didn’t take action after getting this advice you’d be rich too.

Setting your goals is essentially defining what you want to achieve in the next 12 months. It gives you drive and direction for the whole year. It gives you power to decide whether you’re going in the right direction or not at any point in time. And finally, it gives you a benchmark showing whether you did a good job or not at the end of the year.

First of all, you have to keep in mind that we’re talking the whole 12 months, so the goals can’t be too small. They need to be significant, interesting, exciting, and making you feel itchy to take action. (If you can’t find such a thing, well … changing your profession might be a solution.)

Here’s what I do when defining my goals for the year.

For starters, I take a look at all the things that I think are attainable from the point I’m standing in right now. In other words, I try to find the best possible result of every project I’m working on at the moment.

For example, if I’m working on a new e-book I set a goal of how many times I want it to be downloaded by readers.

Next, I set goals for all the other projects I have plans for, but haven’t yet started working on.

Finally I set goals for my blogs themselves and me, as a writer/blogger, separately.

… How many readers I want to attract? How much of something I want to obtain (money, recognition, other measurable outcomes)?

So how many goals for the year is the optimum number? Once you’re slightly above the level of I-can-get-it-done then it’s probably the place to stop coming up with new goals. If you’re however, at I-can-get-it-done-easily then you should probably create some more goals (and more challenging ones, at the same time).

The section on goals alone is starting to get a bit lengthy, I know, but I really want to emphasize the importance of goal setting as a vital practice for any kind of project. No matter if they’re personal, business, or blogging.

2. Lose weight

Sounds like a true new year’s resolution, doesn’t it?

Of course, I don’t mean it literally. Here’s what losing weight means for bloggers:

  • Do less with better results.
  • Write only the content that creates the most impact.

Let’s start with the former. This is a pure 80/20 case. Try to identify all the things that work for you in terms of recognition, your content going viral, people wanting to reach out to you, other bloggers talking about you, new readers visiting your blog, and so on … Basically, try to identify the areas of your work that bring the best results to you and your blog.

If you’re not familiar with the 80/20 principle you can either read the book, or get a quick summary from Wikipedia. Everything about our life is 80/20. Identifying the “20” part is key to success in everything, blogging included.

Our second item on the list – writing only the content that is received the best is kind of a 80/20 case as well. If you’ve been blogging for a while I’m sure you can name a typical successful post for your blog. Its construction, topic, style, and overall look and feel.

The advice is simple here: write more of those, write less of posts that remain unnoticed.

3. Create a publishing calendar

If you’re posting every day then OK, you don’t need a publishing calendar.

But if you’re not then such a thing may come really handy. What you do is simple. At the beginning of each month you fire up your Google Calendar and pick exact days of when you’re going to publish new posts on your blogs.

This sounds like a restriction, but actually it gives you much freedom. You don’t have to worry about whether it’s time to publish something new today or not. You just have to look at the calendar and everything is clear.

Moreover, a situation where you publish 5 posts one week and 0 the next week will never occur. A publishing calendar is the best tool of making sure that you’re posting in equal intervals.

4. Plan specific packages of content you want to release

A.K.A: a series.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series. This has been a great success and ended up to be transformed into an e-book that sells really well till this day.

Why not create something similar yourself? This isn’t actually that hard. First of all, you have to identify a topic in your niche that’s somewhat large and needs a proper coverage to be explained well.

If you’ve been in your niche for a while then you should be able to come up with 4-5 possible topics.

Once you have the topics, create a plan of releasing a series of posts on the topic you find most interesting both for you and your readers.

Publishing a series of posts can be really cool, it gives you additional traction and arouses more interest among the readers who are particularly interested in that given topic.

A series of any kind is also newsworthy, so you might even release a PR via PRWeb.com or a similar service.

5. Plan your networking

Who do you want to reach out to in the upcoming year? I’m sure there’s someone. Who do you want to partner with? Who do you want to release a product with?

Networking is an important part of running a blog. The truth is that who you know is often equally as important as how quality your content is.

Select 5-10 people, and create a basic plan of what you want to achieve, as well as why you want to achieve it. Also, try to come up with some things you can give to those people (not the other way around).

When selecting this small group you can also look at all the people who are already mentioning you on their blogs, or sending you traffic. Often they are much more likely to enjoy interacting with you directly.

Networking is something much easier to do when planned out. Just give it a try.

6. Set a guest post challenge

How many guest posts do you want to publish in the new year? Set this number to be wild. Like one a day, or one a week (everyone has a different definition of “wild”).

Guest posting is probably the best strategy of growing your blog and getting recognition. You really HAVE TO join the craze. Besides, it’s fun to have your content all around the internet on dozens of different sites.

7. Plan all the other promotions, launches and campaigns

I’m sure you have something in store you’ve been hoping to do but couldn’t find the time or the motivation to take action.

Start with the simplest step and make an overall plan of that project. Set the basic goals, basic milestones, the initial tasks that need to be done. The first step is always the most difficult one, once you’re going you’re going.

Remember that we’re talking the whole year here. So don’t skip anything just because you think you won’t have the time to do it this month or even the next month. If there is a project you want to put into life create a basic plan for it as soon as possible.

Acting now can create some unexpected revelations. You might, for example, realize that the project isn’t actually that difficult, or that expensive, or that time-consuming.

It can also go the other way around … at the stage of planning, a project might become impossible to get done properly. At least you won’t be thinking about it any more and you will be able to focus on something else instead. Either way, that’s a win.

I know that there are a lot more things that could find their place on this list, but remember, we’re only surviving here. We’re not setting an unreal list of resolutions, only the doable stuff.

Goals, content that works, publishing calendar, series of posts, networking, guest posting, and other projects – these should keep you busy for the year, and make sure you won’t be publishing a post titled “I’m done with blogging” in December of 2012.

What are you planning to do to survive in 2012? Do you have any cool insights you’d like to share? And finally, how effective are you in putting your new year’s resolutions into life?

About the author: Karol K. is a 20-something year old web 2.0 entrepreneur from Poland and a writer at ThemeFuse.com, where he shares various WordPress advice. Don’t forget to visit ThemeFuse to get your hands on some original WordPress themes (warning: no boring stuff like everyone else offers).

Tags:
Category: blogging

32 Comments on "A New Year’s Survival Guide for Bloggers"

  1. Robinsh says:

    First of all I would like to say a big thanks for this survival guide what I red by heart and thinking about making a living doing blogging in year 2012.

    I am sure I do SKIP this post if you wrote for resolution 2012 🙂

  2. Ekene Ilochonwu says:

    This is a great and lengthy article,it’s really a guide to follow and i recommend this for any one who wants to progress as a blogger this year.

  3. How to blog to make money says:

    worthy information!

  4. aatif says:

    really nice article . Will try to do what you said in this article .

  5. Truly inspiring, nice post..

  6. what i need to do is plan and work on my monthly posting schedule. it is getting very irregular and in one sense, that is harming my blog

  7. You are totally great one ,oni Appreciate all things u have mention.Try to go with it !!! Great tip

  8. Well said. Incidentally, I also wrote a similar post on my blog. It’s important to set goals and what better time to do it.

  9. Karol says:

    Thanks for your kind words, guys! 🙂

  10. Karol,
    I like the points you make, especially about working out a schedule for networking. This is just one of the things that I hope to work on this year even though I am a little scared about putting myself out there. I will definitely bite the bullet and get on with it.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Karol K says:

      The first step is always the most difficult. Once you get going it gets easier really really quickly. Thanks for the comment.

  11. Andy says:

    Planning is very important if you want to go for a long run. Thank you so much for this post.

  12. Harry Sehgal says:

    Nice Post Again. And Bookmarked Again..

  13. Mj says:

    I have just read this post and i must say it has inspired me a lot to work even harder this year !
    Thanks for such good post !

  14. Goa Casinos says:

    Nice info and i would like to say one thing for newbie bloggers they all are can learn lot of things to achieve success in their blog post with these tips and i am sure they will get good response after use these tactics in their business.

  15. Manish says:

    Hey Karol, thanks for giving such a great survival guide for bloggers. This guide will help me a lot in my blogging and this year I have to improve myself a lot in blogging. So this guide has inspired me a lot and due to all these effective points my blogging will definitely going to be improved.

  16. Mahendra says:

    Great planned info

  17. Karol, I agree, I really do find content schedules give you focus and way more flexibility with posting.

    It means you can be more reactive with available time.

    • Karol K says:

      For me, introducing a publishing schedule was a real game-changer, since then I keep giving this advise to every blogger.

  18. Krissy Brady, Writer says:

    Such a fantastic post–thanks so much Karol! I especially love your “lose weight” analogy, which is the main goal I am working on this year. So far, it’s working out fantastic–still have a few kinks to iron out, but things are going smoothly nonetheless. I also have the publishing schedule covered, and am now working on planning my social networking–I have a very solid grasp now on who my target audience is, so now it’s go big or go home. 🙂

    Happy 2012 everyone!

  19. John says:

    Number five I need too do better at that. Nice tips!!

    • Karol K says:

      I probably should have put more focus on this point. In my opinion, it’s one of the most important things on the list. 🙂

  20. Trung Nguyen says:

    Wow losing weight is the thing I have to do in 2012. Thanks for your remind

  21. Cloestele says:

    Hi there, Karol! That’s right, planning is truly essential to meet all our hopes for this year. My plan for this year, have a new website- and on that note, I’m looking forward to purchase one of your amazing themes anytime soon. I’ll stay in touch.

    • Karol says:

      Best of luck in the new year, then! 🙂

  22. Phil says:

    Thanks for this.

    I guess I have been writing a lot of posts that end up being published on my blog. This should be the ear when guest blogging should be taken seriously.

    Will start working on this from January and see how things work out (I am optimistic).

  23. Mikel Lito says:

    Oni, Nice blog you have here. For me comments are all about engaging readers and I know that readers are finding something useful with the content or building a link to their blogs. I am happy my blog can help them.

  24. As one of the article I’d read a week ago, this 2012 is a content marketing year. This survival tips is really helpful for all the bloggers. Yes, I’m not a blogger but I will try this year to become one. I was inspired with all the blogs I’d read this day. Like number 1 point. Goals are indeed very important in every individual regardless of their profession or status in life. This is an element that drives us to become better individual

    • Karol says:

      2012 as the content marketing year sounds reasonable. Hmmm, actually, let’s make it a blog marketing year.

  25. Chintan Jain says:

    Its time for new Goals and plans to set out in this new year… Hope this is going to be a good year for all of us..

    • Karol says:

      It has to be. I can’t wait till December to see all the great things that are sure to happen 😉

  26. Nice tips Karol, one of the things I started is following an editorial calendar, but it’s also a marketing calendar which includes all the tasks I need to do from writing, guest posting, sharing, etc…

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Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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