12/12/2016

How To Start & Grow Your Blog! | Creating A Plan For 2017




As I mentioned recently in one of my email love letters, (join my list if you haven't already) I'm getting back to my roots! Well my  blogging roots that is. My blog started as a creative outlet (I know, I know so cliche...) when I was living overseas. It was my first step into the social media world. My little blog grew beyond my wildest dreams and that led to other opportunities and focusing on other social channels, most notable my YouTube channel. I LOVE YouTube and my community there (pop over & say hi!) but I was always a little sad at neglecting my blog as time went over. Well, one of my resolutions for 2017 is to bring my blog back in full force! I hope you've noticed, we've been having a party over here -- lots of amazing and useful new content for you all! So as I've been working to post more consistently, I have also been researching how to grow your blog. I think the most important thing is to create a plan! Here are some tips and tricks I've put together to help you grow your audience and become a blogging super star! 

F I R S T: THE HARD STUFF

Prior to creating a blog plan, be honest and ask yourself the most important question in blogging: 


Why are you blogging? What are you trying to get out of it? 

Obviously, there's no right or wrong answer, but whatever you say will determine the course of your next steps. If you want to “be creative and have fun,” your blog plan will inevitably look really different than if your answer is “to quit my job, live off my blog & write a book.” I say this all the time (even when giving advice on whether you should go to law school or not....) but you have to understand your intentions & the reasoning behind your actions. Some people call this "knowing your why". Think carefully about this question, but also realize it’s fluid. Things change over time, so be flexible, but you need a starting point.


Also, it's equally important to look at what you don't like or don't want to include in blogging. Maybe you don't want to spend more than 5 hours a week blogging. Or maybe you don't want to write about certain aspects. Understand these things as well.


N E X T: MAKE A PLAN 


I recommend including these areas in your blog plan, but of course you can be flexible.


Vision + Mission
There are many resources out there to help you create vision and mission statements. Don't get too caught up in what it looks like -- this is a time when the form is not as important as the substance. Just write down your overall vision for you social media presence and then then some supporting mission statements and you're good to go!

Content
This is the golden ticket! In the world of blogging and social media, content is king! I suggest using a free-flow method to write down all your ideas. Don't edit at this time. Just write everything down! Consider new topics or categories to cover & then within each heading write out ideas for types of things to feature. For example, I want to focus more on clean eating in 2017 so I want to share more recipes on my blog. Under the recipe category, I would write out "10 minute breakfast ideas" and so on. Then once you have this master list, you can use it to create an editorial calendar. (Stay tuned for more on that to come!)

Social Media
If content is king, then social media is queen. Having a social media plan is imperative. Vital. Non-negotiable. You catch my drift. But also don't let this overwhelm you. Make sure you brainstorm how you want to use the various social media platforms. For example, I use Facebook to share articles and videos that I don't post anywhere else. This is added value. I use Twitter for brief updates (duh), Instagram as a microblog to share curated images that are a mix of promotional and life updates, and Snapchat for quick, fun and fast vlogging.
Don't forget to ENGAGE with your audience! Ask questions in your posts and respond to comments. Also, this goes without saying but be consistent! If you need more detailed help with your social media, email me to setup a free consultation on how we can work together and I can help you!

Revenue Streams
Everyone can monetize their blog! Don't worry about your numbers, just get started and they will come. Even making money isn't your first priority with your blog, it certainly helps as a little extra boost. If you are currently monetizing your blog, make sure to keep notes on what is working for you and what you'd like to change in the new year! There are various affiliate networks that pay you to link through them. Also, make note of your financial goals for your blog (you should be setting financial goals for your persona life too!!) The easiest way to analyze your financial goals in on a quarterly basis - check out these tools to plan your financial goals for you blog. Also, remember to vary your social media streams. This is the easiest way to see your income double or even triple!

Continuing Education
I truly believe it is so important to continue your education in all aspects of life. Check out blogging conferences you can attend, or classes to take online. You don't have to spend a lot of money on this. Also, forming relationships with our bloggers and attending networking events also counts as continuing education! Continuing education can also be as simple as increasing your skill levels on social media or photography. Leave me a comment down below and let me know what you want to work on!

New Projects
Ugh. I know, it's so hard to come up with new projects when you feel like you have so many you want to finish already. #CanIGetAnAmen
But it's important to keep a running list of projects that you want to work on. Be strategic. Just writing these things down won't do you any good. You have to act on them. We'll talk more about this, but you need to make sure you're moving items from your Master Project List onto your monthly task list and daily to-do list. Also, it's helpful to have a list of new projects so that in the event that something you're working on doesn't work out - you can swiftly move on to the next.


F I N A L L Y: YOUR MARCHING ORDERS


I think it's helpful to dedicate a section in your planner specifically for your blog & social media world. It keeps things nice, neat and organized. (Check out my YouTube playlist to see my 2017 Planner Setup & Organization Plan!) But even if you don't have a separate section, don't let that stop you. Write our your blog plan wherever works for you! It can be in in a notebook, a Word doc, Google Docs or a fancy PDF. Be sure to visit your Blog Plan at the very least on a monthly basis. Make changes as necessary but also use it to keep you on track.


What are some of the action items you want to work on for your blog or social media in 2017? Leave me a comment down below or tweet me on Twitter! Let's keep this conversation going! xo

1 comment:

ROSEISAROSE said...

Hi Mae. I have been wanting to have a blog waaaaay before blogging became some popular and spilled over into YouTube. I do actually have one where I would just put my everyday life in nursing, as a mom, as a student, food/restaurant. I had reservations about it because I was not quite sure how to organize it and what consistent topic/context to stick with. I didn't have a flow. I am still quite interested in starting one and just working on it slowly->quickly. Any info/help/suggestions from are appreciated. Thank you.