I’m generally not one to make personal resolutions as the new year approaches (sorry 2017, I’m gonna keep eating all those cheeseburgers), but I LOVE to make blogging and business resolutions to help me stretch and learn and take on new things every year. The new year always feels like a time to make changes, ditch habits and strategies that aren’t working, and experiment with something new.
My resolutions for 2017 involve going live and getting personal more often, knocking out that little procrastination habit that showed up this year (I’ve been doing good so far!), and scheduling specific time off (I’m thinking an actual sabbatical) to recharge and educate myself.
If you’re in the process of growing your online presence, here are 3 resolutions I highly recommend making (and sticking to) so you can see growth and good blogging things happen all year long.
1 | Not worrying so much before hitting publish
Don’t worry that you’ve included too little or too much information. Don’t worry that someone else has written the same thing before. Don’t worry that you’re not a Nobel Prize-winning authority. Don’t worry that people will disagree with or be annoyed by what you wrote. Don’t worry that you shared something that makes you feel vulnerable. Don’t worry that it may not be perfect.
This is the internet. Hit publish with the knowledge that you can always update your post later. Or fix that typo that slipped by. Or take the post down if you hate it, or write something better later.
One of the biggest roadblocks my beginner blogging students face is that they wait for everything to be perfectly planned and designed and branded and written with 15 posts waiting in the wings before they hit publish. The problem with this is that waiting for perfection or to feel ready is just a form of procrastination. Once you go live you’re going to end up editing and adjusting anyway. You’ll see how people interact with your content, what gets shared most, what comments and questions new readers leave, and you’ll end up adjusting anyway.
Might as well hit publish, get some actual eyes on your work, and let your content, your design, and your blogging plan evolve naturally instead of trying to guess what will work best before you even start. My blog is not the same blog I started with, and it’s not even the same blog I was writing last year. It’s continuously evolving and growing, and the only way I’m able to do that is by hitting publish consistently.
Action Item: Write down your top 3 excuses for stalling on publishing something and give it the “why” test. It should go something like this . . . “I’m worried people won’t read my posts.” Why? “Because I don’t have a huge following.” Why? “Because I’ve only been blogging for a little while.” You get the idea… Unless you run into an answer that is an actual roadblock like, “I live in Antarctica and we don’t have wifi here,” then it’s time to take a deep breath and hit publish anyway.
2 | Keeping your content connected
Your emails should connect to your blog posts, which should connect to your social media, which should connect to your services or products or affiliate marketing. Stretch ideas and content over multiple days so you don’t have to come up with 50 pieces of brilliant and original content every single week.
You don’t need to cover every aspect and angle in one blog post. You can share 3 tips on your blog, and then send #4 via email, and post #5 and #6 on Instagram and Facebook and use those platforms to remind people to head over to your post for #1-3.
If growing your blog traffic is part of your 2017 plan, then brainstorming and blogging the night before just isn’t going to cut it. Content ends up being more purposeful and helpful to your readers when you can look at months at a time and move readers step by step toward a goal.
Action Item: Go back over your last 3-5 posts and draw a flow chart connecting your post to the posts you published before and after, to your emails from that week, and to your social media posts. If there’s no flow, then it’s time to start planning ALL of your content in advance. (I like Google Calendars, Asana, and the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin for this.)
3 | Reaching out and making new friends
Get to know your audience and your peers. Share parts of yourself outside of your niche. Reply, like, comment, email, go live.
One of the best things I did this year was going to VenturePOP in New Orleans. I’m very introverted and all too happy to stay blogging at home alone, so I never considered going to a conference until they asked me to speak. Me and my introvert self not only survived, but really enjoyed it. I got to meet people I’d been connected with online for years, hung out with a few of my students, made actual friends. If you can add a conference to your to-do list for 2017 or make it your goal to generate enough cash this year to go to a conference in 2018, you definitely should.
But, because the internet is awesome, you don’t have to leave your house to make blogging friends. Set up a Skype date with someone you’ve connected with. I was also not terribly interested in this but accepted a Skype invite a few years ago, and MAN was it nice to talk to someone “in person” about all the behind the scenes stuff that goes into growing a blog and business. Or use Periscope, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram to go live and talk to your customers, clients, readers. Writing is great, but adding in a few live sessions throughout the year is SO helpful in allowing your audience to get to know the real you.
Action Item: Reach out to another blogger to Skype or collaborate, look into attending a conference (I’m speaking at The Blog Connect Conference in Philly #justsayin), go live (this post will help), leave a comment, or chat with three new people on social media.