Ten Questions for Planning Out a Year of Blogging

2012It’s that time again. In ten days, we’re launching into 2011. These ten days are often filled with holiday traveling, family, and fun (along with inordinate amounts of food), but they’re also days when our blogging minds need to be racing with possibilities.

Right out of the gates let me declare that we have absolutely no idea what web technologies might exist in six months, so I don’t think coming up with a rigid annual calendar for your blog is possible. Even if it were, it wouldn’t be a very good idea. Agility is a key trait of successful bloggers, but so is intentionality.

Right now is the time to brainstorm about your goals, plans, and topics for the next few months. Here are some headings for your notes…

What Is My Blog’s Primary Purpose?

When you decide what that is, don’t back away from it. Critics will come. Traffic will fluctuate. The temptation to cut corners will always be in front of us. Don’t do it. Stay the course. If you’re out to change the world, don’t settle for making an extra buck.

What Is My Blog’s Major Message?

You’re going to write 365 posts next year, right? But you ultimately have a major message to communicate and everything else just builds on that message. Identify it and protect it. Write it down.

Who Is My Intended Audience?

This is not the same as asking who is my audience? It’s who is your intended audience? Who do you hope to reach? If you’re blogging about sweaters for dogs and your blog’s adoption among cat breeders is up, you need to shift.

How Will I Expand?

You may need to launch another blog, add another category, join another social network, or offer a membership area. How do you intend to grow your blog’s footprint in the coming year? Write it down.

How Will I Streamline?

I’m guessing you tried some things this year that haven’t been working. That course-altering plugin you installed slows your page down while offering none of the intended increase in traffic. Kill it. That wing of your blog dedicated to that off topic hobby of yours is costing you readers. Kill it. What do you need to cut away from your blog to refine your focus?

What Will I Learn This Year?

Determine an area of blogging or online marketing in which you’ve been behind and take a course, read a book, or attend some kind of meetup group to discuss it. Learn. Grow. Leaders are learners, or they don’t lead long.

What Will I Unlearn This Year?

Spinning gif’s are out. So are webrings. You once learned these were cool, and now you’re way behind. Open yourself up for all of your assumptions to be challenged and enter the new year with fewer preconceived ideas about what success must look like.

What Series’ Can I Write?

This is something you can really dig into. Brainstorm this. What are ten major themes you want to address, with anywhere from two to six posts about each theme? How can they flow logically and where will you take your readers as the series’ progress?

How Can I Invest In Others?

Knowledge was intended to be shared. How can you teach? Whom can you mentor? Come up with actionable means of passing knowledge along to others. Maybe it’s a Posterous group for bloggers. Perhaps it’s a virtual coffee once per month with leaders in your niche. How will you selflessly share knowledge this year?

Who Will I Connect With?

Glance through your feed reader or Twitter list. Whom have you observed without any interaction, and what will you do to change that? Successful people stand on the shoulders of others who have already gone a greater distance. With whom do you need to connect in January?

What questions did I miss? What answers do you have?

In addition to serving as Editor of Fuel Your Blogging, Brandon is also a Pastor at Saddleback Church and Online Community Coordinator for Pastors.com. He’s also a web designer, blogger, and church communications consultant. Catch him on his own blog or on Twitter.

 

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