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Blogging strategies for 2014 (and beyond)

Now that my ten year blogiversary has passed (I still can’t believe I’ve been at it for so long!) and I am facing a brand spanking new decade of blogging, I thought I’d take some time to think ahead and ponder a couple of questions that have been tugging at my brain for the past while.

questionHow can I be a better blogger?

Where do I want to take my blogging in 2014
(and beyond)?

I’m sure my plans and strategies will evolve over time, but for now, here are some of my preliminary ideas in response to these questions.

1. Plan ahead.

I learned a valuable lesson when I decided to continue my daily writing practice throughout the month of December, even though I knew I was going to be away from home for more than a week: planning ahead saves the day!

calendarIn late November (after I oh-so-crazily sealed my daily writing fate by signing up for December’s NaBloPoMo) I downloaded a blank monthly calendar and started mapping out post topics for each day in December… then, whenever I had some spare time, I set up, wrote, and scheduled a series of posts to cover the days when I’d be away. By the time I left for vacation I was all prepared with more than a week’s worth of posts ready to go, and so was able to enjoy time with family and friends without fretting about my blog.

Because planning ahead allowed me to blog daily without a hiccup during the busy month of December, I’ve decided to carry on with the practice throughout the coming year.

I found some nice printable monthly calendars for 2014 which, when punched and folded, fit perfectly in my new A5 Filofax Finsbury planner (there’ll be more in a future post on my devolution from digital organization, I’m sure!), and toward the end of each month I’ll start planning ahead for the following month. I’m not going to be too uptight about making sure I have a post topic lined up for every single day – after all, some spontaneity is good, and leaving a few gaps will give me the flexibility to follow inspiration when it hits – but planning ahead should go a long way towards saving time and helping me to craft my blog into what I want it to be.

2. Share strategically.

I have discovered that if I want people to visit my blog and read my posts, it’s not enough to approach blogging from an “If I write it, they will come” perspective! Much as it can be somewhat uncomfortable to do so, I understand that in order to build a readership I need to promote my posts.

Up until now I’ve been sharing my posts in a somewhat haphazard way, but for 2014 I have developed a “Blog Post Promotion Checklist” (why yes, I DO work on setting up Excel spreadsheets during my vacation time… doesn’t everyone?!) which I am hoping will help me to be a little more strategic about promoting my blog in the days to come.

blog post promotion checklist

My checklist should help me in several ways:

    checklist

  1. It will remind me to share my posts every day.
  2. It will prompt me to confirm that the services I have set up to share my posts automatically (e.g., JetPack Publicize, Twitterfeed, etc.) are all working properly.
  3. It will help me keep track of the various places I normally visit to share my posts and stay in touch with other bloggers.
  4. It will give me a place to note any other blogs, groups, sites, etc. where I have shared my posts (i.e., on a one-time basis or periodically).
  5. It will provide me with a record of which places I ended up sharing each day’s posts.

3. Do Unto Others.

Whenever someone takes the time to comment on one of my blog posts, it’s as if they handed me a beautiful gift, all wrapped up in shiny paper and topped with an enormous sparkling bow. Really! To me – and, I suspect, to most other bloggers – interaction and community are what it’s all about. (Why else do we pour out our thoughts in our blogs instead of keeping them contained in a private journal?)

friends

So this year I am going to work hard at being a better blogging friend by doing unto others: that is, reading and commenting EVERY DAY, just like I wish people would do for Alphabet Salad! While of course it would be impossible for me to keep up with every single blogger I’d like to follow and read every one of their posts (just the thought is exhausting!), I can CERTAINLY do a better job of it than I have been until now.

I started in a rather strange way yesterday, by posting the following message on my Facebook Page:

Dear fellow bloggers,

I am SO VERY FAR BEHIND in my blog reading that I fear I will never catch up… so, in the interest of sanity, and since today is the start of a fresh new year, I hereby declare my own personal blog reading amnesty. This means that I have marked EVERYTHING in Feedly as “read” – whether or not it’s actually BEEN read – and am starting 2014 with a fresh, clean slate. I regret having to do this, as it means that I will miss out on reading several of your wonderful posts… but I will do my very best to make up for it in the year to come by reading as much of your writing as I possibly can!

Apologetically,
Laurel (AKA Delinquent Blogger)

It may seem like an odd strategy, but for me, it works. By drawing a line under 2013 and starting 2014 anew, I have freed myself of guilt for not keeping up, relieved the pressure to read All The Posts, and given myself time and space to be a better blogging friend going forward.

So these are some of the ways I’m going to approach my blogging life in 2014… and I’m looking forward to the next decade!

Do you have any blogging goals or strategies for the coming year?
Please share!

NaBloPoMo January 2014

Ultimate Blog Challenge

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • carol graham
    Twitter:
    January 2, 2014

    I can say an easy ‘ditto’ to your post. It is exactly what I have been thinking. I have been diligent in commenting on blogs and trust it will pay off in time to get the same thing in return. As you say, it is like opening a gift. I am relatively new to this world but did a lot of research before launching my memoir in social networking and come to realize what a wonderful world it is — and that to be active is the only way to succeed. Thank you
    carol graham recently posted… I May Be Small — But I Dream BigMy Profile

  • Peggy Barnes
    Twitter:
    January 2, 2014

    What great information on blogging. Thank you for sharing your expertise and struggles!

  • Modern Admin Support
    Twitter:
    January 2, 2014

    Congratulations on your blogging anniversary. I did not know what a blog was till 2006 so I consider you an early adopter! My main goal this year for blogging is to be consistent and add value. Thanks for the post promotion spreadsheet. It’s a fantastic idea. You learn something new everyday if you take the time to be willing to learn!
    Modern Admin Support recently posted… Grow your business with a Virtual AssistantMy Profile

  • Joy Weese Moll (
    Twitter:
    January 2, 2014

    Thanks for sharing what you’re doing — especially your promotion spread sheet. Very helpful!

  • Elizabeth
    Twitter:
    January 2, 2014

    Great ideas! I have found using an editorial calendar works well for me, when I actually use it. I need to get back to that habit.

    I love the spreadsheet. I need to do this too.

  • Winnie January 2, 2014

    Great strategies you have there! My new year goal is to write more and find more joy in it. I plan to do more “planning”. I need to create some cards and things to blog about so I want to enjoy the entire process more. I think I over extended last year (made cards for a lot of people for the holiday season and only a few for myself!) Happy New Year!

  • Donovan Dreyer
    Twitter:
    January 2, 2014

    What a nice validation to read #3! Thank you for coming by to comment on my site. I love the presentation of your blog post- it definitely shows that you are now officially a “tween” as a blogger; very nice. I need to take the planning and strategy steps to heart as well. It looks like 2014 will be a great year for you! I appreciate that you have shared so others can do the same with your examples.
    Donovan Dreyer recently posted… Show the Power of One Even if You Feel Like the Only OneMy Profile

  • Walker Thornton
    Twitter:
    January 3, 2014

    I think this is my 7th year of blogging–I started with an anonymous blog.
    I am impressed and overwhelmed with your plan! I want to build my readership, expand my reach this year and I suspect consistency and planning are key. I will be taking a close look at your spreadsheet! Thank you!
    Walker Thornton recently posted… Why Not Add More Pleasure to Your Life?My Profile

  • Karen
    Twitter:
    January 3, 2014

    Laurel, this is a great list, and an excellent prod for us, too. I especially like your checklist idea–might be stealing that!
    ^K.
    Karen recently posted… Best baby shower gift ever…straight from the heartMy Profile

  • Adela
    Twitter:
    January 3, 2014

    I love, love, love your strategy, Laurel. You already know that I’m a goal setter. (BTW, thanks for the ++ comments on my New Year/Old Year goals. I’d love a little more insight into your spreadsheet. I’m pretty sure I can learn a lot from you. I will post a link on my FB page. I have a couple friends who ask about how I come up with topics. You have a much more strategic approach than I. (Jot ideas down in Evernotes when they pop into my head.)
    Adela recently posted… Looking Back and Seeing Ahead: A New Year of GoalsMy Profile

  • Sabrina January 3, 2014

    Way to go! I’m a list making, excel lover as well and, with this year being my 5th year blogging, I’ve been having the “okay…seriously!” conversation with myself lately. No doubt, a change in focus is a surefire way to spark change. This will be a great year!

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