Let’s set the intent of this post, right now. The title, “How-to Plan for Long-Term Success as a Pet Blogger” is missing a word. What word would you add if you were writing this post?
I’d add the word “business”. We can put it in front of “success,” or “pet blogger.” It works either way and it gives the intent of this post more punch. We’re going to talk about the business of blogging, for pet bloggers. Truth: It applies to all bloggers but I want my community, my pet bloggers, to get it. Let’s proceed.
How to Plan for Long-Term Success as a Pet Blogger.
1. Set achievable goals. Goal setting is necessary. What many people fail to do is set the right goals. The achievable goals. It’s wonderful and exciting to say, “I’m going to work like a whirling dervish and attain 100,000 unique pageviews on the inside of 3 months!” But, can you really do that? The better goal would be to say you’ll achieve 5,000 over three months, 15,000 over six months, and 25,000 by the end of the year. You can work towards those numbers, if you’re diligent. And, you can surpass them. To set the bar as high as 100,000 uniques so quickly, in only three months, might backfire. The disappointment if you don’t achieve that goal could set you back substantially.
2. Study your audience. We talk a good bit about demographics in the online business space. Is your audience women of a certain age and income level? Or tweens? Or men with pets? I say, create your avatar of a perfect reader, but don’t rely too much on the ‘demographics’. Define the personality. Define the wants and needs of this person. Remember, always remember, she or he is a PERSON first, a demographic second.
3. Share. Share. Share. Yes, Virginia, you need a social strategy for your pet focused business blog. You need to do more than pop the URL into a Facebook post or a Twitter comment. The social world is getting bigger every day and I do recommend you pay attention to that. We can’t all be the awesome Carol Bryant, whose job it is to maintain the BlogPaws’ social sharing. We have it on good authority that Carol does not sleep! But you, you have a life, you may have a day job, and managing a social calendar for your pet blog could be overwhelming. Still, it doesn’t have to be… you can and should create a calendar of sharing that you can manage. Use the tools you’re most comfortable with and make them work for you. Heidi Cohen has a checklist here, of 37 options for content distribution. Don’t do them all, all the time. Be consistent with a few, and test some of the others.
4. Review. Review. Review. I should repeat that, review. That’s how important that is. A business blogging plan includes monthly review of stats (analytics), content, comments, and social responses. Not social shares – social responses. We too often get caught up in our own dialogue. It’s sad, but admit it… I admit it… you like to hear yourself talk (or blog). Many times the content in our blog is so important to us, we read it over and over, and tweak it appropriately. But we forget to review the big picture to see if we’re still connecting to those folks we talked about in #2. Without a monthly review, a serious, 3-4 hour commitment review, our business blogs will survive, but they will not thrive.
5. Give yourself a focus of 3 years. I don’t recommend 5, although that used to be standard. The web changes too much, too quickly, for you to build believable plans 5 years out. By looking ahead 3 years, to where you would like to be, you can set achievable goals. Three years allows you to take the results of the first four tips, and be flexible in how you apply them. Let’s face it. Life changes, daily. It pays to be ready for tomorrow, but being ready often means being agile enough to make changes to both your thinking and your writing.
Business coaches love to inspire people to follow their passion, trust their gut! It’s a good approach to getting started. Once you’ve done that, I want you to consider the demands of a business blog. I want you to achieve your goals, to be one with your audience, to share and be shared, to be confident in your monthly reviews, and to be committed to a 3-year plan of success. I have no doubt you’ll make it happen, if you put the effort and study into it.
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