Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
It’s hard to believe that we are in the last month of 2015. I sometimes feel as though I was strapped into a slingshot and let loose into the year and wow, now it’s nearing the end! December is typically a slower month for many business owners. Bloggers tend to keep up with their blogging duties and don’t tend to slack, but you may find your friends and colleagues are coasting in December. Even if you’re not coasting, you should still pencil time into your calendar to evaluate how 2015 stacked up and make a blog and business plan for 2016. Remember, “failing to plan means you’re planning to fail.” It may not be that dire, but truly if you have a road map you’re more likely to reach your destination, right? Consider your blog and business plan that you put together for 2016 as your business road map.
Before we get to that though, let’s take stock of what occurred in your business in 2015. Have no fear! Even if you didn’t have a formal business or blog plan for 2015 you can still measure your results and see if you were on track with the non-written-down goal you had in place for your blog, your business and your social media efforts. Here are a few things to ponder and there’s a 2015 Blog & Business Evaluation sheet you can download to write down your 2015 successes.
How often did you blog?
Go back through your blog for the year and make note of how many blog posts you wrote total. Note how many blog posts you wrote on a monthly basis. Write that down on your 2015 Blog & Business Evaluation sheet. Analyze whether there were months in which you blogged more than other months. Why? Were you on vacation in June and only blogged four times, but you blogged 12 times in July? Knowing your ebbs and flows will help you in 2016 to better plan and to blog with more consistency. Remember consistency matters when you want to build up a loyal readership following.
Did some of your posts do better than others? Write down the titles of those posts, analyze why they did so well, make a plan to write more like that in 2016. Try to determine whether the high ranking blogs did so well because they were on a trending topic or whether they hit on a holiday or perhaps they truly fed into your expertise and to what your readers come to you for. This information will be necessary for your 2016 editorial calendar and believe me, it will make your life so much easier.
What did you blog about that you loved?
If you found that you blogged more on Topic A than you did on Topic B that might mean that you’re more passionate about Topic A and perhaps that should be more of a focus of your blog. Don’t completely toss Topic B out of the window until you determine:
- Why you loved one topic more than another
- If you had more readers on those particular topics
- Does it show a trend in your pet blog business that you may need to explore further in 2016?
Did you rock social media? Did you make hardly a ripple in social media?
Why do you think that is? Look back at your activity on your social media pages and determine whether you rocked it because you were active or whether you didn’t make a ripple because you only popped in once or twice a week to post something, but never interacted with those who commented on your posts. Social media is just that, “social.” You need to give as well as you get. Are there social media platforms that you love working in and that you saw engagement? Make note of those and consider whether you need to be involved in all social media platforms. Maybe your audience isn’t on Facebook, but instead is active on LinkedIn. You need to know where your audience is and go to them there.
What did you do to improve & invest in yourself & your blog?
Did you invest in online courses? Did you attend networking events? Were you at BlogPaws 2015 and if so, did you connect with fellow bloggers and keep in touch with them? Speaking of fellow bloggers, did you connect with an accountability partner in 2015? How did that work out? Is it ongoing and is it meeting your needs? Did you upgrade or update your website? Bloggers, like any other business owner, cannot operate in a vacuum. Technology changes, analytics change, your audience and customer’s needs change and you need to be as close to the cutting edge as you can to keep up with those trends and their needs.
Complete your 2015 Blog & Business Evaluation sheet so you have the groundwork covered for your 2016 plans. Check back for Part Two in this series where I go over editorial calendar and offer tips to begin your 2016 blogging and business plan.
(Photo Shutterstock: Lady and Dog)