Why thinking a little more strategically could really help your blog growth
I’ve been blogging for nearly five years, as with most bloggers who started their blogging journey back in 2011 or earlier, I started this little website as a hobby and an outlet for my obsessive shopping habits. I loved it so much I blogged daily for well over 4.5 years. When I started blogging I never dreamt or even considered that it could be a career for me, or for other bloggers for that matter, the desire to blog and the motivation to keep blogging was internal (and boosted by the fact the community was so fantastic & encouraging). Yet here we are 5 years later, with the blogging industry a lucrative business in it’s own right, and bloggers and influencers making careers out of their creative passions and hobbies.
For the majority of ‘full time’ or career bloggers, the transition from hobby to business was somewhat organic and a natural transition, readers came, then brands caught on to the potential value of the content and audiences bloggers offered, and now bloggers and influencers are making a living from creating content that readers love and brands want to be featured in. And it’s no longer just a blogging game, you can carve a career out of Instagram alone these days. In contrast, the last year or so has seen many bloggers or influencers almost ‘come out of nowhere’ and create a business for themselves in the blogging world, a less organic journey, but one that with a business savvy mindset and a strong blog strategy has enabled them to create a career in this industry.
But regardless of how you started your blog, where you are on your journey, whether your making money or not, and whether you want your blog to become a future career or not, it’s fair to say we all want our blogs to do well, to be seen, to be read and shared, for brands to want to work with us and for our traffic to reflect our efforts. The reality is that these days, thinking a little more strategically about your blog and content strategy is more a necessity than a luxury, even those bloggers who achieved success through organic growth and luck are having to think more strategically and managing your own business plan is something we’re all trying to master.
I’ve written a LOT of blog tips posts, everything from photography tutorials to SEO & coding advice, to how to turn your blog into a business, how to work with brands and earn money from your blog & how to maximise your content strategy (I started my tips series way back in 2014 so the archive is jam packed – and worth a browse if you love blogging tips and advice), but today I wanted to share some more specific advice to help you craft & master your own blog business plan, by thinking and acting a little more strategically. By applying the skills I use in my career (strategy & consultancy), to the blogging world, I’ve really started to change my thinking and results. I hope they help you too.
Strategy: a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
HOW TO THINK MORE STRATEGICALLY ABOUT YOUR BLOG & HOW IT WILL HELP BOOST YOUR SUCCESS
Think more rationally
I’ll give you a personal example here. I’ve blogged every day for almost 5 years, why? Because I associated blogging daily with success, don’t get me wrong I wanted to blog daily, but when I really thought about it, I realised the reason I was pushing myself so hard (blogging daily and managing a full time career) and really working to blog daily is because I felt like I would have failed if I stopped, or missed a day. It was an emotional thing. Funny right, because the reality is so far removed. In fact, when I really started thinking rationally about it, and not emotionally, I realised that by reducing the amount I post I would probably see better results because not only would I have more time to focus on social media, networking and attending events but I would also allow myself to improve the quality of my blog features and give each feature more time to get seen!! This is just one example where thinking a little more strategically, and a little more rationally about what you want to achieve, what success genuinely looks like and how you can best achieve it can help give you more direction, more focus and more results.
Adapt your content schedule & strategy
Like I mentioned above, often we get stuck in a routine of what we think we should be doing, or we form a habit and just stick with it, and this couldn’t be more true of how most of us manage our content schedule. Whilst there’s certainly no harm in forming a routine (consistency is key after all) what we can forget to do as a result is optimise our content strategy and schedule to reflect our biggest opportunities. Whilst blogging should be as much for you as it is for your readers, if you want to grow and make a career from your blog, optimising your schedule and content based on data and your analytics is a really simple way of making your content and efforts work harder for you. Look at peak times and peak days to post, understand what content works hardest for you, and adapt your schedule and strategy to optimise this.
Pitch like a business would
This is something I’ve taken 5 years to accept, but the reality of the blogging world is that unless you ask, you probably won’t get (let alone get noticed). Working on the other side of the fence I see time and time again the same few 5-10 bloggers being put forward for client briefs and collaborations … they’re the bloggers networks & brands know, and they’re the blogs brands think of when they are looking at content collaborations. What I’ve realised is that while I’ve been sitting back and waiting for work to come to me (because back in 2011 the thought of asking for work was terribly arrogant and awful), a whole new generation of bloggers have been actively going out getting work for themselves. The blogging industry has changed, it’s a business in its own right now, and so thinking a little more strategically about how you get work and get opportunities is required. Long gone are the days (unless you’re one of the lucky 5-10 I mentioned before) where work falls at your feet … putting yourself out there is now a necessity and not just something the ballers do. Always be true to yourself, but don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to an agency or to brands, to create your own media pack & to pro-actively arrange meetings to get to know people – your network is ultimately what will bring you commercial success (I just wish I clocked on sooner)!
Network for business, not just for fun
Need I say more. Back in the day blog events, parties and press days were really just a lot of fun for bloggers, a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and an even better opportunity to spend some time hanging out with your favourite brands & people. But from a strategic point of view, I personally looked no further than this (and I suspect I’m not alone), I forgot the importance and opportunities that these events provided from a networking and business point of view. Getting to know PR’s, brands, agencies, other bloggers isn’t only fun … it’s what will allow your blog to turn into a business in the long run, because these people are critical to your blog earning money and growing in traffic. It’s why so many bloggers collaborate (to reach new audiences and build their profiles) and it’s why so many agencies recommend the same people, because it’s who they know and trust. But the reality is, if you’re not part of the gang then you risk getting left behind!
Monitor results, and adapt as you go
It’s not just your schedule which can be optimized to deliver stronger results, you’re entire business plan and strategy can too! From your social media performance, your networking approach, your business opportunities and management, your blog performance and content quality and even your own happiness and content with what you’re doing. Learning how to truly measure and analyze your performance is super important, but more than that, it’s taking action on the learnings which will really drive results. I for one constantly find myself checking my google analytics, clocking the results, but not really taking any learning or doing anything about them! Thinking a little more strategically about your performance, in relation to your goals and definition of success is really important and ultimately is what will help you continue to grow, evolve and progress your blog in the long run – So don’t forget to measure your performance, but more importantly, don’t forget to feed the learnings back into your strategy and business plan to help boost your success.
Define your own brand & how you tell that story
And finally your blog strategy isn’t just about your blog, it’s everything you do, how you behave, where you show up, how your appear to all your audiences (your readers, your clients, your network more generally) … its your brand. When you’re deciding what social platforms to go on, what events to attend, what companies to work with, think strategically about these decisions, do they help you build the brand you want to, will they help you achieve your business goals, do they sing true to your own blog and brand integrity? When you’re thinking about all your channels, think strategically about what content you put on them, how your audience consume your content across different channels, and what strategically would deliver you the best results. Whatever you do, be consistent, be true to yourself and do it with integrity. Of course money can be tempting (and essential) but if it’s not right for you and your brand strategy, say no. If Youtube doesn’t reflect you or the content you want to produce, that’s fine. Having a successful blog (or brand) is as much about integrity, as it is about networking, money and exposure. You have to protect your blog, your brand and your strategy if you truly want to see it flourish … after all, I bet all your favourite blogs, bloggers, youtubers and influencers have a genuine, consistent and unique style, tone of voice and content style, and this in many ways is why you go back to them, time and time again?
WHAT I’M WEARING
TOPSHOP MOM JEANS . ZARA COAT . CHLOE HAYLEY . TOPSHOP WHITE SWEATER . ZARA LACE HEELS . KAREN WALKER SUNNIES .
MORE POSTS YOU MIGHT FIND HELPFUL:
. HOW TO DEFINE AND ACHIEVE YOUR BLOGGING GOALS . HOW TO STOP COMPARING YOUR BLOG SUCCESS TO OTHERS . HOW TO CREATE EVERGREEN CONTENT & WHY IT WILL DRIVE YOUR BLOG TRAFFIC . 5 WAYS BLOGGING FOR BUSINESS WILL CHANGE YOUR BLOG . 6 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE TAKING YOUR BLOG FULL TIME . WHAT IS BLOG SUCCESS . WHAT MAKES A BLOG SUCCESSFUL .
I’d love to hear how you think about your blog, your own blogging goals and how you work to achieve them? Did this post help you on your journey to blogging success? I’d love to know what other features you might like to see?