Taking inspiration from chapter one of my ebook (plug, plug!), today we’re talking about the NUMBER ONE reason business blogs don’t make any money. Scratch that, it’s the number one reason blogs FAIL, full stop.
You don’t have a blog goal!
Without a goal, a blog is dead in the water. This goal doesn’t have to be “making money”, per se, but if you’re not planning for it to make any money, how can you expect it to? Even if making money isn’t your goal at all, you still need something to aim for, so get planning!
Set goals, solve the problem
The solution is beyond simple. Set goals. Just like Goldilocks and her bears, your goals have to be just right. Specific, reasonable, not too many, not too few. I like SMART goals for blogging. People rag on them all the time, but for blogs, where many, many businesses don’t set any at all, it’s a really simple, achievable way to get started.
Brainstorm your objectives in general terms. Don’t focus exclusively on the blog - look at your overall business goals and digital strategy and see where your blog might be able to give them a helping hand or vice versa. See how it all fits together, examine how they’ll feed into social, or back into marketing or whatever. Make sure it all makes sense when you're looking at the bigger picture.
Map to blogging categories
Now you need to slot these into more precise categories. Take a look at the information below, and pay attention to whether they are labeled easy, medium or difficult. Map your objectives to a category, and see what territory they lie in.
Be ambitious, but realistic
Now you need to see how difficult achieving these goals is going to be. I’ve categorized them below based on my experience. You may have good reason to believe otherwise, but if you don’t have your own info, believe me instead. You can have a maximum of 3, and if one of them is hard, just the 2. Trust me. If you overreach, you’ll spread yourself too thin and lose motivation. If you under reach, you won’t see what your blog is capable of and will never see the true potential of content marketing for your business.
Craft proper blog goals
Ok, now you’ve got your objectives, you need to craft them into actual, written goals that you’ll be able to measure and report on. Depending on your aims, this can be easier or more difficult. If you want new leads, you create beautiful, specific goals like "increase the number of call-back requests from in-post forms by 40% in 3 months", but if you want to “get better at blogging”, that can be a bit harder to quantify.
Try your best, but remember that you have to be able to measure and assess. If you have a goal that you just can’t make a good objective for (or have no way of measuring), maybe you should aim to achieve it as a by-product, and actually focus on something that’s more easily assessed.
No goals, no point
Having a goal is, hands down, the most important step you can take in the quest for a profitable - hell, even a half-decent - blog. Without a goal, there is literally no point to a blog. Remember that - it's the foundation business blogging is build on!
For more information on goals, click here.
For more information on strategy, click here.
Blog post originally published on Niamhly.com on 29/11/16 and moved to Clockwork Blog and updated on 31/10/17.