We are officially in New Year’s Resolution mode! So for all of us bloggers, it's usually common for us to all have two sets of goals: personal and blogger goals. I think most up and coming bloggers’ main goal is to grow, and the secret to growth is treating your blog like a business!
For established bloggers, I am sure that this seems completely reasonable and realistic. What is their secret though? They run their blogs and make it look like they’re having whimsy fun all the time, but they are actually full on strategizing and treating it like a business. Nowadays, there are some bloggers solely dedicated to helping others grow, but many fashion, travel, and beauty bloggers have trouble sharing their secrets. Well here it is:
YOU GOTTA TREAT YOUR BLOG LIKE A BUSINESS!
If you want to grow your audience and build your brand, you have to do more than simply put out amazing posts. Killer content is definitely a must, but at this stage of the game, the competition is fierce and you have to take things to the next level to become the next Chiara Ferragni or Chriselle Lim.
You might be thinking, I am not in business and I just want to make my blog beautiful. Okay, no problem, I hear you… BUT, do you want people to read your blog? Do you eventually want to partner with brands? Would you want your blog to grow and eventually support you financially full time? Well then, my beautiful blogger friend, you have to take it seriously because, if your goals fall into all those criteria, you are a business owner! And if your blog isn’t treated with the business respect it deserves, you might not make it to your goals, or–WORSE–get there out of sheer luck and not be able to sustain it.
So how do you do it?
I've broken it down into a simple 5-step process, which you can adapt to your needs:
Once we dive into each step, you can make it as complex or as simple as you want to. Let's dive in!
Step 1: STRATEGIZE
The strategy step is the benchmark, you need to ask yourself things like: Where is your blog now? Where do you want it to go? How big do you want to grow your audience? What is the timeline you are working with?
This step looks like a funnel: at the top are all the umbrella goals and long term plans for your blog. Think of this as your 5+ year plan. As you move down the funnel, the goals and plans get more and more short term all the way down to “what the heck am I writing about for the next few weeks”. I like to plan out a couple months in advance by simply brainstorming the titles of my posts, to remind myself that there are a MILLION and one things to write about and I should never get writer’s block!
Step 2: EXECUTION
I think it's pretty obvious, but this step will be on going. You gotta do what you plan and make sure it happens–for both the short and the long term goals. Write those posts, do those guest blogs, create the give-a-ways, and build the brand. Along the way, if you need any adjusting on goals or timelines, then do it!
The next piece of this puzzle is where MANY (if not 99.99% of bloggers) drop the ball. Many bloggers think “Okay great, I did a kick ass post, seems to be going well, let’s sit back and have some champagne.” Ummm nope! Well…actually…take a quick Instagram of the bubbly and get back to work!
Step 3: MEASURE
This is where you are going to make or break your brand! You have to take the opportunity to measure the crap of everything you put out there. It doesn’t matter if it's a blog post, an Instagram pic, or any other social media channel (could even be something you did in real life!). You have to take the time to look at any feedback (comments/messages), whether positive or negative, and really think about it. After all, you are doing this because you love it; but if you want to build an audience, then you have to LISTEN to what your audience is telling you!
The secret weapon here is that you have to read between the lines as well. You may not get private messages or comments, but let’s say your views on your page went up by 25% after you did a post on winter holiday destinations. Well, my friend, seems to me that this is something your audience really liked. You should consider doing more of those types of posts!
On the flipside, if you did a post on DIY herb gardens and heard only crickets, your audience might not be feeling it and you should steer clear of that genre for a while. I am not saying that feedback is always the fact; but if it trends over time in the same direction, then you NEED to listen to it if you want to be successful.
Your blog is for you, but it is also definitely for your audience. Think of it like a fashion designer creating a piece that they loved but nothing was sold because no one else loved it. Guess what they would do? They likely wouldn’t keep making it. They would probably switch it up until the shelves were sold out. Same goes with the blog posts, which is your product.
Step 4: ADJUST
After you do all that measurement, take a nap and have an espresso as it is time to ADJUST! Now is the time to take everything you learned about your audience in your analytics and revamp step 1! Do you need to change up some of the posts that you were planning to make in order to be more in line with what your audience wants? Does your timeline need to be extended (shortened)? Do you need to reach out to more people for guest posts? There are so many things to adjust, but don’t feel discouraged because it is all part of the process! ☺
Step 5: REPEAT
Last step – R E P E A T! Literally put these steps on repeat and you'll have a HUGE kick-start on reaching those goals and building your brand! Remember, it is all about being persistent and consistent just like a business!