The sun has set on 2013
Unless you live in a nuclear fallout shelter from the 50’s, you probably know that it’s officially 2014!
And with the new year comes an endless stream of New Years resolutions that probably will be abandoned in an month or two. But that doesn’t have to be the case for you! This year, buck the trend of unfulfilled resolutions.
2014 is the year that your blog, whether personal or professional, is going to rock the digital world! Or at least be a little better than it was 2013.
It’s Less About Goals and More About Actions
Many bloggers will set goals like “I will grow my audience to 100,000 people” or “I will create a post that will go viral”. While these certainly aren’t bad goals, they will never be achieved without the right actions.
That’s why we’re going to focus on what you can do rather than where you want to be. These are resolutions that everyone can meet and achieve, and if you do so, you just might see some fantastic results.
Without further adieu….
The best way to make a resolution is to say it like a promise. So say it with me!
I Will Keep Up with My Industry/Field of Interest/Niche/etc.
Your blog is about a semi-specific topic or area, right? It caters to a certain audience. If it doesn’t, you may want to narrow it down a bit.
Now, if you don’t know what’s happening in your field or niche, how can you write about it? Why would someone want to read the blog of a person who is disconnected from the greater world around them? How will you ever expect bloggers who are bigger than you to read your blog if you never read theirs?
This year, make sure to regularly read the big news sites, blogs, etc. in your field of interest. Perhaps you already do. If that’s the case, then do more. And don’t just be a spectator. Join the conversation! That’s why there are comment sections after posts.
And if you’re a business that has someone else writing your blog (like a number of our clients do), send news and stories their way. Who knows your industry better? You? Or some third party writer?
I Will Proofread and Critique Myself
There’s a certain sense of victory that comes with reaching the end of a blog post you just put your heart and soul into. The last thing you want to do is go back and reread the whole thing for errors and typos.
Let’s be real though.
Errors and typos can completely ruin the coherency of your message. They also hurt your legitimacy as a reputable source of advice or information. So proofread already!
But it’s not enough to just read for errors. It’s good to look through old posts from time to time and critique your writing. Are your posts too long? Too short? Completely boring?
Do you go off on too many tangents or insert unnecessary jokes? Did you say something that makes you sound narcissistic or borderline psychotic?
The only way your writing is going to get better is if you learn from your mistakes and grow your style. And one of the best ways to do that is to critique yourself.
Hopefully you will read your old posts and say “wow, I am so much better than I used to be!”.
I Will Use More Pictures
Put two posts side by side, one with a picture at the top and one without, and the post with the picture will always look more interesting.
We are very visual people. The internet is a very visual place. And with modern camera technology, getting a good looking picture is as easy as pulling out your smartphone and snapping one.
There’s also a number of royalty free images out there in a variety of “creative commons” databases. I recommend the creative commons section of Flickr. Just make sure to credit the author!
Get creative with the images you use. Honestly, they don’t even have to make complete sense with what you’re writing about as long as they look pretty. An average reader will look at the post, say to themselves “oh, that picture is pretty”, and assume that the writer knows what they’re talking about.
All because of a nice photo.
I Will (in Moderation) Share My Posts and Other’s Posts
How can you expect new people to come to your blog if you’re never sharing it?
Yes, there’s Google and that is bound to get you a little traffic, but why not share it with those around you? You have this immediate audience just waiting to see your stuff. Share your posts!
And if it’s a company blog, have your workers share posts too. I mean, come on, what are you paying them for?
But it’s also good to share other people’s posts and articles. This helps establish your credibility as a source of good content, and shows you’re not entirely self-absorbed. If you like Radiate Digital on Facebook, you’ll see that we share links to other industry related sites.
Not links from direct competitors of course. That wouldn’t be a good idea. But if you’re reading something that you think your audience would benefit from, share it.
Just remember to share in moderation. No one wants their news feeds and twitter feeds cluttered with your endless links.
I Will Write Out of Passion, Not Obligation
I saved the hardest for last. It doesn’t matter if your blog is personal or professional, we all reach a point where we are cranking out posts for the sake of having a new post.
And these posts almost always suck.
If you’re not excited about what you’re writing about, how will the reader ever be excited? Get yourself pumped up. Remember why you started the blog in the first place. Reflect upon your best posts. What made those so great?
If you’ve lost your passion, find it. Please. Your blog will be so much better for it. Maybe you’ll even grow your audience to 100,000 readers! Or at least 100.
If you fear your blog is mediocre, it doesn’t hurt to take advice from some professionals. For example, the writers here at Radiate Digital! We wrote a post a while back on how to be a better blog writer.
The advice couldn’t be easier, and we promise you’ll find something useful there.
Do you have any personal blogging resolutions we missed? What are your big goals for 2014? How are you going to get there?
Share your thoughts in the comments below and join the conversation!