Imagine a teacher who can captivate a classroom of students for an hour, get applause and great reviews, but who has never had a student pass an exam, let alone pass the course.
Would you consider the teacher a success? If you were that teacher, would you consider yourself a success?
If “good” is the enemy of “great,” then “approval” is the enemy of “success” in the blogosphere. Most people are quick to give praise and approval because it’s easy, friendly, and non-committal. It doesn’t cost anything. Even a retweeted link, for example, doesn’t even mean an endorsement of the blog post. A comment is more frequently a one-liner than a constructive addition to the conversation these days. Approval, especially online, often feels commoditized.
This approval can easily cloud out your ability to think clearly and objectively about whether your blog is really “successful.” Even though it feels great (and is usually correlated with good, engaging content), you should be skeptical about whether the approval corresponds with the fulfillment of goals and objectives you’ve set.
The Critical Nature of Blogging Objectives
Blog objectives are the only way to dig past the fluff. Even if you don’t call it a “goal” per-se, you should always be working toward an end, the more concrete, the better. You might ask yourself, “What would have to happen for me to feel satisfied with the time I’ve spent blogging?” Or is writing inherently satisfying enough? Even if self-fulfillment is your only goal, you’ll become a better blogger by focusing on it.
Just by asking around, I got a variety of responses to the types of goals people have set for their own blogs.
@seaturkey: I would like to add something to my blog this year so far batting an O-fer
@imagesbyjami: No but I probably set some
@sahans: I have never sat down and really thought about them. I really just like to have fun with my blog. Goals are so pressure filled. LOL.
@theshums: My personal blog is almost entirely just for me, to have a place for non-journalistic writing. No real goals other than that.
Not surprisingly, when most people think about blogging goals, they tend to think more about their own personal goals to do more blogging rather than specific outcomes they’re trying to achieve by blogging.
While many people aren’t likely to quantify their goals and prefer to maintain generalities focused on going in the right direction, you’ll notice that some have really thought about blogging with a clear end in mind.
@JoshSPeters: I think the biggest thing I want out of my blog this year is to get more newsletter subscribers so I have a conversion goal; open-ended right now, but I have a loose goal of 300 subscribers by year’s end.
@Matt_Siltala: WHEN i have the time to blog, I really am choosey about blogging on sites that will do me good (related, targeted to my industry) I want links. I want to post on blogs that have a good readership. My goal is for business, links, branding & reputation. Those pretty much sum up my goals in 140 chars or less LOL hope that helps!
@TodaysMama: Our goals are focused on scaling localized content around the country.
@Petit_Elefant: My blog objective involves money and numbers. I’d like to make enough money a month on blog ads, campaigns, to make the mortgage payment on my house. Seriously, that’s it. And to get to that point, I’d like to have around 8,000+ readers daily. I’m on my way, but I’m always setting goals to be achieved and quantified. My biggest goal last year was to get recognition, visibility, and street cred in the blogging world. Now that I have that, I’m onto the money.
@inevergrewup: …we have very clear goals which lead to very clear action items and great success. Sometimes we get stuck and have to redo our goals and our action items when success isn’t working. So setting up goals really has kept us on track. They have been….
–Upping our traffic numbers every single week
–Promoting local businesses
–Spreading the word about the importance of shopping local and supporting the community
–Working with online press and offline press in spreading our message
–Utilizing social media to help companies spread the buzz about their business
Hopefully the experiences of others will get you thinking about what you can do for your own site. You don’t have to do it all overnight, but you can start getting more out of your blog now. By having more specific goals and objectives for your blog, you’re more likely to:
- Reach higher by having something to push yourself toward.
- Get help from others in reaching your goal because the goal is just as comprehensible and quantifiable to them as it is to you.
- Be able to better test and document the road to success, providing you with invaluable expertise that will ultimately help you and others.
- Gain more satisfaction from the approval that comes your way because you’ve worked hard for it.
- Realize your own ability to create a successful blog, which might lead you to expand your blogging into a business, book, or other profitable and fulfilling experiences.
What goals have you made for your personal/company blog? Or what keeps you from making them?