Starting a blog was my number one New Year’s Resolution for 2016 (see here).
I resolved to start writing publicly for several reasons:
- Personal Branding – build my digital footprint with a portfolio of short posts that exhibit my marketing expertise, as well as observations on the latest trends in public relations, marketing and social media.
- Professional Development – the very act of committing to write forced me to read more in my field, the better to keep up with the dizzying pace of digital innovation. Indeed, many of the topics I’ve written about in the past year I applied directly to my work as a communications consultant.
- Writing Practice – committing to write forced me not only to mark out time in my weekly schedule, but also to learn my craft by doing.
- Discipline – this was perhaps the most important. The world is full of people with great ideas. But in the end, only execution matters.
Whatever your goals for 2017, I urge you to pursue them via concrete action.
Live each day this year so that on January 1, 2018, you can look back with pride on all you’ve accomplished, and have tangible proof of your efforts.
A year later and I feel like I’ve built a solid foundation.
I’ve staked out a digital footprint that is far beyond what I had in 2015, and I have developed the skills needed for exponential growth this year.
I launched the blog on December 28, 2015 with a group of 7 posts.
365 days later I had 93 posts, more than 7,200 pageviews, 10 subscribers, and nearly 100 comments.
Further, I’ve networked with dozens of bloggers, both veterans and fellow rookies, from whom I’ve gleaned inspiration and insight, particularly in the weeks and months when the last thing I wanted to do was write.
While none of this is particularly impressive by today’s blogging standards, I’m more than satisfied with the results.
The number of pageviews I received is a triumph, given
- the breadth of my topic (branding and marketing);
- lack of a diversified social media presence; and
- no lead-generation freebies to incentivize followers to subscribe.
Most importantly, I’m proud of my results given that this blog is a hobby – a side project developed in my spare time while I’ve worked full-time as a communications consultant for Dale Curtis Communications.
The blog has improved my writing, my analytical skills, and taught me much about digital marketing and promotion via social media.
Most importantly, my blogging journey has taught me how little I’ve accomplished so far and how much further there is to go in terms of building a portfolio of work, an audience and a presence on social media.
I knew when I started this project that the key to social media was not to take it slowly, focusing on one channel at a time.
To that end, I started with Twitter.
In July, I hired a Virtual Assistant (VA) to run my Twitter feed, freeing me to focus more on blog content and writing.
In six months, my VA grew my Twitter following from 250 followers to more than 4,500. While this puts me comfortably within the top 2% of Twitter users in terms of followers, the more important metric is engagement.
And I am more than satisfied with the number of Re-tweets, mentions, and traffic my Twitter account drives to my blog (which is the point, really).
In Q4 I made half-hearted attempts to establish a robust presence on both Pinterest and Medium.
While the results there were not nearly as successful, I learned much about how those platforms work and now understand the steps necessary to succeed there.
Goals for 2017
My goals for this year include expanding my social media channels to Facebook, Medium, Pinterest, Instagram and (possibly) YouTube.
But let’s get more specific. My primary blogging goals this year are:
- Publish 100 new posts.
- Write and publish at least one ebook.
- Establish a solid presence on Medium.
- Establish a solid presence on Instagram.
- Reach 15,000 pageviews (an increase of 115% over last year).
What are your goals for 2017? Do you have a project you plan to begin, or take to the next level?
Feel free to share in the comments below.