I’ve decided to use the down time before the New Year to do something I’ve never done before: write a strategic plan for my blog. Allow me to confess. Other than scheduling some book reviews in advance last summer, I’ve just relied upon serendipity for my blog. While I’ll always leave room for sudden inspiration, I’m planning for a more meaningful (and painfree!) experience for 2013. Here’s 5 steps that might help you.
Step 1: What are your writing goals for 2013? Before you address your plans for your blog, ask yourself: what are my writing goals? For maximum benefit, the two ought to be aligned. Do you want to find a publisher for a completed novel? Do you want to create a following for your writing interests in the hopes of bringing people together? Or, do you want to explore a new topic in the interests of learning something? My overall mission (as a writer) is fairly simple and it’s in the tagline of my blog: Exploring the joys of fiction writing and learning from the very best. With this in mind, my goal for 2013 will simply be to improve my writing. I’ll then create a blogging plan that supports this goal.
Step 2: Take advantage of holidays, birthdays, and other milestones. It’s common sense to celebrate your own writing milestones and traditional holidays such as Valentine’s Day. But one of my favorite things to do is to take advantage of the abundance of wacky holidays. This worked well for me last year, as I was heavily promoting Naked and Hungry. In honor of one of my main characters, a cantankerous canine, I blogged about National Mutts Day. Which bizarre holidays (tied to your own writing goals) can you commemorate? Check out the list for 2013. And a year’s worth of blog entries means that somebody’s going to have a birthday. Will I have a blog entry for Flannery O’Connor or Anton Chekhov, two of my writing idols? You betcha! On this subject, why not celebrate a victory or milestone earned by a writer friend? I promise that this will be time well spent.
Step 3: Link to other blogs or websites. Have you been interviewed on a blog or garnered a new review? Did you read an online article that you applied to your own life? These can be the simplest of blog entries. You need only write a paragraph from your perspective and link back to the article or interview itself. This can be made easier by subscribing to other blogs or newsfeeds as a way to get ideas. I recently read a great article that could easily inspire multiple blog entries of my own. Conversely, did an article or opinion rub you the wrong way? Don’t be afraid to write about a controversial topic. Hemingway made a living doing just that. Can you imagine the following he would have generated if he had had a blog?
Step 4: Interview another writer. Whether you’re a writer, chef, or gardener, you’re bound to know others with similar interests. Let their wisdom be a part of your blogosphere. I need to get better at this. It can be as simple as emailing other writers questions ahead of time and asking for a picture. Easy-breezy. They do the writing and you do the posting!
Step 5: Give yourself a vacation by writing in advance. Take advantage of technology and schedule content ahead of time. You can create a “mini-series”, such as I did this summer with book reviews, parts 1 and 2. I scheduled them in sequence, which meant that I could take a vacation with impunity. Whew! My writing friend, Rick Bylina, is a natural at planning; in fact, he posts a book review at least once per week.
There are some technical things I should mention here, too, such as linking your blog to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts but I’m going to assume you have that figured out. As for me, I now have a smorgasbord of exciting blog entries planned for the new year. For your inspiration, I’ll jot down my own outline for January. It really can be this simple!
- January 7 – Celebrate the patent of a primitive typewriter in 1829
- January 8 - Ashley pens guest blog on Dames of Dialogue Blog
- January 15 – Review of Write Like the Masters by William Cane
- January 19 – The master of suspense: Edgar Allen Poe’s Birthday
- January 29 – A storyteller for all time: Anton Chekhov’s Birthday
So now I’ll tackle February, March, April and so forth. With the time saved, who knows? Maybe, just maybe, 2013 will find me floating in a Bahamian bay reading a book!
Here’s to a great year ahead. Whatever your plans, may 2013 bring you bountiful rewards, enduring fellowship and joy!