Every blogger wants to grow her community, traffic and network in the New Year. But making that your goal isn’t enough. Instead, you’ve got to break down how, exactly, you’re going to bring new eyes to your site and convince them to come back again.
So here are five strategies you should put on your 2012 to-do list. Don’t feel like you need to accomplish them all; instead, focus on two or three that fit your community and ambitions. And if you’ve already given some of these a go, check out my ideas for taking them to the next level.
1. Create a product. Whether you sell it or give it away, creating a valuable product will bring new people to your site, and possibly to your email list, too.
Your product could be a one-page, useful freebie about your area of expertise, or a 70-page ebook that adds to your bottom line. Make sure the product requires your effort only on the front end, so readers can buy it long after your work is complete, generating passive income.
Whatever you create, market it like crazy. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about digital products during the last year, it’s this: selling online is part creating value, but it’s mostly figuring out how to tell the right people about what you have to offer. Marketing is a huge part of this equation.
How I’m doing it: This year I launched my first two eguides, How to Take a Career Break to Travel and How to Build a Part-Time Social Media Business. 2012 will be all about my first digital course, How to Use Social Media to Make Your Own Luck. I’m really enjoying creating this one and can’t wait to launch it!
2. Develop an editorial calendar. Rather than posting whatever you feel like writing about each week, create a schedule for yourself, one that plays off your strengths.
Try WordPress’ Calendar option, which allows you to see which posts you have scheduled for the following week and easily swap dates when necessary. Scheduling at least a week out also means you’ll have more opportunities to edit posts, and we all know posts improve with every edit.
How I’m doing it: I’m pushing myself to use my editorial calendar even more in 2012, so I can better alternate between writing about social media, writing, careers and travel. I’m also hoping that effort will guide me as I look to pull all of those topics under one cohesive theme: creating the life you want to live.
3. Bulk up your affiliate marketing. Marketing as an affiliate means selling other people’s products and taking a cut of the profit. It’s a genius way to make money online, so if you haven’t yet tried it, now’s a good time to start.
If you’re already doing it, you can always grow in this area. Consider selling my eguide on social media consulting and take home 50 percent of what you sell, or $12 per guide! Who doesn’t love making money off someone else’s hard work?
How I’m doing it: I already sell several products as an affiliate, including the Thesis theme for WordPress (which I use on this blog) and around-the-world flights with Airtreks (which I flew for my trip through Africa). But I’m eager to take this to the next level, perhaps by creating a resources page with links to all the tools I use as a solopreneur.
4. Re-use your best material. Especially if you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably have quality posts that your newest readers haven’t seen. How can you re-use those in a smart way?
Simply re-posting those posts isn’t your only option. You could offer them as a guest post to another blogger, or send them out via email to your newsletter list. Or feature those posts in a “most popular” widget in your sidebar, or compile them into a “resources” or “best of” page that’s promoted in your navigation bar. You’ve already done the work, so why not go the extra mile to get more from what you’ve created?
How I’m doing it: I’ve been thinking about this a lot for my newsletter, Solopreneur Secrets. The content is awesome, but I haven’t done a stellar job promoting it. I’m already creating these weekly letters, so how can I get more eyes on them? For 2012, I think the answer is in guest posts and better targeting people who’d like to transition toward working for themselves.
5. Write guest posts for other blogs. Don’t just write them; write them strategically. Write for blogs that have a bigger audience than you, or those that have a different audience.
If you already write guest posts, aim higher. This is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your site, and it improves your SEO, too.
How I’m doing it: This year I began writing for Mashable, which sends massive traffic my way. My goal for 2012 is to add another large career blog or publication to my assignment list.
Happy New Year, everyone! 2012 is gonna be pretty freakin’ awesome.