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Strategic Blogging – Values

This post belongs to the Strategic Blogging Series.

Having thought about our mission (or why we blog) it’s time now to turn our attention to the values that we have that help to shape how we’ll achieve our overall mission.

There are many means to an end and many ways of achieving a mission. For instance if your mission is to make a living from blogging you could do so in many different ways ranging from blogs that rip off the content of others, to blogs that are purely original in content, to blogs that explore topics of purely a ‘family nature’ to blogs that are quite explicit and ‘adult’ in their nature etc.

These decisions come out of our values as a blogger.

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T-Shirt Competition – Entries Closed

I’ve just closed the T-Shirt Competition Entry period and will begin to sort through the 60+ entries that have been received. I’m really pleased with the wonderful array of entries which display some true creativity from readers of ProBlogger. A big thank you to all who’ve participated.

It might take us a few days to get to a decision on the winner – we’re toying with the idea of narrowing down the field and then allowing readers to vote on their favorite (although I’m not convinced about voting plug-ins and poll systems which in my experience can be rigged).

The other option to put the voting in the hands of the readership is for us to narrow down the field to 5 designs and then make all 5 available for purchase. The winner would be the design that sells the most in the first week or so of sale.

I guess ultimately that would decide which is the most popular without much chance of it being rigged.

What do you think of that? Does it sound fair?

31 Days to Building a Better Blog – Day 1

Well the 31 days to a building a better blog has officially started with a couple of blog tips already posted here at ProBlogger (see my first two posts on Strategic Blogging – more to come later today).

As I posted a couple of days ago when I announced the 31 days project I don’t want to be the only person writing Blog Tips as I believe if we all participate we’ll learn so much more. As a result I invited you as readers to participate by:

  • leaving comments on posts with your own experiences
  • asking questions for other bloggers to cover in the comments of this post
  • posting your own blog tips on your own blog and letting me know about them so I can link up

Within minutes of this call for participation I received emails from readers who had already posted their own tips. Here are the first of what I hope will be many links to blog tips in the next 31 days.

  • Paul Short at Blog Logic has written a post with 5 Blog Traffic Tips where he covers press releases, following other blogs, paid advertising to name just three of his tips.
  • Jon at Smart Money Daily has a tip titled Only 2 Good Reasons to Blog for Profit in which he looks at one’s motivation for blogging professionally.
  • Dominic Foster has decided to use ProBlogger’s 31 days Project to make over his blogs – following the tips he reads here and on other blogs during August. He’s going to document what he learns as he goes. It’s a great idea and hopefully something that others will do also as they read on.

Head over to these links and interact with the authors. Please also considering writing your own Blog Tip and letting me know. I’ll post a posts similar to this each day of the 31 days that I receive tips. Hopefully it’ll not only help us all learn a little more about blogging but it will give those who write the tips a little free publicity in return for their hard work.

Strategic Blogging – Mission

This post belongs to the Strategic Blogging Series.

13 years ago when I started studying my Marketing degree the focus of many of my first year lectures was ‘Mission Statements’. I remember writing mission statement after statement – to the point where I started to dream about them. It was obvious that my lecturers through they were a pretty important starting place for any good business venture.

Whilst perhaps ‘mission statements’ are not quite as much of a buzz phrase as they were in the early 1990s I still see asking questions around mission as a worthwhile task – especially when it comes to blogging.

‘Why do you exist?’

This is the key question that my friend’s strategic process asks in the area of ‘mission’. I don’t think it’s asking us to ponder the meaning of life – it’s not quite that deep – but it does ask a business (blog) owner to try to get back to the basics of what they are on about.

‘Why do you blog?’

Take a few minutes (or better still a few hours or even days) to ponder this question. What is it that you blog for? What are your core motivations? Be honest as you answer this question because it’s important to nail it down as much as you can as everything else comes from this.

Some blogging ‘missions’ might include:

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Strategic Blogging

NB: this is the first in a series of posts on Strategic Blogging. The following posts in the series are – MissionValuesVision and GoalsIssues, Present Reality and Future DirectionStrategyAction Plan

Over the past year I’ve been meeting with a business coach who has been helping me to look at my blogging as a business rather than just a job. One of the things that has become evident to me is that good sustainable businesses don’t usually just happen by accident.

Instead they take planning, strategy and intentionality.

So as part of our 31 days to building a better blog series I thought it would be wise to start by talking about some big picture issues. Whilst these first few posts may not be as practical as some that will follow in the coming weeks – I believe that thinking through the issues that they contain could be the difference between a good and a great blog.

I know that for some this type of talk will be frustrating – words like mission, vision, values and strategy are not where you’re at – but humor me please. You see I believe that if you get these things right you’ll find many of the other tips that I share later in this series to be much more powerful as you’ll be able to use them in much more focused and effective ways.

Over the next few posts I’m going to lead you through a strategic plan process that a friend of mine gave me to think through another (non blogging) project that I’m working on – I think it’s highly relevant for ProBlogging and hope you find it helpful.

In each post I’m going to give us a little homework, a few questions to ask that hopefully will help you to think through the issues at hand. Feel free to answer them in private or to even think out loud in comments after each post.

As I post each post in this mini series within the larger 31 days to a better blog I’ll post links to them here as a central place to see the whole process.

I hope you enjoy.

The posts in this series are: