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Blogging in Brief: Goal-Setting … and Reaching!

It’s that time of year: we’re all setting goals and making plans for the next twelve months (if we haven’t already!). And the blogosphere is a great place to get inspiration for setting and meeting those goals…

Image courtesy Moyan_Brenn, licensed under Creative Commons


That time of year…

Many of our favorite blogs have published posts that either look back on the last year, or look forward to this one. Some are personal, while others provides hints and tips specifically for readers. I’ve found these ones, in particular, have provided great food for thought:

Of course, earlier this week we published our Top 20 from 2012, as well as the annual Bloggers to Watch list for the year ahead too. Did you publish a post that looked back on 2012, or forward to 2013 in some way? How did you make sure it stood out from the crowd? Let us know about it in the comments.

Time for a new (or updated) social media strategy?

Getting serious about social media in 2013? Alexis Grant has just released a short, sharp social media checklist that’s a great tool for helping you get a handle on all the aspects you’ll need to consider.

This checklist is a really handy download for anyone who’s trying to juggle improved social media among their other blogging tasks—and it’s free.

Get better at online marketing

If one of your goals for the year ahead is to improve your online marketing skills, you’re not alone. The realm of digital marketing is always changing, and while the basics might remain constant, the nuances of this space are always evolving.

So whether you’re a seasoned marketer, or in the early phases of your online marketing career, the new freebie from Copyblogger will help you brush up your skills.

Called The Best of Copyblogger, it’s a 20-part email series that encompasses the top advice from the blog, hand-picked and curated into a really worthwhile subscription. Why not subscribe? You know you can’t go wrong with Copyblogger.

Blog branding in 2013

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll remember that we talked about blog branding a bit in this column late last year. And earlier this week, Gab discussed the idea of keeping blog headers simple, to drive readers to your content instead.

I’ve been thinking about blog branding in light of these discussions and one thing that I keep coming back to is content. While I do think a blog needs a strong visual brand—not just a logo, but a strong visual identity (which you can probably tell from this blog!)—I don’t think branding ends there.

As bloggers, our brands are interwoven through our content, too. Look at really strongly branded blogs, like Brainpickings or The Onion, and you can see how strongly content itself communicates the brand—if it’s done well.

This is often a concern for bloggers who want to accept guest posts. I often hear bloggers asking if they should try to pick content that’s written in a voice that’s close to their own. Of course, voice is the only way to brand your content, but it is something that’s worth considering if you take this step.

One way to get ideas for how to do it well is to look at big blogs that have multiple writers—and which communicate brand really strongly through content. Try Gawker, Fast Company, or Wired, for example. Sites that have offline magazine counterparts are usually good bets for strongly branded content.

What trends do you think will influence blog branding this year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Mary Corbet says:

    Yep, I did the look back / look forward thing on my blog (here, as a matter of fact: http://www.needlenthread.com/2013/01/needle-n-thread-backward-forward.html)

    On a craft-related blog, it’s pretty easy to put together a year in retrospect, using projects and popular series that ran through the year. I used the same list to say what was continuing or coming up in the next year.

    I also don’t mind putting my failures in the list, too – things that I didn’t finish, or would like to have done better. That helps nail down resolutions for the next year, and failures always make for good content!

    On branding – I just took over a social network dedicated to my niche (needle arts). But the look didn’t meld with my “brand” so the first thing that happened was a cosmetic overhaul. I didn’t make the network exactly like my main website, but it’s close enough that people will see the similarity (especially in color scheme), and I carried over a header element and a font style from my main site header. I think visual branding will always be important, because on the internet, people respond initially through what they see, and they don’t often stick around long enough to read deeply. They glance. In the arts / crafts areas, visuals are super-duper important. Approaching branding visually is going to remain important for a the long haul.

    As for voice, one of the nice things about having guest writers is that they have a different voice, so it mixes things up a bit. Variety is always nice – as long as there isn’t too much of it!

  2. Venkat says:

    Love the roundups and upcoming ideas. Here is my roundup for 2012:
    http://121clicks.com/inspirations/50-most-popular-photography-posts-of-2012
    Thanks for looking.

  3. As far as blog branding goes, I don’t think it can be summed up in something as simple as the “voice” of the site. On top of that, blogs need to have:

    *Consistently high quality content
    *Attractive and memorable visual themes
    *A compelling USP based on the author(s) strengths

    Plus a ton more that I can’t think of right now because I haven’t had my coffee yet :) But basically, in my opinion, the web is too crowded these days to build significant traction without addressing any of these different elements as part of a blog’s public brand.

  4. Tony Nguyen says:

    I like the blog branding in 2013 tip Darren. I never know blog branding, good thing I found your post. :) Thanks again Darren!

  5. Rahul says:

    its very nice by blogging we can more money i am also earning money from blogging thnks for sharing..

  6. Eric says:

    I am afraid I did not do a 2012 in review blog post! For several reasons, but the links, tips, and suggestions of springboarding into making 2013 is great!! Any suggestions on how to write better newsletter, email campaign, or email marketing information that you could pass my way?

    Thanks for your time!

  7. Ravi says:

    Thank You Darren for a RoundUP post. I noticed your Point about getting Better at online marketing. Online Marketing is must for any brand anywhere. And nowadays due to High Impact of Social Networking E-Mail marketing is getting outdated where some bloggers still mention it as the best option for the Online Marketing. What is your opinion for this?

  8. John says:

    According to me, Every morning, you should have a target in front of you and in the end of day you should say Completed then you can do good blogging !
    Thank you

  9. It is important to always review the immediate past in light of goals and strategies for the coming year. I like to look at where I really think that I missed the boat. I am an outside the box type of person, but I really think that when you stop to take the time to analyze your weaknesses, you begin to build the strategy for success.
    I love the title of one of the articles; “The Art of Nonconformity”. That speaks volumes. We all need to create that niche that defines what we do and we need to be able to step outside the lines to get that clear picture. Great article, Darren and thanks.

  10. rososusilo says:

    “As bloggers, our brands are interwoven through our content”

    i am not good on it, i will improve my content branding this year

  11. Thanks for posting this Darren. Have always loved your content. Here’s my post on How To Set Goals For 2013. http://actionplanr.com/goal-setting/how-to-set-your-goals-for-2013/

  12. Steve says:

    I think learning the basics to internet marketing and writing great content is my goal. Last year I jumped at all the wrong tips, and with panda updates it really pushed me way back.

    Branding will come along the way, great content first.

  13. I really appreciate “time for a new social media strategy”. Social media are becoming very important to search engine, putting a social media strategy for 2013 will be a great idea. I did made a post too on achieving goals in 2013 http://www.uniqueblogging.com/achieving-your-goal-as-a-blogger-in-2013/ in this post i mention the importance on a plan and working closely with it. I also mention how to manage distractions online and how to make the most out of your time. Thanks for this post, it really motivated me to see your post and that of others on plans for 2013.