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…
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:
- The Art of Nonconformity: 2012 Annual Review: Looking Forward, an inspiring personal review
- Zen Habits: Simplify the Internet, which seems like a sort of call to simpler action in 2013, even though it’s not pitched as a new-year post
- Copywrite Matters: Highlights of 2012 and Things to Come in 2013: a more traditional round-up that preempts the year ahead.
- The Bloggess: 2012 Strange Google Searches that Brought People to The Bloggess: an entertaining way to wrap up the year that was. Read this post for a chuckle!
- Yes and Yes: Goal Making Made Gorgeous, for a little extra goal-setting inspiration
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.