Blogging: Setting Goals + Planning For Success

Allow me to state the obvious:  I’m a blogger.  And, if you’ve been around these parts for any length of time, this one will be even more obvious:  I’m kinda organized.  But if I’m being totally honest, (and I am because I can’t stand dishonest folks), I absolutely suck at acheiving my goals.

One reason is most likely because I don’t set any to start with.  I’m changing that this year, and if you’re a blogger, or want to be a blogger, I want to share my thoughts & tools for setting goals & planning for success.

Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving Grace I think we’ve all heard the expression, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  How much truth is in those few words, y’all!?  I’m living proof.  Here’s the deal: I’ve been an active blogger for the better part of 5 years, and for the longest time, I’d try to do what I saw other bloggers doing, bigger bloggers, successful bloggers, in hopes that I would also gain similar success.

It didn’t work.  You know why?  It wasn’t for lack of working, it was for lack of planning.  I had no real goals, and no real direction for acheiving any goals.  I was running on a treadmill – fast & hard but going nowhere.  Can you relate?

Last year, when I came back to blogging, it felt different.  I really felt like this was for real this time, that I was going to be successful according to my own terms, set real goals, and determine a plan for acheiving them.

I mentioned a few days ago what my goals are for 2015, so I won’t go into those again, but for bloggers out there who feel like they’re simply spinning their wheels, I wanted to focus instead on the tools I’m using to plan my roadmap for success.

STOP.  HAMMER TIME.  Collaborate & listen.  Read THIS before you go any further.

Don’t worry, I’ll wait….

Did you read it?  Skim it at least?  I hope you take away from that post that “success” is different for everybody, and there’s no right or wrong way to be successful.  Once you determine what it is that will make you successful as a blogger in your own mind & heart, we can move on.

TOOL TIME.  (insert that weird throat thing Tim Allen used to do: “Oh-Oh-OH!”)

Once you’ve established your own personal view of success, you need a way to set hard goals, break them down into acheivable steps, and a way to track your progress.  These are my own tools for doing just that:

Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving GraceI mentioned Powersheets the other day, but promised I’d go into more detail here, so I will.  Let’s take a peek at my Powersheets, then I’ll explain a bit further.

Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving Grace Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving Grace Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving Grace Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving Grace Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving Grace Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving Grace

The highlights:

(a) You can start anytime, not just January 1st.  The Powersheets aren’t dated.
(b) They’re pretty – and I like pretty things.  It makes me want to look at them, which is good, because I need to look at them daily to stay on track.
(c) Powersheets make it so easy to take a big goal & break it down into monthly, weekly, and daily steps.  It’s easy to see what you’ve accomplished, what you need to work on, and to measure your progress.
(d) You spend more time on the planning portion than on the monthly goal portion.  What I mean by that is, before you start working towards acheiving your goals, you spend time defining your goals, addressing your fears, what you have learned from past successes & failures, what gets you excited, what your long-term goals are for your life, defining your core focus, and deciding what really matters to you.

The idea is to set goals that all point towards you acheiving that big picture you have for your life.

*Sidenote:  Looks like they’re out of stock at the moment, but from what I hear, they should be back in March.

Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving GraceLet me just shout this from my proverbial rooftop, ok?  If you are a blogger and you are NOT using an editorial calendar to plan your posts, you are doing yourself, your blog, and your readers a disservice.

Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving Grace

There.  I said it.  Now, if you are just blogging for fun, and have no intention to ever make money from your blog, be it directly or in side gigs like my virtual assistance biz, then you may not need an editorial calendar.  But, if you are a serious blogger, you simply must use one.  MUST.

The style of editorial calendar you choose can vary.  I use a plug-in on WP, plus I have a color-coded spreadsheet.  The purpose of the editorial calendar is two-fold:

(1) Make sure I rotate blog categories regularly to keep my readers interested
(2) Make sure I include blog posts that help me establish myself as an authority on specific topics, thereby helping me reach my goals of success

Let’s say, for example, that Susan has a goal of opening an Etsy shop to sell her hand-crafted goods.  To be more specific, let’s say Susan specializes in mixed media.  Perhaps Susan also wants to eventually teach an e-course on the art of mixed media.

An editorial calendar for Susan might include, among her normal DIY projects, a post about the tools used in the creation of mixed media art & how to use them, a post about building inventory to open an Etsy shop, or even a series of posts about her journey to becoming an Etsy seller.

A good editorial calendar will assure you that your blog posts are pointing you towards your goals and help you stay focused.

Bloggers: Setting Goals & Planning For Success  |  Sweet Tea & Saving GraceNow this one can be tricky, but I believe it’s vital to acheiving your goals.  I work full-time away from home, blog, and have a virtual assistance business.  I’m also a wife and a mom.  My goal, however, ultimately, is to work from home, blogging and running my VA business.

You have to get your family to back you up if you want to be successful – that’s huge.  I’m blessed with a strong support system.  In order to set dedicated work hours, I had to get my husband and daughter on board, let them know my goals, and have them help in other areas of my life so I can work.

For me, that translates to assigning both my husband and my daughter specific nights to be in charge of dinner, which frees me up to go to my office and get some work done.  I also set aside time on the weekends to work on blog projects, edit photos, and write posts.

Now, my hours fluctuate from week to week, as family events and priorities arise, but part of my Sunday Prep is scheduling these work hours and sticking to them as much as possible.

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So I ask you:

What are your blogging goals for 2015?

What are you doing to work towards them and make them reality?

Share your thoughts in the comments below. I can’t wait to see where this year takes us!

13 Responses

  1. I think this has to be the best article I have read in a long time, I am so happy to have stumbled upon this while looking for inspiration on pinterest. I could totally relate to what you were saying and I think I should start planning more because I am feeling like I am running hard and fast on a treadmill and I have nowhere to go. Is there an editorial calender plugin for blogger as well? Or any other site/place I could do the same?

    Thank you so much 🙂

    Debasree // ALL SHE NEEDS

  2. Thank you so much! I was on Blogger for years and unfortunately they don’t have cool plug-ins like the editorial calendar for WordPress, but you can create one that suits your needs. I use a Google spreadsheet to plan my posts before they even get into the WP calendar. I highly recommend Blog Clarity’s e-course called Content Brew. You’ll get a template and tips for creating that spreadsheet and tons of ideas for creating good titles for your posts. It’s worth the investment. Here’s my affiliate link if you want to check it out: http://shop.blogclarity.com?ap_id=kthompson0412

    I’m also going to be writing a post about my own process for my editorial calendar in a few weeks so stick around for that! 🙂

  3. Another brilliant post, Kirsten! I love how you always infuse such a powerful mix of personal and professional into everything you do. And I couldn’t agree with you more on the power and importance of an editorial calendar. I LIVE For my calendars. Without them I would be so lost. I have them in a million forms. I do have the editorial calendar plug-in for WordPress but I really haven’t utilized it very well. I generally stick to the “pencil and paper” version but I want to get better at utilizing the online resources for this. I definitely need to start exploring that plug-in more. P.S. I love your word for the year 🙂 That’s definitely one of my big words of the year too. And I’m not gonna lie, I’m feeling pretty confident there since I have such amazing friends to help keep me accountable 😉 Let’s do this 2015!

  4. Thank you Julie! You are so encouraging 🙂 I’ve got a post coming (taking a bit longer than I anticipated but it’s coming!) that will walk people through how I use all of my various editorial calendars separately and how I make them all work together.
    And yes, I love, love, LOVE the support that we’ve found in one another, and we can definitely encourage one another to FINISH! And finish BIG! XOXO

  5. Oh freakin’ snot. I think I about had a heart attack with that epic article!

    The words hurt—then the pictures were like stabs in the chest—HOW DO YOU STAY SO ORGANIZED!???

    My version of keeping track of goals is a giant whiteboard by my desk and a mountain of yellow legal pads on my desk. Get up at 3am (dedicated work hours are 3am-noon), yawn, stretch, maybe a little yoga, pray, then sit down and pound out 6-10,000 words before breakfast on the topics I wrote on a To-Do list beforehand.

    I tried forms, but they made me mad—even when I DESIGNED them!!
    (I know, I’m crazy)
    …but I feel confined, unable to move my time and will as needs be with 12 kids and grandkids and a wife who loves my attention and help too!

    Can i say you and the ladies commenting are awesome?
    Wait, I just did—never mind.

    My goals are to write 5+ books this year, keep my blog going and build it to entertain people who love fantasy…and….

    Well, that’s it.

    Oh, and sell 100,000 books. Then again, I’ve been working on that one for a decade.
    Still not quite there yet, but I’ll get it.

    *DEEEEEEEEP Breath*

    I’m okay now. You scared me Kirsten.
    The organizing awesomeness is beyond me.
    …but I’m still looking into the editing calendar today….

    (I might become awesome yet)

  6. Okay—I like this calendar. Installed it.
    Simple–but I appreciate the visual, collected info it gives me.
    This, coupled with my planner should help me a huge deal.

    Thank you for the tip!!

  7. I love your giant white board method Jaime! You gotta use what works for you. 🙂 I have to say, I admire the fact that you get up at 3am. I’m up by 5 for work and struggle.

    And by the way…you ARE awesome! Super awesome! 🙂

  8. Can I say I think you are my new fave blogger! Also I have been struggling with my power sheets all year and reading this something just clicked! FINISH!!!! I know its your word but I’m totally stealing it. That’s my problem I start SO many things and I’m terrible about follow through. I just had an Oprah AH-HA moment reading this post! Thank you thank you thank you xoxo

  9. Hey Jennifer! I love those “Ah-Ha” moments! 🙂 This year has already been a big one for me because I finally focused on FINISHING. It’s amazing what you can do when you decide to finish what you start. My only regret is not making this choice sooner. Steal away! I’m glad I was able to help in a small way 🙂

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MEET KIRSTEN

I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea Ministry provides a space for women to enjoy encouragement and practical tips for living a more intentional and fulfilling life through Bible study, efficient use of time and space in their home, and finding joy in the simple things in life. Enjoy your time here & be blessed!

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