It seems like every day, I’m confronted with something else I “should” be doing online. Sometimes, the advice is even contradicting. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good advice, but what it does mean is that I need to wade through the river of choices and determine what is best for me and my content.
You’re probably doing the same thing – picking and choosing the techniques and tips you want to use online to promote your blog, podcast, web series, or business. But are you making the right choices? It may be easier than you think: Just make sure your actions are aligned with your goals.
Have You Defined Your Goals?
Why do you blog? What’s the point of your podcast? What are your hopes for the future of your web series? What are you trying to achieve online for your business?
What is your goal?
You might answer that question differently than I do; that’s okay. There’s no right or wrong answer. And goals change over time, so don’t be alarmed if your answer today is different – even drastically different – than your answer to that question a year ago. The problem comes when you don’t know your goal at all.
- Is your goal to make money (or make more money)? If so, how much? A livable income? Millions of dollars? Somewhere in between?
- Is your goal to spread a message about a specific cause, idea, or way of thinking? If so, to whom? A specific group of people? Everyone?
- Is your goal to build your brand? If so, are you hoping to reach new people? Or are you trying to change what people currently think about your brand?
- Is your goal simply to have fun and meet interesting people? Are you hoping to build a community? Are you just looking get involved with existing communities?
Of course, these are fairly big questions to answer, and they’re certainly not the only goals you can have for your online activities. What’s important is that if you don’t have an answer yet, you’re searching for it.
Two Rights, All Wrong
You’ve probably heard the saying “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Well, I’d like to introduce you to another saying: Sometimes, two rights can be all wrong.
Recently, I attended a webinar led by someone well-respected in the Internet marketing industry. This person gave some really good advice about formatting your blog posts and writing them in a certain way to get more results with your call to action. So, I gave it a try, more than once in fact.
The results were horrible. Those posts got the same amount of traffic (on average) as other posts on my site, but I noticed that readers unsubscribed from my RSS feed and mailing list at much higher rates on those posts. I even had a few long-term readers contact me to ask about those posts and voice their negative opinion about them.
Clearly, this was not a good choice for my blog to start writing posts this way.
Similarly, not long before this, I read some advice from a different person about what not to do on your blog. I thought, “Wow, I’m doing this majorly wrong!” and changed things up. Again, my readers responded, but not in the way that was promised to me. They had an extremely adverse reaction, which continued until I un-changed the changes I had made.
Now the reason I’m not writing about the specific advice or advice givers (even though I don’t like to blog about “some people”) is not because I don’t want to warn you. It’s because I don’t think you need to be warned. Dozens, maybe even hundreds or thousands of people are using these techniques successfully. They just aren’t right for my specific needs.
Why is this relevant? Because the only way I know they aren’t right for my specific needs is that I have my goals defined.
You can’t just look at traffic numbers. Sometimes, stats say a lot. But other times, it makes sense to do something even if your traffic dips, because it helps you reach goals in the long term. The same can be said of sales. When you don’t have goals defined, you can’t see the big picture, so all you have to go on are stats and your gut.
Are Your Actions Failing?
Before you know your online goals, don’t jump to conclusions about your actions failing or succeeding. Sometimes, what looks like a massive failure might actually be a success – you were just looking at the big picture from the wrong angle. For example, maybe an eBook you release doesn’t sell at all, but it does help solidify you as an expert in your field. Or maybe you’re not getting many comments, but your traffic is growing steadily and you’re making more money with CPC/CPM ads every month.
The bottom line is that your first step has to be defining your goals. Only then can you start to measure what matters and start reaching those goals.