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Setting Goals, Objectives and Metrics for Achieving Your Desired Outcomes with Social Media Marketing (Sponsored Post)


Does this story sound familiar to you?

Your boss calls you in.  She wants to know if all this social media marketing is accomplishing anything; if it is impacting your bottom line. Is it?

You know social media is very important in today’s world. You, or an entire team in your organization, have been investing your time and effort to make sure you’re regularly posting and sharing great content, following relevant people, tweeting and retweeting, pinning, liking, writing thoughtful blog posts and sharing your knowledge. On top of that, all of the constant changes on the various social platforms and new marketing tactics that you must learn to employ keep you incredibly busy.  It’s easy to lose sight of why you’re doing it, and if it’s making a difference.

It’s very often the case that your social media activities are not closely tied to the larger purpose, vision, and overall goals and objectives of the organization. If we dive into social media without clear goals, we might not be prepared for that boss’s question.

Goal Setting Aligned with the Larger Purpose and Vision

How do you justify the investment and prove that yes, social media marketing is helping to contribute to your success? How do you plan your campaigns and goals so that they are in line with the larger purpose of your organization? How will you measure and prove your social media marketing efforts are valuable? You do this by creating a social media plan.

DragonSearch’s presentation at NMX in Las Vegas in January, 2014 will follow the same format as our workshop on how to create your social media strategy. In this post I will talk about the first steps in the process:

1.     Understand Your Purpose and Vision

In his book, Social Marketology, Ric Dragon focuses on outlining a framework for creating a social media marketing strategy and process. As he describes the first step of the process, Ric dives into the importance of focusing on desired outcomes and how every social media activity needs to be tied back to the organization’s purpose, vision and goals. The purpose and vision are principles that guide and inspire your goals and objectives.

“… [vision, values, and mission] bring cohesiveness to business actions, provide teams with focus, and act as a heuristic or innate set of rules guiding bigger actions.”

“Values provide us with what I call passion points – things that our organization’s leadership and culture get behind passionately and that allow us to connect with people.

The importance of values becomes even more pronounced in social media marketing, where great agility is needed. The individuals working for a brand need a framework.”

“By having clearly articulated passion points, marketers can focus on communications that people will want to be a part of. In the process, the brand’s association with those values will be stronger, and the sense of brand personality will flourish.”

— Excerpt from Ric Dragon’s “Social Marketology” book.

Landscape of desired outcomes from Ric Dragon’s Social Marketology book.

Landscape of desired outcomes from Ric Dragon’s Social Marketology book.

2.     Set Goals and Objectives

For anything you do in marketing, your first step should be to set your desired outcomes. Desired outcomes are your goals and objectives outlining the benefits or changes you aspire to achieve with your work. Setting goals and objectives for your social media activities should be based on the purpose and vision you identified in the first step in the process.

“We all know social media is changing marketing. We know it’s changing customer relations, product development, human resources, and other key areas. We know we need to be doing it. But we’re often unsure of the bigger picture, or how we’re going to create real sustaining value. In marketing in general, we need a clear understanding of what we want to accomplish. If we jump in and start activities without first tying them to organizational goals, we won’t even know when and if we’re succeeding.”

— Excerpt from Ric Dragon’s “Social Marketology” book.

Why Set Goals?

You could go ahead and start tweeting, Facebooking, and posting on all the social media platforms right now – and many organizations and individuals do just that. But how will you know what you achieved and if you were successful? How will you make decisions when situations arise if you don’t have that guiding light in front of you showing you the way? The only way to know is if we understand where we want to head and what results and benefits we want to achieve.

What Should be Your Social Media Marketing Goals?

At the end of the day we all have the same ultimate goal; to make money. But we also have a larger sense of purpose behind why we do what we do. It’s not only about the money.

This is especially true for social media. Why are you doing social media marketing? It should not be just about driving sales. If you approach it like that you will fail. People don’t care about what you want to sell to them. Your social media marketing should be about adding value for your customers.

Examples of Setting Goals & Objectives

Take inspiration from Ritz Carlton. Their purpose and passion is to “create indelible memories that last a lifetime” for their guests. Their social media goal is to deepen the engagement with current and potential customers and be central to storytelling in social media. In line with this, they can plan their micro-goals and objectives and then map metrics to measure their progress and success.

Example of mapping out your purpose, goals, objectives and metrics for social media

Example of mapping out your purpose, goals, objectives and metrics for social media

As a blogger your goal might be to establish yourself as an authority in your subject matter. Based on this you may set objectives, like writing well-researched blog posts and building up your following and engagement on social media.

As a next step you’ll want to focus on defining some metrics you will use to measure your success.

Use SMART Objectives

Setting SMART objectives will help you create realistic, measurable plans for achieving your goals.

I like the way the Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence Against Women and Girls uses the SMART criteria for setting campaign objectives and how closely it can apply to social media marketing:

 “Specific” doesn’t imply “unchangeable”: As the campaign is unfolding, its different elements and the internal and external actors and factors influencing success need to be constantly monitored. Substantive positive or negative changes may make it necessary to adjust the objectives.

“Measurable” does not necessarily mean “quantifiable”: For example, in social campaigns aiming for behavior change, qualitative observation tends to provide a more accurate picture of the complex processes campaigns may contribute than numerical data.

Being “realistic” doesn’t mean being pessimistic: If a campaign is grounded in robust research, a clear idea should emerge as to what can and what cannot be achieved within the context and the resources available.

“Time-bound” is for planning purposes only: Time limits need to be adjusted as the campaign unfolds (see also above, “‘specific’ doesn’t imply ‘unchangeable’”).

3.     Map Out Your Metrics

Map 3 to 5 metrics with milestones to each goal and objective. Measuring is very important so you can track your progress and know what is working and what is not.

Depending on your goals and objectives, metrics may be similar to the examples in the illustration above, i.e. number of comments on your blog, number of shares on Twitter, etc.

Excerpt from the Desired Outcomes Worksheet used in DragonSearch’s social media strategy workshops.

Excerpt from the Desired Outcomes Worksheet used in DragonSearch’s social media strategy workshops.

Quantity or Quality? How About Both?

Keep in mind that quality is just as important as quantity. As Patrick Lencioni quotes Jim Collins in his book: “qualitative field research is just as reliable as the quantitative kind, as long as clients and readers attest to its validity.”

How Do You Measure…

Not everything can be measured and some things are hard to measure. Social media allows us to have a direct relationship with our customers. But how do you measure those relationships in terms of ROI? How does owning your brand and messaging affect customer perceptions? What is the value in having an engaged audience? What can consumer loyalty and trust do for your brand? Brand awareness, loyalty, engagement all have tremendous value and are difficult to measure. However, with a well-planned and executed social media strategy, there are ways to map these metrics to your goals.

In his SMX Milan presentation about measuring social media ROI, Ric Dragon talked about a landscape of social media values.

Why Measure?

Measuring will help you:

  • See if you are on the right track to achieving your goals
  • See if what you are doing is working
  • Know when to adjust your strategy and how
  • Know when you achieved your goal
  • Justify your budget or position. Or even get you a raise
  • Justify your investment into doing the great things that are hard to measure

Follow these 3 basic steps for setting your social media marketing goals, objectives and metrics and you will have the structure in place that will guide you through everyday tasks and help you make important decisions on next steps. Whether you work for a large company or are a blogger working for yourself, this approach will help you make the most of your social media efforts. Most importantly it will help tie your efforts into your big picture vision and purpose so you can achieve your desired outcomes.

What are Your Experiences and Approach?

Are you ready for that conversation with the boss now? What are some of your goals and how are you tying them into your larger purpose and vision? What metrics do you use to measure your progress?

Please share your experiences or ask any questions and I’ll do my best to help you get started.

Hope to see you at our presentation about creating a social media marketing strategy at NMX in Las Vegas.

Are Your Blogging Goals Realistic?


When I first started blogging, I had laughably unrealistic goals. It was 2006, and I was newly hired to run an op-ed blog examining religions of the world for a blog network. At that time, I was offered payment based on a percentage of the total Google ad earning on the site, plus a very small base salary per post (less than $10). I didn’t care about the base salary because I knew how well I could write. I knew my posts would lead to massive amounts of traffic. I know that huge traffic numbers would mean a lot of ad clicks. I knew that this blogging thing was going to be a piece of cake.

So I spent four hours writing my first post, which was about 250 words with no pictures or links in it. I hit the publish button, sat back in my computer chair, and waited.

Of course, as you can probably guess, everything I “knew” was completely wrong. If I remember correctly, I made less than $3 in ad revenue that first month, and this was typical during my time blogging on this site until they changed the freelance blogger payment method. I was making around $2 per hour working for this blog network, which was not quite what I had imagined when I took the job.

The Importance of Realistic Goals

Last month, I wrote about how important it is to ensure that your actions and goals align, but let’s focus for a moment just on your goals. If you start out with bad goals, it doesn’t matter what actions you take.

When I realized the reality of my religion blog, I was pretty upset. I imagined that I would be making hundreds or even thousands of dollars blogging under this model, and I hoped it could be a full time job eventually. My goal during that first month was to make at least $500 – and I came up drastically short. It was depressing. I wasn’t motivated to continue, and I questioned my abilities as a writer.

If you don’t have realistic goals, you’ll never be able to reach them. While challenging yourself is important, having unrealistic goals that you can never reach sets you up for certain failure. When you’re focused on trying to avoid this inevitable failure, you aren’t attentive to the ways you can succeed.

How Do You Know If Your Goals Are Unrealistic?

Every blogger should be pushed by goals. Setting goals like “get ten Facebook fans” is silly. If you don’t challenge yourself, you’ll never really be able to grow to your full potential. But don’t forget that the opposite is also true. Being discouraged by unrealistic goals can hold you back.

So how do you know if your goals are unrealistic? Here are a few indications:

  • Your goal isn’t relative.

Goals take time. If you’re trying to do too much too quickly, you will likely fail. Instead, take some time to study your blog so you can set relative goals. For example, if your blog traffic typically grows by 10% per month, it’s unrealistic to set the goal of growing by 50% in a month. Instead, try setting a goal of 15% and move from there. Before you try to achieve above-average goals, you have to know what average really is.

  • There isn’t a plan in place to reach your goal.

If your goals aren’t linked to actions, you will likely fail. Sure, your blog will naturally grow over time if you publish quality content, but natural growth is not really in your control. You want your goals connected to actions you can actually take to reach that goal. For instance, if your goal is to reach 500 Pinterest followers, just relying on people to follow your page without you actually doing anything is silly. Instead, list what you’ll do to get these followers. That way, you can actually achieve this goal, not just sit by and wait for it to happen.

  • Your goals are too broad.

Broad goals aren’t realistic because even if they are obtainable, you can’t really track your progress. For example, let’s say that your goal is simple “make more money with my blog.” Monetization is a great topic for a goal, but this particular goal is way to broad. How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? Technically, if you make a single cent more, you’ve reached you goal. So quantify your goals rather than being too general.

  • You’re asking too much of yourself.

There are only so many hours in the day. If your goals don’t allow you to sleep, it doesn’t matter if you achieve them or not. Ultimately, you’ll be too burned out to care. Avoid challenging yourself so much that your goals are unobtainable without sacrifices that cost too much.

If you haven’t yet, sit down at your computer or even with a pencil and paper in your hands and make a list of your goals. Always ask yourself, “How can I get there?” whenever you come up with a goal. You want to push yourself to do things that seem impossible, but be careful to avoid goals that actually are impossible.

Are Your Actions Aligned with Your Online Goals?


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.

How to Design a Blog that Converts


Do you like it when readers check out your post and leave, never to return again? Of course not! As bloggers, we have goals, and we use our posts to try to achieve those goals. Did you know you can design a blog that converts? Your posts are only half the battle!

If you make money with advertising, your main goal might be to have readers subscribe to your RSS feed so they come back whenever you write a new post. If you have a product to sell, your main goal might be to get readers to purchase that product. If you sell affiliate products, your main goal might be to have readers subscribe to your email list so you can pitch to them. And no matter what, most bloggers have the goal of getting people to share their content via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social platforms.

It’s not just about what you say, though. At the end of your posts, you may have a strong call to action, but a poorly designed blog will work against you every time, no matter how well written your posts may be. So here are a few tips to help you design a blog that sets you up for success instead of failure:

  • Be a pattern interrupt.

WordPress, Blogger, and other blogging platforms make it super easy to install a theme and get started writing. The problem is that these ready-to-go themes are boring. Hundreds or even thousands of bloggers out there are using them, and readers won’t remember you as being something different and special. Be a pattern interrupt instead. Take some time to design a blog theme rather than using one out of box. You don’t have to build a theme from scratch; simply modify it so that you stand out from the crowd.

  • Draw attention with bold colors.

You probably have certain colors associated with your blog. When you want a design element to stand out, use a bright, bold color that attracts readers and stands out from the rest of your content. This is why you see so many bloggers with big red arrows pointing to their sign-up forms. You don’t want your most important design elements to fade into the background.

  • Put your most important information “above the fold.”

The phrase “above the fold” is carried over from print publishing. Placing information above the fold originally meant it was found above where the newspaper was folded in half, since that is what people can see at the news stand. Space above the fold is limited, so you have to chose the information you want to put there wisely. Online, above the fold translates to mean information you can see without scrolling. Screen sizes vary so this changes a bit, but you can general tell what readers will be able to see right away. This is where your most important information to help you achieve your goals needs to go.

  • The top right-hand spot is important.

A trick I learned in a graphic arts 101 class is that people naturally look at a page in an S pattern. That means if you draw a giant S on your screen, that’s how the eye usually travels. As you can see, that S shape starts at the upper right, so this spot is extremely important. Don’t make the mistake of putting something that doesn’t really matter in this location, and if you sell advertising space, consider charging more for this spot. Think of this spot as the prime location for a visual call to action, so place a “buy” button, subscription box, or other strong visual there.

  • Don’t neglect the end of your post.

You may already understand how important it is to end your post with a strong call to action, telling readers what to do next. But did you also know that the end of your post needs to be designed well for maximizing that call to action. This might be as simple as including social media sharing buttons or having links to related posts. But don’t neglect this area when you’re designing a blog to be effective.

  • Do some A/B split testing.

People are weird. Sometimes what works on one blog doesn’t work on another and vice versa. So, do a little split testing. Make a design change (for example, adding social share buttons to the top of a post) and see how people react. If you have the technical know-how, set up your blog so that half of the traffic sees your new design change while the other half sees the old design. Which one converts better? If you don’t have the skills to set up split testing that way, simple try the new design for a week and compare your results to a week without the new design change (look at percentages, not raw numbers). Make only one change at a time so you can understand how the variable is affecting your readers’ actions.

A final thought: Don’t be afraid to change how you blog looks. When you initially design a blog, you set it up to achieve certain goals, but goals change over time. It’s true that you don’t want to introduce a completely new look to your readers every week, but don’t fall into the trap of never changing the design at all. Design needs to evolve with your content so they’re supporting one another as much as possible.

What design changes have you made to benefit your blog? Share your strategies with a comment below!

Overheard on #Blogchat: Challenges (@coreyfreeman)


Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: creating a vision/strategy/plan to guide your blogging efforts in 2011

My friends are probably sick of hearing me say it – don’t set new year’s resolutions. Set goals. In my mind, resolutions are big “wishes” that you hope to achieve, but with no real plan. Goals, on the other hand, can be achieved if you’re willing to take action. During #blogchat, this week, one tweeter said something that made me look at the whole resolutions vs. goals argument in a hole new light:

coreyfreeman: Are people still setting “goals”? I call them challenges. That way I can keep doing them until I win!

I love this attitude! So many of us set these lofty goals and even with taking steps to achieve them, we don’t finish by our self-imposed deadlines. So what? I’m not saying that you have to be complacent, that reaching toward your goals doesn’t matter. But, as Corey suggests, if we look at them as challenges that we have to get through, they take on a whole new look.

You have to find a way to resolve a challenge. It might take longer than you hoped. It might not happen easily, and your strategy might change along the way. But while goals fall to the wayside when not achieved, challenges do not disappear. The best of the best will deal with them head-on, slaying virtual dragon after virtual dragon until the princess (or prince!) is saved.

What challenges are on your plate for 2011?

Do Statistics Really Matter?


Wake up. Check my Feedburner numbers. Check my traffic stats for the day so far. Check my traffic stats with a second tracking service for comparison. Check my Klout score. Check my Twitter follower numbers. Check my Aweber subscription numbers. Check ebook sales. Check. Check. Check…

I’m not kidding. Every morning I wake up and check roughly 53,083 different statistics involving my various blogs. And because I’m curious, I check some of them two or three times throughout the day. This is in stark opposition to some of my blogging friends, who only check their stats once or twice a week – or even once or twice a month. Heck, I know people who don’t check their stats at all unless an advertiser asks for numbers.

But I also know that a lot of you out there are like me, checking your stats daily or even several times a day. So the question I want to  ask is this: Does it matter? Do statistics really matter to you as you’re trying to build a better blog?

Today, I’d like to make an argument for stats. I know a lot of bloggers out there are telling you to forget stats, to not get so bogged down by them, and although I think that advice can be useful, I’d like to talk about the opposite perspective.

Tracking Goals

I’m somebody who sets a ton of goals in life. I’m also someone who has action steps written out so I can actually reach those goals, because it bothers me when I set a goal but don’t follow through. When it comes to career-related goals, statistics can actually come in quite handy. If my goal is to increase my readership numbers, how can I know that what I’m doing is working if I don’t look at stats? The concept of “write great content and they will come” is wrong; many awesome blog have closed simply because they didn’t have readers. You can’t just take a cue from other blogs in your niche either. What works for them to build numbers may not work for you.

Without stats, you basically have to try everything – and then continue doing everything. You have to be on every social network. You have to bookmark every post with every site. You have to reply to comments and send out newsletters and guest post and do all those other things that experts recommend for building traffic. What’s working? You don’t know – so you have to keep doing it all. If you track your stats, you can stop doing the things that do not work. If I only get three visitors a month from digg, and I going to continue using that site? Not if I’m getting 3,000 a day from Twitter.

So it follows that tracking stats helps you save time. You not only get to see the progress you’re making toward your ultimate goals, but you’re able to see what’s working and focus your time there.

Content Creation

One of the ways I like to use my stats is for brainstorming content ideas. Check out the search terms people are using to find your site. Those are the topics that they are most interested in, so you may consider writing posts relating to these topics. Which emails had really high open and click rates? Again, that indicates which topics people found most interesting. Did people unfollow you on Twitter in masses following a link to one of your posts? It might have offended people or was otherwise pretty far off base in terms of interest.

Content is the driving force of any blog, so if there are tools that can help me create content better tailored to my readers, you can bet I’m going to use them.


How much are you charging for advertising right now? Let’s say you get around 50,000 visitors per month to your site and you charge $50 for a small banner ad on the sidebar. Awesome. If you don’t check your stats, how will you know when to raise advertising rates?

If your traffic spikes, it might not be kosher to ask for a higher advertising price, but if you consistently raise your numbers, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not raising advertising fees too. Maybe by the end of the year, you’re getting 500,000 visitors per month. Charging that same $50 per banner ad is a little silly if that’s the case. However, if you only check your stats once or twice a year, when you do see that they’ve gone up, your ad price will have to jump drastically. Advertisers don’t like being told that that prices are jumping from $50 per month to $500 per month, even if you have the traffic to back it up. Checking your traffic regularly allows you to raise prices incrementally.

You can also send out notes to advertisers when you see significant spikes, even if you aren’t raising prices. Right now, I’m not working with a ton of advertisers, but in the past (when I was), I would send out quarterly updates, and I got a lot of good feedback from them about doing this. Even when there’s a slow month, they appreciate seeing the numbers and hearing what I’m doing to draw in traffic.

I will say this about stats: it can be an addiction. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I don’t need to check them every day, and I certainly don’t need to check them several times per day. You can waste a lot of time looking at your stats, and if you’re just starting out, it can be discouraging to see small numbers. Heck, when I first started, there were days when my site had ZERO people visiting (other than me). So, take my recommendation to check stats with a grain of salt. Don’t be too lackadaisical about them – but don’t become obsessed either.

Learning Versus Taking Action (and a new tool from BlogcastFM!)


As bloggers, there is no lack of free information available to learn more about blogging – monetizing, building readership numbers, creating killer content, etc. The BlogWorld archives alone houses over 1000 posts (and counting!), and there are countless other blogging and social media sites online that you can check out.

But you can spend every day reading or watching videos or listening to podcasts about blogging…and do you actually implement the advice these bloggers? I talked about career inaction on After Graduation last week, and I know I’ve touched on it here at BlogWorld too. We want our blogs to be better. We want to make more money. We want to help more people. We want, we want, we want…but do we actually do anything to make those wants actually happen?

Often, the answer is no – and it’s not completely your fault.

Well, logically, it is your fault. It’s not fair to start blogging and expect someone to hold your hand or blame someone when you don’t get things done. Only you can make your blog successful. At the same time, blogs that give you advice – yes, even this one – rarely give you points of action or help in implementing their advice. I don’t know about you, but I often feel so overwhelmed by the sheer about of stuff I’m told to do, that I end up shutting down completely. If you don’t have a plan, it’s hard to make forward progress.

I am getting better at making a list of actionable steps as I read or listen to advice from bloggers I respect. But it’s about to get a whole lot easier thanks to some smart dudes.

Earlier this week, I finally took some time to check out BlogcastFM. I’ve definitely heard other people mention this site before, and I knew “of” Srini and Sid (the guys who run it), but we just haven’t crossed paths in the past. I just…didn’t take action. “I’ll get around to checking it out someday.”

The other night, I happened to be looking at my to-do list while on Twitter, and I saw Sid tweet that they were hanging out on Ustream answering questions about a new service they’d be providing, BlogcastFM Premium. I barely knew what the regular BlogcastFM was about, so I wasn’t really interested in anything “Premium,” but I thought to myself, “This is a perfect opportunity to cross something off my to-do list.

I’m a bit of an introvert, so crashing someone’s Ustream party is daunting for me, but I bit the bullet and showed up, while also heading to the BlogcastFM site. As often happens when I actually take action about something I’ve been putting off, I immediately wondered what had took me so freakin’ long. For those of you who have not yet checked out BlogcastFM, the site is filled with interviews with successful bloggers, both from the make-money-with-your-blog niche and other niches. You get to hear their stories and learn about what has and has not worked for them. I’ve already been steadily working through their archives, and the content is amazing.

Amazing…and overwhelming.

Which brings me back to my original point – it’s great to take the time to learn from other bloggers, but it’s hard to take action, especially when facing a site like BlogcastFM for the first time. Over 100 interviews, each which contain tons of advice? It’s pretty hard to get motivated because it feels like such a difficult task to get the ball rolling.

Just as I was thinking that during the Ustream chat, Srini and Sid started talking about what they were actually there to promote – their premium site. I kid you not, it was like one of those moments where the heavens sign down and you here, “AHHHHHHHHHHH.”

What Srini and Sid have done is create action plans for every interview. With premium access, you can download the interview as an MP3 (perfect if you’re on the go as often as I am), but more importantly, they’ve teamed up with Mike Tiojanco to help you actually take action. With every interview (12 per month, plus access to archives), you’ll get a workbook to help you digest the interview and a mindmap to help you organize your thoughts. The guys gave me access to their premium site to check it out for y’all, and I can tell you firsthand that the content is extremely interactive and high-quality. If you have a problem implementing all the good ideas you know would make your blog better, BlogcastFM Premium is a tool you should check out.

Please note – the final link in this post is an affiliate link, but anyone who’s read here knows how important I think it is to take actions to reach your goals! I would recommend BlogcastFM even if that wasn’t an affiliate link. You can also get their free ebook here if you’re not yet ready to take the step in purchasing anything right now!

Are You Tracking Your Monetization Efforts?


Early today, I was catching up on my feed reading and I came across “3 Simple Steps To Running Your Blog Like a Business,” a guest post by Srinivas on DavidRisley.com. He makes a number of great points throughout this post, but what I’d like to highlight today is his first point: if you intend to make money with your blog, you need to do quarterly reports on your monetization efforts.

Srinivas’ point was that you should have a way to track what you’re doing on your blog. I’d like to back up for a moment, though. Before you can track anything, monetization or otherwise, you need to set blogging goals.

The Goal Game

Setting goals isn’t as easy as saying “I want to make a ton of money.” Of course you want to make a lot of money. Who doesn’t? What you need is a tangible goal, a specific goal. Your goal has to be something you can achieve. How do you know when you’ve earn “a lot of money”?

The problem with setting goals is that it can be easy to feel like you’re a failure if your goals aren’t realistic. I once set a goal of earning $500 per month with a brand new blog I was developing. That was a totally unrealistic goal for my niche.

On the other hand, in some niches, especially after you’ve been running the blog for a few months, $500 per month is in no way an unrealistic goal. In fact, you might surpass your goal by so much that you don’t develop the blog to its full potential. You feel like you can rest on your laurels because you’re doing so well, when in fact, your blog could be making ten times the amount with a little more effort.

I recommend making your first monetization goal, “I want my blog to support itself.” Pay your hosting. Pay for anything you’ve purchased for the blog, like a header design. Pay for Aweber or whatever email subscription service you use. Pay for prizes that you give away. Make your very first goal to break even. From there, you can more easily set goals that are out of reach right now, but achievable with a little work. You want your goals to always be just a little out of reach so you’re always moving forward.

From Goals to Monetization

Once you have your monetization goals set, it’s time to figure out how to reach them. I think this is where a lot of bloggers fall short. Once you set your goals, how are you going to get there? If you just start throwing ideas out there, seeing what sticks, your success will be as fickle as your methods. If you have a plan, on the other hand, you have a much better chance at actually reaching whatever goal you’ve set.

Think about the different ways you can monetize a blog. Which ones will work best for your blog? Come up with mini-goals for each effort in order to reach your overall dollar amount goal. For example, maybe you make $100 per month with Google ads. Maybe you make $300 per month in sidebar ad sales. Maybe you make $50 per month in affiliate sales. You get it the idea.


Now we get to the real reason I wanted to highlight Srinivas’ post – monetization tracking. Whether you reach your goals or not, it’s important to have a quarterly report so you can see clearly where you’re succeeding and where you’re failing. It’s easy to look at your overall goal and say, “Yes, I’ve made it” or “No, I’ve fallen short,” but unless you analyze why, you’ll never grow as a blogger.

The key is to not get too discouraged when your reports aren’t what you want them to be, especially as a new blogger. It takes time to build a blog. If you aren’t seeing results after several months, you should rethink your approach to blogging. Tracking make it easier to see how you’re failing and why, so reorganizing is much easier if you need to do so.

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