Plan To Fail Or Fail To Plan

English: Fail Mill and Fail Mains from near Re...

After almost nine years of blogging I can tell you with more than an ounce of conviction that you can make money online and that you can do it through blogging.

There are more than a few ways to skin the cat we call monetizing a blog and I can help you with any or all of them, but this post isn’t about that.

That is because this post is the one where I stress the importance and value of community…again.

This post is where I say thank you to all who answered my call for help and reiterate the importance of being willing to ask for it.

Plan To Fail Or Fail To Plan

Some of you might look at the headline of this post and recognize it as being a derivation of “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and wonder why I modified it. I did it because I wanted something shorter and experience has taught me that this adjustment will work.

It will pull in readers and that is the purpose of a headline.

So let’s talk about planning and why I asked for help.

When I started growing my Twitter and Google Plus presences I made a mistake and didn’t take a balanced approach towards how I added people.

I went through both platforms and started adding many people at once and didn’t wait to let people add me back. The net result was that it made my profile look unbalanced and that can have a negative impact on how people view your profile.

Take a look at the photo below:

It Is Not Where You Start That Matters.

I am following 661 people but I only have 423 followers. That’s the imbalance I am referring to and some people think it creates an impression that your content isn’t very good and/or that you are a spammer.

Thus far I haven’t found anything but anecdotal evidence to support that, but I figure there is no harm in trying to balance things. And if there is any truth to my experience response rates to my tweets have been improving the imbalance that existed.

The Triberr Effect

Some of the improvement has to be attributed to my increasing my involvement with Triberr. That has increased exposure and generated a significant increase in the amount of traffic here. But there is much more to this blogging gig than that.

If you ask my friend Adrienne she will tell you about how a boring blog can kill your circulation and she is right.  But this gig has more moving parts than just creating content that is interesting.

People are what make the difference. They are the engine that drives social media and your number one goal is to more than entertain/educate them with your content.

Engagement should be your number one priority. When you find a way to engage your readers things happen. When you reach out and ask for help people will respond affirmatively and it is a wonderful thing.

What Is Your Plan and What Do You Hope To Accomplish?

There are quite a few of us “old timers” hanging out around these parts and if you want you can be a part of this crowd too.

I love being a part of the blogosphere and I love to write. I have fun. Those three elements are a significant part of why I have lasted as long as I have and why you will continue to see me around these parts.

What you have to do is figure out what makes you happy and what makes this fun for you. If you don’t find the fun in blogging it will chew you up and spit you out. It can be a grind. It is not always easy to produce content on a regular basis, especially when you aren’t being paid for it.

While I will always argue that comments aren’t currency they do provide some validation that your words are worth something, but not everyone of your posts will receive them.

There will be moments where you wonder why the response rate is so low and times when you feel like you are on a giant hamster wheel.

And that is why I keep talking about a plan. When you know why you are out here and what you hope to accomplish you create a position in which you are able to build a road map to get from point A to Z.

My plan is to use this blog to generate more writing/marketing work, to keep my writing skills sharp and to help establish a foundation for writing books. I know where I am going.

What about you?

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8 Comments

  1. rebecca October 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Josh. This is a valuable post for those of us building a business on-line. I’m often so busy “doing my business” that “working my business” takes a back seat. It’s wonderful to be reminded about building community. I also want to be able to be authentic. Where do you find the line between appearances and what you find interesting?

    • Josh October 24, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Hi Rebecca,

      I don’t have a hard and fast rule about it. One of the things I try to do is to wrap posts around things I find interesting while including information that is useful to the community and clients.

      Part of the way I measure it is based upon engagement levels. When I receive emails and comments about what I am sharing it is usually a way to help gauge how effectively I am hitting those touch points.

  2. Brian D. Meeks ( October 20, 2012 at 7:33 am

    You make an excellent point about perception of a person’s Twitter account.

    I have a very specific method of maintaining a quality group of followers and people I follow. If a new person follows me, there is better than a 50% chance I will look at their profile and BLOCK them. I might even BLOCK & REPORT SPAM.

    I figure that if they aren’t punished for being anti-social #TeamFollowBack jerks, they won’t ever learn. So, I read their numbers and make a decision.

    There is one criteria that carries the most weight for me. It is my own, the Listed to Follower ratio. For those who aren’t not great with math, that is simple the number of times the person is listed, divided by the number of followers they have.

    If a person is listed 5 times and has 100 followers, they have a ratio of 5%. Those people I tend to follow, because I’ve learned that with very few exceptions, if a person is listed that much, they are sending out interesting content that people want to read.

    Go ahead, check out someone with 50,000 followers. I bet they are listed around 1000 times. That is 2% and if you check their tweets, you will find very few conversations. They tweet their promotional links and nobody listens. They are a worthless account and as such, I would block them.

    Why block them, you ask? Because if I don’t, then they will be in my Follower count. That worthless person will be making my own ratio look bad. I don’t want that.

    Sorry to have gone on such a lengthy diatribe, but your post got me all worked up. Well done!

    • Josh October 20, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      Hi Brian,

      I appreciate the time you took to write that down. I am always intrigued and interested in how people make decisions about how to go about their social media business.

      Sometimes it is based upon logic I can follow and sometimes it is the most illogical pile of crap I have stumbled onto in weeks.

      Either way it is fun for me because I find people to be fascinating.

  3. Annie Andre October 20, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Blogging for nine years? that is eons in internet years. Is taht how old this blog is or have you had several.

    I can relate to the balance issue. I actually don’t put much emphasis on growing my twitter and google plus or facebook accounts. I let it happen organically. I know there are strategies t ogrowing it to show social proof but it always felt odd to just add a bunch of people. I focus mainly on facebook because that’s where my potential reader hangs out and i can interact in a non business matter which makes me more relateable and able to connect with people on a deeper level if that is even possible on the net.

    As for blogging. well, i use it as a tool to help people, as a platform to talk about my services. to experiement with affiliate marketing and practice my writing skills. As a result i have found my blog to be very rewarding.

    i’m still amazed. 9 years? wow…

    • Josh October 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Hi Annie,

      I have had several blogs. This is just the newest and the place that has the “professional” focus.

      Elementary and junior high school almost had me convinced that I hated writing. Too many complaints about penmanship and too many stupid assignments made me not want to do this.

      When I entered into 8th grade I joined the school paper, don’t really remember why. I suspect it was because I had friends on it. Anyway, a switch clicked and I began to really enjoy writing and have been doing it in one form or another since then.

      So I suppose you could say I have been doing this for more than thirty years now.

      Anyway, I like organic growth, but sometimes I get caught by the hamster wheel of social media and wonder if I can move things along faster and, well here we are.

      I like your reasons for blogging. They all make sense to me and your life abroad sounds like fun and endless amounts of blog fodder.

  4. Tim Bonner October 19, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Well, at the minute Josh, my plan is to blog and keep on blogging; more to gain experience and to create the relationships you mention.

    Blogging does give me a purpose beyond what I do on a daily basis and I have some ideas about what I would like to do around that. Not much of a plan I know but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

    • Josh October 20, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Hi Tim,

      It sounds to me like you are on your way. I mean that. You have already got the relationship part down and that is a central part of this game.

      Some of the rest can be determined and or adjusted as we go.

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