Setting personal goals: re-evaluating blogging

Purpose.  Brand.  Audience.  Apparently, anyone thinking of starting a blog should consider these three issues first.  Why do you want to start a blog?  What “identity” do you want to project?  Who is your target audience?  And what defines success in blogging, anyway?  Is “success” relevant if you’re not trying to make money at it?  Hmm.  I never thought of any of these questions, at least not consciously.  Maybe that’s why I feel like it’s time to set myself some blogging goals.  In going online to find some guidance, I read that many people stop blogging at about the 9-month mark.  Funny about that, my first blog was exactly 9 months ago today and now here I am, 102 blogs later, thinking about what my blog should be when it grows up. 

I have a fair amount of professional experience in goal setting through strategic planning, and I am excellent at writing to-do lists and checking things off my lists in my personal life.  My house is filled with lists!  Some goal setting is easy: setting goals for running is always a positive exercise – unless you’re injured – because once you identify a target race everything else falls into place.  I’m pretty good at other aspects of my life too insofar as where I expect to be in 3-5 years’ time; even if I’m wrong I will at least come up with something and move forward until it’s obvious I should take a turn or just stop.  But blogging has me stumped.

What do I see my blog becoming in another year?  3 years?  5 years??  I simply can’t answer that question, except for wanting it to be something people enjoy when they stop by.  [I can just imagine people reading this and thinking, “OMG, she’s not still going to be writing this stuff for another 3 years, is she?  I don’t have to keep reading it, do I?!”]  What about sense of purpose?  I got started after hearing almost everyone I met at some writing workshops talk about how important it is to have a blog; it helps you develop a discipline for everyday writing and provides you with an online presence in the event that at some point you might want to try to be published.  Without giving it a lot more thought, and being caught up in the excitement of writing and illustrating my first Robby Robin stories, I took the plunge.  I also thought that it would be a good opportunity to share some of the lessons I’d learned from starting long distance running at an advanced age.  It seemed simple enough.

One of my sons said right off the bat that I should stick to one topic, that a blog works better with a clear focus.  If I had two topics, I should consider two blogs.  Needless to say, I didn’t follow his advice.  If I had, I’d have to have started several other blogs subsequently.  However, I do see his point.  Having clarity of focus speaks not only to purpose but also to target audience.  So I find myself with no clear idea of why I should continue to write blog posts, no clear idea of who I think I’m targeting besides “anyone who might be interested”, and no clear sense of what my personal brand is.  My planning process is obviously going nowhere fast!

In lieu of a vision and clear goals for my blog, I’m going to settle on the following guiding principles to steer the next 9 months:

  1. I really enjoy having this avenue for exploring and expressing thoughts and reflections; for now that’s a good enough reason why.
  2. I will continue to give thought to what my personal (online) brand is or should be.  What a concept!
  3. I will give more thought to who my target audience really should be.  There is no doubt that people who are attracted to reading about running and yoga aren’t necessarily interested in farming or business, and vice versa.  Now there’s an interesting challenge.

I know that few people ever reply to questions that are posed at the conclusion of blog posts, but if anyone has any suggestions that will help further my quest to write a blog people are glad they took the time to read, please fire them along.

Let the next 9 months begin!

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10 Responses to Setting personal goals: re-evaluating blogging

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog–I like the authenticity in what I’ve read here. All the best!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Many thanks. I like the word authenticity; in real life I have to work at not being too “authentic”! All the best with what you are up to as well, and happy holidays.

  2. Christina says:

    Your blog makes me think a of a Renaissance Woman…. or someone who lives a whole, unified life, rather than one that dissects life into little pieces. There are lots of running blogs, lots of yoga blogs, entrepreneurship, personal development, gender equality, parenting, lots of blogs about all these things individually…. but ones that tie all these together, relate them to each other in an approachable way…. few and far between. That’s why I so enjoy your blog (aside from keeping up with all you’re doing!)

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Hi Christina. Thanks so much for these observations. I will have to take a closer look at how I have been managing to convey the links between these disparate themes and try to make sure I don’t lose that interconnection. Glad to hear that you have been able to find the connection! (I am glad to keep abreast of what you’re up to as well.)

  3. jane tims says:

    Hi. I think the ‘theme’ becomes evident over time, and variety may seem ‘unfocused’ until you look at the posts as a whole or compare your blog with others. Personally, I enjoy your posts and find you cover themes where I also have an interest (even running because you relate it to wellness). Your posts are also thought-provoking and force me to decide where I stand on issues. The Robby Robin posts are quite different, but also have a point to make. I think it is more important to have a consistant way of approaching a topic than to have a consistant topic…. as for readership, I have not figured that mystery out yet… Jane

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Hi Jane. Thank you for your comments. When you posted that you had analyzed your own posts and had (rightly) decided that your posts all could be categorized under a common umbrella of ‘place’, I tried to identify the umbrella that would work for my posts, to no avail. I apppreciate the input from others that perhaps that isn’t essential, but I do think there needs to be some common thread that gives a blog identity. I’ll cogitate on the notion of consistency and whether that can provide sufficient identity. It’s intriguing to consider. Thanks, again. Jane

  4. DM says:

    I was pondering some of these same questions a few weeks ago..something I read that helped me was, you can have different “target audiences” on the same blog, depending on the theme of a particular post….sure we can have a very specific target audience for the blog as a whole, but my problem is, the things I want to write about vary and don’t fit into one tidy box. I do have more than one blog w/ different purposes…at the end of the day, I write because I love to , there is definitely an ebb and flow to when I write. good luck with your quest! 🙂

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks for your input, DM. From my perspective as a member of your audience, your approach works well for me, so I guess I can’t go completely wrong by continuing along a similar path. Thanks again and keep up the good work with your own quest.

  5. Lesley Balcom says:

    I hope that when you define your target audience it includes me! I read all your posts, and often reply in my head, rather than with a typed response. I love the breadth of your posts – I never know what the topic will be, and I love that aspect of your blog. You get me thinking, inspire me, and make me laugh. Go, Jane!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Lesley. I like the idea of an audience of tall, intelligent runners with smiles on their faces! I really appreciate your vote of confidence. We’ll see what you feel like 9 months from now. 🙂

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