November 11, 2014

A small blogging tip to remain focused: find your goal

One life-changing advice I received long back, when I was a student, that for success in any project in life, you need to write down the goal in no more than a short sentence. I forgot this dictum soon but when it came back to me during a management training, I took it to my heart. It has helped me focus my energies to the task in hand more than anything else. 

So this is my personal advice to bloggers. Write down in one short sentence why you are running your blog(s). Try to zero in to the single most important reason out of many that might come to your mind. Try to find a real (not imagined) reason. Try to make it as specific as possible. Re-check to make sure you are not fooling yourself. 

Your goal need not be a complicated corporate goal but if you intend to blog to make a big impact in the society or in your personal life (including making money out of it), it will have to be powerful statement. A great number of bloggers who have opened a blog as a hobby are likely to find it difficult to find a goal; but a blogging goal you must have. Maybe, the blog acts as a punching bag and helps you relieve tension OR it is a place where you jot down your ideas that you cannot express elsewhere OR it helps you share ideas with your friends… In each of such cases, you can still have a clear goal. If you did not have a goal till now, you can look for a new goal. 

Making your goal specific helps even when you think you have a general goal. Fine, you want to have a general goal that sums up your vision. Distill this to targets against which you can constantly check your progress. Set a number of specific targets within that overarching general goal. For example, if your blog seeks to help alcoholics quit drinking, a definite goal will help you retain focus and give you energy to reach as many alcoholics as you can and help them choose the remedies best suited to individual addicts.

Now analyse how achievable that goal is. Even if it is achievable, will you be in a position to put the resources (money / time / attention / knowledge and expertise / …) in use that it requires?

Draw a timeline for achieving the goal. Have short, medium and long-term milestones that you will like to reach, and with the required effort you WILL reach. Setting timeline-linked targets makes the job more achievable. 

Also analyse whether that goal will, if achieved, fit in your overall scheme of things. For example, your goal is to turn the blog a full-time business and as per your plan, the blog will earn you a hundred thousand bucks every year after two years from now and grow at 20% a year thereafter. Suppose your research shows that you WILL achieve this goal. You must now ask such questions: Will the effort be worth it? Will that money be enough to let you leave your current job and engage in blogging full time? Will the activities (e.g. in the case of food and fashion blogs, participating in public activities) crucial for blog's success take more of your energy than alternate activities? Etc, etc. 

I'm sure that at the end of this small exercise, you'll have given a direction to your blogging and found where you stand. Believe me, it helps to remain focused. In blogging, as well.

- a personal take by Prabhakar