Get Rid of Your Blogging Doubts Once and For All

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Medical mysteries have hypnotic power.

That’s why almost every prime-time drama revolves around wicked smart professionals unraveling medical crimes.

These medical dramas follow a similar storyline formula: the crime, gathering evidence, the post-mortem (what went wrong), and finding the “perp”.

While the entire sequence is fascinating, I’m captivated by the post-mortem; the socratic process of examining the evidence and hypothesizing causes.

It seems that post-mortems fascinate business types too. In fact, post-mortems are a routine part of 9-5 life. Usually one is convened when a team drops the ball and management wants a democratic way to share blame.

It works like this.  The responsible parties are brought into a room.  The project is reviewed.  Mistakes are isolated.  The team develops processes to avoid the problems in the future.

A while back, a colleague introduced me to a new concept called the Pre-Mortem.

Intrigued, I watched as he conducted my first Pre-Mortem.  First, we set a goal.  Then in an unexpected twist, we imagined failing.  Not just barely missing the bar but tripping and breaking our jaw on it.  Next, we brainstormed a list of reasons why we missed hitting our proposed goal.

An hour later we had an incredibly insightful roadmap for kicking failure in the teeth.  We saw how unclear goals, poor follow-up, and weak tactics could sap our momentum.  Key players in the room realized exactly how their lack of action could screw up the project.  The entire team had a contingency plan tailor-made to deal with any circumstance.

Since we haven’t fully settled into the year yet, how about running a Pre-Mortem on your blog?

Imagine It’s 12/31/12 and Your Blog Has Failed – Miserably.

It’s a sad scene.

Your blog traffic has flatlined. Your editorial calendar didn’t survive 3 months resulting in sporadic posting and crippling writers block.  Twitter fell short and Facebook was an embarrassment.  You barely made enough money to pay for your hosting on Godaddy.

Do your Pre-Mortem.

Ask yourself, what went wrong?  Go ahead, open up a blank document and write the Pre-mortem.   Now for every issue that you brainstorm write down a quick note on how you will counter the issue.  Last, decide on an action step to put your plan into motion before the failure.

For example:

Issue: Your blog hasn’t attracted a growing audience:

Counter: Write evergreen posts that attract search engine users

Action Item: Brainstorm a list of evergreen topics and add them to your editorial calendar.

Go down you list or Pre-Mortem issues, add counters and create action items.  Soon you’ll have a blogging blueprint custom-designed for your specific challenges.

Do This Now

I’m an optimist.  It’s hard to imagine something not going as planned but we live in the real world boys and girls.  Anticipating failure is the best way to avoid it.  Zero in on your weaknesses and handle them now.

Let me know in the comments below how you plan to use the pre-morterm to failure-proof your blog.

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

6 thoughts on “Get Rid of Your Blogging Doubts Once and For All

  1. JONG

    Thank you for sharing – right now I am so like in deep shit in real life this post of yours – helps.

    *cry* I have enough bad news for a day and I need to get rid of my doubt.


  2. Stanford Post author

    Don’t worry Jason, I won’t turn you into a self-defeating cynic. Flip this exercise around and start with the question: I Succeeded Brilliantly – What Went Right? You’ll still get a detailed blueprint of how to move forward. What you’ll miss is a realistic view of what stands in your way. Recognizing challenges isn’t self-defeating – it’s realistic and wise.

  3. Jason Scott

    I get where you’re coming from, Stanford, but I just can’t focus on failure. I’m all about making it, and that is Plan A – Plan Z. If something goes askew, it isn’t a failure, it’s a lesson. I’ll learn from it and keep pressing forward. I’m already done with doubt, once and for all.

  4. Ryan Hanley


    Great post here… I tend to think that things DO go as planned… Just not always on the Timetable we plan. If you put in the work, make the connections, deliver the value, people will come to your blog. You will be well known and rich and famous.

    However, if you plan is for that to happen tomorrow, you may be disappointed.

    Patience and Consistency brother… Things will happen for you it just takes time.


    Ryan H

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