New Year’s Resolutions are awesome. Come Jan 1, a provocative bunch will lambast New Year’s resolutions as sure-fire ways to set yourself up for failure. Not me. I love the feeling of starting over the year with a fresh slate. I can’t get enough of reading people’s dreams for the New Year.
The frustrating part is that many people do fail to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. I guess this can be blamed on over-optimism or naiveté. I think the problem is bad year-end reflection. I believe that the key to succeeding in 2013 comes down to how well you use the last 11 days of 2012.
So here are 11 blogging to-do items you should complete before the New Year. If you do, you’ll be in a better position to achieve your business, content marketing, and blogging goals next year.
Let’s get to it:
#1: List the Bright Spots
You did a few things right this year. List three of them. Did you post at least once a week? Did you create that eBook? Did you get serious about building your blog email list? Did you invest in the coaching you needed on an important area?
Look at your bright spots and identify what you did to achieve them. Next year, use the same courage, moxy, and/or realistic thinking that achieved results in 2012.
#2: Get Honest about Your Weaknesses
I’m not a big fan of focusing on your weaknesses. Pity parties drag you down and have a poor ROI. Some, I’m not asking you to beat yourself up. I want you to identify your weaknesses so you can quit wasting time trying to improve them. Yes, you read that right. I want you to avoid improving your weaknesses.
Instead I want you to do #3.
#3: Create a Plan to Outsource Your Weaknesses
For example, I absolutely suck at proofreading. I’m not great at research. I don’t do well with details like…um…bookkeeping. I have these weak spots because I’m not built to focus on them. The same goes for you. Your weaknesses are there for a reason, you’re supposed to avoid them. List your top 3 weaknesses and start searching for someone to take them off your hands. Do this and you can pull off #4
#4: Double Down on Your Strengths
You absolutely rock at something. Here’s some examples:
- Lou R. is an absolute genius on credit counseling content.
- Georgina is a prolific small business tip writer
- Brenda C. is amazing at motivating women wrestling with midlife
- Chip V. does an equally amazing job coaching 4th Quarter Men
- Mona A. has a terrific comedic sense that makes her writing fly off the page
- Heather Reid can always find the simple, practical, answer to any marketing situation
- Dawn C. can strip away the “marketing speak” around web copy and pare it down to it’s effective essence
- Ward L. has an amazing vision for changing the world one step at a time…
These folks, like you, can make a big difference by doing more with their core strengths. Get ruthless about eliminating anything that prevents you from spending 8 hours a day doing what you love.
#5: Restock Your Imagination
I rarely read other social media blogs. I’ve found that they dull my ability to find innovative ways to connect the dots. The same is probably true of your niche.
I advise my clients to look outside of their niche for inspiration. For 2013, find 12 books that have nothing to do with your niche. Read about something that is a guilty pleasure. You’ll find that your content writing powers will sharpen as you restock your imagination with new ideas and perspectives.
#6: Reconnect with Readers
Your readers hold the key to a successful 2013. They have new problems for you to solve. They have new stories for you to retell. They use tools that you should investigate. They have friends and colleagues you should meet. Write a post offering 30 minute chats to the first 10 readers. You will be blessed.
#7: Say Thank You
President Obama was criticized for saying “You didn’t build that!” As I look back at Pushing Social, I realize that I wasn’t 100% responsible for its success.
- Brian Clark: Saved me from hackers and inspired me to be a kick-ass content marketer
- Mark Schaefer: Got me published
- Tommy Walker: Introduced me to a wicked smart SEO wizard
- Jay Baer: Sent me 1,300 new readers
- Jason Falls Inspired me to dispense with the B.S.
- Mitch Joel pointed me to a book writing tool that made writing 35,000+ words fun.
- Sonia Simone always made me feel like a million bucks
- Laura Click gave me the courage to step out on my own
Write down your list and say thank you. You’ll be amazed how many of these people will get your back in ‘13.
#8: Select Your BHAG
BHAG, coined by Jim Collins is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal. This goal scares the shizzel out of you. You can’t achieve it on your own. You will need to create new friendships, conjure new dreams, and change “business as usual.” Pick your BHAG now and get to work.
#9: Stage a 3-month Shiny Tool Boycott
Shiny tools syndrome is the top small business killer. You have shiny tool syndrome if you believe that Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, or eBooks will save your business or blog. Shiny tools blind smart people from seeing that Value, Content, and Systems build amazing businesses. So boycott the shiny tools and focus on #10, #11, and my favorite #12.
#10: Understand Your Value
What is the tangible value you deliver to your readers and customers? McDonald’s french fries put a smile on my face every single time. Starbucks makes me feel great no matter if I buy a latte in Manhattan or Akron. What is your value? What do you consistently deliver every single time? Take that value and…
#11: Use Content to Tell Stories About Your Value
I’ve been reading “Team of Rivals”, an epic book about the political genius of Abraham Lincoln. The author, Doris Kearns Goodwin, shows that Lincoln’s most powerful tool was his ability to entrance, persuade, and motivate with stories. Interestingly, this same storytelling ability was shared by Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Ronald Reagan, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, and Jesus Christ.
Understand that you need to learn how to describe your value with content that tells great stories. This is the key to epic success.
#12: Master “Systems Thinking:”
Think of your blog as an important part of a larger system. Your business model is your system for turning readers into contacts, contacts into leads, leads into customers, and customers into loyalists. You should be able to quickly and concisely describe how your business model system works. Pick up a free copy of my special report How to Sell With Your Business Blog below to jumpstart the process.
Don’t wait for the New Year. Start working through these 12 to-dos now. On January 1 you’ll have a powerful vision for 2013.