The end of any year is a time to look forward and establish new goals. It’s also a time to reflect. I shared my first blog on January 3rd, 2016. I wrote 27 columns (28 counting this) in 2016.
Important Lessons Learned, Stats and Thank Yous!
2016 was a busy year with social media initiatives. In addition to blogging, we ramped up our twitter efforts and launched a business Facebook page (Do you Facebook? Like our page HERE!). We didn’t master anything. But, I’m ok with that. What we learned is more important. For now.
Most Important Lessons Learned
- It works: 10% of our Indianapolis revenue in 2016 was the direct result of a relationship that started from social media. You’ll read further down that my goal for the first year of blogging was basically to reach more people. Vague goal, right? That said, I knew there needed to be a positive financial impact to justify a long-term commitment to social media.
- Underestimated the Time Commitment: This is an understatement. Especially in the first year of getting a blog going. I need to be more efficient with social media in 2017 and I should be.
- Rewarding: I learned a lot. Beyond the technical learning curve of setting up a blog, writing forces you to think about how and why you do things. Why you have certain opinions. Which makes me wonder, was I not thinking at all previously?! I also enjoyed using a different part of my brain. It was a completely new challenge for me which I found to be a refreshing change of pace from what I’ve been doing every day for years.
- I want to keep doing it: That’s really what it comes down to, right? Does it work and do we want to keep doing it? The answer is yes and yes.
As an entrepreneurial business, we’re selective with how and where we invest resources. Unlike a huge company with deep pockets we don’t decide “yes” on a project and automatically throw a ton of cash at it. It was important to prove that blogging and social media works and that we want to continue. Now that both have been established, we must get better and take it to the next level.
So, how did my blog do?
I’m just going to show you my stats. One of my goals in 2017 is to be even more transparent and take a stronger stance on topics I decide to write about. (See Platinum Unplugged! ) When I started writing I wanted to hedge every opinion with what basically amounted to “exceptions to the rule”. I might as well start now with the transparency! But first…let me lower your expectations… 🙂
My goal was to add value to people outside of my immediate network and provide an outlet for others to get to know me, even if we hadn’t met. By those measures, the blog was a big success.
From a statistical standpoint? I must get better. Keep in mind I’m a former accountant turned recruiter. I’ve never written in my life. I started with no expectations in terms of statistics. I started the blog to support our recruiting business, not monetize the actual blog. That said, stats do matter. They’ve been fun to follow and if you’re the kind of person that strives to do better, you should pay attention to the stats. How does that saying go? “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”
Have I given enough reasons why my stats won’t be good?! Great. Here they are!
First picture shows blog views and visitors. I was fairly pleased with the total views. That is, until I spoke to my sister over Christmas. You’ll see more on that towards the bottom! Not many likes or comments. I learned that people “Like” and “Share” the twitter or Facebook posts but I didn’t get much activity within the actual blog.
Second picture shows the most popular blog posts. It’s a little misleading b/c the homepage is the most common landing spot. That said, the next 3 or 4 blog posts on the list were clearly the most viewed. I also ended up sharing them more often throughout the year b/c of the interest showed in those. The opposite is true for “What’s My Story?”, I probably haven’t shared that since January of 2016.
Third picture shows where readers initially saw and clicked on the blog. I primarily share the blog on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. My email signature has a link to the blog. My twitter profile page shows a link to my blog. This is an area that needs improving in 2017.
Fourth picture, sharing this one for fun, shows the country where people are reading the blog. If you’re reading this and live in Australia, Canada or India, let me know! Otherwise, I assume it’s a case of the blog randomly coming up in google searches or something like that.
For year #1, I’ll take it. They will provide a point of reference. Now that I’ve decided to continue blogging, I need to get better at distributing the blog. For example, I haven’t put any effort into a “subscriber/email list”. I wanted to be sure it was something I would stick with before taking certain steps. Any advice on this topic is welcome!
To be clear, this is not a “Hey my blog is awesome and there are some people I want to thank”. My blog stats prove that 🙂 . Deciding to blog while keeping up with my ‘main job’ was a big decision and commitment. I am extremely grateful that many of you chose to read. Thank you especially to those who “shared” my blog via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
In addition, a big thank you to the following for being incredibly helpful and generous with their time, advice and/or support:
– Lindsey Hein (@LindseyHein & Lindsey’s Blog): Lindsey and her husband Glenn were friends long before I started getting serious about social media. As I got more involved, I quickly learned that she is a guru! She shared ideas and tips for both twitter and blogging. She responded to a lot of random texts with urgent questions like “I can’t get twitter to pull the right image from my blog?”
– Peter Dunn (@PeteThePlanner & Website): Graciously accepted an invitation for coffee and shared insight on his social media journey. Incredible insight and information. He mentioned a book I should read called “Branding Yourself” (Buy it on Amazon) by Erik Deckers (Erik’s Website) and Indy’s own Kyle Lacy (Kyle’s Blog).
– Candace Crabtree (Candace’s Blog): Candace is my sister. Turns out, she is a lot more successful with her blogging and social media than I ever knew. A lot! Remember my stats? Over 6k views for the year? In 2016 she had her first ever 100k month. That’s 100,000 views in a month. What?!
– Brian McCall: As our Managing Partner Brian provided the flexibility, autonomy and support to run with social media initiatives. For a bunch of accountants turned recruiters, social media is like a foreign language. I’m guilty of thinking it wasn’t important and that we didn’t need it.
– Karen Rosser: Meet my wife Karen! Blogging was a bigger time commitment in 2016 than I anticipated. Much bigger. Most of my writing took place at night or on the weekends. There were many a night after the boys went to bed that I spent time writing. Karen was and is incredibly supportive. She was also a proof-reader, a dictionary and thesaurus. It’s not like she wasn’t plenty busy as well with our 2 boys and her career at Roche. (check out her profile: Karen’s LinkedIn Profile)