Can I be honest with you? I'm sitting down to write this after about 12 hours of sleep and my husband and toddler are at swim lessons so I have the house all to myself. This never happens! I'm in a good mood. Logically, all I could think of was THIS song, so I turnt it up to get motivated for November's goal setting. Cheers to all my other dirty-thirty-somethings who are both old and young enough to remember getting down to this jam in the 90's!
Ok, back to business or I'll waste all my time on 90's hiphop and miss my chance to write this post! Here's how October shaped up:
1) Improve photography on my Instagram.
CHECK! I worked really hard and played around with making these DIY photography backdrops to improve my aesthetic. I participated in my first loop giveaway to see how that would effect engagement and followers. I did an Instagram challenge that provided me a subject to focus on everyday, which took "one more thing to think about" off my to-do list. I'm really happy with how cohesive my feed looks now! And I'm gaining new followers everyday without trying - just by posting photos daily, improved photography, and hashtag use.
2) Make 4 evergreen posts for my "blogging maternity leave."
CHECK! I actually knocked out 6 posts, and have them all scheduled. Of course, I have no idea when I'll actually go into labor so I might switch all the schedule dates around, but the point is I have some GREAT content to post after Otto comes. So y'all can still come here and read good stuff, not just "sorry readers I'm too tired to even open a laptop correctly, be back later!"
3) Pitch 4 brands for collaboration.
FAIL! I pitched 2. One told me to reapply in the new year because their "blogger queue" was already full for the year and the other was responsive and said they'd be happy to re-gram some of my shots on their Instagram feed. So all in all, not a bad response! But I did stop at two... If you remember, I lessened my posting schedule (which allowed me to get all those maternity leave posts written!) and I didn't think adding in more brand work made sense. So I guess it wasn't a total fail but more of a direction change mid-month. I still have my short list of people to reach out to when I'm ready to add more back to my plate though.
And now, what I hope to accomplish this November. I'm going to make it a light load, with being a full 8 months pregnant and the holidays coming up. But yes, I still think it's important to have SMART goals driving my month and my blog growth (despite any baby arrivals or major holidays!)
1) Expand my reach on Instagram.
I told y'all I was going to be spending the remainder of the year improving my account. When I focused on my Pinterest, I saw (and still see!) amazing results. First step in the IG improvement was to get my photography and aesthetic in shape. Now I want to focus on my reach. This means gaining new followers and utilizing new hashtags to make my account more searchable - and therefore, findable. I plan on continuing to post at least one planned photo a day and utilizing established hashtags to become a constant presence within that hashtag, as well as utilizing new hashtags to reach new potential followers.
2) Write 4 more "maternity leave" blog posts.
Evergreen content, relevant topics, great photos - blah blah. Just to have something in my scheduler for those days I'm struggling. Because I know I will have some rough days after Otto gets here, this aint my first infant rodeo!
3) ACTUALLY Optimize AdSense, and explore new ad contracts.
You saw this in my September goals, but I was unable to really play with AdSense because of my BlogHer publishing contract. Well here's the skinny on BlogHer: They weren't actually paying me! I'd get random contributions to my PayPal every so often, none of which matched THEIR records of what my blog was earning. It was less - way less - then what their own accounting system said I was making. I would get PayPal contributions of 42 cents y'all. Not even kidding.
After not getting paid for over 5 months, I mean paid NOTHING, not even my 42 cents, I had enough of their crappy pay and crappy service. I cut ties with them. I'm still working with SheKnows Media and SheKnows Experts Among us on social media campaigns, but have no desire to ever even see the BlogHer name again. Alas! I can actually optimize my AdSense now. I have a few resources I'm excited to share with you, because in 4 days (it's Nov. 4) I've already seen my earnings go up 39%. I also will explore other advertising contracts to see if there's a more lucrative deal out there. BlogHer just ISN'T it, for anyone else shopping around. I do NOT recommend working with them.
That's the plan for November! You'll see that my SMART goals are measurable and specific - not "post on Instagram more" but "utilize new and existing hashtags to drive engagement and new follower growth." That's the difference between a SMART goal and a goal that won't take you very far. It has to be specific, time sensitive, feasible and measurable. If you do this every month and faithfully work towards those goals, you WILL drive the growth of your blog!