Several months ago I let community members choose a long-form challenge for me to take and document here on the blog. The idea chosen was a three-month blogging challenge.
The basic concept is that I'll launch a new blog and update you on the progress for three months -- how traffic is progressing, revenue plans, and information about the blog marketing and content strategy.
There have been some major changes since the project was announced.
But first, the official launch date of the challenge (and the new blog): January 1st.
Now, about those changes...
The Blog Niche Has Changed
The original plan was to launch a new blog in the indie horror niche, under my horror writing pen name. This way it would benefit my work in that area while not taking advantage of my visibility and social media presence under my real name.
But that no longer makes sense on my end. Things happened earlier this year that caused me to re-think the overall direction of my business. And indie publishing fiction, including my work in the horror genre, isn't going to be the priority in the near future. I'm turning most of my non-freelance attention towards my web properties, such as my blogs.
It would be silly for me to invest a lot of time in a new blog under a pen name I don't plan to do much with in the coming year. But launching a new blog in general is still a perfect fit, so this challenge is happening, but with a twist: it'll be a completely different blog and niche than what we've talked about before.
Rather than indie horror, the new blog will focus on a narrow nonfiction niche tied to my professional experience and credentials, not only as a freelance writer but also in the PR industry: press release writing.
About the New Blog
I'm not sharing the domain name yet, and it may not be shared at all during the challenge. That's because I don't want traffic from this blog influencing the stats for the new one, as it's not supposed to benefit from my name, other sites, or existing network.
Along those lines, I'm still a bit torn on how to handle my name on the new site to avoid those unfair advantages. Remember, this is supposed to be something that a new blogger could replicate in their own niche after all. So I have two options:
- Write under just my first name.
- Write totally anonymously (using the site name as the account name and not including author details on posts).
I'm leaning toward the second option on the public blog.
(I don't consider an all-out pen name appropriate for this site given that it will be tied to my own credentials and experience, and once the challenge is over I plan to put my real name on the site. Putting up one name and then changing it -- as opposed to having none and then adding one -- feels dishonest. And I'm not OK with that.)
The area where this becomes tricky is when commenting on other sites or pitching guest posts. In that first case I may just comment as Jenn M or something similar so the new site won't come up in search rankings at all for my name.
For guest posts, I may have to privately disclose my name, but I'll not mention my other sites in those pitches, and I'll only pitch people who are outside my existing network (so if I know the blogger, I won't pitch them). I'm also hoping to have a few of these lined up by the end of the challenge, but they won't be published before those three months are up, as they'll have to feature my full name.
One downside for me is that I need to set up new social media accounts because I won't be able to use my existing pen name one for this niche. But other than the niche, name, and social media issue, not much else in the plan has changed.
I won't bore you with all the details such as initial goals, the type of content it will feature, or how I intend to monetize it. But, like I did with the indie horror blog idea, I worked up a blog launch plan and high-level content strategy document, and I'm making them available to you if you'd like more background before the challenge begins.
The development of this blog is my business challenge for this month. And if you're interested in see what I'm up to behind the scenes (to see what I put into blog development for new projects), you can follow along on the forum in my monthly challenge accountability thread.
Out of curiosity, is anyone else developing a new blog they plan to launch in the New Year? If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.
Jenn has 18 years experience writing for others, around 13 years experience in blogging, and over 10 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.
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