2014: Better F.O.C.U.S. For Hot Blog Tips

F.O.C.U.S. Acronym: Follow One Course Until Successful

A business model requires a viable plan of action. This is just a very short recap of our 2014 super duper and new improved plan. Like Joel Comm likes to say, we’re “rebooting“.  Every New Year offers the promise of excitement, hope and potential and it’s up to us to seize the moment. I’ll share a little of our plans if you’ll share some of yours. Sound good?

Tweet This Like Joel Comm likes to say, we’re “rebooting”.

Hot Blog Tips Blog – 2013

Well, 2013 must have been fun because it flew by so fast I’m amazed we’re already starring Christmas in the face. It was fun, actually, I’ve been having a blast. Right out of the 2013 gate, I tightened the reins on guest blogging and we now follow an “invite only” policy. Since I rarely invite anyone, guest posts have been limited to only a couple of regular writers for us. As a result, quality is up, quantity is down – just as planned. The Hot Blog Tips’ blog has lost a little ground in some measurements but that was expected. Traffic and direct interaction has dropped but sharing and indirect interaction is at an all-time high.

Hot Blog Tips Blog – 2014

The Hot Blog Tips blog will continue as the hub for our growing community and content is our key focus. Our first priority is high quality content and maximum value for our subscribers and readership – all content we create including the VIP List, videos, podcasts and social shares.

Growth: Next in line is growth. We’ll kick it up a notch for faster growth and reach.

Profit: Let’s not forget profit; 2014 will see some monetization strategies across multiple channels, beginning with the blog itself.

Contests: I will begin implementing more contests next year because they’re fun for everyone.

Podcasting: Podcasting is something I’ve’ve been wanting to do for years and it’s now a priority. In fact, I’m converting our den into a quiet office space/studio better suited for recording podcasts and our videos.

YouTube – 2013

With the help of Sheryl Loch, Mitch Mitchell and a lot of fans, the Hot Blog Tips’ Hangout Crew has generated over 200 videos, 125K views and 400 subscribers. Sheryl has been working behind the scenes feverishly and we’re gain traction each week.

During the final quarter of 2013, we had to reevaluate our hangout videos and the value they provide. We’ve moved from an “open chat” or “talking heads” model to focus more on value in the form of actionable tips and resources.

YouTube – 2014

Our Hangouts on Air (HoA) videos has improved and will continue to improve dramatically in 2014. You’ll see more videos with interesting guests such as the hangout we did with Kristi Hines last Sunday.

VIP List – 2013

The Hot Blog Tips’ newsletter, now called our VIP List, has changed dramatically. I now run the newsletter directly and I send out an actionable tip or great resource every week. The original format with multiple writers wasn’t doing well as open rates we’re very poor and clickthroughs were all but nonexistent. I’m happy to say the VIP List is healing very well and picking up pace; we’re back on track.

VIP List – 2014

Since I’m the only one producing content for our VIP List, I plan to get even more intimate with our subscribers. I consider myself very approachable and will continue building relationships by being there for our VIPs. You are free to hit the reply button on any email we send and you can feel confident that you’re sending it directly to me, Brian Hawkins. I value that level of relationship and trust so I find the time it takes to address questions and feedback personally. I want subscribers to be excited to see us in their inbox and that takes more than great content; that takes an understanding, caring and commitment to those that have trusted us enough with their email address.

Social Media 2013

I’ve been practicing the Pat Flynn “Be Everywhere” model for years, even before I knew it was considered his model. The Hot Blog Tips brand is active on every major social platform you could imagine, including Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr,, StumbleUpon, Linkedin,, Foursquare, Empire Avenue, Triberr and many others. WOW, no wonder I’m so damn tired!

Social Media 2014

Yesterday I removed so many social media apps from my phone it almost feels lighter in my hand. 😉 Seriously, it was an amazing feeling throughout the day without seeing dozens of notifications waiting for my attention at any given moment. So for the first 90 days of 2014, our brand will focus on just three major social networks; Google Plus, YouTube and Twitter.

Everything else is on hold until at least early spring. That includes Facebook. I know a lot of people are going to think it’s crazy to ignore Facebook but I’m following the advice of Chris Brogan from a recent interview. Once we master Google Plus, we’ll slowly begin bringing many of the other social networks back in, beginning with Facebook. We’re not deleting or removing any of the accounts.

Pinterest is in the air right now, I plan on looking further into Wade Harman’s Pinterest strategy.

Personal Goals – Deeper Connections

On a personal level, I plan to spend more time with blogging friends building deeper connection where they count, on their blogs. I want to start reading blogs again, the reason I began blogging to begin with. Social media seems to water that down a lot so I’ll rely on sites like Blog Engage to keep me on track since I already have strong connections with many members there.

Your Brand In 2014

So this was I’ll show mine if you’ll show yours so it’s you turn… What are your plans for 2014? Any major changes, new priorities or exciting news? Perhaps things are already going in the right direction and you just need to keep up the momentum.