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.

About Brian D. Hawkins

Blogging superhero by day and internet super villain by night. Blogger, future online millionaire and an all around great guy.


  1. Interesting post; I hadn’t really thought much about 2014 until reading this one.

    Well, the first is with our new YouTube focus people will probably see a lot less of me since I won’t often have a lot to contribute in the new process. That will probably make some people happy. lol

    I’ve ended guest posting on the one blog I was accepting it on, which means I’ll have to either write more content or just keep up with more recent financial stories on my own. I’d actually gotten away from that and I enjoyed doing that, but with travel and the like I eased off. As far as my other blogs go they’ll continue on their way as they are now I figure, but I’m going to work on doing a few more comprehensive posts on some of them.

    For my YouTube channel I’m going to try to add at least 75 more videos this year, and if I’m lucky at least 10 of those will be interviews. I really got to like doing videos, and if I can find some time I might even learn how to edit… nah. lol

    And I’m going to grow my presence on Google+ as well, though right now I’m pretty much just sharing other people’s content and an occasional video or blog post. I need to better figure out how to use my community.

    That’s all I have.

  2. Ryan Biddulph says

    Love the strategy Brian!

    I too like the “Be Everywhere” model taught by Pat Flynn. Tiring at times, but that is what sleep is for…..when we get it.

    To your continued success buddy, keep rocking it out!


  3. Seems like there have been lot of things done at hotblogtips, I’ve got an opportunity to read the amazing posts which i’ve missed in 2013. I wish you a great success ahead.


  4. Great post … infact great model ,, i can chalk-out my own strategy 🙂

  5. Hey Brian
    I don’t seem to spend enough time here, and now that I am starting too, it is great.
    You guys seem to have so much going on, yet really have a well thought out approach to what you are going to do in the future. I admire that, and need to replicate it myself.
    Rather new to blogging, I really just “went for it” in 2013, but that cannot continue, and I also need more focus.
    Monetization has been a big issue for me, but I wrote it off as a new blogger thing. Hopefully I have resolve that in 2014 as well.
    all the best for the coming year

  6. Wow Brian, you already have everything planned out for next year. I’m kind of like Mitch, I haven’t really thought about it but I know some things have got to change in some areas.

    I’m going through a couple of courses at the moment and hoping they’ll give me more insight into the important areas I need to focus more on. I know I’m getting great results with my blog, my traffic, my list and my open rate but it can always be better. I’d like to pick it up a notch if possible as well as finish my darn product that got derailed major big time this year.

    I think you’ll me much happier with the invitation only guest posting policy. I think it’s really helped my blog because I always know I’ll get quality content and genuine people who want to promote the heck out of it for you. Good luck with that, you’ll do great.

    Thanks for sharing with us what’s on your agenda and I for one really enjoyed that interview with Kristi. Rock on my friend.


  7. Hello,

    Well I’m also planning and scheduling lot of things to do in 2014, seems like I’m gonna have to do lot of online works in upcoming year. It’s really good to know about your plans.


  8. Hi,

    Great tips for 2014! I also need to do a better job at focusing more on Social Media. Will be starting this tips immediately!

  9. Love this goal, I didn’t really think of getting goal yet and this is help me out thanks and keep your great goals up (Y)

  10. Hi Brian !
    Its great to know that you’ll be organizing contests on your blog in the coming year .I’ll be one of its contestants for sure . BTW , your strategies for the year 2014 are simply awesome may have spent a great deal of time in grouping them ..isn’t it?


  11. My list of goals is pretty long and consists some of the things that always find a spot in the resolution list but never even make it to the daily priority list. But I have some really specific and relatively achieveable goals for my blog.
    One of them is guest posting twice a month.
    The other, making YouTube videos.
    I own 2 blogs so posting regularly (at least 2-3 times a week) is high on my list as well!

  12. Thank you for sharing that, I actually learned a couple of things I can implement into my own business in the future. The first is the importance of quality over quantity – it’s not good to have too many writers.

    The second thing I really like is how you mention the change to the newsletter – again focusing on quality and giving people something they can learn or profit from, rather than what most newsletters out there do all the time: self promote and try to sell you something while giving close to zero value (which is why I stopped subscribing to them). You got yourself a new subscriber.

    My “business” is extremely new so for the new year my approach is very well summarized in your title. I have little experience and don’t know how well it will work, though I think it should work if I am persistent, so I will keep following the same course until successful.

  13. I’m seriously thinking about completely eliminating guest posts myself Mitch. I moved to an invite only a while ago but I do allow bloggers already established on HBT to post here. I’m thinking about removing everyone’s user account, except Sheryl’s, of course.

    Adding 75 videos to your channel is a pretty healthy goal. I think YouTube and G+ are going to play a big role for a lot of us in the near future.

  14. I love the concept Ryan and I tried it for a long time but it’s slow to gain traction when spread so thin and working so many hours offline. Pat works full time online and even has VAs. I’ll focus on a few key networks to master and then add others when it seems right.

  15. Thank you Samir, I wish you a great new year as well. 🙂

  16. Hi Ashley, It looks like you’ve done real well with your blog and have built some traffic and interaction. A little focus and planning should easily launch you to the next level. I was honored to contribute to a monetization post that just went live today and I believe some of the tips will help you. 45 Experts Share their Best Monetization Strategy

  17. Thanks Adrienne, I try to plan everything each quarter and the beginning of the year just happens to kick that off for me but I reevaluate and adjust every three months.

    I might even drop guest posting altogether Adrienne. It’s almost as much work as if I’d written it myself and many bloggers have a different standard when it comes to quality and value.

  18. Well good luck Jijin, it’s just a matter of setting up a plan of action to achieve your goals and focus on that plan every day.

  19. Good luck Nancy, social media is such a pain at times but it’s so nice to live in an age where so many connections and so much potential exposure is available virtually for free.

  20. It’s really something I sit down and evaluate often Pramod, every 3 months so it doesn’t really take that much effort for the most part. A lot of it is just the natural next step.

  21. Thanks for subscribing Pau, we won’t let you down. I don’t want to discourage anyone from building multi-author blogs, they can be a wonderful resource and some of the most successful blogs are multi author. It just makes more sense for Hot Blog Tips to focus on posts from a small team rather than sorting through a ton of content from link builders for now. The future may bring us closer to a multi-author blog though, it’s just too soon to know for sure. In the mean time I plan to enjoy the moment and be there for as many bloggers that want to hear from me.

  22. One thing was certain for my resolution for 2013, I just wanted to acquire a .com and I naively achieved that but I realised there is more to it than In thought.

    My resolution for 2014 is indeed stronger and I hope we move to success together. I turn 23 on January 1.

  23. I came to know about this blog during the later course of november from that day on wards i started liking your blog and i turned to be a regular reader of your blog writings. Your writings are quite informative s. I’m also preparing for the upcoming year 2014. I know lot of things is going on hot blog tips, good luck with May 2014 be brighter for you.

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