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What's in Store for 2016

What's in Store for 2016 | CosmosMariners.com

Happy New Year, y'all! I hope that this year will be fantastic for us all and will be filled with learning, travel, and wonder.

After many anxiety-filled nights stressing over my low page numbers and getting back many, many rejected pitch letters, I finally started seeing some actual progress in my blog: more readers, more social media engagement, and more partnership opportunities. Growing a blog can feel about as exciting as watching paint dry most of the time, so getting a return (however small!) on your time investment is so sweet.

I'm hoping to keep the momentum of my blog going as I head into 2016. I love making goals, mostly because I love the satisfaction that comes with checking off a completed one. This year is all about growth for me: personal growth, writing growth, and blog growth.

Expand my content--carefully. I want to keep going what's worked on the blog while also taking more risks with what I blog about: I tend not to share too much about my personal life since I'm not super sure how to work that into a travel blog, but I often feel like posting just about my travels is only half the story. I'm definitely not a parenting, DIY, or recipe expert, so this blog isn't going to do a complete 180 on content. Instead, I'm going to experiment on sharing personal stories on occasion to show more of what my life is like off the road.

Keep up my current schedule of posting at least three times a week. Structure keeps me focused, and I've found that a Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday posting schedule provides plenty of content for me to share without being overwhelming.

Continue to expand my social media reach to 50,000 followers. I managed an increase from 4,200 to 21,000 in 2105; part of that growth happened before I started making efforts on Twitter and Instagram. I think that doubling my current social media reach is definitely doable with focus, consistent sharing, and persistence.

What's in Store for 2016 | CosmosMariners.com
When the view from my laptop looks like this, it's not hard to see why I love travel blogging!
(King and Prince Resort, St. Simons Island, Georgia)
Work with new travel-related brands and continue to build existing relationships. I've loved getting to know others in the travel industry through my past partnerships with hotels, CVBs, and attractions. Seeing a city or region from a new perspective is one of my favorite parts of this venture, and I can't wait to see what the year holds in store for me!

What's in Store for 2016 | CosmosMariners.com
My blog is important, but spending time with my favorite travel buddy is even more precious. 
Find better ways to balance my blogging and freelance writing with my family life. I tell my husband constantly that I feel like I'm always doing a bunch of things at the same time and doing none of them well. Being more organized will help me with this! Sticking to a posting schedule, working ahead when I have time, and keeping my editorial calendar organized will really help with this, I think.

Improve my photography skills. I adore my little Sony A6000, but I know it can do even more than what I'm currently asking of it. I need to sit down for a few hours and learn about all of the functions of the camera. Plus, I really, really want some new lens for it--they could be an excellent reward for getting more comfortable with my camera.

Attend a travel blogging conference. Blogging can be a lonely job since it's 40+ hours a week of being by yourself. I've enjoyed reading about other travel bloggers' adventures, and I think it would be so much fun to finally meet them in person. As an added bonus, a travel conference will open up even more partnership opportunities for my blog since so many tourism boards are also in attendance. It's time for me to invest in Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown, and I'm eyeballing TBEX North America for my travel blogging debut.

Continue monetizing my blog so that my family and can keep traveling! My husband and I both value travel over many of day-to-day comforts, so we're willing to make sacrifices to travel with our daughter. My blogging and freelance writing allows us to travel more, and I am proud to take my family to new places on the income that I make.

Tick two major trips off of my bucket list: Ireland and Alaska. These are two places that my husband and I have talked about visiting forever, and I'm hoping that we can make both of these trips happen this year. While I go on lots of smaller trips by myself or with my toddler, I try to save the coolest ones for the times when my husband can tag along as well. If all goes well, we'll be heading off to Ireland at the end of January and to Alaska in September.

What's in Store for 2016 | CosmosMariners.com

Finish and launch my first ever e-course about travel blogging and working with travel brands. As a former college professor, I love helping others learn, and I cannot wait to meld two of my favorite things: travel and teaching!

I'm equally terrified and delighted about this course: terrified because I don't think anyone will sign up, and delighted because I really do love to teach and share my knowledge with others. If you're interested in learning more (including getting free tips and tricks to travel blogging and exclusive pricing on the e-course), sign up for the e-course newsletter here. Look for a start date in March or April if everything goes as planned.

Spread the word about my travel blogging planner. Another pet project of mine, this planner grew out of a desire to have a place where I could record my daily to-do list, upcoming trip itineraries, brand contacts, and blogging goals. With the planner that I've concocted, you get all of this and more! I'll be giving away two copies of my planner in January, but if you can't wait that long, you can buy one now (soft cover or hard cover).


Readers, what do you hope to accomplish in 2016? Fellow bloggers, what are your blogging goals for the new year? 

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