It’s the one year anniversary of Agile Lifestyle!
Let’s take a look at what worked, what didn’t, and what’s coming in Year Two.
Since Agile thinking is all about feedback loops, sprint retrospectives, and post-mortems, I thought I’d start by looking back on Agile Lifestyle’s first year of existence.
3 Things That Worked Well in Year One
1. Google rankings
Exactly one year ago, I started Agile Lifestyle from a complete standstill. No momentum, no running start. No name recognition, no prior audience to draw on.
I launched with 5 posts and a strategy to talk about a topic nobody else was covering in detail: applying Agile thinking to personal development.
One year later, my articles are appearing in the top 10 hits for a number of competitive Google search terms (SERP 1 for you SEO jockeys out there). That’s with zero link-building and zero guest posting.
Partly this is due to the quality of the articles that are published here on Agile Lifestyle, which I believe in 100%. But none of this would have been possible without you guys sharing Agile Lifestyle and its message with your friends and on your social networks.
So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
2. Longread content
Longer articles (or “longreads”) were a big success in Year One. Neil Patel at Quick Sprout has a post (a lengthy one, no surprise) detailing why longer content (1,500 to 2,500 words) works so much better than a typical blog’s 300-500 word posts.
Based on my data, he’s right. The posts you guys liked the least last year (least read, least shared) were all on the shorter side:
- Why the Internet Destroys Geography (455 words)
- The Rise of the Rest: Why Your Next Job Won’t be in the U.S. (503 words)
- Why Every Debt is a Bet About the Future (402 words)
On the other hand, the most successful posts last year were longreads, or close to it:
- Find Your Personal Hedgehog to Unlock Your Life’s Potential (1397 words)
- The 3 Most Destructive Ways We Overcomplicate Things (994 words)
- The 3 Most Dangerous Psychological Barriers to Change (918 words)
I got the message loud and clear. Maybe too well. I stopped posting anything less than 1,000 words. That led to problems all its own (see below), but I’m still committed to more longread content in Year Two.
That means more interviews, more psychological research, and more case studies in the new year. I read hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of materials so you don’t have to.
I believe that’s the core value proposition of Agile Lifestyle, and I hope to build on it in heading into Year Two.
3. Building the Agile Lifestyle readership
Agile Lifestyle was read by over 9,000 people in its first year. But more importantly than the total number is how engaged you were. Many of you stumbled onto the site from a link in an email or Google search. You liked what you read, and you kept reading. 14 articles later, you were wondering where the time had gone.
I call you guys my Rabbit Holers (as in, “fell down the”) and I love you guys.
The goal is to reach more Rabbit Holers in Year Two.
There are a lot of people out of there trapped in meaningless jobs, afraid of what the future might bring. I want to get the message out to those people that there’s a set of tools, a mindset called Agile that can help them through the turbulent times we live in.
That’s gonna take me getting better and working harder.
But we’re on the right track.
3 Compelling Outcomes for Year Two
Completing just 3 to-do’s each day doesn’t seem like a lot, but over the course of a year, that’s 1,095 meaningful outcomes you’ve achieved. Most people can’t boast that kind of productivity.
I’m a big believer in the Rule of 3. I’ve used it in my professional career, personal life, and here on Agile Lifestyle.
At each level (day, week, month, year), the scope of the outcome you want scales up. That’s why it’s called a “compelling” outcome. Calling your doctor to set an appointment might be a compelling outcome for a single day, but it’s probably not a compelling one for an entire year.
(Unless you really haven’t seen a doctor in a long time. In which case, hop to it.)
Here are 3 compelling outcomes Agile Lifestyle can achieve in Year Two:
#1: Launch the first Kindle eBook
I’ve written about Amazon KDP before and I’m a big believer in the eBook revolution and the Amazon Kindle distribution system. I own three eBook readers for all the major platforms out there and it’s revolutionized how I set and achieve my aggressive reading goals each year.
I’m excited to announce the first eBook collection for Agile Lifestyle!
The eBook will:
- collect the first year of articles from Agile Lifestyle
- add 20% NEW thoughts, insights, and never-before-seen articles
- remix, reorder, and reconfigure the existing content so it flows like a real book
- weigh in at over 200 pages so it’ll be well worth the price.
The eBook will NOT just read like a bunch of blog posts pasted together in Word (you know who you are). I am working double-time to rewrite drafts, get it professionally edited, and get a cover designed. This will be the real deal.
(If you can’t tell, I’ve been burned on too many blogger “books” that are poorly edited and about 25 pages long. I won’t do that to you.)
Publishing a Kindle eBook will mean exposure to a whole new audience for Agile Lifestyle. And even if you’ve read every single post here (Thank You!), I hope you will purchase the eBook and gain something new from it.
#2: Post more consistently
I am committed to having a new article up every Monday and Thursday in Year Two. Sometimes they will be short, sometimes they will be announcements (like this one), but the goal is to have something new for you to read every Monday and Thursday.
I know consistency is important in a relationship, and for many of you I’ve come up short in that department. In trying to craft more longread content of 1500+ words, I’ve sometimes gone weeks, sometimes a month, of not posting anything new.
That must change and it will.
#3: Launch the first course
But as Year 1 progressed, the concept of finding your Personal Hedgehog began to resonate with people. The article got shared and Tweeted. As a result, it began to rocket up the Google charts, where it now sits side-by-side with the inimitable Jim Collins (who originated the concept in Good to Great) for a number of key search terms.
That’s amazing and humbling all at the same time.
I believe the Personal Hedgehog concept is hugely important. That’s why I’ve been working in secret on a course for you all. The working title is 30 Days to Find Your Personal Hedgehog.
The course will be a deep-dive into each of the three circles of the hedgehog concept (Skills, Passion, & Marketability). The goal is to unearth the work you should be doing from the talents and interests you already have, and match them to the market that needs you the most.
The course will be delivered via email straight to your inbox. And it will be completely free.
I’m super-excited about this next step in the evolution of Agile Lifestyle. I hope you’ll join me.
Let me turn it over to you: What would you like to see from Agile Lifestyle in Year Two?