When I first started blogging back in 2006 (holy crap that's almost a DECADE ago!) my only real purpose was to share bits of my life online. It was basically an online journal with a few pictures. If you'd have asked me what my blog's purpose was, I probably just would've said, "Uhhhh, to share random tidbits about my life and whatever thoughts are crossing my mind!"
Blogging has completely exploded since I started back in 2006. Everyone and their mother seems to be starting one, and why not?! For many people blogging is turning into a legitimate career, and the possibilities are pretty much endless! Bloggers now adays are writing books, working for magazines, developing product lines, traveling, teaching and the list goes on! I mean ... I get excited just typing about it, haha!
If you have a blog, or are thinking about starting one, it's important to define your blog's purpose. I'm not gonna lie ... it hasn't been until recently that I've truly been able to define my own blog's purpose! (Yes, it only took about 8 years, so what? Better late than never right?!) I've learned tons about how to define your blog's purpose in the Blog Life e-course by the girls over at A Beautiful Mess, so you should definitely check it out! Because If you DON'T define your blog's purpose, these yucky things are bound to happen:
- You'll have no direction. No goal in mind which makes it hard to focus. You'll be wandering around aimlessly like a poor dazed and confused person and your content will probably be all over the place!
- Because your content will probably be all over the place, it will be difficult for you to develop a loyal group of readers that are interested in what you have to offer. I mean ... if you're writing about your personal life one second, a dessert recipe the next, doing movie reviews and sharing information, going on a political rant one day and then doing an outfit post the following day, you MIGHT have a hard time finding a person whose really interested enough in all those things to keep coming back! Just say'in.
- You'll burn out quickly. If you don't know where you're going or what you truly stand for, it will be hard to remain motivated. (Trust me, I've been there!)
- You'll likely be following a "template" of what another successful blogger is doing and will become frustrated when that same success doesn't happen for you. (Been there too!)
- You'll get overwhelmed. Without a clear purpose, you're likely to just blog about anything and everything and that can lead to overwhelm. Yes ... there was a time where I tried to do DIY, fashion, business tips, photography, life stories, storm chasing and about a billion other things all at once. The results weren't so pretty!
Having a clear purpose for your blog will give you FOCUS. Your content will be stronger, your goals will become more defined, people will know what you're all about and you can develop a tribe of readers ... trust me, having a purpose is important! Just like you wouldn't want to start a business without knowing what it's purpose is, you need to treat your blog the same way. (Unless of course you are doing it purely just as a personal hobby.)
So if you're struggling to define your blog's purpose, HOW can you figure it out? Well ... I'm so glad you asked! Here's 9 things to do in order to get yourself on a better, more focused path ...
1. List your topics of interest.
The first thing you need to do is figure out all the topics (both big and small) that you are passionate about. Grab a piece of paper and write down every single topic that interests you. And I mean EVERYTHING, baby! Don't be shy. List major interests like cooking, fashion and DIY. Favorite things like colors, movies and places to eat. Hobbies like running, sewing and shopping. Where do you like to shop? Where do you like to travel to? What blogs do you like to read, what are they about and what makes you connect with them?
2. Highlight the topics you maaaaaybe would like to blog about.
Once you are finished creating your super long and awesome list, go through it again with a highlighter and highlight the things you MIGHT want to blog about. Don't panic because this isn't a lifelong commitment, it's simply a fun little exercise! Totally innocent.
3. Look for themes in your highlighted list.
Alright, you've highlighted what topics you maaaaaybe would like to blog about, so do you notice any themes among those topics? Can any of them be grouped underneath a larger category? Write them out!
4. Write out topic ideas.
This part is kind of stink'in fun! Now that you've written down and highlighted your main areas of interest, it's time to see which topics you've got plenty of ammo ideas for. Write down all the different topics you can talk about that are related to each area of interest and take note of which ones you really have lots of ammo ideas for. (Sorry I've been playing too many zombie-related video games lately and am slightly obsessed with making sure that I have plenty of ammo!) For example, if you can think of 40 different topics to write underneath the fitness category but can only think of like 3 things underneath the DIY category, take notice.
5. Give them a try.
This part is important because once you've decided on what you might like to blog about, it's important to give it a go to see how it feels first! For example, you might THINK you want to write about fashion and to share daily outfit posts only to discover that you actually HATE blogging about it. (Totally happened to me!) If a particular topic feels draining and stressful, then you need to give it the boot. You want to discover which topics inspire you and get you excited with lots of ideas and weed out the ones that don't get you totally PUMPED!
6. Figure out more things that you are passionate about.
Some times, it will take a bit of time to figure out your blog's focus simply because you need TIME to figure out what you're truly passionate about. This has definitely been the case with me. It was only after starting my own wedding photography business, running it for a few years and trying out several topics of interest that I discovered that what I am REALLY passionate about is helping other creative entrepreneurs start + grow their own businesses while finding ways to make life more fun + awesome! Also, don't be surprised if blogging inspires you to try new things, start a new hobby or to go deeper into the things you already love ... because that totally happens.
7. Pick a category.
For the longest time I put my blog under the DIY category even though I basically only did like ... one DIY post every 2 months. (Yes, I was in denial, haha!) Even if you blog about multiple subjects, you should still choose ONE primary category to help create a sense of focus and priority. Plus if you register your blog on a site like Blog Lov'in then you'll need to pick just ONE category. But don't be afraid, just because you choose a primary category it doesn't mean you have to box yourself in and put a limit on the types of content you create.
8. Create a tagline.
Yes, I probably sound like a broken record when I talk about the importance of business statements and taglines, but they really are important! Force yourself to summarize your blog's purpose into just 1-2 sentences. For example, mine would be "Helping creative entrepreneurs create a life + business that they love in a fun, colorful way!"
9. Don't be afraid to make changes.
Your passions and interests might change over time, and that's perfectly okay! Let your blog grow with you. If you blog for a long time, this will probably happen. And if you THINK you might enjoy blogging about a particular subject but find that you actually don't like it, that's okay too! Figure out what you enjoy and what works for you. There's always room to grow, yo. (That rhymed ... woo hoo!)
Speaking of rhyming, that reminds me of this hilarious clip from 'Never Been Kissed' which I quote all the time ...
10. Watch the free workshop and grab the epic workbook that will help you get super clear on your purpose AND your people!
Oh heck yeah, you bet your pink pepper corns that I've got a 1.5 hour long workshop that's filled with juicy info and specific action steps for you to take to grow your blog's audience, traffic and income! Plus a workbook that's going to get you reeeeeally clear on your purpose.
What about you? Is discovering your blog's purpose something you've struggled with in the past? How did you get past that? Do share, darling!