BlogCompass: Define Your Blog Simply
So, you’ve decided to start a blog. Congratulations, that’s a huge step! I don’t have to tell you that it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, so the first thing I want to tell you is that on a lot of levels, you’ve done more than most people who spend time online. The ratio of consumers to creators is heavily in favor of content consumers. You’re going to be one of the few who make things for people. With that in mind, I want to lead off with the most important question:
What are you going to write about? Is that clear to you? if it’s not, it’s not going to be clear to anyone else. Now, having said that, if your blog is just a hobby and you’re doing it for fun, you don’t really have to take any of this that seriously. However, if you’re wanting to convey a message, sell a product, or teach a subject, you’re going to want to have great clarity on the main idea.
When it comes to creating and defining your blog, a lot of people talk about the elevator pitch. The basic idea of the elevator pitch is that you have just a short period of time to tell someone what your idea is and why they should pay attention. Elevator pitches have their place, but this assumes — among other things — that you have someone to talk to about your project right off the bat.
In the early days of my podcast and blog, I thought this way. Frankly, I don’t like the idea anymore. I think it needs to be much simpler than this. For you, that means it’s got to be way more concise. I wouldn’t worry about trying to fill two minutes of time trying to tell another human being what your blog is about. Instead, let’s think of one or two sentences that define your blog to YOU. This is your mission statement.
When I first decided to start a blog, I thought the tagline was the mission statement. Pretty simple: Helping you chart the best course to your creative treasures. I’ve taken that statement and posted it where I can see it every day when I go into my studio to work on Compass Create. Every blog post, podcast, video, link, tweet, every piece of content I create is on target to that Tagline. But is that a Mission Statement? No.
A Mission Statement clearly defines what the blog is for. You’re not coming to Compass Create for my best pastry recipes, you’re coming here to learn how to blog, or podcast, use a camera for photos or video, use social media effectively, and maybe learn how to live an intentional life so you can get your best work done and still spend time with the things and the people that matter.
When you have a really good Mission Statement, it’s a really good idea to let that act as your gatekeeper. If you run everything you do on your blog through the filter you’ve created with your Mission Statement, you’re going to be able to triage the bad ideas from the good ones, and even the great ones. It will have an impact not just what you write, but how you write. It’s going to help you determine the best platform for delivery, because let’s face it: Sometimes a blog post is not the best way to get your point across. it may even help you determine the design of your post, or the design of the website itself. Very simply, your Mission Statement is the backbone of everything you do online.
Now, to anticipate the next question: You’re going to say “Roley, I’m a complex individual with many different interests, and I can’t just write about one thing!” I hear you, and I’m not saying that you can’t add the other components of your personality to your blog over time. Your audience is going to come to you for one reason, and you’ll need to be consistent with that content. Over time, as your audience gets accustomed to your voice, you can start seeding the blog with your other interests slowly. Even then, the last thing you’re going to want to do is bring people to your site by telling them that you are an expert on Thing A, and when they get there, you’re talking about Thing B eighty percent of the time. You’ll lose them, and possibly any of their friends that mention you in passing as a site they found talking about Thing A. You’re an expert in Thing A, with a life, which occasionally makes it’s way onto your blog.
- Who is this blog for?
- What is the problem you are trying to solve for them?
- What is the solution that you’re offering them?