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Monday, August 8, 2011

What’s the Purpose of Your Blog?


Let’s be clear about it – there is nothing wrong with writing a blog simply because you just like to write and you think it’s kind of fun to put some of your work out there on the World Wide Web.

But if you want people to be interested, i.e., care about what you are doing and actually read your blog, then you really need to take a close look at your purpose.

You need to identify your purpose and then you need to write in order to meet that purpose in every post. In other words, you need to connect with your audience (you may want to read or re-read my last post: Who is Your Audience?).

I’ll admit, I resist this because it all seems a little too structured; doesn’t this threaten my free-spirit style and my response to inspiration?

Yes and no. I’ve discovered that inspiration still grabs me even when I tailor my content to specific keywords and keep my audience in the forefront of my mind. And that “free-spirit” thing? Well, it just the way I am so really, it can’t be threatened!

OK. Back to purpose. You want to express yourself? OK – why? Answer that “why” question and consider how expressing yourself and doing it publically are connected and you’ll have your purpose. Keep in mind that the doing it publically part is the audience factor.

You want to improve your writing skills and develop better self-discipline? OK – again, consider how doing it publically helps you reach your goal.

Yes, posting regularly is a great way to develop your writing discipline and it’s true that the more you write, the better you get. But I’ll be honest with you – posting regularly on a blog that no one reads gets real old real fast. It also serves to chip away at your self-esteem. Do you really want to do that to yourself?

OK. So we are back to purpose and square one. Beyond these personal goals for blogging, you absolutely need to consider how expressing yourself and doing it publically are connected and you’ll have your purpose. Keep in mind that the doing it publically part is the audience factor.

Blog readers read because they want to get something for themselves. Whether it is inspiration, motivation, or entertainment, it all boils down to information in some form or another.

There you have it: TO INFORM is ultimately the purpose of your blog. Whether you are ready to confront this or not, I’m telling you that information is the foundation of any blog that has readers. Read a few of your favorites – go searching to explore some new blogs – no matter what their style is or their content, you will find that there is some form of INFORMATION there.

Challenge: Consider your writing style and the general content of the bulk of your work; consider your personal goals for writing a blog. Then brainstorm for ideas of “take-aways” for your reader. Finally, make a list of pieces of information you can offer that coincide with your style, content, and personal goals. And keep in mind that the doing it publically part is the audience factor.

Your list will become prompts for you as you progress forward with your blog. And the result? Well, you will gain more readers!

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