With a new year right around the corner this is the best time to bring your blog in for a check on its vision.
The best part? No co-pay. Heck, you don’t even need insurance.
Most of us get our eyes checked every year or two because as we get older our vision slips. We think we’re rocking 20/20, but if we’re not careful we can end up like George Costanza in “The Glasses”, eating an onion like it was an apple. (Probably my favorite Seinfeld episode of all time, btw.)
No one wants to eat an onion like it was a hand fruit, especially not your blog.
Here’s a quick 5-Step plan to giving your blog a vision checkup.
1. Focus on Audience
Like I wrote about in my book 31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo (the #1 result for ‘blogging’ at Amazon!), there are three ways you can focus your blog: audience, perspective, and content.
You don’t need to focus all three, but you should be focusing on at least one.
What about audience? Are you writing for a specific group of people? Guys or girls? Fathers, Mothers, pastors, business leaders, or artists? People who love TV? Fans of the Boston Celtics? Minotaurs living in Des Moines?
If you’re writing for anyone and everyone who may be interested in what you have to say, that’s fine. You don’t HAVE to focus on an audience, but if you do, it will make it much easier to connect with the folks you want to connect with.
Think through whether or not you are trying to connect with a specific group of people. If the answer is ‘yes’, keep that front and center as you create content and make connections in 2013.
2. Focus on Perspective
I’ve coached many bloggers over the last couple of years who lost the clarity of their voice because their perspective had become clouded. Don’t let this happen to you.
What hat do you put on when you sit down to write? How are you trying to come across?
A humor writer can choose to just be funny, or they can choose to come at it from a specific angle. Maybe you want to be the comedy insider showing people the inner workings of the business? Maybe you want to make jokes about raising kids from the perspective of being a single mom? Maybe you want to show the lighter side of working in an office from the perspective of someone who sits in a cubicle?
For many, a focus on perspective is not important. In our humor writer example, maybe you just want to write funny jokes. That’s fine.
But in some cases defining the perspective you are writing from will help create healthy boundaries that will give your writing voice the clarity it needs.
3. Focus on Content
The third thing you can focus on with your blog is your content. I don’t need to explain this one as it’s pretty obvious, but now that we’ve hit all three, think about your blog and what it focuses on.
Take the example of a woman who wants a blog related to divorce:
AUDIENCE FOCUS: I am going to write for women who have been through a divorce. I may write about relationships, television, sports, cooking, or whatever (CONTENT) and it doesn’t really matter if I’m divorced or not (PERSPECTIVE), but everything I write will be with female divorcees in mind.
PERSPECTIVE FOCUS: I’m a divorcee, so everything I write about will be through that lens. I don’t really care who’s reading my blog (AUDIENCE) and I’ll write about all sorts of topics (CONTENT), but it will all be from the perspective of a divorcee.
CONTENT FOCUS: Everything I write about will be about divorce and the effects it has on life. I don’t care who reads it (AUDIENCE) and it doesn’t really matter if I’m divorced or not (PERSPECTIVE), but all my content will be divorce-related.
I hope that example shows you the power of focus. Three blogs about the same topic can have a very different feel to them. This is why it’s so crucial to define where your blog is going to focus.
Your blog may have multiple points of focus or just one, but it’s important to focus somewhere. The blogs that don’t focus on any of these three things are the ones no one wants to read.
4. Focus on the Sparks
I heard Darren Rowse, aka Problogger, speak at the Allume Conference in October and the thing I loved the most about his talk was when he mentioned sparks.
I won’t try to quote or even paraphrase what he said, but the gist of the point he made was this: don’t ignore the sparks.
If there is something you just can’t get enough of, go with it. Find the things about blogging that give you the most energy and do them more, while spending less time on the things that suck the life out of it for you.
If you’ve got an idea for 2013 that you just can’t shake because the thought of it makes you smile, chase it! Look for those sparks of creativity and brilliance and stop ignoring them. They just might take your work to the next level.
5. Focus on the End Game
Finally, pull back from the week to week grind of churning out blog posts to ask yourself, “What am I working towards here?”
Where do you (not your blog, YOU) want to be by the end of 2013? What about three years from now? When you can answer that question, then begin to think about how your blog fits into those goals.
Focusing on the end game can re-prioritize what’s important with regards to our blogs. Maybe you’ve been killing yourself getting three posts a week out when in reality one solid post would be better? Maybe you’ve been trying too hard to cover multiple topics when you really only care about one? Maybe you need to shift away from getting readers to comment and instead try to get readers to join your mailing list?
Pulling back to a 10,000-ft. view can expose the ways in which we’ve been misdirecting our blogging energy. You’ve got to do it periodically, and with a new year coming up it’s the perfect time to make it happen.
Remember: you don’t want to be someone who works for your blog, you want to make your blog work for you.
Take the time to define clear goals for where you want to be, and make sure your blog is adding value and pushing you forward on your journey to get there.
After reading through this the first time do any of these jump out at you as areas where your blog is lacking focus?
Would love to hear some feedback as you plan for 2013. Here’s to hoping it is your best year ever!
PS…If you’ve never read 31 Days to Mojo, grab a copy today. I talk about these concepts in greater detail. Plus, there are jokes!
PPS…If you’d like to work through these concepts with me, you may be interested in the 31 Days to Mojo course I am putting on in January. You can get more info here.