Blogging is an adventure. One that requires perseverance, passion, curiosity, and a plan for the journey ahead.
Kind of like a road trip.
And in order to arrive at your destination (in this case, a blog that you can’t stop thinking about or working on, because it’s just that amazing), you need a map, and a few good places to stop along the way.
Pit stops where you can refuel your tank and your spirits.
Blogging Pit Stop #1: Write a Blog Mission Statement
Your blog needs a mission statement. Without one, you’re kind of like a car without gas or GPS.
Your mission statement gives your blog direction. It provides the momentum for you to keep writing.
Your mission statement should state:
A. Whom your blog helps. (Your target audience)
B. How your blog helps them differently than anyone else can. (Your unique selling proposition aka USP)
C. Why you care enough to keep helping them. (Your purpose)
For example, here’s mine: I help bloggers who feel stuck find purpose and clarity so that they can strategically grow a blog that they love and that works toward their goals. I focus on setting up a strong foundation for blogging successfully and look deeper into what readers REALLY need to blog consistently and build a blog they love. My 3 big passions in life are writing, teaching, and entrepreneurship, and this blog lets me do all 3.
Your mission statement is like the gas in your tank. Your readers don’t need to see it, but it’s important for you to have one to go anywhere.
Blogging Pit Stop #2: Define your voice online.
Defining your voice is like choosing what type of trip you are going to take. Are you going to take the back roads, or the highways? Stop and take pictures every hour or so, or drive through the night without stopping?
As someone who has taken MANY road trips, I know that each trip is largely shaped by the other people in the car.
When I drove from New York to Denver with my sister, we listened to teeny-bopper music and drove for long stretches without stopping.
When I drove with my husband Daniel and my friend Hagit from Denver to Miami, we stopped every 2 hours and talked the entire time. Each trip was great, but they were very different experiences.
Defining your voice helps your readers decide if they want to come along for the ride.
And you don’t have to write for months or years to do it. You just have to answer these 4 questions:
1. What adjectives do I want people to associate with my blog? (My adjectives are honest, deep, and helpful)
2. What place do I want people to feel they are visiting when they read my blog? (My place is a coffee shop)
3. What words and language evoke the feelings in #1 and #2? (Words I tend to use a lot are “powerful” “figure out” and “purpose”)
4. Who would like to read a blog that is [adjectives from #1] feels like [place from #2] and uses [words and language from #3] (My readers are generally bloggers who are writing from a deeper place and who are genuinely passionate about what they are writing.)
For more posts on defining your voice, go here.
For an awesome course where I guide you through this process, go here.
Blogging Pit Stop #3: Write down specific blogging goals.
This is like writing a list of places you’d like to visit when in a new city. You can wander around and just stumble on different things, or you can be strategic and shape your visit.
Blogging goals can include:
- Growing your page-views
- Selling something
- Growing a community
- Getting more social shares
- Getting more email subscribers
- Building your credibility
It’s important to have specific goals, because if you don’t, you won’t be able to create a plan for meeting them, or be able to tell if you’re successful or not.
So put some dots on your blogging road-map. When you get to them, you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment.
Blogging Pit Stop #4: Schedule your goals for specific dates.
Once you’ve chosen your destinations, it’s time to make a schedule.
I’m going to Kauai with my family on Friday (and let me tell you, I am SUPER excited). There’s a restaurant there called the Beach House. It’s right on the water, and you can watch the sunset while drinking a delicious mojito. But you can only get the best table, the one right by the ocean, if you make reservations ahead of time.
Scheduling goals is kind of like making reservations. It makes it much more likely that you’ll actually meet your goals (or get into the restaurant).
So pull out your calendar and put those goals in. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Blogging Pit Stop #5: Begin working toward your first goal with strategic blog posts and opt-in gifts.
Now that you’ve set your goals, aka made your reservations, it’s time to get your blog in gear.
You know where you are going and when you need to be there, so you can start putting your pedal to the metal.
Writing about random topics is kind of exhausting. When I am in random topic mode, I have to be constantly spending energy thinking of things to write about.
But when I have a strategic goal, I can plan all of my blog posts and opt-ins around that goal ahead of time, so when I sit down to write, I already know what I want to write about, and I’m already excited about it.
Instead of driving around aimlessly looking for a place to eat (like Daniel and I did in Memphis last year), I can go straight to my destination and enjoy a sunset view.
Blogging Pit Stop #6: Listen to your navigator (Get feedback from people you trust).
When I’m on a road trip, I always have a navigator at my side helping me know where to turn and which road to take.
It’s the same for your blogging journey. It’s SO important to have other people along for the ride who will let you know if you are moving in the right direction.
You can get feedback in a bunch of ways:
- By asking for feedback in Facebook groups (Click here to join my group…it is full of people who give great feedback.)
- By doing surveys
- By hiring a blogging coach
- By reading your blog comments
- By using your stats to see which posts get the most social shares
When I’ve driven on my own, I’ve gotten lost WAY more times. (As I did in my last 5 blogs.) Don’t make the same mistakes I have. Get a navigator (or a few) ASAP.
Blogging Pit Stop #7: Check your map.
Have you ever been chugging along on your way to a new place, and then slowly realized that you should have been there by now, and then stopped your car to look at a map and seen that you went in the wrong direction?
Even if you have a great navigator, she might doze off or read the map wrong.
It’s so important to stop at regular increments to see if what you’re doing is working; if you’re getting any closer to your destination. Feedback from other people is the first step; cold hard data is the next.
When you’re on a road trip, you can do this by pulling out a map (or trusty Google Maps).
When you’re building your blog, looking at your stats can accomplish the same thing. (But beware, stats can become addictive.)
Some stats you can check include:
- Your page views/unique visitors
- The number of people on your email list
- Your social shares
- The number of people that bought your product
Note: The type of stats you pay attention to will depend on the goal you set in #3.
Blogging Pit Stop #8: Course-correct and get back on the road.
Now that you’ve figured out where you are, it’s time to get back out there and keep working toward your goal. And if you’ve already met that goal, it’s time to head to your next destination.
The open road is calling your name.
A quick recap of the pit stops:
1. Write your blog mission statement.
2. Define your voice.
3. Write down specific blogging goals.
4. Schedule your blogging goals for specific dates.
5. Begin working toward your first goal with strategic blog posts and opt-in gifts.
6. Get feedback.
7. Check your stats to make sure you’re making progress.
8. Course-correct and get back on the road.