How to Find Your Big WHY for your Blog

How to find your big WHY for your blog

It’s hidden where you can’t see it.

In between your heart and your feet.

The thrumming in your belly, the core of purpose you can feel if you just stop and focus for a minute.

The reason you’re creating. The reason you’re writing. The reason you’re blogging.

And…it may be different than you think.

For years, I struggled to write a blog that I could actually stick to.

I would start out with an excited burst of creative energy, only to have that energy – and my blog – fizzle out.

There were so many reasons for my waning excitement about my blog – picking a topic I wasn’t driven to write about, loneliness, the lack of feedback from my readers, imposter syndrome.

The list goes on.

But, at the very center of it all, is this: I didn’t understand my WHY.

Without that WHY, that solid core of purpose, it was all but inevitable that I would abandon my former blogs.

Without knowing my WHY, no editorial calendar or inner pressure to “just do it” would save me.

When I started this blog, I would love to tell you that I saw a flash of lightning, had an awakening, and came home to my WHY in a dramatic rush of insight.

But it didn’t happen that way.

It started with an insatiable urge to write. And as I wrote, I managed to dig my way through, to carve out a path toward finding my purpose – and then sticking to it.

I think the reason I was able to hold on to my WHY this time was because I accepted my WHY in all of its complexity. I let myself hold it loosely, give it a chance to change, to morph.

I took the advice of experts but I turned the volume way up on my inner wisdom.

I allowed myself to struggle with weeks painfully devoid of inspiration.

And after those weeks, I always came back to keep doing the work.

I can’t give you a list of neat and careful ways to find your own WHY, but I can give you some words of wisdom on how to stay close to your purpose, the thing that will keep you coming back to the work again and again.

1. Choose the medium you love the most.

When I tell people I’m a blogging coach, many of them ask me if they should start a blog.

I’ve traveled to some amazing places, they’ll share. I’ve always wanted to blog about it, but have never been consistent.

Or, I want to start a blog because I want to quit my job. How do I do it?

The first thing I ask them is, Do you actually love writing?

If they say no, I tell them to do something else. Because let’s face it, blogging is hard work. And if you’re not really into it, if you don’t love the work itself, you won’t want to keep doing it.

So choose to create in the way that you love. If you love photography, go with Instagram. Make short blog posts that are 80% photography and 20% writing. If you could make videos in your sleep, start a YouTube channel.

Don’t listen to the so-called experts who insist you have to create in a specific way, in their way. They aren’t experts on you or your creative process. Better to follow your own urges than the advice of someone who knows nothing about you or your work.

2. Be honest.

The truest way I’ve found to get closer to my purpose? Writing with blinding honesty.

Sometimes honesty doesn’t feel all that comfortable.

Sometimes what you want to write doesn’t fit into what you think you should write.

Sometimes the words that come pouring out of your fingers aren’t the words you thought you wanted to share with the world.

That’s okay. As long as they’re honest.

And be honest with yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing something you’ve written, it’s perfectly okay to leave it unpublished.

Writing or creating with complete honesty is the best way to speak to your inner self, the self that knows what you need to express.

Trust yourself. Trust your writing. It will keep you close to your purpose. Really.

3. Create your own unique niche. One that lives outside the box.

I know you’ve heard a million times that you need to find a niche.

And you’re probably struggling with that. You don’t want to get too narrow. You have so many things you want to blog about and it feels painful to cut them out of your blog.

So I have great news for you. That niche doesn’t have to look a certain way.

My friend Orana blogs about living abroad with her family. Her blog is colorful and bright and full of stories. And she also does design work for bloggers like me. Her online presence is one of a kind. It doesn’t fit into a nice little box with a bow on top. But neither does she.

Missy Miller, an amazing mother and Have Your Cupcake member, blogs about traveling the country with her 7 kids and husband in a school bus. And she writes about her daughter who has a developmental disability. And she helps families convert their own buses. A typical niche? No. One that inspires people and helps them see what is possible? Absolutely.

You don’t have to confine your blog to a niche that feels uncomfortable. You can bring yourself into it fully.

When you blog, you create an online world that is completely yours.

So include the things that make you jump for joy.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry that you’ll lose readers if you include your random quirks.

Because if you force yourself into a niche that is too small for you, you will resent your writing. And blogging will become a chore.

4. Nurture your true genius

Remember how I just wrote that you can create a niche that embraces all of the quirkiness and weirdness that is you?

Hang all of that quirky, weird beauty on something solid. Hang it on your genius. The things that you really freaking ROCK at.

You may say, I’m not good at anything. Well, I don’t often cuss, but I call that bullshit.

Because we’re all incredibly talented at something (or many things). Even you.

Take me, for example.

I freaking rock at writing. I am great at giving advice. I’ve been told that I have an uncanny ability to see the big picture. (Thus my obsession with knowing your why and having an overarching content strategy.) And I also see my clients’ brilliance with stunning clarity.

Things I’m not as great at? Following other people’s rules. Looking perky on video. Being “one of the popular kids.” Writing about the “what” without the “why.”

Admitting you are a complete genius at something isn’t being egotistical. It’s not wrong to stand up and say, Yeah. This is my thing.

Know what you’re good at. Stand confidently in that knowledge. And get out there and kick butt. Click To Tweet

5. Write about things that matter to you

This might seem like an uh, duh… one, but it’s essential. And I have personally battled with my own inner demons on this, so I’m guessing you may have, too.

There are a bajillion posts and experts that tell you to base your content on what is popular already. Look on BuzzSumo, Amazon, etc. Find the trending hashtags on Twitter.

And yeah, it is a good idea to see if there’s an audience who wants to read your ideas. (More about that in a second.)

But it’s even more important to write about what you really care about. Even if it seems stupid. Even if it seems like no one else cares. Because that’s what you’re here to do in the first place – create something you care about and that makes an impact on the world.

And guess what? By focusing solely on what’s popular and forgoing your own zany interests, you will end up writing the same things as everyone else. Which is NOT what you’re here to do.

Stand up defiantly and write what matters to you, first.Click To Tweet

Your posts will buzz with an energy you can’t achieve by just doing what’s popular.

Your people will find you. And you’ll find them. I promise.

6. Become BFFs with your blog readers

I often tell bloggers to get to know their readers as well as they know their BFFs. But in this post (and from now on), I’m taking it a step further.

You don’t just want to know your readers as well as you know your dearest friends, you actually want to become friends with them.

Here’s why.

Your best friends are the people who appreciate you for all of your strange quirks. They’re the ones with whom you can let down your guard and be vulnerable and honest.

Your dearest friends like what you have to say and the way you say it. They come to you for advice because only you can help them in your way.

What you want to talk about is what they want to talk about, too. So it’s easy to write posts that you care about and that they love.

And they never, ever expect you to be someone you’re not.

So yes, get to know your readers extremely well. Learn what they fear, what they want more than anything in the world.

And also, only focus on serving readers who believe in you, who give you the space and the courage to stand up and be yourself.

Only serve readers who believe in you, who give you the space and the courage to stand up and be yourself.Click To Tweet

Forget about everyone else. Let them go. You don’t need them in your blog.

7. Give yourself a break (or rather, many, many, many breaks)

Be kind to yourself.

Let your journey take as long as it needs to take.

Don’t feel pressured to make money, to get a certain number of readers, or to do anything else that’s outside of your control.

When you fumble, when you fall, stand up and give yourself a healing kiss.

Give yourself the space and acceptance you need to do work that really means something to you.

If what a guru says doesn’t sit right with you, ignore it. If you feel out of alignment with your purpose, take a few breaths and come back to yourself.

Finding and nurturing your WHY is a worthy process. And anything worth doing deserves respect, care, and love.

So love the heck out of yourself and your journey. You deserve it.

How to find your big WHY for your blog (1)

Here’s the deal, oh online BFF.

You won’t find your WHY by following a formula.

You can’t dig it up like a nugget of gold, or catch it in your hands like a firefly.

But you can write yourself into it.

You can give yourself a framework for creating that invites more meaning and purpose into your work.

Here’s how…

  • Choose the medium you love the most
  • Be honest
  • Niche outside the box
  • Create around your area of genius
  • Write what matters to you
  • Become BFFs with your audience
  • Be kind and loving to yourself

Go out there and blog with purpose. Blog with passion.

And most of all, blog with joy.

I believe in you.

How to Move your Blog from WordPress.com to .org in Less Than 30 Minutes

Why it’s So Hard to Find a Focus for Your Blog (and How to Do it Anyway)

Why it's so hard to find a focus for your blog

Are you writing in circles trying to find a great focus for your blog?

I get emails everyday from bloggers who struggle to find their focus.

That’s because it’s not easy to choose a focus for your blog that you really care about, and that draws an audience. It’s natural to struggle to find a focus – it’s kind of like finding someone to marry. It doesn’t happen in a day.

But you can do it.

Here are 5 reasons you may be struggling to find your focus, and suggestions for how to find it anyway.

1. You have SO MUCH you care about, and you want to write about all of it in your blog.

I get it. It’s your blog. You want to write about all of the difference facets of you.

Your trip to the Philippines last year. Your dog. Your love of chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.

And that’s fine. As long as you either don’t care about building an audience quickly, or you have such an incredible writer’s voice that people will show up just for that.

I love writing about all sorts of stuff, too.

But blogging and writing aren’t the same thing. Writing in its purest form is about connecting with yourself, and blogging is really about connecting with an audience, and getting them to come back.

So if you are struggling to find a focus because you want to write about everything you care about, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Keep writing about everything you care about, just not all on your blog.
  2. Keep writing about everything you care about, but do it for a very specific audience. If you want to write about health, and fashion, and beauty, that’s fine. But make sure you focus on helping women in their early 20s with those topics. Or baby boomers. Be specific.
  3. Keep writing about everything you care about, but with a specific angle. For example, you could write about a wide array of topics, but all from a mental health angle. Or from a saving money angle.

2. You are afraid that if you pick a focus, people will get bored by it, or you will get sick of writing about it.

Picking a topic is kind of like getting married.

When you choose to marry one person and stick with him or her for the rest of your life, you are essentially saying, “I am now going to keep talking to this person every single day for the next 40+ years.”

My parents have been married for 35 years, and they still love talking to each other.

It’s the same with choosing your focus. If you choose the right one, you will never get sick of writing about it.

If you are afraid you or your readers will get bored with your topic, do a mind mapping exercise where you take your topic and break it down into smaller and smaller pieces. To read about the whole process, check out this post.

You will see that your topic contains so many more possibilities than you ever realized.

And if you’re worried about boring people, don’t. Because most readers – even your most dedicated ones – won’t see all of your posts. And those who do are just as passionate about your topic as you are.

3. You don’t want to turn people off by focusing on just one thing.

It’s the classic fear of turning people away.

You want to cater to everyone, so that no matter who lands on your blog, they will want to stick around.

I hate to break it to you, but that’s pretty much impossible.

Even my own mom doesn’t really resonate with my blog posts. She loves my writing, but she told me that she doesn’t really “get” what I blog about.

But that’s okay, because if you are reading this, you do “get” it. And I care about that more than making my mom – or anyone who doesn’t blog – want to stick around.

When people get to your blog, they should either think, “This was written for me.” Or “This isn’t for me.”

It should be very clear whether they are in the right place.

If you are struggling to find your focus because you’re afraid of turning people away, consider the vast number of people in the world.

And the huge number of people who are interested in any given topic.

Chances are, you will have a tough enough time getting all 500,000 people who care about your topic to find your blog, let alone the 7 billion people in the world.

But when one of those 500,000 people does find you, they should know instantly that this was written just for them. And for that to happen, you have to have a specific focus.

4. It’s hard to find the intersection of your own passions and other people’s interests.

You want to write about something that you really care about, otherwise you’ll lose interest and your blog will fizzle out.

But you also need to write about something that other people care about, otherwise you’ll struggle to gain traction and build an audience.

How do you choose a focus that you and potential readers both care about?

Start with you. First, choose something that you really care about. Write about it for a few weeks Share your posts on social media. Just put it out there and see what people are resonating with.

After a month, go back and look at your social shares and comments. What did people really enjoy reading?

Take that topic and break it down further. Keep writing about it from different angles. Write your way into your focus.

You can write your way into your blog focus. Here's how.Click To Tweet

5. Every time you sit down to write a blog post, you write about whatever inspires you in the moment, so it’s hard to stick to a focus.

This is how I blogged for my first month or so:

I woke up every morning, sat down, and wrote about whatever topic I felt passionately about in the moment.

And those posts were good. I wrote about parking karma, superheroes, morning practice. It was fun.

But then I decided that I really wanted my blog to build momentum. My mindset shifted from wanting to write about whatever, just to write, to wanting to teach with my blog. It became more about building something useful than about getting my ideas out there.

So I started doing something I’ve always thought I hated. I started planning.

It wasn’t that I had exact blog posts scheduled out on an editorial calendar. Editorial calendars have never worked for me.

It was more that I would choose a topic, and a goal, each month, and I would constantly be thinking of blog posts that related to my topic and moved me toward my goal. Whenever I thought of an idea, I would write it down in Evernote, so that when I sat down to blog, I had loads of ideas that were related to my topic.

Take it from me, an avid non-planner:

Don’t just sit down and hope to be inspired. Do some thinking beforehand. Create a specific goal and plan for your blog. It will be much easier to find your focus when you do.

Why it's So Hard to Find a Focus for Your Blog

To recap:

  1. You can write about everything you care about, but find some kind of focus, whether it’s writing for a specific audience, or taking a specific angle.
  2. Every topic is so much deeper than you think. You won’t get bored if you take the time to break your topic down into smaller pieces and write about it in different ways.
  3. Don’t worry about turning people away. Because just as you’re turning some people away, others will get to your blog and think, This is just what I’ve been looking for.
  4. Start writing about your own interests, then see which posts people really love. Take those posts and write offshoots.
  5. Even if you’re not a super planner, have some idea of your monthly focus and goals. Then write down post ideas whenever they come to you, so that when you sit down to blog you have ideas that are related to your central focus.

How to Set Up a Blog in Under 10 Minutes

You’ve been wanting to start a blog for a long time, thinking of amazing post ideas and how awesome it will be to have an audience eager to read your stuff.

There’s just one problem.

You need to set it up, and you’re not sure how.

Well, lucky for you, it’s super easy. And I’m about to walk you through the entire process.

Note: This post shows you how to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog. That means you’ll have your own, super special URL without “wordpress” in the title. It also means that you will have access to thousands of plugins. Plus, you’ll be able to choose from thousands of great themes. So it’s totally worth it.

Step 1: Sign up with Bluehost.

Go to their hosting page here.  (By using this link, you are letting Bluehost know that I referred you, so I get an affiliate commission. Thanks!)

Click “get started now” to sign up.

1-Homepage

Step 2: Choose your domain name.

3-Domain Registration

5 things to think about when you choose a domain name for your new blog:

1. Does it convey the tone you want to have for your blog?

Before you choose a domain name, take a minute and ask yourself, “What 3 adjectives do I want people to mention when they talk about my blog?”

2. Do you want your domain name to be your actual name or something else?

Using your name means that your blog can be about any topic, so you won’t have to create a completely new blog if you decide to change directions later on.

Having a blog under your name means that you are promoting yourself as the personality behind the blog. If you want to have other contributors, you will probably want a different name for your blog.

3. Who is your ideal reader?

If you already know who your reader is (and many bloggers figure it out along the way, which is perfectly fine), make sure that your domain name speaks to that reader.

4. If .com is taken, what do you do?

If .com is taken, don’t immediately go looking for a different name. First, look up the .com website and see if anything is there. Often, even though a URL is taken, that doesn’t mean there is an established business with that name.

And having a URL that ends with .co or .net is totally not the end of the world. One of my very favorite sites is fizzle.co. (Did you notice that there’s no “m” at the end?)

5. Is it easy to spell and remember?

Once people start following you, make it super easy for them to come back by choosing an easily spelled and memorable name.

Step 4: Choose your hosting package.

I recommend going with the 36 month package if you think you’ll be blogging for awhile, because the price is WAY cheaper than what you’ll get later on when you renew.

Other than that, I would skip all of the extras, other than the Domain Whois Privacy.

5-Choose Plan

On the next screen, you’ll enter your billing information and pay for your chosen hosting plan.

 

6-Billing Info

Sweeeet! Now you’re all ready to install WordPress on your new blog!

Step 5: Install WordPress.

First, click the WordPress button, as shown below.

7-cPanel

 

Next, press Start.

8-WordPress

Then, choose your domain name.

9-Install WP

 

Finally, name your new WordPress blog and choose your password and email address.

10-WP Login

 

When WordPress is installing, you will see this beautiful status screen.

11-Installation

Step 6: Find your way around WordPress

Now that you’re in WordPress, I am guessing you want to jump in and learn how to use it, right?

There is a super awesome plugin that walks you step by step through tasks like creating pages and posts, and changing your blog settings.  It’s called Sidekick.

First, go to the Plugins tab on the left, and click “Add new.”

Add new plugin

Then, search for “Sidekick” in the search bar.

Screenshot 2015-07-22 15.01.16

Sidekick comes up at the top. Click “Install Now” to install it on your site.

Screenshot 2015-07-22 15.02.09

On the next screen, you will need to activate the plugin, as shown below.

Screenshot 2015-07-22 14.58.28

Then you will see a beautiful orange “Help” box on the lower lefthand side of your dashboard.

Click here to find all of the tutorials you need to get acquainted with WordPress.

Screenshot 2015-07-22 15.03.03

Screenshot 2015-07-22 15.03.17

Sweeeeet!

Now you have a brand new WordPress site, and you are ready to start blogging.

Why not start off by building your blog with the support of other bloggers, and with my step by step guidance on how to design your blog to look amazing?

Join the 10 Day Blog Makeover Challenge to start your blog off right.

I am looking forward to seeing you in there!

How to Painlessly Set Up a WordPress Blog

How to Get Clarity and Build Your Business with Hey, Nice Package

How to get clarity and grow your business with Hey, Nice Package

A few months ago, I knew I wanted to help business owners become happier, more focused, more strategic bloggers. I had a vague process in mind, but not enough to feel truly confident when people asked me what I did.

I went to a conference in January for women entrepreneurs, and I stood up and said I was a blogging coach. A lot of women seemed interested in my services, but I didn’t really know what those services were.

After the conference, I emailed a couple of the women I met and followed up. But I felt a little uneasy, because I knew that if they expressed a real interest in working with me, I wouldn’t know exactly what to do next.

Then I heard about Rebecca Tracey’s course, Hey Nice Package.

I had made a commitment to myself not to buy anymore online courses this year. And I really wanted to keep to my commitment. But it sounded like exactly what I needed – a clear, step by step process for creating service packages that people actually want.

I figured it wasn’t just an online course – it was one that was offering exactly what I needed for my business. After reading her brilliant sales page so many times it felt like a guilty pleasure, I made the leap and bought it.

And it has literally transformed my business and my blog. Here’s how.

1. I now have a specific, well tested process for working with clients.

Before I did Hey, Nice Package, I couldn’t explain exactly what I did to help clients. And I also didn’t have specific offerings. It was just, Work with me and I’ll help you have a better blog.

Raise your hand if that would make you want to hire someone.

My new coaching packages have been tested with actual clients, which means that I can say with complete confidence that I can help business owners become more strategic, and better, bloggers. Selling is hard, and having that belief in myself really, really helps.

Having a specific process not only makes me more confident in sharing what I do with other people, it also has made blogging WAY easier for me.

I can look at my process, break it down into specific steps, and then write blog posts about those steps. No more wondering what to write about.

I also help clients come up with blog post ideas based on their business processes. It’s way easier when they know exactly what that process looks like, from beginning to end.

2. I now understand the specific results I help my clients achieve.

One of the big topics Rebecca covers in the course is figuring out your clients’ point A – where they come to you – and their point B – where they are when they are done working with you.

It’s such a simple concept, but SO huge, both in terms of business and blogging.

Knowing my clients’ point A means I can easily decide who is the right fit for my services and who isn’t.

And knowing what falls outside of my points A and B helps me say no to things I don’t want to do, so I end up only doing work that fits into my “sweet spot.”

Are you wondering what my points A and B are?

When clients come to me (my point A), they:

1. Know what their business is and who they serve.
2. Have a specific process for helping their clients.
3. Want to blog but don’t really get how they can use their blog to build their business.
4. May have written a few posts but aren’t blogging consistently.
5. Struggle to come up with blog post ideas.
6. Lack confidence, clarity, focus, and direction.

When they leave (my point B), they:

1. Understand how to plan posts that drive their business goals.
2. Clearly see the connection between their business and their blog.
3. Have improved their writing and brought more of their own quirky awesome selves into their blog posts.
4. Have a plan for blogging consistently, and for using their blog posts to get more email subscribers and clients.

Doesn’t that sound better than saying, I help business owners improve their blogs?

My points A and B are also a great guide for knowing whether to blog about something or not. If a topic falls between my 2 points, I know it is a great one to write about.

For example, this post falls between my A and B, because I am confident that Hey, Nice Package will help business owners get more clarity about their businesses, and therefore, their blogs as well.

3. I have met some really, really awesome people. And I’ve also grown confidence in selling my stuff.

The first thing you do in Rebecca’s process is survey your audience. The survey process really helped me understand where people were struggling and how to help them.

I also had some great conversations that further clarified how I could serve my clients. The data from the surveys and conversations have basically fueled all of my blog posts for the past few months.

Another part of the course is doing a beta test before offering your packages full price.

Doing my beta-test has been amazing. Many of the business owners I’ve worked with have become real friends.

My relationship with one of my beta testers, Sue Anne Dunlevie of Successful Blogging, has brought me great guest posting opportunities and a chance for me to be coached on how to improve my blog as well.

As a result of this process, I’ve become way more confident selling my packages. I’ve been able to practice selling my stuff for a ridiculously low price, which is a great warm up for selling it for the real price.

I’ve also gotten amazing feedback on my coaching process and I have testimonials that will make it easier to sell my services in the future.

4. I came away with a process that I can repeat again and again when I want to create new service packages for my clients.

One of the biggest benefits of the course is that it gives you a clear, easy to follow process for creating multiple service packages, from one on one coaching to group courses.

As my business and my blog grow, I can return to Hey, Nice Package to create new packages that I am confident will really help people.

How to get clarity and grow your business with Hey, Nice Package

To sum up:

Hey, Nice Package has helped me:
1. Clarify my specific process for helping clients.
2. Understand the exact results I help my clients achieve.
3. Build relationships and become better at selling.
4. Have a process for creating packages as my business grows and changes.

Does Hey, Nice Package sound like it’s right for you? Click here to check it out.

Note: If you use any of the links in this post, I will get an affiliate fee for sending you to Rebecca.

If you purchase the course using my link, I will give you a free copy of the Define Your Blog Voice Course to go with it. Just email me with your receipt.

2 Sentences That Will Change Your Blog Forever

2 sentences that will change your blog forever

If your blog was a car, your mission statement would be the fuel in the tank, and a road map for the journey ahead.

If your blog feels more like a dilapidated Volvo from 1983  that can’t even make it across town (like the one I drove in high school) than a stylish Mustang convertible that you want to drive across the country (like the one I wish I had), it may be because it lacks a mission statement.

Your mission statement fuels your blog because it contains your purpose for writing in the first place. And your purpose will keep you going long after the excitement of having a new blog wanes.

And it provides a road map because it gives you a scope for your blog.  Suddenly it becomes easier to see which topics makes sense, and which don’t.

Writing a mission statement is easy – once you’ve answered the essential questions of what, how, who, and why.

1. What will you be writing about in your blog?

This is basically your main topic. For me, it’s blogging. For you, it might be inspirational posts, or freelancing, or time management systems.

This topic can be pretty broad – we’ll narrow it down in a minute. But for now, just write down your big topic.

2. How will you cover your topic differently than other bloggers?

Unless you have a super specific topic already, like Training Tips for Goldendoodle Puppies, the how is where you differentiate yourself from other bloggers.

My how is that I focus on purpose, clarity, and strategy for bloggers. I try to go deeper and write about core ideas, like finding your voice, having a purpose for each post, etc.

I worked with a coaching client yesterday who has a terrific blog. Her blog topic is also blogging, but her how is that she helps beginning bloggers make money from their blogs.

Your how helps your blog stand out from others with the same topic.

3. Who is reading your blog?

Does it really matter if you know who is reading your blog?

I think it does.

But I also think that once you know your topic and how you cover it differently from other bloggers, it is much easier to define your audience.

What kind of people would want to read a blog about your specific topic and angle?

For me, it’s bloggers who care about the underlying issues involved in blogging well. They are deep thinkers and problem solvers. Many of them have their own businesses. They want to write their own blogs, and they want to write them well.

How do I know all of this?

It’s not because I sat down and wrote about who I want to read my blog. It’s because I know who is already reading my blog.

So if you have a blog, notice the people who leave comments, the people who share your stuff, the people who tell you how much they enjoy reading your blog. That’s your who.

And if you don’t have a blog, you might want to wait and write this part of your mission statement later. Or you can make some educated guesses and refine later.

4. Why do you care?

Blogging is hard. It takes time, and energy, and commitment. And it’s not a short process. To have a truly successful blog, you have to keep doing it.

That’s why this question is SO important.

You have to know why your blog really, really, really matters to you.

I care about my blog because I believe that every person has the right to live her life on her own terms. And I believe that blogging, and blogging well, is a powerful vehicle for making that happen.

Take a minute. Think about your topic, your unique angle, and your audience. Why do you really care about them? Can you put that feeling into words?

Now let’s put your answers into a mission statement.

Here’s my formula for a mission statement that fuels your blog and gives it purpose:

I write about [your topic ] in order to help [your audience + your unique angle]. I do this because [your purpose].

Putting it all together, here’s my mission statement:

I write about blogging and writing in order to help purpose driven business owners gain clarity and connect with their ideal clients. I do this because I believe that blogging is one of the best ways to connect with our truth and to build relationships with the people we’re meant to serve.

4 “Simple” Steps to Finding the BIG IDEA for Your Blog

4 Simple Steps to Finding the BIG IDEA for Your BlogFinding your HOLY SHIT THIS IS IT topic to blog about is kind of like finding your soul mate.

I’m talking about the topic you end up becoming known for, the topic that becomes synonymous with your name, the topic that causes people to say, “Oh, you’re interested in [your awesome topic]? You should read [your name]’s blog!”

Once you find it, you feel like you knew that you were meant to blog about it all along, that it was right in front of your nose, and inside your heart, but you just didn’t see it was there.

But before you find it, everything just seems so HARD.

(At least that’s how it’s been for me.)

I refer to this blog as my blog soul-mate. I wrote 5 other blogs before this one. But none of them stuck. And even this one took awhile to truly become something I love, look forward to writing, and am super proud of.

The other blogs I wrote seemed like more of a burden. Our relationships just fizzled out after awhile. (It wasn’t them, it was me.)

Kind of like the guys I dated before I met my husband. Things with them were never quite right.

But with him, I could feel the difference from the beginning.

Even though finding your blog soul-mate (or your human one) is hard (okay, really, really, really hard), I do think there are ways to ease the process.

1. Be super self-reflective.

One way to find your big blogging topic is to get to know yourself really well.

Here are a few questions for you to think about:

What do I absolutely love doing?

What do people frequently ask me to help them with?

What am I really proud of accomplishing?

What do I know a ton about and never get tired of discussing?

What is a new hobby or passion that I can help other people learn along with me?

How do I see the world differently from other people?

You can also:

  1. Take personality tests
  2. Ask people close to you what they think you’re really good at
  3. Think about your past and what’s been a common thread throughout your life

I’ve always loved writing and teaching. People often ask me for feedback on their writing. And I am passionate about entrepreneurship. So once I started writing about blogging, it just made sense.

If you can do some deep thinking before you start blogging, you might just discover you already know the BIG THING you want to blog about.

Many women have lists of all of the traits they’re looking for in a man. One of my friends read me her list awhile back. It included “driven” “laid back” “adventurous” “sexy” and about 16 other traits.

Have you ever heard of a woman who has a list of traits that she would like to bring into her relationships? To me, that seems way more empowering than the other list.

2. Try out lots of different ideas and see what works.

I think it’s natural to start out blogging about whatever interests you.

My first blog posts were about parking karma, morning practice, Jews on Christmas – really, whatever I felt like writing about that day.

It wasn’t until a month of writing every day that I began to narrow my topic.

Writing about all different topics does a few things:

  1. It helps you practice the discipline of blogging regularly – which is just as important as your subject matter.
  2. It gives you a sense of what you enjoy writing about and what you don’t.
  3. It helps you collect data on what other people really want to read about.

Let me tell you a little story:

My husband and I went on a date in June of 2007. Even though we really liked each other, it seemed like it wouldn’t work out. (I could get into the details, but you have to know me a little better for that…)

So I joined JDate and proceeded to date about 15 other guys.

One of them didn’t read any books. Ever.

Another one kissed me and never called me.

Another one told me I was “cute” for having an opinion.

After getting frustrated and discouraged, I realized that Daniel was a way better fit than anyone else I had dated. So we decided to try again. And here we are, 7 years later.

Sometimes, you just have to try a bunch of things that don’t work to figure out the one that does.

3. Choose one idea, and write about it in depth.

Choosing one idea to write about, even if it doesn’t end up being the “idea of your dreams,” is really helpful.

You get practice going deep into a topic. You really get to know that topic. And you learn more about yourself and what you enjoy writing about.

Before this blog, I wrote a blog called 101 Conversations. It was about building business relationships.

I got SO MUCH from writing that blog. I learned about building relationships, and I met some of my best business buddies, and I learned how HARD it is for me to base a blog on interviewing people.

For awhile, I thought that blog was my soul-mate, but it turned out to be a really great experience that ended after 9 months. But am I sad I wrote it? Heck, no.

What I am saying is, at some point, you have to have a more serious relationship with an idea. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s all part of your journey to find your BIG TOPIC.

The same goes for romantic relationships.

4. When you find your BIG IDEA, really commit.

Just because you find an idea that works really well for you, it doesn’t mean it won’t be hard.

Sometimes, you won’t want to write about it. You’ll find yourself lusting after other ideas, just wishing you could write about them. (And, to be honest, you can. In moderation. After all, you’re not really married to your big idea.)

But when that big idea comes around (and you’ll know it’s the right one, because you’ll be so crazy enthusiastic about it that you’ll want to work on your blog all the time), stick with it.

Go deep.

Explore it from different angles. Ask people on Facebook and Twitter (and even, gasp, real life) what they care about that has to do with your big idea.

When you find yourself losing steam and wanting to wander off to other topics, thinking I’ve written everything there is to write about this, come back to your soul-mate topic. I promise there’s more to write about.

At my bridal shower, my friend Robyn said that when you first get married, it’s like one person is speaking Chinese and the other English. You don’t understand each other. But then, little by little, you develop a shared language.

And when you write about a topic for long enough, you’ll start to approach it in a way that no one else can. You’ll develop your own blogging language.

4 Simple Steps to Finding the BIG IDEA for Your Blog - FB

I don’t believe we have just one soul-mate, either in love or in blogging. I think there are lots of soul-mates out there for everyone. But all you need is one.

You’ll know it’s the right one when it makes you feel more fully yourself.

Now go out there and find it (him/her). (Or if you’ve already found it, give it a hug and appreciate the heck out of it.)