Do you know the purpose behind your blog? Have you found a rhythm and flow to your writing? Do you know who you're speaking with and what niche you serve? If the answer is no to all of the above, don't panic. There's good news.
Once you do know how to answer those questions—and you will—it makes all the difference. How do I know? I was a first-time blogger once too.
Ten years ago when I started my first blog, I had no idea who my target audience was, let alone what their needs were. I stumbled around, writing, posting and hoping I'd tap into my passion. Guess what? I finally did...and you can too.
Below I share a simple 6-part blogging formula that helped me build my blog and is going to help you dominate any niche.
1. Know the purpose behind your blog
Finding meaning in my writing was something I didn’t connect with immediately. I blogged about things I knew, but my heart just wasn't in it.
My articles felt lifeless and my readership numbers reflected that.I needed a strategy and I needed it fast. The problem was, there was no way I could define a strategy without purpose. I was sporadic and unfocused in my blogging and my words lacked conviction. I needed a “blog intervention” and fast!
While my intervention was slow to come, the questions I asked myself will hopefully help you move faster towards yours. Ask yourself these questions to identify the purpose behind your blog and writing.
Questions to find your blog's purpose
- Are you looking to find deeper meaning in your work and pass along the wisdom you've gained over your lifetime?
- Do you want to motivate and inspire people?
- Will this be a full time commitment in support of a current or new business or is this a hobby?
- Are you looking to build a legacy or make a quick buck?
2. Get passionate about your topic
If you said you want to blog full-time and tie it to your income, then you must eat, sleep and breathe the subject matter. Consistently blogging about your topic creates authority, and authority is what creates opportunity.
And if you want to make money around this topic and within your niche, the doors of opportunity need to swing wide open.
That's what makes writing what you're passionate about extremely important. Without passion, your content will feel forced. And forced or inauthentic content is something readers sniff out immediately.
How to find the topic you're passionate about
Writing about your blog topic should feel as natural as breathing to you. If you want to find what moves and inspires you, follow this process. Open up your favorite note-taking application (mine is an old-fashioned pad and pen) and answer these questions.
- Write down the top 5 topics you would you write about if time and money weren't a factor? My examples: Dogs, Wine, Travel, Motivation, Health
- What about those topics drives and excites you?
- Can you put a new spin on that topic and make it unique?
- Can you clearly articulate a benefit around the topic?
- Is there an audience for your topic?
- Is it a sustainable topic?
Once you're finished, read back through your answers. What emerged for you? What topic stands out and feels right in your heart and gut?
Now that you've got that, it's time to do your research and clearly answer number 5 and 6. Don't move forward without those details unless you're not in it to make a living.
3. Know your niche inside and out
Now that you know the purpose behind your blog and the niche you're going to serve, it's time to learn that niche inside and out.Because here's one of my biggest tips.
Successful bloggers know that understanding who you're speaking with is the first key to success. Look around at the most successful bloggers you know. You will quickly see that they're laser-focused on the needs of their audience.
Michael Hyatt is an excellent example of someone that's defined his niche. I've watched the evolution of his brand and it's clear that niching down has rapidly grown his credibility, visibility and engagement.
Why? He's speaking his audience's language. He's not broad in his conversations, but zeroed in on how to solve their particular problem. From the moment you land on his blog, he has what any busy entrepreneur needs because he knows that niche inside and out.
And it's that ability—the ability to get inside your audience's head—that creates a rhythm and flow to your writing. It gives your readers access into your thoughts, letting them hear you as if you were speaking them aloud.
4. Make your content relevant and useful
To engage your readers on a consistent basis you must be totally in sync with their needs. Listen to their challenges, concerns and fears about what's happening in your niche.
Figure out what keeps them awake at night and then craft your content around it. Your articles should be a refuge, an answer and a calming force.
Give them what they are searching for and they will be forever grateful. So how can you do this? As Diana Adams of InfluencerChat.com says,
"Put yourself in your customer's shoes. What blogging topics would be valuable and useful to them? Get into the mind of your ideal customer. Make sure you choose a niche that you can write about over and over without getting tired of it."
5. Be willing to create conversation and start a movement
Once you know your niche and start writing about it, you'll need to get into the conversation. Because writing great content is only the beginning. Your next step is promotion.
Work daily to engage your readers, draw on their emotions, and ask them to discuss, debate and interact with you across your social channels. Your blog is the springboard to further conversation.
Take your thoughts and ideas and work to create a movement around it. Ask open-ended questions or offer free advice to draw your audience in. Define your calls to action and how to let your audience take that next step with you or your company.
Make your blog feel like home to them…a place where they belong and enjoy spending time. And, of course, promote, promote, promote your blog content!
Your action steps to blog promotion (and creating a movement and buzz around your content)
- Social Media
- Post to your Facebook profile and page
- Post a graphic specifically designed for Google+ and then pin that graphic to Pinterest (the size that works best for me is 735 x 1200)
- Create a unique graphic for Instagram and share with a short breakdown of key points
- LinkedIn – share to your profile and within a group. Writing about social media, marketing or small business? Become a member of the LinkedIn group I manage with over 35,000 members.
- Create a short “how-to” video highlighting some of the tips shared within your post. Add that to YouTube.
- Blogger Communities
- Guest Posts
- Commenting – Comment on blogs that fall within your niche. It’s an excellent way to create strategic relationships and connect with influencers within your niche.
- Email Marketing
6. Tell a great story
I have one last piece of advice for you and while it should have made it further up on the list - I left it for last to make a lasting impact.Yep, it's that important so listen up.
If you've struggled to share your story—or worse—your expertise, get over it. Your story is your gift. It should be shared with others as a way to help, motivate and inspire.
One of my favorite storytellers is Henneke with Enchanting Marketing. No one can weave a story quite like her. I feel myself drawn into every word as she makes the topic come to life. It's immediately relatable and easy to insert myself into the narrative.
Here's what I mean...
So why do I share this with you? Because I want you to stop worrying about what people will think or how people will respond to your content.
Instead, I want you to focus on your target audience, understand their motivation and then work to capture their attention each and every day. I guarantee that this newfound focus will give your audience a reason to stick around.
No one ever said building a successful blog would be easy. In fact, it's one of the hardest things I've ever done. But I also know how incredibly rewarding it can be.
Take the time to identify your purpose and commit to turning your blog into the catalyst that drives you toward your goals. Identify your purpose and then write with conviction.
Getting clear on where you're going and how you're going to get there will open up the creative floodgates and allow you to connect with your audience in a whole new way. Create a brand worth writing about and profitability will flow naturally.
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.