As a blogger who wants to profit from blogging, it's easy to get caught up in the grind of wanting to make more money.
But the truth is, bucks shouldn't be the main reason that you blog. It won't be enough of a motivation for you to keep going when times are tough.
This first lesson in the free Blogging Basics course will help you determine the following three things so that you can start your blog on the right foot. Even if you've already been blogging for awhile, it's also good to go back and ask yourself these questions so that you can make any necessary changes.
Before you can even think about monetizing, you need to figure out:
- WHO you're writing for
- WHAT you're writing about
- WHY you're writing in the first place!
These are the things that I wish someone had pointed out to me at the very beginning.
By the way, I will be offering more courses like this over the next few months, so check out the full list here if you're interested in peeking at what's to come. You might know that I've already written a few digital books -- like The 7-Step Guide to Living Loudly, The 8-Day Guide to Loving Yourself, and The 30-Day Guide to Bolder Blogging (below) -- but after these four courses, you should have a wealth of new info.
I'm really excited to get started so let's jump in!
LESSON ONE, MODULE ONE: WHO DO YOU WANT TO BLOG FOR?
When I first started blogging, I knew that I wanted an audience of women. But seeing as there are over 3 billion women in the world, that's a pretty broad niche (to say the least).
What I really needed to do was write down exactly what I wanted my ideal reader to be like. How old is she? Where does she live? What does she do for a living? What's important to her? What does she believe in?
You know, things like that. But I refused.
I was worried that coming up with a "target audience" would make my blog too serious, too formal, and maybe even boring. I didn't want to leave anyone out and I wanted my world to be open to anyone.
The problem with that is that it confused my readers. One day I'd be talking about a topic that REALLY resonated with half my audience. The next I'd address something that REALLY resonated with the other half. And these halves wouldn't understand what my blog was really about, and eventually leave.
I wasn't consistent with who I was speaking to. I wanted to speak to everyone, so I ended up with no one.
Well, okay, that's being dramatic. I didn't end up with an audience of zero. But seriously, follower count was NEVER consistent. It would go up and down, I'd gain and lose readers all the time. And I guess that's okay if you don't care about readership, but if that's the case maybe you shouldn't be reading this. :)
Choosing a target market/audience/niche/whatever is important because:
- You'll know what to write about (and what your people want to read)
- You'll be a bigger fish in a smaller pond (instead of 1 in a sea of 3 billion)
- You'll create a close-knit fan base of friends (that have the same core values)
- You'll come up with relevant paid offerings (which your audience will want to pay for)
The foundation of every successful business is built on relationships. Decide who you want to have those relationships with, and the money will come later.
It's crucial to decide HOW you want to impact the world, but first and foremost, you need to figure out exactly WHO you want to influence. This will guide your blog down the right path -- to greatness!
Extra Credit Reading:
- How + Why to Find Your Niche + Target Market via mayaelious.com
- Five Reasons to Reconsider Your Niche via jennscalia.com
- How Far Should You Niche Down? via xosarah.com
- Defining Your Target Market in Two Easy Steps via launchgrowjoy.com
- How to Create an Ideal Reader Profile via byregina.com
LESSON ONE, MODULE TWO: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BLOG ABOUT?
And of course, the follow-up question is, what does your audience want to see you blog about? The best blogs are those that cater to your tribe but also make YOU light up inside.
You'll find multiple ways to figure this out in today's homework, but here are a few hints.
- Go back through your old posts and see which were the most popular (and fun to write)
- Join Facebook groups that your fans are part of and see what they're talking about
- Send out an annual survey and straight-up ask them what they want
- Review emails and Twitter mentions from readers to see what they frequently ask you
Of course, if you've never written a blog post in your life and are literally just getting started, you may need a few different, more creative ideas. And yes, I have those too:
- Reflect on your favorite hobbies and think about how you can relate them to your dream reader
- Ask yourself what you'd be willing to write about for free (and sneak that in)
- Poll your friends. What do they say you're best at? What do you regularly help them with?
- Start keeping an offline journal and a running list of blog post ideas
- Surf Pinterest to see if inspiration strikes (but don't copy) (and don't get addicted!)
After this research, come up with an overarching goal, three main topics under that goal, and (if you're really feeling motivated) five blog post ideas for each. Again, you'll get to write them down using the worksheets I made you, but just think about it for now. Here are mine as an example.
MY MISSION FOR TLL: To take you from bashful wantrepreneur to thriving online superstar.
THREE CATEGORIES THAT EXECUTE IT: Blogging tips, life advice, and personal essays on self-love.
All of this information is very obviously placed on my sidebar. I've never been the cool, mysterious type; seriously y'all, playing hard-to-get was absolutely impossible when I was single.
The thing is, being straightforward may not be as sexy, but it's extremely helpful for your readers. You need to know what you're doing and for whom, and they need to know it too. Your WHO and WHAT should shine through everything you do, and it all needs to correlate with your big WHY.
Without this foundation established, it will be hard for your visitors -- and you -- to stick around.
Extra Credit Reading:
- Can You Combine All Your Passions into One Business? via withlaurasimms.com
- What to Do When You Have "Too Many" Topics to Blog About via byregina.com
- Don't Know What to Blog About? 88 Fill-in-the-Blank Titles via alexandrafranzen.com
And lots more here...
LESSON ONE, MODULE THREE: WHY DO YOU WANT TO BLOG?
I mean, first and foremost, I hope you decide to do it because it's fun. But what's your greater cause? How do you want to impact your life and the world around you? What's the one driving force that will keep you going even on days that you get depressed and anxious and want to give up on it all?
Because the truth is, those days will happen. You might feel like you're not good enough. You might be fearful of the future. You might simply have a crappy day that's putting a damper on your dreams.
And that's why, as aformentioned in my weekly newsletter, you need to have a why.
You need to have one big calling that motivates you and backs up everything you do.
And you need to trust it.
My calling is to encourage women to have the confidence to leave their "normal" jobs and start creative businesses.
That's what I want to do for you. As for me, the financial future and security of my family is of utmost importance. It was a different story when I was single, but my son is now the most crucial thing in my life.
(I mean, he's not a THING obviously... but, you know.)
The blog and business you choose to create should aim to make the world a little bit better, including your life and the lives of those around you. You can't save everyone, but you can make a positive impact on someone.
Extra Credit Reading:
- Make Your Beliefs + Values Part of Your Business via lemonandthesea.com
- Why Making Your Passion Your Paycheck Makes Sense via mayaelious.com
- How to Use Your Work to Get a Better Life via withlaurasimms.com
- Five Reasons Why You Should Start a Blog Today via finallywriting.com
THIS WEEK'S HOMEWORK
I hope you've found today's lesson helpful, and these free worksheets should help you learn even more.
Feel free to click and download on your own time. The pdf is just three pages, one for each module. Quick 'n easy, my friends. And don't forget to tweet about this course using the hashtags #liveloudly + #loudblogbasics. Don't know what to say? That's okay, I've whipped up a little something for you.