"What should I write about?"
It's the most often asked – and most important question to ask – about blogging. Last summer, I mentored several ladies as they began blogging or looked into refreshing the blog that they had. It was such an honor to get to serve them in such a pivotal time. Blogging is intensely personal, and it can be confusing how to approach it. My answer to this has always been that you are your blog. So start with you.
Here are a few tips for figuring out just what it is you should blog about (and essentially finding out why you blog!)...
Pinpoint areas that interest you.
It's highly important that the purpose behind your blog is something that you're truly passionate about. Especially if you plan on blogging long-term, you want it to be something you can easily build upon. If you aren't interested or invested in the topics you're thinking of writing about, the guaranteed end result is that you'll run out of ideas quickly, will be frustrated with the process, and won't stick with blogging. Choose topics that inspire you and get you excited! Spend some time making a list of things that you like to do in your spare time, things that make you happy, topics of interest, favorite blogs, etc. to get ideas flowing. Pull in friends and family and ask them what topics they find you bringing up most often.
Identify your strengths.
This goes along well with the previous point on pinpointing your interests – write down things you're good at, things you do well, and include things you'd like to try. There are so many wonderful blogs out there dedicated to women willing to try something new. Do a few test runs before getting started officially, and then start sharing your experiences and process. Be open to feedback. I promise there are many more cheerleaders out on the internet than trolls! Blogging is a great way to grow the strengths you have and test out new "muscles."
This is the sweet spot with blogging – and what will truly pull in readers to your blog (and provide you a satisfying challenge). Following along with what everyone else is already doing is an easy way to blog, but coming up with a creative approach that haven't been seen before will make your blog stand out among the rest. My favorite blogs are all written by people who've done something a little differently from what everyone else is doing (and if you take a moment to consider your favorites, they are probably one-of-a-kind, too). What would you like to see more of out on the internet? What callings of your heart keep you searching and curious? Explore areas of personal interest for you that you notice are missing currently from the blogging world. Challenge yourself not to post anything you wouldn't want to find and read.
Lastly, be authentic.
"What if my interests don't go together? Should I just pick one thing to blog about? How focused should I be?" These questions came up in every mentoring session (and every blogging chat since). My answer to these is this: that just like you yourself are interested in many things, passionate about more than one topic, and skilled in several areas, your blog should reflect that about you. I know this goes against what many blogging "how to" posts say. As I shared in the intro to this post, your blog is ultimately you "on paper." People will be drawn to return to your blog time and time again when they feel as if they've made a personal connection and are growing a relationship with you. Honesty, authenticity, and humility will get you very far with blogging – in both your personal enjoyment of it, and in growing a connected, healthy community out of it. The tying thread behind a variety of topics will be this – for you to create a mission statement for your blog.
To create a mission statement, write down three words of what you desire your blog to be. Then go to a handful of close friends and/or family members and ask them for three words they would use to describe you. Odds are, you'll see some parallels! Circle the words that pop up continually and incorporate these into your mission statement. For example, the mission statement of That's Pretty Ace is, "Sharing joy in the simplest ways." My desire in blogging was to share what I learn and know with others, to keep things simple and show that life doesn't have to be as dramatic or overwhelming as the world claims it to be, and that all life should be joyful in Christ (noting that joy and happiness are not always the same thing). When I spoke with people close to me, some of the words they repeatedly used to describe me were, "happy, organized, clean, simple, and friendly." Funny how these tied into what I was hoping to accomplish with blogging, right? Take your time with this step. You'll be glad you did :)
A few additional questions to ask yourself...
- Why do I read the blogs I read? What do they do well that draws me in and keeps me coming back?
- What is something that no one out there is doing? Why?
- What are some areas that people often ask my advice for or expertise in?
- Has this idea been done before? If so, how could I do this differently?