BBC 2.0: What is your blog’s message?

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Welcome again to Lemon and Raspberry’s free week-long online workshop: Better Blog Content.

I would love it if you blogged about this workshop or tweeted about it to your followers and friends.

Reminder: please use this workshop hashtag #LRBBC (for Lemon and Raspberry Better Blog Content) when sharing info or links on Twitter.

Where to start, really?

What’s the first thing to settle, determine or decide when we talk about creating better blog content? Probably the first thing decided when you start a blog.

So, here’s the question: What is your blog is about?

I mean, if someone were to ask you can you define your blog’s topic and scope in just a sentence or two? What are your readers looking for? What have they come to expect when visiting your site?

Can you come up with just one topic – or even one family of topics? Sure, you make handmade children’s aprons, but is your blog more about the children/parenting/kids activities industry? Or more about the fabric/pattern/handmade wearables industy?

That topic and theme is the major building blog of your blog’s message.

This 1-2 sentence description should be helping construct all (yes, all) of the content you put on your blog.

The niche can be anything from make-money-blogging to parenting-in-NYC to gardening to apple-product-reviews. In fact, when I very first started out writing on Those Crazy Schuberts, you would probably define my niche as people-who-know-Andrew-and-Amy-in-real-life-and-might-want-to-see-photos-of-their weekend.

But EVERY.SINGLE.THING. you put on your blog is related to this niche – whether you are consciously making that choice or not.

WHY do people come to your blog and what are they expecting to find?

What message are you sharing with them day in and day out?

What problem might your readers have that your blog can help them solve?

All of the above examples contain an implied solution to a problem. Yes, the ‘problem’ might be something trivial like wanting to see photos of my and Andrew’s vacation, but that is still something that my blog can solve.

Think about your audience and what problem you are helping them solve. This problem/solution really should inform all the content you create for your blog.

Chances are your blog might currently be a lot more scattered and schizophrenic than is ideal. But you can at least determine which way the blog content is leaning.

You can absolutely still focus on a blog niche even if you are not promoting a creative small business.

Even if you’re not blogging for a business, you’ll still want your blog readers to enjoy your blog enough to help spread the word. But how easy is it to tell a friend about a blog if you can’t describe what it is about?

My personal blog – Those Crazy Schuberts – was a wreck. I was blogging about anything that came to my mind. It was completely haphazard and schizophrenic. But about a year and a half ago, I focused the blog content on that personal blog more specifically.

That’s one of the reasons I started Lemon and Raspberry. I began to realize that my real life friends and family who read Those Crazy Schuberts don’t really care about my thoughts on social media and creativity and the arts.

Now pretty much all the content I post at Those Crazy Schuberts falls into one of three sub-categories — All to do with how Andrew and I spend our time: mine and Andrew’s travel adventures (international, Los Angeles, weekend trips, etc); the home we’re making together (recipes, furniture, garden, etc); and personal (quirky stories, friends and family events, etc).

Nothing about my photography and what I’m learning, not really anything about books that I’ve read recently, no gushing about how much I love my new 35mm lens and what I want to create with it.

And that focus is helping the site get search engine traffic for those specific topics.

Here are some examples from very different niches to help kick-start your creativity:

Once Wed: Once Wed is one of my absolute favorite wedding planning blogs. Love love it. This blog is intended to be a resource for brides-to-be, looking for inspiration and vendors for their wedding. Specifically their vintage, old-fashioned, Antropologie-esque, little-bit-feminine wedding.

Ali Edwards: I’ve followed Ali’s blog for years and years. Maybe since she started it. Definitely since I found out she had a blog. Scrapbookers visit Ali’s blog for scrapbooking and storytelling inspiration, storytelling tips and scrapbooking how-tos.

Dooce: Heather Armstrong cracks me up. And that is likely the reason all of her other thousands and thousands of readers visit dooce.com on a regular basis. This blog doesn’t really fit into any industry niche, per se, but it definitely has a very distinct voice. Readers KNOW what Heather is going to blog about – extremely comedic re-tellings of everyday happenings in her life – and come to the site to read that.

SO: What is your blog about? What is your message? What problems would your blog provide the solution for?

Homework for today:

Identify what industry or topic your blog may fall under.

Articulate your blog topic, framed in reference to what problem you are helping readers solve.

Remember, if you have specific questions you’d like me to address, please leave them in the comments.

If you want to read more about the value and importance of great blog content, consider investing in the L&R BBC Workbook.

This workbook is FULL of all the things we are going to talk about over the next week, PLUS some extra chapters, PLUS more resources, PLUS worksheets and homework for each topic. Nearly 100 pages.

RESOURCES:

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  • Rachell May 3, 2011 at 6:48 am edit

    I reblogged this!

    http://nomarkatall.blogspot.com/2011/05/better-blog-content-with-lemon.html

    Also, I did some personal homework last night. I went out and got a planner for my blog specifically, and realized… I had nothing planned and my calender was empty and my head full of random posts. So now… posts are organized and I know I’ve got a lot of work to come up with more content!

    Reply
  • Amy May 4, 2011 at 8:33 am edit

    Thanks for blogging about it Rachell! I definitely got a few visitors from your site yesterday :)

    I think that blog-post-planning is one of the most efficient ways to quickly improve your blog content! It always feels so good to do the organizing :)

    There’s actually a whole chapter on post planning in the workbook, but I wasn’t planning on touching on it during the workshop.

    Reply
  • Angela May 3, 2011 at 11:58 am edit

    Focusing on one thing or a few specific things is hard. Im a schizophrenic person in general so learning to direct my attention is going to be really hard for me. It makes quite a lot of sense though. I like to use the calendar on my Mac to plan out blog posts. Granted, I havent done this in over a year, but it worked well then. Homework for me: planning.

    love you!
    x

    Reply
  • Amy May 4, 2011 at 8:34 am edit

    Choosing what to focus on out of everything you’re interested in IS hard …. but your blog URL is ‘Travel Dummy’ which kind of makes the decision for you.

    If you want to start another blog for other topics (like I did w/ L&R) that’s always an option, but I think you have plenty of travel-related topics to fill up your current blog …
    xo

    Reply
  • Kendra May 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm edit

    Have you read the Blog Love E-Course from Elsie? I bought it and read it back in December or so, I was planning on completely re-doing my blog, or at least needing to re-focus it. One of the lessons that helped me was about creating a tag line for your blog. Which I did.

    I actually have two blogs, one of my blogs “Like a Bird: life, art & inspiration” I thought that was specific enough of a theme or purpose of my blog. It encompasses the main 3 things I blog about.
    My other blog “Loose Leaf Dreams: beautiful adventures, treasures and love.” Is my travel/lifestyle blog co-authored by my fiance. This blog is much more focused and pretty new so we have low views still.

    But like I said in a comment yesterday, I think I need to work on my content more, maybe I need to focus it more(for like a bird)? I feel like I almost need an outside view from a handful of readers, to see what they think as well. Have you ever done surveys or talked to readers (not friends, just readers) to see what they think?

    (ps- sorry if this comment is huge, I tend to ramble lol)

    Reply
  • Amy May 4, 2011 at 8:39 am edit

    Kendra,
    I have read Elsie’s Blog Love … I think its great, but I’m not sure it goes deep enough.

    I really like her idea of having a tagline to quickly give your readers an idea of what the blog is about, but the actual thought and work and focus on your blog
    s content BEFORE creating the tagline is probably more important.

    I have done surveys …. but I don’t think that the response was large enough to get a good idea.
    When only 20 people fill out your survey you will get 20 different opinions. Versus when 1000 people fill out your survey you will get a lot more overlap and the bigger pieces stand out more.

    I think it is most important, though, to blog what YOU want to say. What YOUR message to the world is. Yes, it would be nice to have a bigger audience because you’re writing what they want to hear… But if you’re not blogging your passion you might not last long …

    Does that make sense?

    xo

    Reply
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