Are you a blogger of musings and other random things, believing the more well-rounded your blog is the better your chances are of attracting a larger audience?
I made this mistake, too. The good news is it’s fixable.
Jack of all trades
It’s cool to be a jack of all trades. Such people can do almost anything and are pretty darn good at most everything they do.
But, there’s a problem, they hardly ever get paid what a skilled craftsperson gets paid for doing just one thing exceptionally well.
It’s great to have handy people around, we need them, but they’re a dime a dozen. They’re dispensable. I know, it’s not fair, but this isn’t about being fair. Sadly, it rarely ever is.
You can call up any handyperson and expect more or less the same results as from any other, but when you want a specific job done very well, who do we call?
The fatal mistake all too many bloggers make is that they are not focused.
If a blog’s topics are all over the place and readers never know what to expect it’s probably not worth their time to subscribe, unless, of course, they’re very close friends and family (and even then it’s a gamble).
Don’t get me wrong, I like reading about a wide range of topics. I’m sure you do, too. But when it comes to filling our inboxes with blog feeds, we’d like to know it’s something we want to read, otherwise we’ll unsubscribe so we can focus on email we actually do care about.
Become a Specialist
There’s something you know extremely well (kite flying, bungee jumping, writing, – something), something you know so well that if you were to write interesting and helpful articles about it on a consistent basis you would attract a very specific readership and you’d become viewed as an expert in that field.
That’s what you want – a specific group of readers interested in what you’ve got to say.
What do you know better than anything else?
What can you write about week in and week out?
When you get the same answer for both questions, blog about that for at least 6 months and see how it goes.
Your audience is waiting for you.
We need you to share your knowledge with us in your unique way, with your unique understanding from lessons you’ve learned.
Your audience is waiting for you. (Click to Tweet)
It’s normal when you start writing in public that you want to attract as many readers as possible, but the mistake is believing that writing about any and every topic will help build your readership.
As bloggers, we attract readers who know who we are and what we are about. Our readers can then recommend us to people who are also interested in our work by saying something like “Bob has a great blog about upside-down skydiving. Check it out!”
Bob can write the heck out of upside-down skydiving, his readers regard him as an expert and they highly recommend him to others who are into jumping out of perfectly fine airplanes.
And that, my friends, is how it works.
I know how counterintuitive it sounds, but it’s true, if you pick a topic and narrow it even more to something very specific in a subtopic you’ll increase your ability to attract new readers.
And that’s the paradox. It might seem reasonable to expect you’ll reach more people by blogging about a wide range of topics, but what you’ll actually do is reach fewer, because few will be able to identify what your blog is about.
If blogging about random stuff really is your thing, that’s okay, go for it, but at least try to create a theme around the randomness we can identify and connect with.
One of the most difficult things for a blogger to do is create a short, descriptive tagline that describes what the focus of their blog is about.
There are a LOT of helpful articles about writing a great tagline, but most of them go on forever describing all of the “perfect” strategies to come up with the best possible slogan.
But here’s the truth, most great taglines come about over time through evolution and lots of rewriting. You start out with what you think is a great tagline for your blog and over time you refine it again and again.
There’s no magic formula. You can wave a wand, but I can’t promise you it will work. But hey, try it. It can’t hurt.
Every now and then you get lucky and write the perfect tagline in a moment of euphoria. It’s rare, but it happens.
So allow me to give you just a few brief tips on writing your tagline:
It should be limited to no more than two sentences.
One sentence would be ideal.
Hip and cool isn’t your goal.
Concise, descriptive and memorable is what you want.
Keep it simple.
The more you overthink it and complex you make it, the longer it gets.
Please, whatever you do, don’t get all focused on verbs, adverbs, or any supposedly super-power words, or the word count for that matter, simply write what you think your blog is about.
Hell, you might even write a fifteen sentence paragraph to start out with, and guess what? That’s fine!
Write fifteen sentences if it helps, then edit a little, then edit a little more, and then refine, edit, refine, edit… until you come up with something that works for you. Get it down to two sentences or less, and BOOM! That’s your tagline.
It might change over time, but you gotta start with something. Just know this, there are no perfect taglines and yours doesn’t have to be, either.
Great taglines that resonate and stick around, do so not merely for their sharp-witted words, but for what and who they represent. Taglines on their own are nothing, it’s what you create and what your blog becomes that make taglines stand out, such as:
Unmissable Articles on Writing
Write to Done
Write Better, Get Published
Seth Godin’s riffs on marketing, respect, and the ways ideas spread
On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference
Write with More Confidence and Greater Satisfaction
Are you ready? Take a moment in the comments to describe your blog in two sentences or less. Can you do it? Go!
If you don’t have a blog yet but are thinking of starting one eventually, what would it be about? Can you describe it in two sentences or less?