I just celebrated my 4-year blogiversary and with that, I had a major blogging epiphany. Yup! I’ve been a blogger for 4 years and when I first started I had no idea what I was doing.
So…I dove into learning everything that I could about being an awesome blogger, including best practices in graphics, keywords, social media strategy, selling products, affiliate marketing, building a list, etc. etc. etc. I knew all the benchmarks of success for a blogger and read about increasing page views, likes, follows, shares, and subscribers.
A Blogger With a Problem
Alas, here I was, approaching my 4-year blogiversary and I hadn’t reached any of those benchmarks of success. Why was my blog growing so painfully slowly? I found myself plagued by this question.
One day, I stumbled upon some goals I had set for myself that included increasing page views and subscribers. That’s when it hit me.
It hit me hard.
I thought, “girl, you have problems because those goals are not inspiring.”
What Blogging Is Really About
I was comparing myself to other bloggers; trying to keep up with them and measuring success by their yardstick. I was letting comparison blind me and the pursuit of progress was getting in the way of the pursuit of passion. I was so busy trying to do, to be, to learn, and to live up to all the little blogging standards and nuances that I never took the time to specifically define my purpose, my passion, and my mission.
Yes, I need to study best practices and hone my craft.
But more importantly I need to write posts that are true to my passion.
Yes, I need to connect with other bloggers who know what it’s like and understand how much work and dedication go into writing each post. They get it. Other’s don’t.
But more importantly, I need to connect with my readers. Aren’t they the whole point of blogging, anyway?
Yes, page views and subscribers are important to brands.
But I can’t become so obsessed with these numbers that I forget that there are real people behind them.
A Blogger Without A Mission is Lost and Lonely
Because I lacked a clear mission, I fell victim to two things:
I Had No Anchor
Now that I’ve defined my mission as a blogger, I can finally focus. I’m no longer blinded by the sea of bloggers around me with tips on how to be a better blogger, because I know my purpose and passion. Instead of being blown this way and that way, I can keep my eyes on my own lane and chase my own version of success.
**No offense to bloggers who help other bloggers with tips…it’s awesome that you’re willing to share your craft and experience. I definitely enjoy learning more about blogging but I can’t do that to the point that I forget what’s important to me and my blog right now. **
I Had no Following (except my friends and family…love you!)
People generally find my blog through Pinterest or a Google search. They come because they are looking for an answer to a question and I’m offering the answer. But once they get their answer, sometimes they poke around some but more often, they leave. They don’t become followers. Why? Because they didn’t get a good impression of why my blog exists or why they should care. I’m just a girl who writes stuff and they don’t have time for stuff unless it answers their immediate questions.
However, if I have a cause or a passion that they can resonate with, then they might become a follower. Up until that point the cause that I was rallying behind was overcoming perfectionism and that’s not a topic that anyone would be proud to follow. Although it is still important to me and does still relate to my mission, it did not inspire people to follow me.
***This is an affiliate link. If you use this link to make a purchase, then I get paid a commission off your purchase at no additional cost to you. This is the book that I’ve been reading to help me identify and focus on my mission. It’s awesome.***
Defining Your Mission is Hard
I knew that the first thing a blogger should do is identify their “one thing” and focus on that. But as a newer blogger, how the heck do you do that until you’ve taken time to practice at it and figure out what gets you and your readers most excited (that was my excuse anyway)? I have a bunch of interests and hobbies. Why can’t I write about all that stuff?
Well…you can and I did. But not if you want people to follow you because people won’t follow you if they don’t know why your blog exists.
Here’s some suggestions on how to narrow down your blog’s mission statement. It’s not easy, (trust me I wrote about 35 of them before I figured it out) but it is worth it. (it’s not quick either, by the way)
1. Put your blog aside and do some soul searching.
Make a list of the pivotal moments in your life and what you learned about yourself from those experiences. These are the experiences that shaped you and helped you determine what you believe to be true. These experiences could actually be influences, like people who inspired you along the way and what they taught you.
Here’s an example: When I was in college I helped guide groups of students through different phases of a research project. I enjoyed meeting them, explaining things to them, helping them to feel comfortable, and guiding them through the process.
Look over your list and start to identify patterns. How are the lessons from those events similar? How do these experiences reflect your values?
2. Examine Your Blog
Look at what you’ve already been writing about on your blog. How are the topics related to each other? Can you see those values you identified shining through in these topics? Look for patterns.
3. Write As Many Mission Statements As It Takes
Your missions tells why you exist (I exist to____) and how you accomplish that (by___). Blogging is probably how you accomplish that, but being a blogger is not a unique position. It doesn’t help you stand out from the crowd and it certainly doesn’t inspire others to follow you.
I wrote many mission statements before I finally nailed it. There was a period of time where I was obsessively attempting to write a mission statement. I had them in binders, on church bulletins, school newsletters, envelopes. I’d write them in church, in the pick up line at the girls school, on road trips, on an airplane (once. maybe twice), and in my kitchen. I had to compile all of them, make comparisons, identify patterns, and once I finally had it, I looked back over my life experiences and the topics in my blog to confirm that I’d finally nailed it.
Changes to Come
It’s worth the effort to nail that mission statement! On my 4-year blogiversary I feel a sense of freedom and excitement about the future.
So if you’re a follower, you’ll be seeing things change around here with a clear mission with everything supporting it. I use the word follower, but I don’t really like that word. You’ll probably see that change too.
I have a dream that Intentional Dabblings will not only be an awesome blog but it will serve to support something bigger that will create more connected and joy-filled lives. I’m truly excited about the future of Intentional Dabblings and I wish you the best on your blogging adventures.
How this Post is True to My Mission
My mission is to encourage connection in a busy world because I believe connection is the key to joy. This post talks about blogging as a means to accomplish that mission. It talks about the importance of connecting meaningfully with readers and hopefully encourages bloggers to support each other but compete with themselves.