The 2nd part of my 10 questions to ask yourself before you start a blog…
5. What are you really hoping to achieve from starting a blog?
Money? Fame? Credibility? Free stuff?
Without defining your purpose from the get-go, you’ll have no clear direction and/or achievable benchmarks on which to measure your performance. These benchmarks don’t always have to be money-based; for example, one of the goals I set myself early in my blogging, was to achieve 1,000 hits a day. Another was to receive emails from certain (very specific) individuals in my industry, offering to collaborate on projects. Some of those objectives I’ve met, some I’m still working on.
Money never factored into any of my initial goals, as I knew that if everything else was in place, the money/fame/free stuff would be soon to follow.
4. What is the intended focus of your blog?
Are you willing/able to change your blog’s focus to suit the needs of your audience?
The obvious focus of my blog is wine, but as the months went on, I started letting food creep into more articles. After that, I started posting about social media. All of this at the same time keeping wine at the forefront. Who knows? In the future I may start to mention craft beers or cigars…
Your blog’s primary focus/objective is extremely important, but don’t be afraid to go off on a tangent every now and then. Just make sure you know enough about the topic, and be careful not to confuse/alienate your existing readers and blur the lines with regard to what you’re “all about”.
3. Do you have passion for your subject?
Let’s say someone wanted me to write a blog about Easter Gift Baskets, and offered me a decent amount of money to do so. That’s great….right!?!? Well, kind of.
If you’re about to start a blog on a subject you don’t have a true passion for, you’re screwed from the start. Maybe your boss told you you’re in charge of starting a blog for the company you work for….but you hate your job… How can you possibly think of new, exciting and engaging posts if you don’t have a full-fledged passion for what you’re writing about, and isn’t part of your long-term career plan? Sooner or later you’ll run out of steam, and throw in the towel. Don’t even waste your time.
2. Who is your intended audience?
Every time I mention a winemaking term such as malolactic fermentation, I give a very brief insight into what it is. I don’t assume that my reader knows its true definition. Now, if the reader had been following me for a few months, they would certainly have a firm grasp on the term, but I don’t assume that either.
The vast majority of newly created wine blogs out there claim they are: “…catering to the everyday wine drinker” and “…taking the pretentiousness out of wine”. The fact that I believe 9 out of 10 wine blogs claim it, but very few get it right, is irrelevant.
If you’re thinking about blogging on a very specific subject, you need to decide very quickly who your intended audience is.
Also, how old is this “intended audience”, where are they from, and would they mind if you drop the “f-bomb” every now and then? That last point is particularly important, as I (currently) choose to suppress bad language in my writing. However, do you want to do the same in your blog?
Would your readers feel like they could relate to you more if on, let’s say, your cheese blog you wrote: “Check out this fu*king Wensleydale cheese! This sh*t is blowing my mind right now!!!”
That may sound like a slight exaggeration, but how many cheese blogs are there like that? I’m guessing none, but if there were one I’d be a daily subscriber (as long as the blogger knew their topic)!
What I’m trying to say is that if you really want your blog to succeed, you need to make sure your voice doesn’t get lost amongst the noise of every other similar blog out there.
1. Can you think of at least 100 ideas for interesting posts and topics you want to talk about?
Maybe you can’t name all 100 posts right now, but before you start a blog it’s an extremely wise idea to start gathering your thoughts and put some ideas down on paper.
Currently I have about 600 blog posts written and posted, and at least another 100+ drafts “waiting in the wings”.
One of the first things I did before I even setup a blog, was to create a very simple document in Notepad, and spend a couple of hours hammering out ideas for future posts. If you’re having a hard time doing this simple task, you either don’t know your subject well enough, or don’t have a true passion for the blog you’re about to jump into.