If you haven't written a mission statement for your blog yet, you have no idea what you're doing. Pretty bold statement there, I know. Don't get too offended by it, I'm not challenging your abilities or intelligence here. Buuuut I am challenging your ability to organize a strategy!
If you've read Niches Defined, then you know I like specifically defining things to keep us on track. I learned first hand, as early as my first week blogging, that it only takes one stray thought to blur your entire focus for your business.
As such, I firmly believe that until you've written a purpose-filled mission statement in a way that'll be a constant, visible reminder to you, you're already wandering in the dark. You may have a plan in your head, but are you going to tell me your mind has never played tricks on you before? That it's never skewed a memory or produced an illogical thought?
So let's agree that I'm right and learn how to craft a powerful mission statement, yeah?
I'm going to walk you through this process pretty thoroughly in this post, but I want to go ahead and spoil the ending.
Your mission statement comes directly from you knowing why you're doing what you're doing.
If you don't know why, we're going to figure it out. If you do, this will be a cakewalk. However, there is actually a strong chance you only think you know your why. So let's dive in and figure out where you're at, shall we?
Find Your Zone
In order to craft your mission, you need a general idea of what area you want to write about. Obviously, if you've already started your blog, you likely have this figured out and you can skip to the next section.
If not, you have some homework to do real quick.
First, read Niches Defined (links open in new tabs!), so that you have a solid understanding of what it means to find your blogging niche. I don't teach some of the traditional ideas of niche blogging, so I'd recommend reading that post. But that's just my slightly biased opinion.
After reading that, you need to figure out what topic/field you want to write about. You have to know this before you can go further. This can be topics, plural, but you will want to establish a common theme. We'll work on that later if you're struggling to do so.
Here are a few tips in case this is something you're stuck on:
Pick something you're familiar with on at least a basic level.
You don't have to be an expert. There is always someone a step behind you that would love to know what you do!
Choose an area you don't mind spending time researching and developing. While you aren't required to be an expert, you will begin to establish some authority in this area! It's okay to learn along the way, but you have to be willing to do the learning.
Know that there are seven niches that are the easiest to make profitable. If a profitable business is your end game, you may want to seriously consider this list.
Don't call yourself a lifestyle blog if you don't know what that means.
- A note about "lifestyle" blogging
"Lifestyle" blogging doesn't mean you get to write about whatever you want about your life. Unless you have a major defining feature (a disability, a unique family dynamic, a major life experience, etc.), the harsh reality is that most people won't care about your life. Sorry.
You also don't get to call yourself a lifestyle blog if it's masquerading the fact that you have no idea what you're writing about. A lifestyle blog still has a focus. They tend to teach people how to apply different things to their lives, whether it be a practice, habit, or product. They're very magazine-like, in a way.
Find Your People
Who do you want to write to? Knowing the answer to this question is absolutely vital to building a community of people who will actual care about you, engage with your content, and invest in your products and services.
If you're 20, you're not likely to be writing to an audience of 50-year-olds. If you're a college student writing about study tips, you're probably not writing to stay-at-home moms.
Know who you want to write to and who will be interested in hearing from you. Know where they're at in life. What problems will they be facing before coming across your blog? What will their life look like after experiencing what your blog/business has to offer?
It helps to envision your ideal audience as a single person. You can even give him/her a name. Tell their story in relation to your niche. Who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? How are they feeling? What are their dreams? How do they get things done? Write it out!
Find Your Methodology
Methodology is an academic term, but it was burned into my brain when I was writing my undergrad thesis, so I'm going to make you suffer along with me.
Your methodology is all about your how. In the instance of blogging, it's important to have an idea of how you're going to deliver content to your audience and how you're going to offer products/services.
Bloggers deliver content through more channels than just blog posts. Have you considered additional avenues for expanding your reach and influence? Many bloggers use Youtube videos, webinars, or even just social media to deliver new content to their audience. And definitely don't forget your email list.
Additionally, the key to a great strategy is knowing what your end game is. You may not know the specifics yet, but do you have a general idea of where your income is going to come from? Affiliate income is definitely an effective passive income source, but you should offer your audience something that comes from you.
Do you want to offer a service? Maybe as a coach, consultant, or VA? Or would you rather deliver high value digital products, like online courses or ebooks? And don't forget about physical products! While these require some investment up front, they're a very professional way to reach a lot of people.
Why on earth did you decide to write a blog?
We can talk about the "why" behind your niche all day, but let's take it a step further.
Blogging takes a lot of work. It's a lot of writing, creativity, and technical mumbo-jumbo. Blogging involves putting your ideas out there, and subjecting them to some potentially harsh opinions of others. So why are you here? Do you want to...
...teach people who are lost, confused, or overwhelmed?
...help people conquer a major obstacle?
...inspire people who are feeling drained, unmotivated, or bored?
...encourage people who are struggling with something?
...share your opinions? Share your experiences?
Here's the hard question you have to ask yourself before you can continue:
Are you only here to make a profit?
Your first answer is going to be no, but take some time to really think about that. Because if the answer is yes, you're not ready!
You need a much stronger why to sustain a business. Profit-motive alone will lead to poor business decisions, and some that could even sabotage your own dream.
At the heart of it all, you have to want to reach and serve people. If this isn't your goal, really and truly, your business isn't sustainable.
The Mission Statement
Before we write the statement, let's make something clear. This statement is mostly for you!
You can craft a version or use what you write here on an About Page or a website header, but the goal of a mission statement is not marketing. The goal is focus and structure. You can decide if your mission statement will go public later. For now, write the statement for yourself.
Also, your statement should be concise. This isn't a manifesto, this is a one to two sentence statement that clearly defines your business' goal.
So, what are the main elements of your statement? Simply put, your statement will describe:
What you do
Who you do it for
How you're doing it
Why you're doing it
Value you offer
In a nutshell, your mission statement should communicate both your purpose and the value that you offer. What drives your work? What makes your business special?
It sounds like a lot of information for a concise statement, but it's not too difficult. Here's a couple random examples I came up with on the spot:
"I offer premium coaching services to teach branding strategies to aspiring freelancers so they can quit their day jobs and achieve financial freedom."
What - Branding Strategies
Who - Aspiring Freelancers
How - Coaching Services
Why - Financial / Day Job Freedom
Value - "Premium"
"I help newlyweds get started in the kitchen with easy-to-follow recipes that will teach them the basics of healthy at-home eating."
What - Healthy Recipes
Who - Newlyweds
How - Written Recipes
Why - Start Cooking Healthy
Value - "Easy-to-Follow"
If you're struggling with keeping things concise, work backwards! See how I broke down the five elements after each example using keywords from the statement? Maybe it'll be easier for you to start with your keywords! Then you can arrange them into one or two sentences.
The significance of this statement
This statement is so important. Things are going to get tough, and you may be tempted to take a shortcut or deviate from the path you planned to take. You're going to deny it, but I promise that the time will come.
I love when I connect with people who want to turn their blogging business into a full-time gig so they can quit their day job. As I've interacted with more of those people, and as I've worked myself on building this blog alongside my job, I've learned how easy it is to grow desperate. I've learned how quick we are to grow impatient. I know how difficult it can be to hold on to your integrity when you see potential shortcuts.
Let this statement drive you to build a strong foundation for your blog so you'll actually create a sustainable business for the long-term.
Type this statement up and print it. Put it on your wall. Make a craft out of it and practice your hand lettering. Or just jot it on a sticky note and keep it on your computer monitor. Do whatever it takes to keep this statement visible.
Do not allow yourself to lose sight of your mission. This is going to sound dramatic, but I really want you to hear me: You could lose the entire dream.
If you'd like help crafting your mission statement, or if you simply want to share it, you can comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I'd love to hear from you!
Until next time!
- Katie Scott