Saturday evening, I was very flattered to be invited to a casual get together of some women bloggers who had attend the Blog Indiana conference held last week. There were Twitterers and bloggers of all variety at this get together of about 15 women.
I sat next to Heather of Just Heather and the founder of Inexpensively. She is an outrageously fun woman! She is so full of energy that is absolutely contagious and she is smart as a whip when it comes to all things social media. I had a lot of laughs sitting next to her and also gained some knowledge.
There was one bit of advice she gave me that I've actually been mulling over for a while now. It's something I've certainly heard before but never actually tried to do.
Develop a mission statement.
As Heather said, it doesn't have to be published, it doesn't have to be grand. But it helps you stay focused on why you do what you do.
I've thought about it before but I guess I'd always had a hard time figuring out what my purpose was in this blogging thing.
I started it on a whim; actually, I was forced into by Christy. But I love it and I keep going so there must be some reason, some purpose.
There are blogs dedicated to weight loss and fitness. There are blogs detailing the experiences of women escaping domestic violence situations. There are blogs dedicated to bringing a face and voice to homelessness. There are travel blogs and RVing gay couples on a year long adventure across the country blogs. There are cooking blogs and journal blogs and parenting blogs of every ilk. There aer humor blogs and political blogs and education blogs and military blogs and religious blogs that run the spectrum.
Where on earth do I fit into all of that?
I'm a mom so does that mean I'm a Mommy Blogger? I talk about my faith so does that mean I'm a Religion Blogger? I sometimes talk about current social issues and my opinions on them so does that make me a Political Blogger? I'm very open about my mission to become a Healthier Me and I even blog for FitCity Indy so does that mean I'm a Fitness Blogger?
It struck me on Saturday, as I studied the women who surrounded the table, that I don't have to fit into any sort of category in order to realize my mission. As I met most of the women and talked with them about blogging and life and kids and jobs, it struck me that the joy I get from blogging is the connections I make with other people.
Over the past few years, I find that I easily unfollow someone on Twitter or that I stop reading their blog if I never feel that any effort is made to connect back. It doesn't have to be a reply to every comment or an e-mail back for every comment. It doesn't have to be commenting on every blog post I write. It doesn't have to be a constant Twitter-fest or daily comments on my Facebook page. Don't get me wrong- I love all of that! And I do my best to give those connections back to people.
What I don't understand is when zero effort is made to connect back to a reader who has made the effort to reach out to you. I get it with the really big bloggers- that homeschooling mom on a ranch or that mom who has been on Oprah and just bought a new house thanks to her blogging career. When you get hundreds of comments on a single post or your contests receive thousands of entries, it's tough to connect back. That's when writing style is what really connects you, I think.
But when you aren't a big national sensation and you still look to your local network to lift you up and you really depend on each and every reader to be part of your blog... give back a little!
I started blogging because I had something I wanted, even needed, to put out here. For whomever to find. Sometimes, it's a light hearted something. Sometimes, it's a serious topic. Sometimes it's about my kids. Sometimes about my marriage. Sometimes even about working. I put my thoughts and experiences and opinions and philosophies and fun times out here on my personal blog. I've never had a goal in mind of what was to come of it. In all honesty, I never dreamed I'd have readers beyond Christy and Jeff.
My mission statement?
To write in an open, honest, and true voice about my life and thoughts. In so doing, I will connect with other people both local and global. Through these connections, I can become a better person and possibly help someone else better themselves as well.
And so, dear readers, I turn the floor to you. Do you agree with my mission statement? Am I fulfilling my mission?
Nicely done! I struggle with this too....also, realized that we weren't following each other on Twitter til Saturday--do you think we see each other in real life?!?!
When I went to the Casual Bloggers Conference last May, I heard the same thing: Find Your Niche and Claim It.
I had to think for a bit about what it is I am all about...what's my niche? I have no freaking idea.
I am a Mommy Blogger. And a Midwife Blogger. And a Home Staging Blogger.
And a Colorado-Lovin' Blogger. And And And...it's my Life. So maybe what I am is a Life Blogger.
Yeah, that's it.
I like you Liz, and if we lived nearby, you'd see my happy face at your house all the time!
I think your mission matches up perfectly to what you really do on this blog. And I'm glad to be connected with you.
Makes sense to me, Liz!
Sounds about right to me.
As for the "find your niche" thing, that's great if your goal is to build a readership or make your blog "famous." But for me (and I suspect for you), I don't give two doo-doos about all that. (Ok, I do love adding followers...) I blog for me, and for my friends, and if most of the friends who read my blog are "Blog Buddies," that's a great little community to build.
And if someone doesn't find my blog "nichey" enough to follow, well...it's not. I refuse to put myself in a niche, so why should I put my blog in one?
Even though I've been reading your blog for just a few months, I'll weigh in -- yes, I'd say your mission statement fits. :)
It's a good question for web writing in general: how conversational can the medium be? It's about the same as the question: how many friendships can a person maintain, and to what quality?
Absolutely! When I started reading your questions of which niche you fit into, my first thought was "You're a LIFE blogger!" You talk about your life. I mean, really, no one person can neatly fit into 1 catergory anyway, right? I love that you are honest and put yourself out there for people to connect with. I certainly have connected with your topics and your writing style. Thanks! Keep it up!
I love it! Thanks so much for the kind words - it was fabulous to finally meet you in person. I'm not sure I even realized we hadn't. And, *that* is how you know we're doing it right. We've connected for years, and it didn't matter that we'd never sat side by side. I'm so glad we have, now.
And, I'm glad you got so much out of that small conversation. I think it's so important, especially as brands start courting you, to *know* your mission - whatever it is - so you can be sure you're always being true to it.
Yours is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for writing this! I've never really thought about a mission for myself. Mine started as sort of a self-improvement blog, with the title meant for me, so that I would stay movtivated. I'm still pulling the same stuff I pulled two years ago.
Then I came upon your blog and you were like a breath of fresh air to me. So yes, you are connecting with people even though we don't always let you know.
I'm letting you know. Thanks for writing about whatever you want to write about. It touches me every time!
I need to figure this out too. I guess I will own MommyBlogger who Talks About Other Stuff Too. Can I trademark that?
I love everything that you said. I've heard so much that you have to have this "pitch" ready, or mission statement if you will. But as a personal blogger? I just feel like "I am who I am", and I'm often left to figure out what that means.
I'm so glad we met, even if I connected the dots the next day.
I think these little hangouts need to be a monthly occurrence, don't you think that would be fun?
Definitely fits your blog. I really think it is your complete openness & honesty that makes your blog awesome. I feel I really know you and can relate to most of the things you talk about (my husband and I don't have kids yet, but you have shared some great ideas I have tucked away for when/if we do). You keep it real and it pulls me in. I look forward to reading your blog every day.
I like Mandi's description: Life Blogger. I sometimes struggle to categorize my blog, too. Weight loss, fitness, daily life, married life...just life! But mainly I blog because I enjoy it and it's always a surprise when I find out somebody is reading it (I don't have a lot of "official" followers or many commenters).
Absolutely! I love it.
Wow, that's a great mission statement. I don't have a niche for my blog either, but you really got me thinking that I should. I could use a bit of focus over at my place.
I am one of the worst connectors when it comes to blogging. I really don't reply to comments and sometimes I don't even comment on the other person's blog - if the blog doesn't suit me, I don't comment. But then again, I do have email conversations with some and I travel to meet my fellow bloggers at other times. Then other times, I hijack the comment section and write a novel :)
You are an engaging writer. Thank you for blogging.
Kristin _ The Goat
yes, yes, absolutely great mission!
I have to think about mine though...
SS greetings from Casablanca!
"Your mission, should you choose to accept it..." Great post and great mission statement. I think it fits you just fine.
I like to email back to everyone too, until I become one of those bloggers who is able to buy a house from her blog money that is. Then I will want to thank all of the little people, lol!
I like it - fits with me too, since I'm a multifaceted writer who doesn't really have a niche either.
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