Lost your way while blogging?
That’s where mission statements come in, simple maps that keep you on track without getting you bogged down in details. Mission statements aren’t just for huge corporations, either. They are for anyone–even individuals–who better want to understand who they are and what they intend to do.
In other words, they’re perfect for your blog.
A mission statement keeps your photography blog from turning into a political blog. It’s what keeps you writing when traffic is low and you think you should quit.
How To Write A Mission Statement
A blog mission statement reminds you why you are blogging in the first place. It helps you, your team, and even your audience understand what you are doing. Before you start writing the actual statement, though, you need to lay a foundation first. The first two steps of that foundation are very important.
1. Ask questions.
You need to ask questions to help you understand what you’re doing.
The answers to these questions might not every be used verbatim in your mission statement, but they help you get there. Most of us operate on default setting, it seems, and we aren’t very mindful of why we do what we do.
- Why do I blog?
- What questions do I answer?
- What questions do I ask?
- What kinds of things will/do I write about? Why?
- What kinds of things do I enjoy writing about? Why?
- Who cares about what I write? Who reads it?
- Which bloggers do I admire? Why?
- Will I be personal about my writing?
Please note that #4 and #5 are not the same question. Some bloggers write on topics they don’t necessarily enjoy. That’s fine. It’s a lot of work. It can be done. It takes discipline. You might get burned out. But it’s completely viable. Writing about what you enjoy will certainly be easier.
Asking these questions of myself for my own blogs, and for the blog here at CoSchedule, reveals different answers, because these blogs have different missions.
Go ahead. Answer the questions right now. (We’ll wait for you here until you’re done.)
Once you have your answers to those questions, we’ll need to winnow them down to what they are really telling you.
2. Extract your mission.
Take a look at the answers to those questions. You are looking for the following key themes:
- Your motivation for blogging. This is answered by questions 1-3.
- Who your blog is for. This is answered by questions 4 – 6.
- What you want to become. This is answered by question 7. For example, if you’re looking to make serious income, you’ll have chosen bloggers who are doing that. It’s easier to identify bloggers we admire rather than asking outright “what do I want to be” because sometimes we don’t answer that question very honestly. Our secret admirations do not lie.
- How you’ll do it. This is answered by question 8. Some remove themselves from their writing, with nothing personal. Business only. The writer is not present in the content.
If you answered the questions truthfully (and fully), you should have plenty to flesh out these four parts of your mission statement. What did I find out for my personal blog?
- Why: I write because I feel compelled to write.
- Who: My blog is for like-interested people who want to live a mindful, introspective life. And the occasional laugh.
- What: I want to offer more examples and stories from literature, faith, and the arts to show that these things have a place in everyday life.
- How: Continuous exposure to new ideas (reading, experiences) so I can share them by interpreting them.
3. Keep it short.
One to three sentences ought to do it, when it comes to mission statements.
Yes, that’s correct. It should be about that short. Long mission statements are easier to ignore than read.
A mission statement is not a comprehensive plan. This is not where you lay out your social media strategy, or create a detailed inbound marketing plan. It is best when it is succinct and easily remembered. It’s not a multi-page guide to refer to.
So, how might my mission statement look for my personal blog?
“The mission of my blog is to encourage a thoughtful life that leads to feelings of belonging and hope in both myself and my readers by exposure to a variety of ideas, experiences, and real-life stories. Laughter is always welcome.”
Yours might be completely different. It might include a specific amount of money you want your blog to bring as in come each year. It might be a specific niche that you wish to speak to, and would identify in your mission statement.
4. Be specific.
Not once in my mission statement did I try to leverage anything. There was no paradigm shift. There were no funnels, no permission marketing, no native advertising. No jargon.
Buzz words and jargon come about in an industry because insiders understand the terms. They seem appropriate, because they seem fit. But those words are ridiculous to anyone else, and they prevent even those who understand the jargon from really thinking clearly.
No ridiculous language in your mission statement. Try really, really, really, really hard to keep it out. Try to find another way of putting into as few words as possible what you want to happen with your blog. When you can’t use jargon, you’re forced to face the big ugly monster that you’ve been hesitant to put into words.
Instead of saying “I am going to leverage my blog for financial independence” you should be more specific and say “my blog will bring in $40,000 a year” because that’s the amount that would be necessary for you to be financially independent.
A mission statement is the time to write plainly, clearly, directly. You are not trying to impress anyone. You are trying to be clear. If your blog mission statement isn’t understandable by the average Joe, you did it wrong.
Aim high. Have a lofty and noble goal in mind for your blog, one that may or may not be overtly tangible.
Your lofty goal might be bringing in that $40,000 a year, it might be getting two million hits, or it might be giving readers a sense of hope.
Mission statements should direct you upwards to the stars, and not down to the dirt.
Mission Statement Done. Now What?
Congrats. You have a clear, blunt mission statement that you can compare your current blog with.
Are you writing about things that fit the mission? Is your audience who you believe it should be? Are you hitting a tangible goal? Is your true mission statement reflected on your blog right now? You can either keep blogging, and make changes, or stop blogging if that $40,000 is nowhere near and you have bills to pay.
For example, I look at my mission statement and I see that I want to inspire feelings of hope in readers. Maybe I should lay off the rant posts. Or maybe I should start another blog just for those off-mission kinds of writing.
An honest mission statement is a powerful thing. It’ll keep your blog from getting muddied and unclear. Mission statements are the detailed plans that tell you how to steer the ship. They’re the North Star that you always keep front and center as you man the sails and the rudder.