Using a Blog Manifesto to Keep Your Direction

I’ve been blogging for a long time now. One of my blogs is coming up on a 5 year anniversary, but truth be told, I’ve been writing on the internet for over a decade. One thing that’s really helped me stay the course has been a blog manifesto. Creating one of these can help you better define your blogging goals, live up to our own expectations, and move forward.

We all know that writing valuable content is important, whether that’s on our blogs or in our Tweets. But if you’re honest with yourself for a minute right now, have you always lived up to delivering great content all the time? Did you hit publish on that post or social media message that wasn’t quite up to par?

Let’s call ourselves out and create a way to keep ourselves accountable.

Define Blogging Purpose in a Blog Manifesto

The first step to digging into creating your blog manifesto is determining you overall goal for your blog. Knowing exactly what you want out of your blog and what you want to work towards is the most important thing when developing strategy for your work online. Without a clear direction, you’ll float from one idea to the next without any end game in mind.

Determine Your Business Blogging Goals

Blogging for business is generally easier than personal blogging. Ultimately, every business blogger has the end goal desired: to make money. Of course, there are endless strategies to get to that end goal. It might be:

  • Positioning yourself or your business as a thought leader
  • Generating strong relationships with your audience
  • Express your brand identity
  • Provide better customer service, like product use ideas or answers to questions
  • Build an email list
  • Attract top talent
  • Capture earned media
  • Set your business apart from everyone else

Whatever you’re doing with your business blog, you want that to transfer into customers and profits. It might just be a roundabout way to get there.

Always remember that while you’re on a mission towards a successful bottom line, you need to hold yourself to the same standards as personal blogs. You need to bring passion, creativity, and a unique approach to your content topics. While readers can acknowledge the difference between business blogs and personal blogs, they read content in the same way.

[Tweet “Readers expect passion, creativity, and uniqueness from business blogs as much as hobby blogs.”]

A blogging manifesto will help you make sure you’re providing your customers and leads with the right message, no matter what your bottom line is looking like.

Determine Your Personal Blogging Goals

Personal blogging is a lot harder for most people because it can be really hard to determine your end goal. There are thousands of reasons to have a personal blog. Here are some common ones:

  • Become a better writer, thinker, or whatever else
  • Express yourself
  • Boost creativity
  • Keep yourself accountable on projects, ideas, or life goals
  • Connect to others
  • Inspire or help others

Keep in mind that if you’re trying to make money from your blog in any way, whether from sidebar ads, products you sell, or even donations from readers, you should consider your blog a business. It will change the way you look at your blog and make sticking to goals much easier.

If you’re not on a mission for money, however, it can be difficult to stick with one thing. Your blog is a representation of you and your life, after all, and that changes throughout your life. One month, you might be really into one idea. The next, you might be headed an entirely different direction.

A blogging manifesto helps ensure that everything you publish is worthwhile and embodies the spirit and thought behind your blog even if your interests vary.

[Tweet “Trouble sticking to one blog topic? Instead, think of moments of your life as the topic.”]

Manifesting Value on your Blog

Your audience has a million and one other things to do than read your blog. On top of that, they could pretty easily find the information elsewhere on the internet. There’s not much information that isn’t already covered, in some manner, by someone else.

If your blog and social media isn’t providing something useful and worth your audience’s time, you’ll be talking to no one. Not only is that bad for business blogs, it’s frustrating for personal bloggers. It’s why so many people give up, stop blogging, and move on.

What can you bring your audience? This is where you need to marry the purpose of your blog with what’s meaningful to you. Whether you’re blogging for business or for fun, what can you do to help your audience? How do you fit into your audience’s life?

Your blog manifesto needs to drive you towards helping your audience and keeping yourself accountable to do that. Those half-hearted posts you published because it was a post day? You need to let those go and demand better from your blogging efforts.

After all, what’s the point if your audience isn’t going to read it because it’s valueless and you don’t really enjoy creating it?

You might want to include in your blog manifesto that every post you publish must have:

  • Actionable advice your audience can act on to make their lives better
  • A way for your audience to connect with you on a meaningful level
  • A push to give your audience a new outlook on their lives or change their thinking

Or anything else that requires real value from you for your readers.

[Tweet “Marry the purpose and meaning of your blog to create value for readers.”]

Defining Your Blog Audience

Knowing your audience is key to understanding what they find valuable as well as how to talk to them. Your blog obviously only appeals to a small group of people in the world. Not everyone is going to like your content much less let you become a part of their lives.

Defining your audience isn’t a easy task and getting to know them and what they want can be even harder. I’ve developed a great free ecourse to help you know your audience better.

Sign up for the free 6-week email course and better define and serve your audience.

If you know your audience well, define them in your blog manifesto and stick to serving them and only them in your posts. Only write for others if you’re making the conscious decision to start including them in your audience in the future, not just for one post.

[Tweet “Write for your audience and only your audience.”]

Manifesting Feelings on Your Blog

This is much less touchy-feely hippie dippy than you might realize. In Contagious by Jonah Berger, he discusses research he did of the Most Emailed articles on the New York Times. If you’ve ever wondered why boring scientific articles are shared as much as articles about politics or the best new intriguing foods? It has to do with the kinds of emotions they activate.

Emotions that make us engaged and high active, like awe or anger, make us want to share, says Berger. Passive emotions, on the other hand, like contentment, inclusion, or sadness, won’t help you much to create viral content. You can watch a 40 minute Google Talk about that theory and the book by Berger if you want to skip reading the book.

Taking this research to task, what feeling do you want to create in your audience? Do you want them to feel:

  • Exhilarated
  • Disgusted
  • Inspired
  • Furious
  • Delighted
  • Afraid

Motivating your audience with feelings needs to be part of your blog manifesto to get the biggest effect out of your work.

[Tweet “Write for active emotions to get engagement from your audience.”]

Blog Manifesto Worksheet

I’ve created a handy Blog Manifesto Worksheet for you to use to create your own blog manifesto to keep you on target with your blog.

Create a blogging manifesto with this free worksheet from Bear & Beagle Creative. Get your blog on track today!
Create a blogging manifesto with this free worksheet from Bear & Beagle Creative. Get your blog on track today!

To use this Google Doc Worksheet:

  • Click the link to go to the file
  • Print it to fill in by hand OR
  • File > Make a Copy > Save it to your Google Drive to fill in in on your computer

I hope this helps you get more out of your blog and be more productive with your blogging work. If you loved this post and worksheet, share it with your fellow bloggers!

And don’t forget that if you’re completely lost, I offer blog coaching sessions and workshops to help you figure out more about what you want out of your blog and develop a strategy that’s right for you.

[Tweet “I loved this free Blog Manifesto Worksheet!”]

Poster mockup from Mike Delsing.