Ever since I started this blog, I’ve been freaked out. I’m not freaked out now about the same kind of stuff I was when I started, but because I haven’t felt equipped to explain in a crisp elevator speech what my blog is about.
Every time I’ve tried, I’ve felt like the damn elevator cable broke and I was plummeting fifty stories, turning my undies fifty shades of brown.
Everything I’ve read online about blogging screams “specialize,” “find your niche,” “don’t be a generalist,” “home in, home in!”
Here’s the problem with that: I’m a writer, but my blog is not about giving writerly advice. So what do I write about then?
Well, for starters and like all good writers, or at least writers who want people to read what they’ve written, I need to keep in mind the importance of developing my “platform.”
Does anyone else read that word and think of diving headfirst into a teacup?
Platform building is a confusing concept for me. It makes me think of Minecraft, which also confuses me, no matter how many times my daughter explains it. And it doesn’t help that there are like a thousand explanations online of what platform building means. Luckily I got off on a well-pedicured, non-hairy-toed foot by reading Kristen Lamb’s Rise of the Machines.
What I know is that an essential part of developing my “platform” involves fostering relationships with people so I have a potential reader base when my books are published. Basically, I’m hoping people will like me. Then they might also like reading my books.
So I’m doing the only thing I know how to do to develop relationships and get people to like me: I’m being myself. I think that’s pretty good advice, and I damn well better because it’s what I told my daughter and all the other girls in her Coming of Age program at our church.
After all that undie soiling over trying to explain what my blog is about, I read this slideshare from Copyblogger that talks about the ways in which digital media is more powerful than marketing.
I was picking up what they were laying down…until I hit slide fifty-eight, “Educating to influence.”
My first reaction when I read it was “Don’t bother reading any further—you have nothing to teach anyone and certainly not to the level where you could influence them.”
And then came slides fifty-nine and sixty:
#59: When you think about it, teachers are actually some of the most influential people in the world.
#60: Anyone who teaches you something by creating understanding and knowledge has changed the way you think…forever.
That is the sound of my brain exploding.
The heretofore seemingly discombobulated point of my blog became clear:
- To alter my readers’ perception or judgment (aka understanding) of a situation in some way, AND
- To make sure my readers gain awareness, familiarity or information (aka knowledge).
Without even trying and with no intention of doing that, it’s what I’ve been doing all along.
And I’m making connections. People are reading, and it looks like I’m creating understanding and knowledge. The comments they’re leaving support that—as I’ve said before, I’ve got the facts to back that shit up.
Phew! What a relief.
I DO have direction.
I DO have purpose.
And slowly but Shirley, I’m drawing in readers.
Now, if I only had a car that wasn’t on the verge of packing it in for the scrap heap I’d be golden.
So what about you? When in your life have you felt purposeless or directionless? What did you do to get out of that death spiral? What’s your elevator speech, either for your blog (if you blog) or your life? Anybody else not relish the idea of platform diving or plummeting elevators?