Earlier this month I gave a presentation about blogging to Australian Society of Travel Writers convention in Bangkok. It was such a fun hour (as was the week I spent in Thailand connected to it!) and I thought I’d share one of the exercises I got the attendees to do. It was all about the WHY of a blog – because there are so many different reasons to start or keep a blog, and I think it’s really important that you keep that why in the front of your mind.
Reasons for blogging
There are nearly as many reasons to blog as there are bloggers (and that’s a LOT!), but when I thought about them in more detail I was able to think about them in five main categories:
- pleasure … the very best way to blog! Many people blog as a hobby because they enjoy writing, or because they have a topic they love and want to share their knowledge about. This is such a wonderful reason to blog and can be very satisfying!
- create an online portfolio … when I first started NotABallerina.com, this was the main reason behind it. I was writing travel articles for magazines and websites and wanted a space online to be able to easily show that to other editors I was trying to write for. It’s still a valid reason to blog for many people, especially creatives of all kinds.
- build a platform and authority … another common reason to have a blog. Immediately many of my author clients spring to mind – when they are trying to get a book deal, having an existing platform helps a lot because the publisher knows they’re not starting from zero online. But a blog about your topic of specialty is also a way to demonstrate your authority and expertise in the area. My goal is that my travel blog (along with my podcast) will build my authority in the area of “thoughtful travel” and that I can become a recognised expert on this!
- community and connection … a wonderful thing about blogs is that it can bring together people from all across the world who have something in common. I always like to use the example of my friend Julie who runs Have Wheelchair Will Travel. Over the years it’s become home to a thriving community of people who travel but need extra information or tips because either they or someone they travel with has a disability.
- income (through advertising, affiliate commissions, products, services) … another good reason to blog and an important one for both this site and my travel blog. Here, my goal is for my blog posts to support the platform I’ve built as an expert in blogging and social media in Perth, but the real reason for that is to be able to sell my services. On my travel blog, I generate income more through advertising, affiliate commissions and sponsorship arrangements.
What is your objective for your blog?
Well, it’s nearly time for your turn! But first: as an exercise at the ASTW convention I encouraged the participants to spend a minute or two coming up with their “why pie”! Why pie sounds kinda tasty, right? (Well, it didn’t have to be, because morning tea was served directly after my talk!)
I’ve included my pie chart below showing that for my travel blog, I actually have a bunch of different reasons to do it, some more important than others. I think it’s rare that a blog will only serve one single purpose, unless it’s purely a hobby blog. These reasons may change over time, too, but it’s important to keep them in mind so that you can make sensible decisions about your blog and also feel motivated to keep it up, knowing the “why” you have in mind.
You might have an entirely different reason, unlisted above, for your why pie, and you may only have a couple of reasons – but whatever the case, I’d encourage you to grab a pen and paper now and figure out your own “blogging why pie”. It’s a really handy exercise to keep you on track – before blogging becomes just one of those chores that you can’t remember why you do.
I’d love to hear the results of your why pie pondering – leave a message in the comments below or come and post a picture of your why pie on my Facebook page.