This guest post is by Danielle LaPorte of DanielleLaPorte.com.
Blog = up? Posts = rolling? It’s time to get obsessed with your message.
A quick dictionary moment, to differentiate between your voice, your topics and your message.
- Your voice is what makes your writing distinctive, compelling, unmistakably you. You’ll carry your voice from your blog, right into your book. Seamless, identifiable. Individual.
- Your topics are the categories or subjects you write about (Eco-luxe weddings on a shoestring budget! Savvy corporate management, with heart and soul! Thrifty vegan recipes!)
- Your message is your core teaching—the why behind your what. It’s the reason you write what your write. It drives your vocation. It’s the soapbox that you’re proud to stand on. If your blog had a “life purpose” or “calling”, this’d be it. (And it goes without saying, if you’re not obsessed with your message, nobody else will be, either.)
Putting it together
Your core message is the defining character of your brand, as a writer—and for maximum visibility, you’ll apply your message to specific subjects, reaching diverse and unexpected audiences, outside of your industry. Here’s an example:
Dr. Christiane Northrup’s message is about women’s wellness. Through her numerous books and products, she filters that message through topics such as nutrition, menopause, prenatal care, joy, parenting, and sexuality. So, Dr. Northrup can take her message to niche audiences that are focused on nutrition, menopause, prenatal care, joy, parenting, and sexuality. That’s a very big audience.
The message is the over-arching theme—and lots of people share Dr. Northrup’s message. However, not everyone has her voice, which makes her writing distinctive. People go to Dr. Northrup not just for her message, but for her unique way of delivering the goods.
Let’s say you write about grieving the death of a loved one and creating a new life—your essential message is about how to heal grief. You might think that your audience is narrow. But just ask yourself: where else does grief show up for people? It goes beyond the loss of a spouse. People experience grief when they lose a job, when a dream dies, when a family pet passes on, when their children grow up and leave the home, and so on.
You could be writing about your “process” of healing grief in a variety of outlets (magazines, newspapers, your blog, someone else’s blog), with audiences who are interested in career-change, creativity, pets, parenting… Same message. Different houses.
Perhaps your core message is that financial freedom rocks, and everyone should strive to achieve it. You’ve got theories and formulas, worksheets and how-to’s to help people make that happen.
Awe-some. Now, don’t stick to writing on the obvious financial management blogs. Go meet the people who need you and meet their needs when you get there. Get interviewed or contribute an article (or a series!) to a popular parenting blog: “5 Ways to Help Your Kids Become Money Savers.”
Does it matter that teaching kids to be money-aware is not your primary focus? Or that your next book is about making money on real estate? Nope. What matters is that you’re getting in front of grownups (book buyers, subscribers, event-hosters, humans in need), who care about financial freedom.
While your message and voice will ultimately define you, don’t get hung up on any one component of this—trying to get your “message” just perfect, or worrying about how your “voice” is different from someone else’s. The first six months that you’re writing a blog is all about finding your voice, and for some of us, it’ll take a bit longer.
Every movement has a story. Every nation has a story. Every community has a story. Every person has a story. You were born to tell yours.
There’s no such thing as wasted time when you’re working on your craft. Get the stories out of your inner world, give them time to breathe, and then see what’s true for you in the present time. If telling the story is between you and your God or only for your family, be proud you did it. You gave it voice. Then let it go. Something else will whisper in your ear, asking to be written.
Once you know what your message and voice is, it’s time to spread your wings and do something that the innovative and forward-thinking types will do: cross-pollinate their audiences.
Let’s continue with the example of a core message centered around financial freedom. Want to shake things up a bit, do things differently?
Write for a major style website. Yep—style. “Financial Freedom = Hot Fashion: How To Get Smart with Your Cash So You Can Have Everything You Want In Life … and In Your Closet.” Same tips, tailored spin. Greater exposure to a niche that’s full of people who need what you’ve got.
Take time to sit down and imagine all the different venues where your message could take part. Perhaps get really radical and make a top ten list of the places you think your message could never show up—and just to get creative, stretch a bit and imagine how, if you absolutely had to do it to pay rent next month, your message could work with that unlikely audience.
That’s how top bloggers think.
Cross-pollinate your audiences. Blend n’ stir. Watch it grow.
Danielle LaPorte is the author of the forthcoming book The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide for Creating Success on Your Own Terms (from Random House/Crown). An inspirational speaker, former think tank exec and business strategist, she is the creator of the online program The Spark Kit: A Digital Experience for Entrepreneurs and co-author of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. Over a million visitors have gone for her straight-up advice on DanielleLaPorte.com, a site that has been deemed “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality.”