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Get Obsessed with Your Message

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.

Cross-pollinate

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.

Hang ups

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.

Cross-pollinate

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.”

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Comments

  1. This reminds me of the way I once heard art defined (unfortunately I dont remember who said it).

    Basically, it was that art is the mixing together of two ingredients that had never before been mixed together. I’ve always loved that idea.

  2. “If you’re not obsessed with your message, nobody else will be, either.”

    This is brilliant, Danielle. Of course, it can be easier said than done to find a message that you’re obsessed with. It’s even harder to stick with it, especially in those early days of a blog or business. But there’s a huge payoff if you do.

    • I have never heard that quote before, I love it! Thanks Krista!

    • Krista – usually to find the message you’re obsessed with you need go no further than inward. What makes you, you? What gives you energy? What could you speak about passionately until the wee hours of the morning? There’s your message. It’s who you are. (just my two cents!)

  3. Ocha says:

    I like the way you tie the elements together, voice, topics and message and then give some easy to understand examples. Gives me things to think about. Thanks.

  4. Emila Yusof says:

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing, Danielle.

  5. Hi Danielle,

    Powerful message! Cross-polinating moves you into difference sub niches quickly. People who have a general interest in what you have to share can dig your message, as much as someone from your hyper-focused niche. Broaden your perspective a bit to speak to more people and grow your influence.

    Love your note about perfection. Listen. Sit still and listen. Now write. Your voice is always there. No need to even find it. People feel they need to find it, because of all the junk we acquire, the fear of criticism, the fear of just wanting to fit in at all costs, and these blocks take time and persistent practice to dissolve.

    People who speak their message quickly usually acquire massive followings quickly and generate a ton of resistance too. A lot going on at once, which is too much for some to handle so quickly. This is why spending a lot of time in quiet is a neat way to find your way. Fear of criticism, fear of success, all these paralyzing fears dissolve, and you simply practice writing with your unique style, a style no one else in human history can mimic. How’s that sound? Pretty good to me ;)

    Of course, spot on too, the “wasted time” idea. Each moment is an opportunity. Hold this idea. Time is time, you either seize it, and use it for a higher purpose, or you do not. Either way, can’t possibly waste time is engaged in high energy, goal-achieving acts throughout your day, which benefit the whole.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Danielle!

    Ryan

  6. Natalie Webb says:

    Danielle, I feel like you wrote this to pat me on the head and tell me that everything is all right with the world. I have been wrestling with the idea of paring down the topics I cover, because you read everywhere that you should pick a single niche and stick with it. I have had a really hard time doing it though.

    I am still going to work on focusing a bit more, but after reading this post, I feel more comfortable with the fact that I do have a strong message, a passion for the DIY lifestyle. That includes lots of things, but keeping my message top of mind should keep me on track.

    Cross-pollination especially resonated with me, because with a blog that is multi-topic already, the options really are endless. Wonderful post, thanks so much!

  7. Entering just about any type of blogging genre (whether it be travel, photography, etc) is a daunting task in 2012; however, if one is persistent with their goals and finds his/her unique voice one can attract a widespread audience in a short period of time.

    • Hi Samuel, I agree that it’s daunting, but if you really inject YOU into your work…you will slowly find your own little tribe. Of that, I am a firm believer.

  8. Kevin says:

    I just spent the last hour brainstorming about my brand and message. Your post helped put a few things into perspective. It fits with what I’ve been focusing my online business around – the more you act the better your results will be. If I just keep blogging for the next 6 months, my message and voice will be a lot more clear. Thank you.

  9. Great article, thanks for share us! greetings from spain

  10. Calin says:

    Yes, it is really difficult to find that inner voice and make it likeable for the public, especially if it is to be followed by a great message. But this is what us, as bloggers, should do and I think that you put it best when you said that we must get obsessed with the message!

  11. Blossom says:

    What happens when you market who you are, is you attract clients that “get you”. It is refreshing to know that now we can be our brand, instead of an endless sales pitch.

    Thanks for the well crafted message!

  12. “There is no such thing as wasted time when you’re working on your craft”

    “Get obsessed with your message”

    I learnt a lot from this article,but i won’t forget this two power-points.

  13. Maria says:

    Danielle, thank you for this powerful message. Focus is something we struggle with as we write. I often feel like I am chasing a squirrel as my mind goes from topic to topic. Your post has encouraged me to continue to write outside the box, the message is still in my voice after all.

  14. I like the way you tie the elements together, voice, topics and message and then give some easy to understand examples. Gives me things to think about. Thanks.

  15. I loved your wording in this post, everyone has a story. I quoted this, with attribution of course. on my RhineGirl blog today. I advocate writing family history stories. Thanks for igniting my creativity.

  16. I love the idea of cross-pollination. I’ve been thinking about this for some time, but the way you’ve laid it out here makes it so much clearer in my mind. Thanks for a great post Danielle.

  17. What a great article! I had never thought of it this way, I’m going to be figuring out what my message is today! Thank you!