In the first of my new Blog Exercises, you will begin work on clarifying the purpose and mission of your site.
Take a minimum of 25 minutes to list all the words and phrases that describe what you blog about. If you are new to blogging, list all of the words describing what you wish to blog about.
When you are done, group the words together in like topics. Title the groups.
Compare these group titles to your blog categories. Do they match? Do these truly define the topics you cover on your blog, or wish to cover?
The next step is to list five article titles under each category group title. Do not write the whole article but a title representing the topic idea and concept.
Having trouble coming up with five article ideas under a category? If you cannot come up with three titles for a category, it’s time to reconsider the category and the focus of your site.
Have a category title that generates 300 titles and ideas? Maybe you should throw away the rest of the categories and put your blog focus here.
When you have completed the process, ask yourself what lessons you learned. What you think you blog about and what you really want to blog about may be the same or completely different? Is it time for some category cleaning and reorganizing? Time to shake out the sheets and do some early spring blog cleaning?
To help with the process, I’ve put together a Blog Category Brainstorm Form PDF file to guide you through the project of brainstorming your categories. Open it or right click and save the file to print it out and work on it. Instructions included.
If you were to do the entire brainstorm project in one sitting, it is estimated to take 2 hours. However, I recommend that you use the recommended minimum time limits as a baseline. There are reasons for the time length. Through extensive experimentation of this process for eight years, I’ve found that the real magic happens after 20-25 minutes of struggle and frustration. That’s when the mental dams break loose and the real magic begins.
If you would like, you may break up each of the four sessions on the form across several days or weeks, allowing your mind to sift through the data and process it. I recommend you complete this exercise in less than a week as procrastination and forgetfulness tends to set in.
This is a powerful exercise for your blog. It can change the path you are on, or confirm it.
Either way, remember to blog your passion, the mission of this series of exercises to flex your blog muscles.