If you try to be all things to all people, you’ll end up satisfying none. If you try to please everybody, you’ll end up pleasing nobody. If you are trying to be the best at everything, you’ll end up being good at none.
Too many blogs fall into this trap. And it’s not just blogs. These principles apply to any new media tool, especially websites. They apply to just about everything else in life, too, whether you are marketing a widget, promoting an event or evangelizing with your ministry. You can not be all things to all people. You need a focused purpose.
If you look at anyone who has ever been the best at anything, whether it is your favorite Saint, singer or basketball player. Their life revolved primarily around a single, focused purpose. Their actions served that single, focused purpose. And they rejected any temptation of anything that did not serve that single, focused purpose. Successful blogs are no different. We must be just as disciplined in our efforts (something I still struggle with constantly).
Every blog needs a target audience. A niche. What is yours? If your answer is “everyone” or “anybody” then you need to put down the keyboard and go back to the beginning. If your answer is just “Catholics” then you probably still need to put down the keyboard and go back to the beginning. What kind of Catholics? What do they do? How do they think?
What is the purpose of your blog? Write it down and tape it to the top of your monitor. Read it before every single post you make. Ask yourself, “does what I am typing serve this purpose? And is it uniquely speaking to my particular niche?”
Now, it may take some experimentation or discernment to figure out this purpose. And that’s ok. But I would encourage you to make identifying this purpose a priority.
As Christians, we have the most important overall purpose of all: To love and to share the Gospel. But in what particular way are you uniquely serving this purpose? New media is giving us endless ways to do this and an amazing ability to reach particular groups and types of people like never before. But it’s not enough to just have this new media, we have to use it…and use it well.
What is your purpose? “Begin with the end in mind,” says Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). This is a very Catholic concept. Our “end” is the ultimate purpose of our life.
The Catholic Church has always reminded her spiritual children to reflect often, even daily, on “The Four Last Things”: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. For there is nothing better conceived than this powerful meditation to bring forcefully before our minds the essential purpose of life, namely, to save our souls and avoid Hell.” - Fr. Martin Von Cochem, O.S.F.C.
And we do this especially today as we begin this season of Lent with a powerful reflection of our end - “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” With this end in mind, we prepare for the event that gives that end a purpose - Easter.
That makes it an especially good time to also take a minute and refocus the purpose of your blog (or whatever else you are doing).
And just so I’m not all talk and no walk, my blog here on the Register will now be focusing on Catholic New Media. And I will be doing my best to serve that particular purpose well.