Even when focusing on the work of creating great writing – and allowing yourself to just do the writing – divining a purpose for your work can be tough. It’s a deeper issue than just figuring out what to write about (the topic) or who to share the information you have with (the audience). Discerning the purpose for your writing is a chief part of creating truly lasting, worth-while material.
When crafting a work of words, allowing the purpose of those words to shine through is paramount to the writing’s success.
A lot of blogs talk about calls to action – big red buttons being big and red enough, carefully placed “Please subscribe” buttons being carefully placed enough. This is all flash in the pan without writing that illicits one of three reactions;
- Get More of This – We want people to subscribe, bookmark, or otherwise give themselves permission to read more of our work.
- Pass This On – Sharing, whether on a social network, by email, or just the impossible to quantify word of mouth.
- Continue the Conversation – Whether through comments, reactive blog posts; at any level of synchrony or asynchrony.
When we’re talking about the purpose of a blog, these three categories (not topics) of response are the best indicators that we’re doing our jobs correctly. Our audience decides their own level of involvement, certainly, but it’s our writing that encourages or discourages this involvement. By considering the purpose we want to endorse with our writing on a piece-by-piece basis, we’re encouraging these responses.
When we back up our writing with an action-oriented flow, we’re much more primed for the response we receive.
Building content of any kind around a given subject is important – enough writers stress relevance and subjectivity that I don’t think it needs more discourse. However, semantic value only gets us so far. Thrust of purpose gets people moving, and because the web is becoming so much more heavily active and interactive recently, giving people a purpose for material is important when being considerate of their fractured attention.
You can be as on-topic as you want, but if people can’t find a purpose for the material you’re giving them, you’re not doing everything you can to encourage their return or their continued involvement in your work.
The active web loves linkage – it needs it, craves it, and doesn’t get enough highly-considered sources for it. From an SEO standpoint, this means that anyone from the tiniest niche blogger to the biggest celebrity acting on your material (whether sharing, conversing about, or even passively subscribing to it) gets you points you wouldn’t otherwise have.
The little increments of points add up over time. As instant as the web appears to be, the spider’s crawl is a slow dance, requiring careful choreography to navigate. No one hits it big from their first post – no one. Optimizing your blog for search requires patience, purpose, and work.
But what intriguing work!
So – what do you think I’d like you to do with this post, now that we’ve spent so much energy talking about purpose?
Image by Eustaquio Santimano.