There are lots of reasons to start a blog, from personal fulfillment to professional marketing. The reason for your blog, and the purpose behind it will change your topics, word choices, and distribution strategies. So why are you blogging?

I recently met with a blog coaching client to prepare her to write her initial blogs. “What is the purpose of your blog?” I asked. She couldn’t answer. She knew she should be blogging to help build her business, but she couldn’t imagine someone wanting to read what she thought she should be writing. So we broke it down and I asked again: “What do you want your blog to do for you?”

Blogging as Personal Expression

There are plenty of bloggers out there who aren’t in it for the money at all. They write about their own experiences and opinions. They aren’t selling anything. Instead, they write for their own personal expression – as an outlet for creativity.

That’s great! As long as you aren’t trying to make money from your blog. Some personal bloggers are able to bring in some income using ads or other passive techniques, but their blog isn’t working for them in that way. It is instead providing a personal service – giving them a place to tell their story and an audience to listen to them.

Blogging to Develop Expertise

If you are in a professional career, like attorneys, accountants, or doctors, you may be blogging to develop a reputation as an industry expert. Your target audience isn’t potential clients directly, but it includes your referral sources and others who look to you when a problem arises. You may also be using your blog to give you a reason to research the nooks and crannies of your industry, making you better at your job.

If you are blogging to develop and demonstrate your knowledge, you will want to maintain a more serious tone than the personal blogger. You may be able to choose some more complex terms, knowing that your readers likely share a certain level of expertise. Even so, you should never make your articles inaccessible to the educated layperson. You never know when a potential client will stumble upon your writing and be impressed.

Blogging to Get Clients

The bigger your company, the more likely your blog is targeted directly at potential clients. The purpose of your blog is to develop interest and direct prospects to reach you. It is less about a particular person’s expertise and more about what you have to offer your clients.

If this is your focus, you will want to be very careful to use simple language and topics that are interesting to your potential clients. You will also want to walk the fine line between providing value and selling. Your readers should feel naturally drawn to contact you for help, but not turned off by your sales pitch.

It is always important to remember why you are blogging. The reason behind your writing will affect your content, style, and even posting schedule. That’s why before you post your first blog article, you need to get clear on your purpose and answer the question “Why are you blogging?”

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Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist, headquartered in Ferndale, Michigan. She helps budding bloggers get set up and ready to write through one-on-one blog coaching. If you are ready to write a blog, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.