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8 Ways to Imagine Your Role as a Blogger

Rachael likes to share what she has learned through her blogging experience with new bloggers.

8-creative-ways-to-imagine-your-role-as-a-blogger

Terms like "blogger" and "writer" are non-descriptive. They tell what a person knows how to do - communicate via the written word. But those words leave out what is being communicated, to whom, and why.

That's where new bloggers often get stuck creatively. Since they know their role as "putting words on a screen", they can easily get lost, confused, and stumped when it comes to figuring out what words to put on that screen. So to help with that feeling of confusion and writer's block, I think that what helps is: re-imagine your role. You can still give yourself a traditional, Linkedin-friendly label like writer, blogger, or content-creator. But in your head, maybe you think of yourself as more like a travel guide. Or a critic. Or a museum curator. Or an explorer. Hey, it's your mind, you can be whatever you want to be inside it. So here are some ways you can re-imagine your role as something beyond the confines of "blogger".

This will help you with:

  • Writer's block.
  • Figuring out who your audience is, and what they want.
  • Getting motivated and excited about what you're writing: a critical component of good writing. No one else is going to be interested in what you're writing if you're not.

A Tour Guide

Well, some are... less helpful.

Well, some are... less helpful.

What good bloggers do is provide people with helpful information about something that helps them maximize the fun they get out of their experience. Sounds like a tour guide to me: you are someone who guides readers through their challenges and leads them around dangers and obstacles. And all without having to schlep around any climbing gear!

How do you visualize yourself as a tour guide? Do what they do by:

  • Showing that you've done your homework and are someone readers can go to as a trustworthy source of information about your topic.
  • Write what is most practical for people - what do they need to know to navigate possible setbacks, issues, and things that just plain mystify or scare them?
  • Dispelling common misconceptions and stereotypes about your topic. Gently but firmly, set the record straight.

A tour guide has the expert knowledge of an academic, but he or she knows how to frame that information in a more fun way than an academic. See the movie My Life in Ruins for an illustration of what I mean. You're delivering information, but also entertainment. You're also connecting with what your audience's needs and interests are.

Tour guides do not just randomly spew facts and figures - not successful ones anyway. They give information that answers common questions their audience might be thinking when they go somewhere. For example, how did they build the pyramids? Why was the Louvre built? Who were the first Europeans to settle Florida? Those are the kinds of questions a tour guide answers. They pique their audience's curiosity, and then they satisfy it. As a blogger, you can do that about your topic.

Practice saying it:

I am (Your Name), your guide to the world of (topic)!

Performer

8-creative-ways-to-imagine-your-role-as-a-blogger

You might also be inclined to see your blog as a performance, and you as the entertainer. Like I said before, blogging is not about writing in a dry, formal tone that will put your readers to sleep, or make them click away from your page. Readers are busy people with short attention spans. To make your content exciting, maybe see yourself as a performer.

Your stage: The site hosting your blog.

Scenery: The visual layout and pictures you use.

The Script/Lyrics: What you're writing about.

So when you think of it this way, blogging is the act of performing or delivering your content. You could see yourself as an actor - the play has a script, but your creative interpretation of the script according to your personal identity will be what makes that script truly shine and the performance as a whole really stand out. Lots of people do Shakespeare, but not all of them are great. Likewise with blogging: lots of people talk about shoes, fitness, personal finance, beauty products, dieting, etc., so you have to make your performance special to stand above the crowd.

Talent Agent

8-creative-ways-to-imagine-your-role-as-a-blogger

Talent agents connect people who want to make a movie with actors that want work. Similarly, a successful blog connects people with a certain specific question, problem, or need with an answer or resources to help them with their area of concern.

For example, a blog post entitled 20 Great Dresses to Wear this Christmas is OK, but an even better title would be What Do I Wear to a Formal Christmas Party? is better, because it uses your knowledge (in this case of fashion) to fill a related need or question someone might have.

To envision yourself as a talent agent, it works like this:

  • Movie makers = your topic of expertise, the information you want to share, and companies or brands involved.
  • Actors = the people you think are likely to be interested in your topic, or who might have questions related to your topic.

Your role, then, is someone to facilitate connections between the two. If the target audience is Googling how to find the right bra size, point them to companies who you know do great bra fitting work. If they're searching for how to bake a gluten-free pumpkin pie, write a recipe that satisfies that need specifically.

The point here is to get you to stop being egocentric (thinking about just what you want to say and how you want to say it—yawn!) and start thinking of yourself as a mediator between two parties; people and ideas.

Director

8-creative-ways-to-imagine-your-role-as-a-blogger

Maybe you're not the acting or performing type, but you can see yourself behind the camera. That's fine too, this metaphor is like being a performer, but you have a lot more creative control over the final product. Blogging is a lot like directing. You choose what content to publish, where, when, how much, and so on. You can be as much of a perfectionist or as lazy as you want, and the results reflect the amount of effort you put in.

AND, CUT!

Fiction Author

8-creative-ways-to-imagine-your-role-as-a-blogger

Blogging is a lot like writing fiction, even though it's non-fiction writing. What makes them similar is:

  • In both, you want to engage and captivate your audience.
  • Good fiction and non-fiction follow similar rules and guidelines as far as the "craft" of writing and conventions. What's a good idea for writing in fiction usually carries over into non-fiction.
  • In both cases, success comes when your ideas connect with your audience in a meaningful, emotionally impactful way.

I'm not encouraging that you lie, or even manipulate your representation of the truth. But by God, do not be boring about how it's presented!

Critic

8-creative-ways-to-imagine-your-role-as-a-blogger

This one is basically the role I take on in most of my pieces, whether they're about anime, movies, or even social and political commentary. What distinguishes a critic from a bully? A critic, in my opinion at least, should aim to be reasonable and helpful. They use their expert opinions to help people who are trying to make and do something do it better, not just spewing random negativity. I regret that sometimes, critics of the "spewing negativity" variety exist and are often successful, because people like abuse when it's not directed at them, and because their vitriol is funny and entertaining. But, to me, shock jock criticism is not the constructive critical style I'm going for when I write—I like to take content creators' feelings to heart and remember that everyone is only human.

In my opinion, the best critics:

  • Tell it like it is, neither praising something mediocre nor bashing something good.
  • Do not make prejudiced assumptions about a work before seeing it themselves based on hype, popularity, or how they feel about the studio, director, writer, etc.
  • Have well-defined, objective standards for judgment, that take into account the limitations of creators.
  • Have a good idea of what audiences want and expect. They're not just making judgments based on ideas and principles, alone. They're asking themselves, is the thing they're criticizing an enjoyable experience for viewers?

When you blog, you can see yourself as a critic for many topics. When talking about shoes, approach it from the viewpoint of someone who might be looking at and thinking about buying the shoes in question. What concerns them about the shoes? Do they want to know if the high price is worth it? Are they wondering if the shoes are comfortable? Maybe they want to know if the shoes are "in"? Critics probe the depths of products, answering possible questions and addressing areas of concern that the people interacting with those products might have.

Champion

8-creative-ways-to-imagine-your-role-as-a-blogger

The idea of champion warfare, in which two big tough guys from opposing armies fight each other to settle the score, is an old idea, dating back to the Iliad and ancient Hindu epics.

What the heck does this have to do with blogging?

Well, champions represented their armies, but these days we use the term "champion" to mean a passionate advocate for a cause or idea. You could say champion, advocate, or crusader interchangeably. What it means is, you're on your soapbox and singing the praises of what you care about most. Or angrily decrying your ideological opponents. Either way, your voice should spill over with passion.

Wait, didn't I say a minute ago, don't talk about what you want to talk about, talk about what they want to read about?

Yes. That is important. I mean, obviously, you're only going to see huge numbers of blog traffic if you're up on what everyone is Googling in your field, and your blog answers the most commonly web-searched questions relate to your topic area. But that isn't the whole picture. What also gets you social media shares and word of mouth is having interesting content: lighting other peoples' hearts on fire about something. To do that, be passionate. Do not use weak, passive language. Do not be afraid to say something controversial, as long as you mean it, and can back it up. If you're passionate about a cause or principle, and you write about it with that passion, that will ignite passion in your readers. Doing that is a critical part of blogging.

Teacher

8-creative-ways-to-imagine-your-role-as-a-blogger

Teachers are wise sages who give their wisdom and knowledge to the next generation. They care about their audiences in a personal way. You don't have to tell most teachers to think like their audience and put themselves in their audience's shoes—they're already there. Real, inspiring teachers go to amazing lengths and make big personal sacrifices and risks to help their students succeed.

Obviously, the way the metaphor works here is, you are a teacher as a blogger and your audience are the students. Like a tour guide, you're presenting content in a fun way. But you're not just an entertainer-type out to razzle dazzle them—you want them to come away from your blog having learned something important. You want them to connect to your content in a more meaningful way. You want your content to give helpful, useful, accurate instruction about something your audience will find interesting. You're good at breaking down big concepts into smaller parts.

What kind of role do you take on as a blogger?

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. When you see a kid flailing around in a pool, what would you do?
    • Call over a lifeguard or other authority figure to call their attention to the problem.
    • Yell instructions on how to swim better, so they can make it to the edge themselves.
    • Go over and rescue them, but then admonish them not to swim past the line again.
  2. Your kid was in a school talent show. He... sucked. What would you do?
    • Give them encouraging, but no holds barred, feedback about how they can do better next time.
    • Find a coach or instructor who can help them learn how to do what they did better.
    • Next time, you will take a more active role and make them practice more.
    • Remind them that everyone makes mistakes, and encourage them to do well next time, if they want.
  3. Your friend wearing a hideous sweater is likely to inspire you to write a...
    • Fictional story about a "plain Jane" girl trying to make it in the fashion world.
    • Political rant about how women should not have to dress in a sexually appealing way at the office.
    • Note about how awful the sweater is, or text message, that you probably won't send, but want to.
    • Detailed, thoroughly-researched article about the fascinating history of "ugly sweater parties".
    • A "do's and don'ts" article as a handy guide to winter fashions.
  4. When you were a kid, you wanted to be:
    • An explorer.
    • A writer.
    • A teacher.
    • Famous.
    • An artist.
    • A rich businessman/woman.
  5. When you daydream, you think about:
    • Causes your'e passionate about.
    • Your favorite book or fictional work.
    • Some remote tropical island you'd like to escape to.
    • Your favorite music, and you imagine yourself on stage singing/playing it.
    • Your favorite film or films.
  6. How would you explain to someone something complicated?
    • Use a metaphor or allegory, telling a story that symbolically refers to the thing.
    • Break it down into smaller parts.
    • Pick out what's most emotionally meaningful about the thing, to get them to connect on an emotional level to it.
    • You're just naturally gifted at explaining complicated concepts to people!
    • Point them to experts, who have written the best books or blogs on the subject.
  7. What makes you angry or upset?
    • People lacking curiosity about the world around them.
    • People not paying attention to me, or harshly judging me.
    • Other people being stupid and expecting praise anyway.
    • People who can't take direction because of their big egos.
    • When people don't communicate well, which leads to misunderstandings and conflict.
    • When I've explained something as simply as I can many times, and they just don't get it.
    • When people show complete ignorance in bashing things that are important to me personally.
    • When I'm not able to find the right words to describe what I'm feeling or thinking.

Scoring

For each answer you selected, add up the indicated number of points for each of the possible results. Your final result is the possibility with the greatest number of points at the end.

  1. When you see a kid flailing around in a pool, what would you do?
    • Call over a lifeguard or other authority figure to call their attention to the problem.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: +1
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author:
    • Yell instructions on how to swim better, so they can make it to the edge themselves.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: +1
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author:
    • Go over and rescue them, but then admonish them not to swim past the line again.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: +1
      • Author:
  2. Your kid was in a school talent show. He... sucked. What would you do?
    • Give them encouraging, but no holds barred, feedback about how they can do better next time.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: +1
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • Find a coach or instructor who can help them learn how to do what they did better.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: +1
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • Next time, you will take a more active role and make them practice more.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: +1
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • Remind them that everyone makes mistakes, and encourage them to do well next time, if they want.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: +1
      • Author: 0
  3. Your friend wearing a hideous sweater is likely to inspire you to write a...
    • Fictional story about a "plain Jane" girl trying to make it in the fashion world.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: +1
    • Political rant about how women should not have to dress in a sexually appealing way at the office.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: +1
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • Note about how awful the sweater is, or text message, that you probably won't send, but want to.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: +1
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • Detailed, thoroughly-researched article about the fascinating history of "ugly sweater parties".
      • Tour Guide: +1
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • A "do's and don'ts" article as a handy guide to winter fashions.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: +1
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
  4. When you were a kid, you wanted to be:
    • An explorer.
      • Tour Guide: +1
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • A writer.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: +1
    • A teacher.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: +1
      • Author: 0
    • Famous.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: +1
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • An artist.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: +1
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • A rich businessman/woman.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: +1
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
  5. When you daydream, you think about:
    • Causes your'e passionate about.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: +1
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • Your favorite book or fictional work.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: +1
    • Some remote tropical island you'd like to escape to.
      • Tour Guide: +1
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • Your favorite music, and you imagine yourself on stage singing/playing it.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: +1
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • Your favorite film or films.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: +1
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
  6. How would you explain to someone something complicated?
    • Use a metaphor or allegory, telling a story that symbolically refers to the thing.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: +1
    • Break it down into smaller parts.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: +1
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • Pick out what's most emotionally meaningful about the thing, to get them to connect on an emotional level to it.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: +1
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • You're just naturally gifted at explaining complicated concepts to people!
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: +1
      • Author: 0
    • Point them to experts, who have written the best books or blogs on the subject.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: +1
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
  7. What makes you angry or upset?
    • People lacking curiosity about the world around them.
      • Tour Guide: +1
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • People not paying attention to me, or harshly judging me.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: +1
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • Other people being stupid and expecting praise anyway.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: +1
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • People who can't take direction because of their big egos.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: +1
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • When people don't communicate well, which leads to misunderstandings and conflict.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: +1
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • When I've explained something as simply as I can many times, and they just don't get it.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: +1
      • Author: 0
    • When people show complete ignorance in bashing things that are important to me personally.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: +1
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: 0
    • When I'm not able to find the right words to describe what I'm feeling or thinking.
      • Tour Guide: 0
      • Performer: 0
      • Talent Agent: 0
      • Director: 0
      • Critic: 0
      • Champion: 0
      • Teacher: 0
      • Author: +1

This table shows the meaning of each possible result:

Tour Guide

You see yourself as the kind of blogger who helps people navigate something. You're anticipating questions people might have, and presenting facts in an interesting way. Here's an article for adventurers like you: http://www.atlasandboots.com/easter-island-facts/

Performer

You're a performer! You probably sing in the shower a lot don't you? You love the idea of entertaining people and dazzling with your talents. Here's a blog article about Cirque du Soleil performers in Vegas - learn from the pros. https://blog.vegas.com/las-vegas-shows/cirque-du-soleil-show-las-vegas-46796/

Talent Agent

You're a talent agent! You're all about making connections between people who need a thing and things to be needed. People always go to you for advice. At work, you're labeled a problem solver, people person, negotiator, or mediator type. Here's a blog post of interest to you: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/so-sue-me/201511/how-negotiate-lawyer

Director

You're a natural leader, and very creative. You like having control over everything, that's why blogging is for you. I bet your house is super organized! You want everything to be perfect, to amaze and fascinate your audience. Here's an article to inspire you: https://www.thecinemaholic.com/what-makes-christopher-nolan-such-an-exciting-director-explained/

Critic

Though critics get a lot of hate, they play a necessary role in the creative process. They give feedback that is more informed and therefore more valuable than that of the masses. You set yourself apart from the crowd with your keen senses and sharp intellect. You're not afraid to tell it like it is - just don't forget that we're all human too! Try this article: https://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2012/feb/09/reasons-tips-criticism-arts

Champion

You're a champion type! You're advocating passionately about causes you believe in. You hope to persuade many people to take action, or at least, to see things from your point of view. Be bold, and you might just turn rivals into followers. Get inspired by reading about Joan of Arc: https://www.osv.com/MyFaith/ModelsoftheFaith/Article/TabId/684/ArtMID/13728/ArticleID/4840/Joan-of-Arcs-Inspiring-Example.aspx

Teacher

Like a sage on a mountaintop, you feel it is your duty to advise and educate the next generation. In many cultures, teachers are given great respect. Wisdom and experience is the value they give to others. Who says being old sucks? Wizard beards and white hairs give you that air of authority! Learn about a most inspiring teacher, Anne Sullivan, here: https://www.biography.com/people/anne-sullivan-9498826

Author

You're like a fictional author. You have a love of storytelling and probably an emotional attachment to at least one book or fictional world. Your gift for writing in an entertaining way will make you a great blogger. Maybe you'll even be like J.K. Rowling: http://callingdreams.com/success-story-of-jk-rowling/

Putting It All Together

I think when starting out, it's good to think of yourself in some other role than just "blogger" or "writer", because roles give you style, personality, voice, and a sense of purpose so that you don't get creatively stuck or intimidated by blank pages so often. I mean, of course, everyone gets writer's block, but identifying with some role, like teacher or performer, will help you identify what to make and how to make it, and how to use your distinct personality and talents to get your readers interested and satisfy them. Find the role you think is most suited to your personality and the kind of blog you want to make, and then you can use that as a kind of helpful foundation on which to build.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2017 Rachael Lefler

Comments

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 25, 2017:

Writing good and interesting content is important but also consistency. A website or blog does not gain thousands of viewers overnight. It is a process and takes time.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 25, 2017:

Very interesting concepts. How we see our roles is really important.

Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on July 24, 2017:

I like your advice to the new writers and this is really good for people who don't know who the hell they are, lol. Good advice too if you fall into a rut too. When we see writers advertised here with thousands in lifetime earnings it can be overwhelming to someone new to website. I see it as motivation :) love the pictures you used! Lol

Kate Swanson from Sydney on July 24, 2017:

I was curious about the title of this article. Now I understand what you mean, I think it's an excellent concept! To be successful as a blogger, writers can no longer "just write", their blog needs to have a purpose and a focus. Recasting your role can help clarify your thinking. Good idea.