Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The One Thing Your Blog Strategy (and your soul) Can’t Do Without

Create titles that hook ‘em, they say.
And they’re right.

Present your content with visual cues to keep them reading, they say.
Yep, I’m a believer!

Find your voice.
I agree. It makes all the difference.

Close with a call to action to invoke a response from the reader.
Marketing 101.

And above all, write, write, and write some more.
Mhmm, Writing 101.

No doubt about it, I have a huge passion for strategic communication. My background is in marketing, so I champion all the above principles. But there’s an ingredient that’s imperative to any blog strategy that I have yet to see in any “top tips for bloggers” articles.
And it trumps them all.

Some of you may have a good rhythm with your blog and don’t tend to second-guess your writing, your strategy, or yourself in the process. But I’m guessing for the majority of you, that’s not the case. Especially after reading posts from blogger friends like this one and this one.

So let me put my arm around your shoulder and be your voice of encouragement today.

This, friend, is what I want you to hear:

It’s okay if you’re titles don’t stop the entire world in its tracks.

And it’s okay if you’re struggling to find your voice.

Yes, it’s even okay if you don’t close with the all-imperative CTA.

It’s okay if you’re inconsistent,
don’t come up with the next big thing,
and don’t write nearly as often as you’d like to.

It’s o-kay.

So why, you ask, is a writer who has a huge passion for marketing communications offering you the freedom to break all the strategic rules she tenaciously champions?
Because I have a greater passion for Grace.

Grace is what trumps all I know about marketing. It’s the glorious freedom that tenderly beckons me to set aside strategy and break the rules. Regularly.
Because I want to know Him more than I want to know success.

But Tanya, you ask, won’t that make my blog ineffective, stagnant, and stale?
Oh, dear friend. Trying to constantly configure the perfect equation for the perfect blog will make your soul ineffective, stagnant, and stale.

That’s far too high a price to pay.

And please don’t mistake me for saying that a highly-visible blog is a bad thing, or that it's equated with a lack of intimacy with God, or that we should suppress our God-given dreams. Not at all.

I want to make an impact on our world as much as you do. And that’s a good thing. What I AM suggesting is that we don't let that desire to make Him known trump our desire to know Him.
Or else we’ll begin to mistake our impact for our identity.

I don’t know about you, but I wrestle with that. A lot. I’ve had a post about my struggle with that percolating for seven months, but for now I’ll leave it to Oswald Chambers to sum up:

“Beware of getting ahead of God by your very longing to do His will.
We run ahead of Him . . .
becoming so burdened with people and problems that we don't worship

Beware of getting ahead of God by your very longing to do His will, dear blogger . . .

When you can’t find that snappy title that readers will find irresistible,
remember God’s power is made perfect not in competence,

but in weakness.

When you can’t find your voice,
trust His to speak through you.

When you’re banging your head up against a wall to come up with an engaging call to action (not that I’d know . . .ahem),
trust His Spirit to invoke a response in the reader’s soul in ways you or I never could.

And when the only feedback you receive is the sound of crickets chirping instead of comments affirming,
remember Who you’re writing for.
[And that it's also okay to break rules of grammar.] 

Strategic marketing and communications isn’t the end all be all for our blogs, dear blogger.
Your relationship with the One who authors your life story IS.

That relationship with Him is more important than your ministry for Him.
So don’t sacrifice intimacy with Him for the sake of traffic and stats.

Impact is valuable.
But it doesn’t determine your value.

And so, my fellow blogger, fellow life sojourner. Whether your blog strategy is written in a file or simply in your mind, THIS is what He longs for you to engrave in it:


For the imperfect blogger.

~ ~ ~
And now I want to hear from you!

How have you perceived success for your blog?

Do you struggle to embrace grace when you see other bloggers excel?

Do you ever let your personal value get too wrapped up in your blog?

Have you mistaken your impact for your identity?

And why not encourage your favorite bloggers today with this post?

Every blogger struggles with discouragement, at times. And not just us small-scale bloggers. So why not reach out to your favorite bloggers by sending this to them! Tell them how much you appreciate their pouring their heart out on the screen. And remind them of the freedom they have to be imperfect.

Let's cheer one another on toward grace-based blogging!

P.S. My little story of grace in this imperfect post . . .

Out of all the strategic communication tactics I shared, the one I struggle with most is closing my pieces with engaging questions. So several posts ago, I quit banging my head against the wall and decided to be okay without them.  A big part of my blog’s purpose is to be a source of joy for me, not pressure, and my laboring over that tactic was defeating that purpose.

Well, you know the rest of the story, right? As I was finishing up this piece, God brought the above questions to mind. Not just one, several! It was so foreign to have them simply come to mind without laboring over them for days on end that I have to shake my head in wonder and smile. It’s so like Him.

So! M
aking a cameo appearance here on Truth in Weakness, closing questions! Enjoy them while I have them, folks – Engage away!


  1. I lost my identity when I became sick (or at least I thought I did because I had to give up so much that was me). Prior to being sick I was you and those two others you linked in this post. I was always going, going, going. In the beginning I felt I had to do so many posts a week, but that led to stress if I didn't know what I wanted to talk about on that particular day. I have given myself permission to post when I want, try to meet my goal but not beat myself up if I don't.

    If I tag my posts well, I will get visitors whether I post daily or weekly. It is easy to get swept up in this and forget everything else.

    I love your post and those of the two women you linked to.

    1. boy, can i ever relate to your identity loss with your sickness, kathryn. it's an ongoing journey for me. i can see God using this time in my life to refine and strengthen my true identity, but the stripping away of misplaced sources is painful. liberating in the end, but painful in the process.

      thanks for sharing your heart. i'm glad you enjoyed the posts.

  2. Thank you so much for this today. I am learning these things too, slowly. I took a break from writing last month in order to listen more, and though I planned to get back at it this month, I still feel the need to listen. Good thing, too, or I wouldn't have come accross this post. I'll be sharing it, too. Thank you.

    1. i love hearing that you embraced the freedom to take a break last month, emily. every soul needs a sabbatical now & then.

      i'm so glad this encouraged you. may it encourage all who walk through your blog door as well.


  3. Oh my... the Lord knew I needed to read this today. I hear so many crickets chirping in my neck of the blog world that I wonder some days. BUT.... just as you wrote, the Lord has shown me it isn't about how many times I blog or the lack of communication from others. It is the revealing of my heart in writing to share with others. It is the magnifying of the Lord. It is a way to share and make an impact on others even when nothing is said. It is the still, small voice of the Lord sharing what HE wants me to write instead of trying to come up with the "next big thing." I am learning to rest in Him and let HIM do the talking. It is freeing... :)

    1. how encouraging to hear how the Lord used this piece to confirm the truths He's been whispering to your soul lately.

      and i know those crickets, too. for me, the Lord allows them at times so i can tune in better to the sound of His voice -- rejoicing over me with singing. He knows how easily i crave the affirmation of others, so the sound of silence is actually His musical masterpiece orchestrated for my soul good.

      "I am learning to rest in Him and let HIM do the talking" -- love that, kellie.

      thanks so much for sharing your wonderful insights as to what this blogging thing is all about.

  4. Tonya,
    Thank you!
    I really needed to hear this today. I have been in a 'blogging slump' all week; feeling quite hopeless and helpless and undone.
    I needed this reminder to remember WHO I am writing for and serving.
    I printed the page out to put before me to read daily for awhile; you are truly a God-send to this writer.
    Blessings and hugs,
    Susie K. Adams

    1. you are so welcome, susie! i can't tell you how encouraging it was to hear how the Lord loved on you with this post at just the right time. clearly, you were one He had in mind when i wrote it!

      thanks so much for sharing.
      your fellow blogger in Grace,


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