I have a theory that most blogs fit into one of three categories: aspirational, inspirational, or attainable. The goals and missions of the bloggers is providing one of these three qualities to their readers (and they may overlap a little bit!).
You want your readers to aspire for the type of life you have and are presenting; you want to inspire your readers– whether to take action, share new ideas, or create a particular type of life; that they too, can attain, have, or achieve a particular life: whether it's financial freedom while loving fashion, expressing themselves through fashion at the workplace, or finding plus-size fashion to express themselves.
Your blog may be Aspirational…
1.strong desire, longing, or aim; ambition: intellectual aspirations.
2. a goal or objective desired
If your blog is aspirational, you may focus on high fashion or fashion as an art. Aspirational bloggers may showcase the newest runway collections, have carefully curated closets, or their posts may look like fashion editorials. When we think of the top tier of fashion bloggers, many of them tend to be aspirational. We'll never have Jane Aldridge's killer shoe closet or Wendy Nguyen's effortless LA looks, but we certainly can be aspire to bring beauty into our every day lives.
Aspirational bloggers don't have to have a lot money or killer closets to be successful, but they do have to have a keen eye, a unique perspective, and cherry on top kind of attitude.
Your role models: Fashion Toast, The Glamourai, Sea of Shoes, and Wendy's Lookbook. Also see sites like Bag Snob, which are niche, be still aspirational!
Your blog may be Inspirational…
1. stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity
2. the state or quality of being so stimulated or aroused
3. someone or something that causes this state
4. an idea or action resulting from such a state
If your blog is inspirational, you likely fall between aspirational and attainable. You've got your head in the clouds, but your feet planted firmly on the ground (those feet may be in Manolos; that head may have on an Old Navy hat). It may have a strong information or educational component if the writers are sharing their expertise in the hopes of inspiring others within their field.
In short, you find the beauty in fashion, style, and life, and want to help others do the same, whether through messages of empowerment, shared expertise, showcasing ways to create the fabulous, trend inspiration, or through tips of cultivating a beautiful life.
Your role models: A Cup of Jo, PR Couture, PS. I Made This, and… IFB, of course.
Your blog may be Attainable…
1. to achieve or accomplish (a task, goal, aim, etc)
2. to reach or arrive at in space or time
3. to arrive (at) with effort or exertion
The attainable blogger realizes that most of her readers don't have thousand dollar budgets each month (or even year). They often focus on a particular goal or niche, whether it's showcasing style in the workplace or recreating expense looks on a budget or helping men and women achieve their style dreams. It's inspirational to some degree, but there's also a practical element: you're about putting it into practice. It's one part education mixed with one part action.
At the end of the day, you're focused on helping your readers achieve a goal, even if it's “I'm the polished girl next door with a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget.”
Your role models: Already Pretty, Corporette, Grechen's Closet, The Lingerie Addict, Pretty Shiny Sparkly, and Wardrobe Oxygen.
As I mentioned, it's not unusual for bloggers to fit into two of these areas simultaneously. Any great DIY website like P.S. I Love This is going to be inspirational (Look at this gorgeous belt/frame/coffee table!) and attainable (Here's how to make it yourself!). A site like Already Pretty may show men and women find comfort in self-love, but the attitude of Sally is inspiring as well. And while we're aspiring to have Jane Aldridge's closet, we may still find inspiration from the way she masterfully crafts an outfit.
It's when we start spreading ourselves out over all 3 areas, without a distinct purpose, that we may feel our site becomes diluted or we lose focus. When your blog is transitioning, you're at a plateau, or you just feel burnt out and overwhelmed, sometimes having an idea of which you are– or which you'd like to be– can provide clarity. It makes sense that when we start we may be focusing on one vision, to find that as we fulfill it in ourselves, or as our lives change, we shift into another. As long as we're conscious of that, that growing pain is a lot more manageable and less difficult to shift through.
Do you think your blog fits into one of these 3 qualities? If so, which one? Are you shifting between them right now?