YOU DON’T BLOG BECAUSE…
How to Change Your Expectations and Feel Re-Energized About Your Blogging
Do you want to know why you don’t blog? I think there are many reasons. But in this post, I’m going to focus on one major reason I think we struggle to blog regularly. Does this story sound familiar to you?
You spend an hour or two, (sometimes more) writing, thinking, re-writing, editing, asking for someone else’s opinion before you post it, creating a little graphic of some kind to go with it, then you push “publish” and …
You run out to Twitter and LinkedIn, maybe Facebook and Google+ and you dash off some updates to promote your new blog post.
Then you watch.
“Wow,” you think. You really put a lot into that post, but aside from a friend or two who “like” it or re-tweet it (thank God for those guys), there’s not much feedback. And you’ve read that you’re only successful if you get comments on your posts, but, aside from spam, you don’t get any comments.
“What a waste of time,” you conclude. “But, it’s off my task list. Time to move on.” In the back of your mind, you know that it’s a good discipline to write; it’s good to grow content on your website so you’ll be found in a search; someone will read the content and it will help them. But, still, you move the blogging project further to the bottom of the “must do” list because, really, you’re not excited about getting very little, if any, feedback.
If this story sounds familiar to you, then I think I know why you don’t blog. Remember in college when we turned in that homework assignment and the professor didn’t grade it for weeks? Irritating! My kid just had that happen with her middle school science teacher. She and her friends grumbled, “How do you know if you’re doing okay if the teacher doesn’t give you back your work with comments on it?”
We want and need feedback on our work. It’s how we’re designed.
There are other reasons you don’t blog. We should talk about those. But for today, I think focusing on this one thing is enough. So what is it that keeps you from blogging?
“a thing that motivates or encourages one to do something”
When I first started blogging in 2005, I read “You’re successful when people comment on your blog.” For years, I’ve panicked about that edict. Because, frankly, I don’t have a lot of comments on my blog posts. And neither do a number of my clients. And neither do a number of blogs I read. In fact, most of the blogs I read don’t have comments attached to them. Do I think less of what I read? Nope. I don’t. But, still, I do wonder why we don’t comment on some blog posts, but we do on others.
Do you want to know why no one comments on your blog post(s)?
- You aren’t a published author, a famous musician, a loved or hated actor.
- You aren’t a blogger.
- You aren’t controversial.
- You’re readers aren’t commentors.
Okay. Let’s break this down.
Earlier in the year, I started working with a published author. When he publishes a blog post, folks rush to respond. It’s cool! If they don’t respond in the blog comments, they comment in Twitter or via email. After witnessing this phenomenon and doing some research, I’ve concluded, the reason you don’t get comments is because…
- You aren’t a published author, a famous musician, a loved or hated actor. Published authors, famous and infamous people get attention.And if they blog, their followers or haters will comment. We’re attracted to people in the limelight and if we have an opportunity to interact with them, we will. I would include, in this list, people who are “famous” in your industry. Like, in my world: Brian Clark of Copyblogger and Rand Fishkin of MOZ.
- You aren’t a blogger. Do you write and post a blog once a day? Once a week? Do you have a specific message? Do you interview others and write big posts about your interviews? Do you have guest bloggers? Is your blog monetized? If your answer is no to most of these questions, then you aren’t a blogger and you can’t expect major comments and interaction with your blog.
- You aren’t controversial.“Blogs work when they are based on: Candor, Urgency, Timeliness, Pithiness, Controversy, (Utility, maybe, if you want six),” wrote Seth Godin (CEO Blogs). Most business owners I know want their blog to demonstrate their knowledge and mastery of their industry. They hope you’ll read their posts and feel more confident about hiring them. Most business owners don’t want to share an opinion held in a negative light within their industry, or among their peers. Most business owners don’t want to grow tough skin and deal with negative comments to a blog post. No. Really, most business owners write blog posts that provide information, that teach, that share knowledge. Few, very few, share an opinion, let alone write something pithy or controversial.
- Your readers aren’t commentors. (I know. I totally hacked that word. Here’s what I mean: You offer a place for comments on your website, but your readers don’t comment – “aren’t comment-ors.”) Are you? When you read blog posts, do you hit the comment button and share your thoughts? When you do comment, why do you comment? Whatever your answers are to these questions, you can apply to your readers.
For these reasons, you don’t have a lot of comments. And, without comments, you don’t feel inspired or excited about your posts. You want feedback. You want INCENTIVE. You need it. With incentive, you’ll power on and want to write more and post more frequently. And, then maybe you’ll get brave and write something pithy or even something a bit controversial in your field. With incentive leading the way, you’ll create a big old list of things you want to write about and then, before you know it, people will actually start commenting on your posts and your business will grow and things will start happening! But, you need INCENTIVE.
Now, if it’s your goal to get comments on your blog posts, then you need a plan for that. And we can talk about it, but that’s a different topic from this one. This topic, INCENTIVE, is where it’s “at” if your blog is designed to give you credibility, to increase keywords so your website shows up in searches, and to help your clients with specific problems. You need INCENTIVE to keep writing those blog posts.
How to Change Your Expectations and Feel Re-Energized About Your Blogging
INCENTIVE #1: You’re Increasing Followers and Visitors!
I think if you got feedback to your posts, you’d be motivated to write more posts with more frequency. But, as I stated above, you’re not likely to write with Seth Godin’s prescription for a successful blog. No, you’re going to continue to play it safe. There’s good news! If you’re a business owner who is blogging to provide information and build content for your website, then you need different tools to measure your blogging success.
You can measure your blog success when you look at these tools:
- Share This
- Number of Website Visits
- Increase in Followers
- Increase in Blog Subscriptions
These tools are your feedback. When you look at these numbers, you will feel energized to keep writing. Look back at your blog posts. Look through your Tweets, LinkedIn posts and Website statistics. Was there a spike in website visitors within 24 hours of a new blog posting? Did your number of blog followers and/or Twitter followers increase? You should see your overall numbers increasing. (What? You don’t have these tools on your blog. Well, you need to add them right away and start using them!)
Tip: I am using a fun tool called SUMALL to measure my Twitter traffic and my website traffic. I love it! It’s humbling some days and it’s inspiring on other days. check it out!
INCENTIVE #2: Somebody Out There Loves You!
Do you have any blog subscribers? One? Even if your blog has ONE follower, that’s one person who is waiting to hear from you again! I don’t know about you, but I don’t sign up for every blog or article I read. I just don’t have time to cull through my inbox anymore. No, I only sign up for what I really believe is helpful, interesting or necessary for my goals. So, when you get a following, whether it’s one or several, you need to write for them. They want to hear from you!
Tip: Write your blog subscribers names on a whiteboard, chalkboard or sticky notes and post the names where you can see them. Look at that list and think about those real people with real stories, real needs and an interest in your writing and your ideas. Go even further and follow them on Twitter. Talk with them and find out what’s going on for them, what do they need to read on your blog feed?
INCENTIVE #3: You Will Sharpen Your Mind
When you take your thoughts and your ideas and you put them on paper, powerful things happen. I’ve witnessed writers develop new, profitable business ideas by writing for their blogs. I’ve helped entrepreneurs birth inventive, helpful tools by writing their blogs. I know many business owners who have developed better focus by writing for their blogs. “I don’t write to be understood, I write to understand.” – Robert Cecil Day-Lewis, Poet Laureate.
Tip: Has a client recently asked you a question and you haven’t quite figured out the answer yet? Work out the answer in writing and then turn it into a blog post! This accomplishes three tasks: 1) solving the problem 2) writing the blog post 3) getting back to the client with a well-thought out answer.
INCENTIVE. We all need it. We need an incentive to motivate us to keep writing. Keep blogging. Keep publishing. Wouldn’t you feel encouraged to keep writing and publishing if you knew people liked what you are writing? If you knew they were sharing it with others? You bet you would. And the cool thing, too, about watching your numbers in Google Analytics or with SumAll is that it’s pretty fast feedback. You can know in minutes how well your post is doing! And, as time passes, the numbers will grow. They will!
Uh Oh. “My Blog is NOT increasing anything for me.”
You are looking at your stats, and you’re discovering that you’re not increasing your website visits. No one is retweeting you or sharing your post. No thumbs up? Then, you need to take a hard look at your blog. Email me and we can discuss it. (Check out my free offer!) Unless your writing really stinks, your numbers should be increasing. You can also Google: “How to Write a Blog.” There are lots and lots of awesome blog posts out there and articles about how to write a blog.
Now, Get Blogging!
No excuses. Check your stats. Set a goal to increase your subscribers, your Twitter followers or your website visitors. Then write! Publish! Watch the numbers. Repeat! Once a month. Twice a month. Weekly. Set measurable goals, set a cadence and make it happen. You can do this!