The Diaries Episode One: What Blogging Isn’t
June marks L&C’s one year anniversary and as part of our celebration, I asked you guys what you wanted to see more of from us and what you wanted me to dish about on The Bonus Blog. And while we have talked about blogging almost exclusively on the The Bonus Blog, you said you wanted me to dive deeper.
And I get that, because after finishing my first year of blogger, it wasn’t that long along when I was consuming a massive amount of information on Pinterest, other blogs, course, YouTube, seminars, e-books and etc (as a matter of fact I’m still googling all of these things) trying to get a handle on this thing we call blogging.
Here on The Bonus Blog, we have already covered procrastination verses perfectionism, branding and content creation. But in this series - Diary Of A First Year Blogger: The Hot Mess You Wish Bloggers Wrote About - we are going to cover the basic blogging issues and obstacles which new bloggers face and I’ll share with you the information that I found while scouring the Internet; and how I clicked it all together.
Now to be clear — I am not a blogging expert. I do not have all this blogging stuff figured out. But I am prepared to share with you the information that I desperately wished other new bloggers wrote about. You know the, “Hey guys...I’m a few months ahead of you in my blogging journey and it’s a note mess.” Because EVERYBODY feels better when they know they are not the only ones out here on the blogging struggle bus. So that’s what this is. Me confirming for you that “Yes” it is hard, “Yes” it is a mess, “Yes” you are doing it right and “No” you are not alone. I am right here on the struggle bus next to you.
So with that introduction out of the way, let’s get into our first mini episode: What Blogging Isn’t.
What Blogging Isn’t
Now many of you will recall that Paris was in the feed the other day and she mentioned that blogging is not about writing. Now before you flip out and think I am bashing writers, please know that I consider myself a writer both by passion (I love writing) and by education (for lack of a better descriptor). And what I mean by that is I majored in Journalism back in college, interned at news stations during that time, won the Senior These Award in the Humanities for my senior thesis in literature, have worked editing copy for a major corporation, etc.
So all of that is to say: I love writing. And from that vantage point, I can say after a year of blogging it is not about writing because if were only about writing as soon as you hit publish, the masses would arrive to read your post. But you can write the most amazing content, SEO it up like a pro, edit it, optimize it and slay it on your website and...nothing happens. Nobody comes. No one sees it. Google takes months to decide whether your website is spam or not. And then it finally does decide to rank you it’s not on page one. It’s buried behind dozens if not hundreds of pages.
So it’s not about writing. And before we get into what blogging is about, I have one more reminder about what blogging isn’t. It’s actually more like advice about my own personal definition of blogging.
I wish someone had sat me down and asked me what is my definition of blogging. Because once you start to get out onto social media and other platforms to promote your blog, it’s very easy to have a little bit of a blogging identify crisis. There are lots of different ways to blog.
On social media you will see bloggers without an actual website — they are more like social media bloggers. When you say you want to blog, do you mean you really want to be an influencer? Do you really want to work with brands on sponsored content? Do you want to sell digital or physical products? Do you really want to do affiliate marketing?
Before you start a blog, you need to be really intentional about what type of blogging you want to engage in because it’s very easy to get confused or distracted once you get out here and see all the amazing ways other bloggers operate. So be very specific so that you don’t end up getting confused and become ineffective with your growth strategy.
Without a purpose you can easily end up on the content creation hamster wheel to nowhere. And what I mean by that, is you can end up pumping out content in a manner where you are not positioning yourself to make any traction.
What Is Blogging About
So if blogging is not about writing, what is it about? My definition of blogging involves three components: providing a service, marketing and community building — in that order.
Providing A Service: While some bloggers may opt to sell products, which is one way to provide a service, that is not the type of service I am talking about here. As a blogger you are looking to add value to your readers (notice I said readers; not users). And the way you have chosen to do this is by sharing information about a topic which you are either highly knowledge about or highly passionate about, or both.
Bloggers write in order to educate, inspire, inform or entertain their audience. So they are in the information sharing business...and that is a service.
Marketing: Going back to my earlier point about blogging not being about writing because after you finish your content nobody comes; the reason why no one comes is because blogging involves a lot of marketing. A huge amount of marketing.
In fact, however much effort you put into creating your blog posts, you to need to put 3x that amount of effort into marketing said post. So that includes how you optimize your content for search engines like Google, Pinterest and YouTube as well as social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and others.
There is a misconception that bloggers spend most of their time writing. And in actuality a successful blogger spends most of their time marketing. Only 20% of your time should be spent writing and 80% of your time should be spent marketing your published content. Because if you don’t market your content no one will see it.
Building A Community: In order for your blog to be successful, you need your readers to come back month after month. And just like any friendship where you want your friends to call or text you back, blogging is a two-way street. So you need a way for your reader to be able to get back in contact with you (and other readers if possible) so that your blog feels more like a community.
Normally bloggers do this via the comments section on their posts. I used my comments section to talk to the L&C Crew for my first eleven months here on the blog. But then during the month of May the internet bots found my blog and crawled all over my website leaving spammy comments on all of my posts.
It was literally like Kourtney Kardashian had exploded all over my blog, spamming “ABCDEFG...12345...Ok I have to go.” So I had to shut down my comments section and clean them all out.
But in addition to your comments section, you can also use your email list (Don’t wait to create that. Even if you don’t know what to spend, just send your subscribers notifications when your new blog posts are up), your social media, even Facebook groups. The point is make sure you have a place where your readers can get in touch with you and hang out with each other.
So that’s the end of this episode. Below please find additional reference material about the components of a successful blog!