There is one essential rule when it comes to blogging: No matter what you write about, never, ever, ever, ever be boring.
And, yeah, you’d be surprised how many people break it. Also, you’d be surprised how often you break this rule as well.
Beyond this universal rule, there are inconvenient truths you need to accept in order to become successful as a blogger.
The following five rules are the result of over seven years of consistent blogging.
1) If you do not write, no one will read you
A lot of bloggers lose heart and quit because no one reads their stuff. It seems to make sense, until you realize that this blogging world works differently.
You need to create before anyone consumes your content. You need to create the best content that you are capable of creating.
2) No one can ever write about yourself like you do
When I first started blogging, I wrote what I thought was somewhat popular: reviews. I didn’t want the reader to know I, as a human being, actually existed.
And it wasn’t until I wrote about my own struggles with my art, my own opinions about life, and my own battles with the demons of failure and defeat that gained me readers.
Give people a glimpse into your life. Your life doesn’t have to be extraordinary or perfect, you just have to write from the heart about something that makes you… you.
When you write about your experiences and issues, you offer folks insight into what they often think belongs to them only. You make people feel less lonely, you make them better understand their own journeys.
Do not be afraid to write about yourself, but do it in such a way that you add value to other people’s lives. No one is interested in the boring and mundane parts of life.
What are your struggles? What are you fighting for? What keeps you going when everyone around you seems to quit? What sets you apart?
3) Follow your passions mercilessly
Here’s the thing: most people are lukewarm. They are afraid to go all in when it comes to blogging about one topic. Heck! They are afraid to go all in when it comes to blogging, or life, or friends, or family.
People have back up plans, and they have this vague notion that to be passionate about something means to be obsessed, and that is a bad thing. And a one-way ticket to some mental institution. Quite the contrary. Passion is the driving force of almost everything we do in life.
If you want to be successful as a blogger, do not be afraid to be passionate. To learn as much as you can about your topic, your niche, and fellow bloggers in your niche. To study, study, study. Find your fire, and it will lead you to success.
4) Fail, fail, fail.
The idea is to try. That is all. If you do not try, you fail by default. If you try, there’s a chance you will succeed.
Do not play it safe, do not stick to the same type of posts. Experiment. Have fun. If you stay in the same place, you will soon become irrelevant as everyone else starts surpassing you.
Embrace failure, and realize deeply that it is not enough to invest time and energy into creating new content, but also equally important to want to become better.
5) It’s not just what, but also how and who
It’s not just what you write, but also how you write it. Also, it matters a lot who is writing it.
This is the rule of blogging most ignore. If you are a nice guy, and you’ve been blogging for some time, and you’ve made some Internet friends, then those readers will generally view your content as being better than, say, a first time visitor.
Little by little becomes a lot.
The more content you write, the better you become at expressing your ideas, while you gain the loyalty and trust of old readers.
These are not your usual rules when it comes to blogging. They sound simple enough to follow, but they are not.
It takes guts to write from the heart about the often painful or embarrassing experiences that are relevant to your readers. It takes guts to experiment with new formats, it takes a lot of courage to know that you need to consistently create great content for a long time before folks actually want to read your content.
As they say, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
And that takes time. A lot of it. And if I were to add a sixth rule, it would be this, “Patience is a virtue.” It takes an awful lot of time to become successful, even if your content is brilliant. And there are no shortcuts to this. Never were, never will be.