Even though at times it is almost impossible to admit it, you blog because there’s this drive within you to create. You want to inspire, to share ideas and thoughts, you want to have an impact on others.
But that is not enough if you want to be a successful blogger. And you know what sucks even more? No one will tell you the bittersweet truths. I didn’t know them. I used to believe that all it took was a good idea once in a while, or that it was all about charisma…or luck…or being the right man at the right time.
I thought that just by showing up, no one would ever dare challenge your value, worth, or genius.
Well, lucky for you, I am writing these words after nearly eight years of struggling and striving, because I think you must know these five bitter truths of blogging.
The first truth?
1. Blogging depends on recognizing and meeting the needs of your readers.
Whether you like it or not, you are creating a product — one meant for consumption, which means you are selling something. You want their time, their attention.
Blogging is not just an art, but also a business. And a truly successful business is built on purpose to meet the needs and desires of your customers.
As they say, the client is always right.
Your blog posts must meet some need in order to matter. It is as simple as that.
Ask yourself not how good your content is, but rather, “Does anyone need it?”
However unique or inspired your content may be, you will fail to have a true impact on others until you accept this fundamental truth: it’s not about you; it is about them.
It’s really that simple. Your readers are more important than you in just about every way. Without them, everything you think, dream, and do is meaningless. So, you need to speak to them, work with them, do everything in your power to convince them that they also need you.
2. If you do not network, it does not matter how good you are.
Everyone is more than willing to advise you to become so good they can’t ignore you, but the bitter truth is that they will ignore you. Repeatedly.
No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care…
Read and comment on other people’s blogs. If you don’t, odds are no one will ever find you in this vast ocean of words that is the blogging community.
And you need to do this because, yes, this is a community. It means that you need to be social, to interact with others.
3. Great bloggers kind of… steal.
The really successful bloggers will steal inspiration from just about anyone and and anything. They are masters at connecting seemingly unrelated dots, at expressing ideas differently than someone else.
Stop playing God. You don’t have to create an entire world from scratch. Take a bit from here, a bit from there. Bring it together to create something new.
Creativity is a messy endeavor, so you should stop acting like is this romantic thing.
I’m not encouraging you to plagiarize others, obviously. I am just telling you to force yourself to find inspiration in the words you read, in the videos you watch, in taking someone else’s words and trying to find your own.
What do you agree with? Or disagree with? What inspires you? What makes you so angry that your blood boils inside your veins?
4. If you want to be successful, you’ll need to struggle in ways most people find to be impossible.
99% of all bloggers quit within their first three months. Why? Because of the rules, limitations, lack of feedback.
Because there’s so much to do, and not enough time.
You are not given a blank canvas, but rather one that has been painted over by others. You have one arm tied behind your back. Sometimes, you might even be blindfolded.
The world tests you commitment.
How bad do you want it?
If you are not willing to fight for success, don’t even wish for it, because you’re only going to break your own heart.
The ones who never have much success are the ones who are constantly wishing for freedom. They need time, space, energy. They do not see the opportunity of struggle. They do not see that when you are most uncomfortable, that’s when you are most inspired.
Inspiration and desperation are so close to one another they almost touch.
Punch those damn keys! Even if there’s no time, even when you feel tired, even when no one reads your words, even when they are all hating on you. Punch those damn keys, because there’s freedom in fighting to break free from a cage.
5. No one cares.
Sorry to break it to you, but no one cares.
Sounds harsh? It is, but it is true.
It doesn’t matter how brilliant you think you are. No one cares until you make them care. No one buys a product they do not desperately want, no matter how much they need it.
So, what if your blog posts could really help them? So what if you are passionate about your topic? So what if you pour your heart out?
As a blogger, I’ve noticed others make this mistake far too often.
Remember that reader? That guy who’s more important than you, who actually brings your work to life? They don’t know what they want to read until you tell them. Until you produce enough work to make them want to read it.
That’s why the journey from 0 to 100 readers is the most difficult. No one believes in you, even if you believe in yourself. No one cares what you say you’ll do. No one even listens to those ramblings.
You are what you do. Period. You are the words you publish on the web, and the way you present them to the world, and the way you manage to convince people to read those words.
There are tens of millions of bloggers out there, and they all want to be successful. Don’t kid yourself that they don’t. Don’t lie to yourself that you don’t.
And you know what happens in such a competitive environment. Some folks work as though their lives depend on it, because odds are that their lives really do depend upon their success. Because their rent, their bills depend on it. Because inspiration and desperation are so close to one another they almost touch, and you have to be desperate for inspiration as well if you want to be successful.
That’s about it. The bitter truths of blogging.
So, what do you say? Are you still going to punch those damn keys or just lightly tap at them for fear of someone being bothered by the sound?