You dream of spending your days sharing your words with the world. Working from coffee shops and maybe even your couch. Sounds like a dream, right?
Well, there’s more to it than just writing some words and clicking publish. I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned over the past seven years since becoming a full-time blogger.
A few of these lessons are really simple, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy. Ready? Here we go.
1. Blogging is never just about writing words.
Blogging is mostly about marketing, networking, and the way you present yourself. If your blog looks terrible, not many folks will subscribe.
If you’re not very active on the blogosphere, you are also facing an uphill battle of sorts.
Content is king, yes, but there’s an awful lot of other factors to consider as well. Keep that in mind.
2. It’s not just what you write, but how you write.
Blogging is not about being smarter than everyone else. Blogging is about sharing ideas in such a way that most folks can understand them.
It’s how you write that determines your success as a blogger. Folks want to be entertained by your words, so let your personality shine through.
3. Publish less. Edit more.
I’m not saying don’t write a lot — you should — but don’t hit the publish button as often. One great or even good blog post is better than 20 mediocre ones. In fact, content rated as a 7 never, ever, ever gets read by anyone online. There’s simply so much great content that mediocre stuff never even gets a chance.
Don’t try to compete with other writers putting out more posts or words than you are. You’ll never win. That being said, you should write as much as possible every single day. The more you write, the more you’ll learn and grow.
4. Headlines are critical to your success.
Without a brilliant headline, only your mom and a few of your friends will read your articles.
And don’t ever hesitate to experiment with your headlines. If a post doesn’t get the desired response, change the headline.
5. Break a few rules here and there.
Don’t be afraid to break the rules. Or bend them a little to suit your needs and style.
See what works for you, and discard the rest. Blindly following all the advice you stumble upon on the web is a sure path to having no readers at all.
Develop your own sense of what great blogging looks like, and always remember that there’s no substitute for passion.
6. Your blog posts should be about the reader.
If you want to write for yourself, that’s fine, but let’s be clear — that’s really more of a journal or a diary. Unless you’re some huge celebrity, no one is interested in reading about your day to day life.
Always ask yourself this question: what is in it for the reader? Why would someone read your posts?
Also, be honest with yourself. Don’t rationalize it. If the answer is vague, it means you are not adding much value to the online community.
Write to help the audience. Even if you keep an online diary of sorts, you want to take the audience on an adventure and entertain them (which means you are solving the problem of boredom).
7. If you want to be a blogger, you have to be a marketer as well.
It often makes people feel sleazy somehow. After all, most folks seem to be going around begging others to read their blogs.
But the truth is that if you do not promote your blog, no one will read it. It’s as simple as that.
Also, you’ve got to be smart about it. Commenting on other blogs is an art. It’s about offering insightful feedback, entertaining, and never, ever being a jerk.
The stakes have never been higher. The competition has never been tougher.
But the great news is that a lot of folks are making a ton of mistakes.
Those who genuinely care about their content and their readers are few. Those who are willing to be patient enough to develop genuine relationships with fellow bloggers. Those who are willing to work day after day after day on their blogs.