Correct me if I’m wrong: you know you should write a blog post. After all, it’s been a while since you last hit that publish button. Yet, somehow, without you realizing it, you spend hours on Twitter and Facebook “working,” only to wonder later what happened…
You comment on other blogs, telling yourself that you’re “networking,” never mind that none of those comments actually lead to anything.
You have a growing collection of books and courses promising to teach you all the secrets in the universe, but they have been labeled “to be read” indefinitely.
In the back of your mind, you know you can do better. Technically, you even know what to do.
But something inside you refuses to let you, and every day you struggle with whether or not you should just give up or find some other shortcut.
You know how I know this?
Because I’m just like you.
The Realization That Changed My (Blogging) Life
Most bloggers/writers do this: they wait for inspiration to hit them.
They wait to feel like writing, and it’s then that they write. The rest of the time, they find a bunch of excuses: not enough time, too much to do, too tired, too angry, too this, too that…
But about 1% of all bloggers/writers do this instead: they know that if they start punching those keys, sooner or later, the feeling will come.
Yes. This works both ways.
Even when you don’t feel like it, if you force yourself to start, and you keep doing it… you’ll feel like it. You’ll actually feel inspired, and you’ll enjoy the process of writing just as much.
How To Stop Holding Yourself Back
The truth is, when you know your work is great, but feel you don’t have the recognition you deserve, you’re arrogant too.
You don’t have to walk with your nose high to be arrogant. I mean, isn’t it arrogant to think just because you’ve created something good, you deserve to be recognized?
This was a hard one for me, but eventually I realized doing good work is only the first step.
Less talented people will always get more recognition when they hustle harder to get their name out.
You can’t rely on, nor should you expect, your readers to do your promotion. It’s not their job to make sure you’re seen.
Instead, adopt mindsets and systems to improve your output and expand your reach.
And stop doing silly things. Here are some of the biggest offenders:
1. Not taking your blog seriously.
“I have to write for this other website.” “I’ll write when I’m a little less tired.”
I tell myself these things all the time.
But if you want to be successful, you have to realize they’re just excuses. They’re reasonable, yes, but they’re excuses nonetheless.
The reality is successful bloggers take their blog just as seriously as their day job. It’s that important.
Yes, you have to eat and sleep, but you don’t have to watch TV for hours every night, check your email every five minutes, or get sucked into the social media vortex. So, stop screwing around with all that stuff. I’m serious.
You HAVE TO be the first person to respect your blog. If you don’t, how can you expect others to respect it too?
This means spending long, sweaty hours punching those keys, refining your headline writing skills, and crafting compelling introductions.
It also means keeping an eye on your competition, so you can predict their every move, and beat them at their own game.
Is it a lot of work? Of course it is.
But it’s the only way you can ever reach the blogging stratosphere.
2. Thinking you can get by without a content strategy.
Here’s a bit of obvious advice: consistency is key to growing an audience.
Now, the difficult part is actually staying consistent.
That’s why a content strategy is a must: you must figure out a content calendar, figure out when it’s time to write, and when it’s time to promote your articles.
3. Trying to make everything perfect.
Alongside the fear of failure, perfectionism is a sure-fire way to sabotage your blog.
If you plan on writing one article a week, only spend a week on it, don’t go over. Nothing’s ever perfect.
The goal is to iterate, to start thinking like a startup founder: develop a minimum viable project, especially when launching new features on your blog.
4. Reinventing the wheel.
Originality is a sin.
There’s a reason why most popular blogs out there make use of the same headline templates that have been used for the past century or so, or why they format their posts similarly.
Does that mean you have to be a copycat?
No. Don’t think for a second that borrowing someone else’s format means you give up on individuality.
For example, imagine your content is an apartment. The floor plan might be the same as every other apartment in the building, but you change the furniture, paint, and decor to make it your own.
Content works the same way. You take the framework and adapt it to your own individual style.
Less guesswork. Faster content creation. More traffic.
Speaking of traffic…
5. Promoting your blog only sporadically.
Promoting your blog is a marathon, not a sprint. One good guest post every few months will not sustain you. Commenting on a few blogs once in a while won’t help you build momentum.
Don’t limit yourself to posting only on A-List blogs either. Look to some of the other B and C list blogs too.
Hang with the cool kids, but form your own posse. That’s how all of the popular blogs I can think of became popular, and that’s what you have to do as well.
The bottom line?
You know, reading this is well and good, but if you really want a popular blog, you have to earn it.
You want to be a successful blogger? It has to be a choice. Your choice.