I’m sure this has happened to you at least once or twice — you stumble upon a blog, start reading a blog post. Then, you find yourself clicking on a link within this post. Then you read this second post, find a couple more links you have to click on.
As time goes on, you find yourself with a bunch of open tabs; all blog posts waiting to be read.
You try to read as fast as you can but it’s pointless: the more you read, the more links you click on. There’s so much information available, and you just want to absorb it all.
But this doesn’t happen that often, right?
That’s why you should strive to offer your readers this experience. A web of content that hooks them for hours. A ton of resources that they can’t help but click on.
What I love most about blogging is how confusing the process seems to be. Beyond having to consistently produce quality content, you also have to network with other bloggers, take care of various social media accounts, guest blog, interview, connect with your readers, and feed your brain with as much information as possible.
And this got me thinking…
What exactly matters most when it comes to building an audience? Should you prioritize content creation over networking, or is it the other way around? Should you try to balance them both, feeling like you’re walking on tightrope on a daily basis?
Well, the truth is that this is an impossible question to answer. Sorry.
What I do know is that how you treat your readers matters an awful lot. So much so that the way you answer to the following questions can make even the most brilliant content you share not receive even a single like:
Do you reply to your readers?
How do you reply to your readers?
Do you talk down to your readers?
If I emailed you right now, would you respond?
Before we get too far into the topic, let me be clear: I don’t always reply to comments or e-mails. Some days I can’t respond, some messages are not worthy of a response, some messages don’t make much sense.
So I’m not perfect. Far from it.
But I’ve got to tell you that even though I always give 100% when it comes to creating content, if I don’t interact with my readers for any period of time, my views and comments tend to drop significantly.
Sometimes I like to pretend I’m a photographer. Mostly with other people’s cameras. And the results are oftentimes… not as bad as you’d expect.
I do not research the subject, I do not take classes, I do not read about photography, I do not actively aim to become better.
Yet, somehow, I am becoming better with each photograph I take.
And I wondered why.
Here’s an odd fact about me: I am an artist. I have been writing for fourteen years now. I love art. I love artists. And beautiful art has made me cry far more often than real life ever did.
This belief of mine works for me in all artistic fields. I don’t feel much pressure, just the desire to have fun, to enjoy myself, to take part in the ritual of creation.
I see beauty and I want to capture it, recreate it, change it, share it with the world.
It’s not the knowledge, you see, but rather the skill. And I believe that it’s not what we acquire but who we become that influences our results.
It’s all about mindset.
“It is your attitude, more than your aptitude, that will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar
Yeah, knowing the techniques and being a great storyteller matters, but it all comes down to self-confidence.
If you honestly believe that you’re a great blogger, you’re going to write a killer blog post on a napkin, or if you think of yourself as a great photographer, you’ll make do with a three year old smartphone. The same way folks who are into fitness find a way to exercise, even if they’re stranded on a tropical island with only two coconuts and a volleyball.
I am pretty sure you’re thinking something along the lines of, “It’s easy for you to say this, but I do not have any followers.”
Let me ask you a question: how do you define success as a blogger? Who told you that you have to have a certain number of followers or that you have to earn a living out of it in order to call yourself successful?
What if there was a new consensus regarding success as a blogger: you must punch the damn keys and do your very best to produce great work, even if you have 0 followers. Especially if you have 0.
If you have 50, you’re already a blogging god.
Gary Vee talks a lot about Macro and Micro levels. He’s stated that he did a lot of interviews that got 50-60 views long before being on CNN and becoming a big social media star.
And I believe this is the kind of attitude most bloggers simply lack.
In other words, some people get excited to write their best content even when no one is reading them, while others are secretly waiting for some day when they’ll be Internet famous to write their best ideas into existence.
That’s about it.
There was this post on Tumblr about a woman who had lost a lot of weight. She then noticed her husband was more affectionate towards her, and this made her sad, because she thought it was all about her looks. Then she noticed how people acted differently around her: joked more, were kinder…
It took her a while to figure things out: it was her who had changed. From the moment she first looked herself in the mirror to when she went to sleep, she felt different. She was happier, more alive, more confident. Smiled more. Wore different clothes. Her attitude towards herself was different, and thus the attitude of others.
People were simply reacting to the way she perceived herself.
If you believe nothing else of my posts, if you take just one thing, let it be this:
Mindset is everything.
If you have the right mindset, if you are self-confident, self-reliant, fueled from within, clear in your intentions and purpose, free from outcome, social pressure, or setbacks, then you will turn those 20-30 followers into thousands, even more, in no time.
That’s why the advice is to write for yourself. Write the kind of content that you’d love to read, because you must enjoy yourself while doing it, and not because someone else likes to read it (or needs to or would pay good money to).
Do you know why we make jokes? Say or do stuff we find funny?
Most people would assume it’s because you want to make others laugh. It’s not. You make jokes because you find them funny, because saying that one-liner out loud makes you feel good. It elevates your own mood, and that’s the only goal.
The same goes for blogging. Develop the kind of mindset that enjoys the art of blogging:
Looking for inspiration anywhere you can find it
Siting at the desk to write.
Having a schedule
Interacting with fellow bloggers
Reading other blogs
The numbers game is going to mess with your head
When I first started blogging in April 2012, I was unstoppable. I’d blog every single day, even though I got 2-3 likes per post, some twenty odd views a day.
It didn’t matter.
I knew success was just a matter of time. Luck, also, but I knew that the harder I worked, the luckier I’d get.
But the thing is that the more followers I got, the more I lost track of the importance of just one reader.
My words became diluted somehow. I lost a great deal of clarity.
What do a hundred thousand people want to read? What do they care about? They come from some 200 countries, they speak vastly different languages, have different customs…
Blogging is all about two people: me and you.
That’s it. I write what I want, because I enjoy writing, because this is my passion, and because I want to do this until they throw dirt on top of me, and you, the one reader, the person who is reading these blog posts, who comments, who takes the time to like the content, or share it, or print it out…
If you can get excited about the act of writing a blog post, and then get even more excited with every single like, comment, or follow, then you’ll be successful as a blogger.
If not, there’s no knowledge, technique, trick or tip that will help you become successful.
Tomorrow an e-mail will be sent out to almost a thousand people.
It will contain the following:
an exclusive blog post
tips and tricks about blogging
the best content shared on The Art of Blogging in March 2020
If you want to receive this e-mail, then you can subscribe to the newsletter here.
Also, there’s a paid version of this newsletter.
It’s five bucks a month or fifty bucks per year.
What do you get for that kind of money?
You will receive exclusive content delivered to you every Friday (4 blog posts per month). Tutorials, tips and tricks, and strategies that are going to help you take your blog to the next level.
So, yeah, 5$ per month gets you four exclusive blog posts.
And the feeling of satisfaction that you’ve helped by supporting us and showing us that you totally love us.
When it comes to sharing your content (and reaching more people) one of the best strategies you can employ is by republishing your content on other platforms.
These platforms already have people interested in what you have to say, and you can bring that traffic back to your blog – growing your online influence in the process.
Consider Medium, one of the most popular content platforms around, with over 90 million unique monthly readers.
Once you’ve signed up for an account, Medium’s algorithms hand-pick and deliver content via email based on your interests and behavior. The email contains posts selected by Medium staff, posts from publications that you follow, and posts most recommended by the people you follow.
When I launched my first blog, in April 2012, if you wanted to rank high on Google, all you had to do was create a ton of backlinks. If you wanted more followers on Instagram, you followed-unfollowed lots of people. If you wanted more Twitter followers, all you had to do was to set up a bot to follow thousands of users a day, while liking and even retweeting all the tweets in a specific hashtag.
Basically, there was a time when growing on the web was employing all kinds of hacks and shortcuts.
But try these techniques today and you will realize they they don’t work anymore.
And you may think that’s unfair. You see all your competitors, with all their followers, ranking on the first page of Google. It’s unfair because you the same hacks they used don’t work anymore.
It’s a brave new world out there, and even though there are some who still cling to the old ways, the truth is that hacks and shortcuts don’t work anymore. You’ve got to do something different.