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Do You Focus On Others or Self?
I had a heart to heart with my wife the other day about blogging. It's a common subject in our house because A) it's our family business and B) it's been my passion since 2005.
When I started blogging, everyone was still on MySpace and I could spam friend request people in other countries in hopes that they would read my blog posts when they were published.
Fast forward an entire decade, and I still love blogging, though my methods of garnering traffic are somewhat different. Nowadays I just share a quote from each post with a link on Facebook and Twitter and live with what comes.
Granted, when I write, it's nowhere near as impactful or popular as when my wife writes. That's partly because she has such a large following; but it's mostly because she writes valuable content that people want to read and to share with their friends.
Back to my story. So we were talking about blogging, and I asked her why she thinks my primary blog never got traffic or attention like hers.
"Most people who bloggged when I got started were writing to themselves about themselves. I was writing to people about things they wanted to know."
And there it is. The majority of my posts are like diary entries. They're about me, just like, ironically, this one is. I know a lot about me, and so when I write, I write about me.
Most of the time that's a mistake. I mean, unless you're already a celebrity like Mark Cuban or Ashton Kutcher, not enough people care about what's going on in your (or my) life to be a faithful reader.
It's not that we aren't each unique and special and interesting in our own ways. We are. But the difference between 2015 and 2005 is that in 2005 you only had MySpace and Google/Yahoo to find stuff. That was about it.
In the past decade, tens of millions of new information channels have sprung up, all vying for attention. It's worse than drinking from a fire hose. It's like trying to drink Noah's flood.
With email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, text messaging and dozens of other mainstream communication channels at our fingertips, we spend more time deciding what to ignore than what to read.
So the criteria of what is read-worthy has skyrocketed. Now we only have time for Facebook, a couple emails, and MAYBE click a news link on Facebook to see what's happening in the world out there.
So in 2015, if you want to move beyond just blogging and run a blog that people actually read, you've got to consistently publish compelling articles. You've got to be unique. You've got to stand out in the crowd of noise and spam.
For Heather, the path to relevance took her through day after day of painstaking research. But research wasn't enough. There are plenty of dry and boring data portals on the web.
No, Heather's blog stands apart because she mastered a way to deliver killer research with adorable relatability. She's the girl next door. She's easy to understand, and she often gets a laugh out of the first paragraph.
That endearing combo put her on the map, while I was busy updating the style of my blog and sharing my latest personal conundrum.
So the REAL lesson learned here is to speak the language of the people you want to reach. And yet... the lesson I learned was somehow very different.
Unlike you, who should follow Heather's successful model, I will continue to blog about myself. Not because I want you to think I'm special. I've pretty much given up that dream. No, I will continue to blog about my own thoughts and ideas because I think I'm a relatable person. I think the ideas shared here might resonate with a few of you out there.
Maybe the style will prevent me from ever reaching the level of Mommypotamus. That's okay. I think. But more important is to follow the #1 lesson from my favorite book, Blogging Heroes, which is to be true to yourself.
Others may see your work as selfish or self-serving. But if your style demands an unpopular stance, take your stand proudly and don't stop.
Be you. You are the best you we will ever have.