I’m tired of blogging advice, no matter how well meant it may be. It’s an endless, bottomless pit and most people think blogging for a few months makes them an expert. If you want to learn about blogging only listen to the people who really are successful at it. (However you measure success, not everyone thinks it involves money).
I listened to a webinar by Jon Morrow today. I didn’t hear anything new really. Nothing I hadn’t picked up from reading blogs online or listening to Jon Morrow’s other video posts about guest blogging. The almighty great secrets of great blogging are not so hard to find, if you listen and think for yourself.
I’ve been writing online and publishing my own blogs for more than ten years. I’m not a popular blogger, mostly because I’m just not that socially committed. I like being a hermit for 20 of the 24 hours. I like the quiet, I like having my own thoughts and not having to consider how other people will perceive my every hand gesture, facial expression or fashion sense. I’m an introvert and proud.
So, why do I still have some silly longing for fame and popularity? I think I just want some kind of recognition or approval. (I have Father issues which I won’t get into). I want people to know who I am and think I’m a somebody. Not for a long time. I want to crawl back under my rock when it suits me. Anyway… for those who want some quick insight here are my current thoughts abut blogging for fame and fortune.
First – Stop thinking so much about link building, SEO and viral marketing. None of that will work if nobody likes you. You have to start with a base of popularity before people will be interested in linking to you. You have to be recognized as worthy before the search engines will boost your site. You also have to be someone people think is important before they are going to pass around your post links.
So, you need to look at connecting with others, networking. Jon Morrow suggests you start at the top. I think you should start with yourself instead.
Look at the bloggers in your niche or related niches. There are always good blogs which aren’t getting much notice. Approach them, invite them to link build with you. You can build yourself into an authority, a popular blogger in your niche by becoming someone who other bloggers go to. Draw more bloggers to you. You get readers, you get links and you become the blogger everyone knows.
Then we come to the plan of action. Conversion is the term Jon Morrow gave it and he rates it as the last thing in his three step plan. I’d put it first. I think of it as incentive and bribery and giving people a reason to notice you once they get there. It’s also a chance for you to do some backwards promotion while gathering supporters and converting browsers into subscribers and fans of your site. You think that’s a lot to ask for?
Here is the scenario I dreamed up… Ask a print author for a review copy of their book. Review the book on your site. But, don’t stop there. Run an event around the author and his/ her book. Draw people in with a contest, winner gets the book. Your cost is mailing out the book and your own time. That’s all. But, you’ve got people interested in your site, you’ve given an author free promotion for their book, you’ve run a contest/ event AND you’ve given people a reason to come back to your blog for your next event.
It’s nice if other bloggers will link to you and promote your event. But, don’t make it a necessity. After all, you’re already holding out the carrot (the book to the contest winner). Let that lure them in. Also, let the author of the book get in on promoting the event and promoting their book through you. Run an interview with them at the very least. Quite likely they will also run a link to your event, it’s about them and their book after all.
I think you need to have your plan for this conversion in place before you begin focusing on networking with popular bloggers and getting them interested in you. You want the readers attracted this way to find something once they get to your site. It’s not enough to attract visitors and traffic – you want to keep them.
When you do approach popular bloggers think of something you can do for them. Check out their site, click on links and give it a general test drive. It’s not a big challenge to find an error, a broken link, a typo, etc. I send people notes about stuff like this on Twitter. I almost always get a thank you reply back. This is a decent opening you can use to start up a conversation. You’ve done something to help them, even something small like this is something real.
Read their posts and the comments they make. With your unique kills and knowledge and ingenuity… see if you can offer them a solution to a problem. Or, give them a fresh idea, fresh input. Someone who comes up with a solution to a problem is someone who will get noticed and be remembered.
Once you have your foot in the door, ask them a question. Ask something about a post they wrote. Ask them about an ebook they promote on their site. People like to talk about themselves. Just don’t ask a stupid question. There are stupid questions. Don’t ask where you can get their ebook if the link is on the front page of their site. Be real, sincere and interested in them.
When it comes to social media, go back to being social. Don’t try to force more keywords into your posts. Don’t try to come up with headlines that might go viral because they are dramatic or shocking or just plain rude and obnoxious. Talk to people, as if they are actually people you would talk to. Like me, people are getting tired of blogging advice, marketing advice and all the rest. Stop being a marketer for awhile and see how just being social, like someone part of a community, works for you.
Jon Morrow thinks guest posting is the way to go. I’m cynical on that. I’ve had too many awful requests from people who want to write guest posts. I don’t take any of them seriously now.
I do think you can still make your own fame and fortune without relying on just guest posting. But, I’ve been known to write a few and I still write for network sites – which is almost the same as guest posting, you just get paid for it.
Think about the blogs you read, the Twitter posts you are most likely to forward… then apply those feelings to yourself and the way you blog. Would you read your own content? Is it flat? Read about copy writing, find tips that make your blog posts more readable – easier on the eyes and memorable too.
So there’s my grand advice on the adventure of blogging. Subject to change without notice. The technology changes, the plans evolve but so far, there are always more people hoping to find fame and fortune writing at their keyboard.
Good luck… or best wishes, to us all.