All dressed up and nowhere to go. That must be how my drafts are feeling. I have the photos ready but absolutely no stories to tell.
A while ago, I stumbled upon a blogger who had made a name for himself, had become an author and made piles of money. He was podcasting about it, giving advice about blogging tactics and telling the story of how he became a published author, which was his end goal. (And mine, too, I guess.)
I usually don’t listen to podcasts but I somehow ended up listening to this one and one thing stuck out, like it always does. The advice itself.
The advice was to give advice.
Quite literally, in a nutshell, that was one of the secrets to success he so generously wanted to share: people will read, come back, follow, talk about you, and eventually even give you money, if only you offer them useful advice on the topic they are interested in. Figure out what your unique niche is and paint yourself as an authority. Offer them something every time you ask for something back.
As someone who does digital and email marketing for a living, I’m familiar with the logic behind this. But as a hobbyist blogger, I want to scream, Nooooooooo….!!!!!!
Not all blogs are/can be/need to be about giving advice. I mean, there is only so much advice a person can give or receive, right? And there are already too many self-proclaimed experts out there. Where is the originality in that?
It’s like reality shows on TV: stop it please, we already have enough!! I’ve already seen too many shows where you vote people off or watch them work their day jobs or pour their heart and soul out and cry with their makeup running down their face. Where’s the originality, the imagination? What happened to storytelling, to having a narrative?
Why can’t you simply have a blog about something that is not putting you on a pedestal, a blog where you are not presenting yourself as superior to others with your valuable advice. A blog that you do just for your own pleasure, and fill it with photos, stories, cooking, art, kids… without an agenda? All of you reading this know what I’m talking about!
But hang on… does this mean none of our blogs will ever become super popular? Will no one publish our story books, always opting instead for “5 Best” lists or “How to” lessons? The notion of it seems twisted.
At work, I’ve sometimes done the list thing. You know what I mean. “Three reasons to…”
The first time I did it, it was a bit of an inside joke (very inside because it was just for me). The second time it was already there, so it was convenient to re-use it with a little update. But in general, I don’t like being a copycat, and I would like to give my readers a bit more credit than that: aren’t we all a bit bored of the list presentation model by now? I try to avoid it on my personal blog (and have succeeded so far. Can’t say that the temptation is very strong.)
Yes, a quickly scanning human eye of an incredibly busy person will register a bullet point list if it is clearly presented. True. You will gain their attention. But what a challenge it would be to actually write sentences that capture that same wandering eye, don’t you think?!
Anyway, I guess my point is: what is happening to us? Are we becoming zombies?
Has anyone else seen The Social Dilemma? It made me feel guilty for trying to capture people’s attention and steal moments of their life, both at work and at home. But it’s become a habit of mine. A hobby, even.