Why Social Signals You Cultivate Are Valuable

Being social takes effort and if you really commit to the “time sink” that is social media, you will understand just how long you are going to have to chase and refine what you do in order to win.

Winning is subjective in that one person’s win in social media, is another person’s fail, it depends on your goals, and whether you’ve selected the right ones.

I list here some ideas on where time is sunk, to give you more of a wake up call. You should never hand over your hard work so easily. It is not something you should do without serious thought on what you receive in return.

Why Social Signals You Cultivate Are Valuable

It should be obvious why on the face of it but in order to explore this idea further I’ve broken this article down into some key areas;

  • Attraction
  • Cheating (which is referred to as “gaming”)
  • Loyalty
  • Approach
  • Exodus (going beyond just a lack of social retention)
  • Momentum

 

Making the Share Attractive

Is where most people on social media spend 90% of their time. Social media is based around “signals”, a concept you will see me refer to a lot in this article. In order to conform to attractiveness there are lots of hoops to jump to put your audience at ease.

• Visually attractive images
• Eye grabbing titles
• Witty descriptions
• Correctly used hashtags
• Links

Then you need the following to seal the deal;

• Deployment at the correct time
• Rabid followers to push up early numbers

Deployment at the correct time puts you in the right window to gain traction. You need the Rabid followers (your circle of common engagers) to bump up the numbers so that your item will appear in the wider viewing sphere.

• You can further endow social share with cash, cold hard cash. Facebook, Twitter and all the big platforms give you a bigger bite at a wider audience with your hard earned doubloons.

Everything snowballs from there (but only if it is good). You could spend the advertising money on something that is actually terrible, so whilst you might get views, you won’t get signals. Signals are what you want. Signals means shares, shares mean visitors, visitors means subscribers, subscribers means direct traffic, direct traffic means potential income stream, but definitely a huge pat on the back from the search engines (which means more traffic).

Engagement is the goal. Not visitors alone.

 

“Gaming” the System

I’ve seen it advertised many times, and there are many third party bolt-ons to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. I would strongly recommend that you stay away from trying to game followers.

Why?

Fact: Gamed followers aren’t “real” followers.

Q: What’s better about a “real” follower?

A: Real followers actually engage with your work, and follow your point of view (but might not always agree with it). These people are real in the sense that you’ve provided them something they like in the past, and that they would do something for you in return as a thank you.

It’s also better you know how to gain friends.

 

All Followers are Fickle – Every Relationship has an Expiry Date

Which is to say that given time, people will abandon you for a number of logical reasons, but may touch base with you in passing again in the future (as long as they didn’t leave for negative reasons).

Social Media is a moving, evolving feast.

You will receive different types of engagers during your journey.

Followers may connect with you purely based on the fact that they are “gaming” their followers. In that case I would recommend that you observe some form of sense-making screen before you allow that connection. Does their association work for you or not? I would say that you should screen all those who connect with you, like you would if this was something you were doing on a personal level.

There are those who have an “expectation” on reciprocity. In other words, they will continue to interact with your work (whether they truly like it or not) as long as you do the same in turn. The ease of that will depend on how much they push out, and for more ‘active’ producers, that intensity might be too much to satisfy. If you stop being their agent (turning in your aid), they’ll stop being your agent but that doesn’t mean they won’t return in future.

  • There will be followers who are genuinely interested in what you are providing and who may be experts themselves. These are the kinds of follower who can be quite helpful for you.
  • You will receive what I class as the ‘drive by’ engager. They stop for one thing and you will never see them again.
  • There are ‘passives’, who you think are stone cold dead, but are actually absorbing a lot of your content without making a lot of noise. These can also be deemed consumers.
  • Followers might appear who are actually there to recycle your hard work. Recycle especially if you are ‘famed’ or have followed a route that has yielded gold. Even the Bigwigs get in on this act.

 

Social Approach

There are many types of engager. The more you do social “right”, the more you attract the “right” kind of engager. It’s not always a matter of it being a dark art either. It is more a method of approach and knowing how to process in a way that looks organic.

Real conversation is important. This exchange identifies where you can talk to someone in a natural way without tripping over on trying to push your agenda, or having an agenda pushed at you. Participation is the aim. If you can recruit people to participate with your universe you can appear to be a successful facilitator. Facilitating will encourage more of the “right” engagers.

The more you are present on social media, the better you do, but conversely the longer you are on social media, the less time you have to perform the work you need to. Hence the “time sink” angle.

Hustling and chasing in engagement does work but you can alienate followers if you micro-manage to a degree where you come across as “pushy”. I was on an email subscription of a blogger, enjoying the man’s work, but he bombarded me each day with information I didn’t really care about, eventually it just was too much and I unsubscribed. Think of any time you’ve unsubscribed from a similar situation.

Smell of Sell

I have an age old saying of “Smell of Sell”. All promotion in social media determines some form of sell. There are many followers who can be turned off by the “Smell of Sell”. This is because in a media rich world, with an advertising saturation, the traditional signals are often ignored or viewed with antipathy.

Taking my Twitter as an example, I try not to be too much of a pedal merchant because it is quite easy to lose people if you push too much of your own old content, or just too much content. You can also lose people if you push too much of other people’s content and none of your own.

That said, social approach is a balancing act. You are an entertainer to a degree, you have to know how to work a crowd.

 

Social Exodus

If you’ve been out too long from appearing “active”, your followers will leave in droves. I’ve done this myself, having left individuals who have “curled up”, and I’ve also been someone who has been inactive for too long, returning to a much reduced follower count. Those engagers who remain are normally; the stalwarts, those who don’t interact very much, those who know you are away, or those who are pedal merchants that always see you as a “mark” regardless of your status.

Social exodus can also happen through saying something stupid that incenses the masses. People may leave in their droves if you go far enough to upset your audience in an “unforgivable” fashion. A social exodus can happen quickly or over a protracted length of time but when the social signals really start to tank, many will vote with their feet.

An exodus event can happen if the bottom falls out of the market you are appealing to, or the platform you are socialising on goes out of business. If you were solely engaged as a video maker on Vid.me, you now have no platform, as an example. Whilst many contributors don’t limit to one platform, many favour a certain platform. If YouTube was to be closed down, think of the potential damage that would have on many YouTubers who depend on the income to keep a shirt on their back.

 

Momentum

Social momentum is an important concept because social signals are a token system that requires your constant vigil. If you should step off the gas pedal at any time and are not ultimately consistent in your endeavour, momentum will fade.

Number attraction is a science and it does work. It works because “cream subjects” float to the top and thus you will have a blinkered, filtered, view of what is popular. Naturally most interested souls will gravitate towards what’s popular. Certain numbers on certain social signals invite large amounts of additional attention. It is the queue mentality. Often people might join a queue, not knowing what is at the end of it, but heading there on the theory that other visitors find it good enough to queue for. Consider social signals like adding another arrow to direct you to the pot of gold. The fact that the pot of gold isn’t as advertised is neither here nor there.

Ahmad Imran – Reasontouse.com

I am hugely envious of my net friend Ahmad Imran, over at reasontouse.com. He has kept ploughing on consistently whilst I have dropped long off the boil, and I am sure that he has the improved number to show for that extended effort.

I do not have that luxury. If anything, I have to start from the start. I’ve lost all of my well-wishers, and all of my decent connections through a protracted absence. I’m only left with a solitary stalwart as far as I am aware.

At least I still have Ahmad there to act as a “smelling salt”, someone who would question me if they weren’t entirely sure they went along with it. It is terrible to have a ‘yes’ man or woman who agrees with everything you do because you can be falsely supported on what you think is right, but which actually turns out to be hokum.

 

In Conclusion

You can see why every effort you make to form your following is so valuable. You have to go through the sweat of everything above. If a corporation retcon’s your followers, you are handing them a free steer, a free bite at your hard work.

Whether these corporations have earned this “free bite” of the cherry depends on what they provide you in return. It also depends on whether you consider what you achieve on the internet to be owned by yourself.

If you looked at a very granular level at everything that occurs behind what you do, you might suddenly realise that in a large part, you are a corporate entity, an agent in an unbelievably large information bureau. The only difference between a tangible world entity is that in the real world you get paid on day one. Working on these free platforms traditionally engenders working for free from the start, and accepting that the platform owns a large part of what you do.

The important point to realise is that these corporations would be nothing without your presence so you should aim to extract the maximum from the arrangement, because ultimately, you are owed it through your own proliferation of information.

Starting a New Blog – Do You Enjoy Blogging?

This is a continuation of a guide to setting up a new blog in January. This article intends to pierce the veil on the most critical element of blogging; whether you enjoy the task of blogging or not.

Do You Enjoy Blogging?

Where does this question sit in the scheme of things? Why Headboy, would you ask such a silly question?

The art of blogging might not be for you.

Notice I say art of blogging?!

Blogging is definitely an art.

It transcends more than just writing. You have to think about a lot more than just the writing.

A blog post always must include;

  • A title that encourages visitors
  • A decent feature image
  • More images within the article
  • An amount of blank space and a reduction in the traditional long stanzas of other media
  • Eye catching breaks and headings
  • Web Links outside and inside
  • A gambit, something that you are trying to achieve by way of directly or indirectly covering a point within the article
  • Social sharing options

Writing is difficult enough in itself. You have to find the optimum way to put your point across without losing the reader along the way.

 

Motivation and Enjoyment are Not Mutually Exclusive

In my recent series, my previous article covered the topic of motivation. Motivation for blogging is a theme that comes up. Actually enjoying blogging is a separate issue, the art of blogging is a different concept. In order to have motivation you first have to like what you are doing, but you don’t know that until you start.

Motivation Needed For a New Blog

Advice For First Time Bloggers

I believe that my fellow blogger Ahmad Imran from Reasontouse.com, would agree with me that actually starting on a self-hosted blog actually cuts down your learning arch considerably. Self-hosted websites have costs involved, and if you are not fully committed to that idea, or are incredibly budget sensitive, there are alternative starts you could consider.

That said, they are no substitute for doing it properly.

My advice would be either to start somewhere free where there are no costs to writing;

WordPress.com – My top recommendation

Medium.com – A good distraction free platform

Blogger.com – Owned by Google and quite basic

Tumblr.com – Excellent for media

Or

Try and guest post before you have your own site;

Do this by writing a good article and submit it to an outlet where guest posts are permitted. If you don’t get lucky or the person you have submitted to doesn’t like your re-writes, submit the improved article to another outlet until you get some joy. In the mean time, write more articles and analyse those articles that you like.

None of these choices are what I’d class as an “easy” option. You have to commit time to arrive at what you can class as a success.

Another alternative would be;

Get used to writing on forums and/or contributing to other blogs through social media, the comments section and through emails. You can test out an idea before it ever becomes the moving force behind a blog. Testing the water is a good thing, and it never hurts to be sociable.

 

Blogging is Something You Can Get Into After a While

It normally takes a bit of time to get the bug for blogging. I had the fortunate benefit of being off sick for a week when I launched my blog back in June 2013. Being sick was awful but being able to push out 6 posts in the first week was invaluable. Having a good place to start gets you in the rhythm.

If you get stuck, like I have done during 2017, blogging can be difficult to return to. For some people, returning to the blog at all is impossible. If you don’t return, you’ve wasted a lot of time.

 

Your First Articles Are Going To Be Terrible

Unless you are an English master, writing blog articles is going to be clunky at first. Even if you are good at writing, knowing how to assemble all of the components the way the audience wants them is difficult.

A lot of the time a blog post in your early days of development will leave you head scratching as to why it didn’t do well.

It’s not that you didn’t cover the points well. There is sometimes another reason somebody else did better. You haven’t got much chance of knowing exactly what unless you go looking for other people who have done better with similar articles.

A lot of the time the social element is what helped the article shine. The engagement score.

To do better with engagement you have to network a bit, build a following, and make sure your message gets seen.

Google has you on the bottom step when you start. Over time your position on those steps will climb, as long as you maintain movement.

Q: Does that mean that what I write in the start is technically a waste?

A: Yes. But you shouldn’t look at it in those cold terms. Everything you do is practice to hone you for better.

You can’t bottle lightning straight away. You need a strategy for that.

 

Be Prepared Not to See Gold For a Year or More

Image Credit kordi_vahle via Pixabay

It can take that long and sometimes longer to grow large enough to be visible to the “right people”.

Don’t even think about the word ‘viral’ yet. You just aren’t that privileged.

 

Juggling Knives

Is blogging in a nutshell. Not only do you have to write your articles, you have to get them seen.

There are 3 ways to do this*;

  • Social Media
  • Mailing List
  • Search Engine

Social Media is the active method of recruiting eyes to your words. It is basic advertising. Traditional advertising if you’d like.

Mailing Lists are the semi-passive method. You have to be active in encouraging people to join the mailing list but once they are on it, all you have to do is ensure you make the emails interesting enough to get your subscribers to return regularly for more critical information. Google likes this because people viewing your site from a website link in an email count as direct traffic. Direct traffic infers the term ‘useful’.

Where information is useful, Google ranks it higher.

Search Engines are entirely passive. People finding you on search engines improves over time. The best way to quickly affect this area of traffic is with money. Often that may not be the most effective way to go if you have a limited budget. There are subtle changes and tips and tricks you can learn but ultimately, it is a game show. You are better to concentrate on quality (which always shines through) and the quality of your relationships.

* There are some other ways such as link building, commenting on sites with links back, and being active in forums, but these methods aren’t as functional as they used to be.

 

Dealing With Comments

Most comments are normally nice. Some are not.

You will need a thick skin.

Some readers will just hate what you do. Some just are in it for a laugh.

They say, don’t feed the trolls. I say, don’t let the trolls get a foot in the door in the first place.

As much as you can beg for comments, they don’t come until you get a big enough audience. The percentage for comment makers is very low.

You want to respond to positive comments as soon as possible. If possible, try to see where these participators came from, and return the favour. It’s called reciprocity, and you’ll find a lot of warmth from the activity.

The largest majority of visitors to your site are what is classed as “consumers”. They don’t make passing comments, they are just there for the information. Consumers are still good for you but often they might need to see some form of social signal to perform more than just a cursory glance.

 

A Quick Word About “Shilling”

I would never recommend shilling. Shilling is applauding yourself through stealth. Making fake accounts to make it look like someone holds you in high regard. Paying a service to make you look like a stand up guy or gal. It’s not worth it.

You are better to find commentators through making friends. Reciprocity is often a very key way to build exposure.

We are all in this together.

Fun fact: Back in my early days of this blog, I had set upon the idea to create a mini business on Fiverr. This business was about purchasing my services as a commentator. Of course, it fell entirely flat on its face, but I wasn’t the only one who’d thought about that idea. There were many individuals selling services to augment comments. I found that in practice, it is better to have legitimate interaction, even if some posts go without comments.

 

Be Prepared to be Thrust Into a Market of Businesses

There are those that will be trying to sell the exact same cheddar you are selling.

There are those who will steal any cheddar designs from you, that are deemed to be ‘effective’.

You will enter with agenda.

The information you provide has to be needed.

You may see the term B2B (business 2 business) banded around, this might be something you have to understand more about. B2B is the more likely form of market you are pitching to, or networking with at the very least.

 

Blogging Success Can Be Delayed

Not everything you write is of interest straight away. It may take a while to grow a head of steam.

You may be very surprised which articles rise to the surface of popularity. You have to improve at reading and interpreting statistics generated by your efforts. There are just some outrider articles that do unusually well and you might not understand why.

Don’t be overwhelmed by terms like split testing and other higher level methods of analysis until you get to grips with the basics. It is okay to be a newbie. Make newbie mistakes, enjoy that green feeling. Don’t be shamed by bigwig bloggers

I would suggest that there is a certain degree of learning you have to perform that you cannot bypass. Accept failure in good cheer and try to learn from those mistakes wherever possible.

 

One Final Word

Don’t be Denim. If you plan to be another leech, another copycat, there are already plenty of those.

Do your own thing!

You need creativity to shine nowadays. Bland won’t cut it.

You will need to work on your marketing image.

If you can’t commit time to being awesome, don’t commit the time, period.

Blogging is a consuming activity. A time sink. If you don’t have the time, don’t do the crime.

Blog Prefect 2018 Catch Up And 2017 Review

In this article I wanted to convey some cheer to all bloggers for this New Year’s start. I hope that if you’ve been blogging for a while, you are enjoying it, and if not, you are making steps to change that.

My 2017 year has differed to some of the primer years for Blog Prefect and I’d like to explain why over the span of the next thousand or so words.

Blog Prefect 2018 Catch Up And 2017 Review

2017 Review

BlogPrefect in 2017 wasn’t ideal. I backed off quite a way from my high spot for a number of reasons. I don’t wish to make excuses, 2017 just wasn’t that inspiring for me in terms of bringing value for other bloggers. Instead, I spent a long period of 2017 trying to reconnect with my blogging passion.

 

JackoWrites.com

More time was spent on improving www.jackowrites.com, this site’s sister blog. Over at JackoWrites I started a value product in 2015 which has developed into quite a guide now. The Writer’s Block Guide was an area I attributed a lot of time. I also worked on my passion project of a science fiction book and have a 4th drafting stage where I will be handing over the novel to more people to improve. I’m looking forward to getting this book published.

515 Lost World Saga Progress April – June 2017

 

Medium.com

www.medium.com was an area I started charting to try and understand blogging from the perspective of a person who doesn’t want to spend time with maintenance of a content management system, and who doesn’t want the costs involved with domains. Ultimately I had difficulty with the platform so have pretty much pulled back from my engagement there because I deemed it unproductive. I was happy that I committed a year to trying it out as I did have some successes over the period.

I wrote these two articles over at www.jackowrites.com on Medium.com but also have a further article which I will link to, here on BlogPrefect.

Article 1: My Thoughts on Medium as a Writer

My Thoughts on Medium As a Writer

Article 2 : 1 Year writing with Medium

1 Year Writing With Medium.com

What Wasn’t Completed Before the End of the Year?

I was working on a post about motivation (funnily enough) and my timescale to complete this completely drifted the wrong side of 2018. This motivation article was due to drop in December but it didn’t come off. I have quite a high standard now, compared to what I used to write. That high standard also doesn’t help with timescales and deadlines.

 

What I’ve Missed Since 2016

Putting the traffic reports together is an area that I greatly miss. I enjoyed the process that went into making this kind of article, and the feedback the posts generated. It was also a great stimulator in terms of ensuring that the traffic report wasn’t the only post I made in a month, otherwise I’d have nothing to report on.

This is something I will be bringing back but also have some props to make it unique now. More to come on that front…

 

A Shout Out to My Friend

Ahmad Imran from Reasontouse.com has been waiting for me to write for months and I have not forgotten about him. It was nice to see when I posted an article on JackoWrites that he was there commenting on my Disqus comments no less. I thought he would have had enough of my inconsistency and left but I was glad to see him still there. It has taken a great deal of time to make any kind of acquaintance.

Ahmad Imran – Reasontouse.com

My previous friend, Vernon, performed what I’ve seen a lot of bloggers do. That is to let their blog curl up and die. He had much better traffic stats than mine (I had the privilege of being able to see his site behind the scenes) so his decision to pull out of the blogging was disappointing. He had momentum but he didn’t capitalise on it and if he had still run that blog until now, who knows.

I realise that Vernon was in some financial difficulties at the time but it still seems a shame. He gave up too soon. It is unfortunate to say that was an observable characteristic of Vernon’s from what he had told me about previous business projects that he had undertaken. Cutting loose too early.

Blogging does sometimes mean that you leave people behind. Your audience is ever changing but it is good to have friends.

 

Social Cataclysm

Google+ and Twitter are both depleted in terms of their use. I love Twitter and how it works but Google+ has dropped off big style for my enthusiasm. Social media and I are like awkward 3rd cousins. We are family but strangers.

I am considering dropping Google+ altogether. Twitter is something I will return to more vigorously as I get on well with it and appreciate the stats that Twitter provide. Facebook and I are still very uncooperative, despite it being a huge growth area for many. Something I don’t enjoy, I won’t keep up and Facebook fits in that category.

I need to start charting other places to grow but for the mean time I am going to focus on one platform and learn it well. It’s the only way.

 

I Had Thought That in My Absence the Site Views Would Drop to a Death

But I was wrong.

There are a few articles that still invite people to take a look. These few articles make me rather proud that they still have an afterglow, and that readers are getting use out of them.

This Article still generates a lot of attention;

FastMail MX Record Setup BlueHost

 

Retrieving My Resolve

I’m not sure why I had such a dim spell. I’m anxious to say that I’m past it. I know how I can drop off the boil if I’m wounded by something or someone. But, I’m back in the driving seat.

Maybe I should re-visit the article I wrote about motivation not all that long ago.

 

As Always!

Would love to hear from you and hear what you have planned for 2018.

Comments, shares and all that go with it are always appreciated but I’ll never beg you 🙂

Motivation Needed For A New Blog

This article is entirely dedicated to motivation. It actually took me a fair while to get to this topic because I had to clear the ‘research’ element of starting a new blog first and I was determined to publish these articles in order. This piece is more useful for the novice, but as a mid-term blogger, you may also find this useful. I would hope that those veteran bloggers with established blogs wouldn’t need to know this information, but it never hurts to remind yourself.

In the series, this is step 3, by now you should know what your blog is about and what direction you plan to take it.

This is the crunch point of your decisions. Beyond this stage, if you choose to commit, you are going to commit resource and if you back out after this expenditure, you will lose that resource.

 

Motivation Needed For A New Blog

Commit or don'tThis series follows on from part 1: How and What to Plan When Starting a New Blog and part 2: The What Where How of Research Before Starting Your Blog.

This is stage 3 of starting a new blog. A more in-depth look at step 3  from the 7 Steps to Take Before Launching a New Blog in January.

This step is intended to make you think about what blood, sweat and tears you are going to be pouring into your new blog (potentially). This is the penultimate point where you can back out, the next article will detail the final stage where you can commit.

 

What Resources Do You Commit?

#1 Time

Time should be self-explanatory. Your time is valuable. You will expend time performing all kinds of work on your blog and the elements that go to support that blog.

Your time is also a shared resource. There will be lots of other tasks in your day-to-day that will separate you from your blogging. If you have a day job or a shift job, you aren’t going to be effective with a river of time through the week. You have to be tactical when you put works together. Your weekend might be sacrosanct for relaxation but you may need to find time.

#2 Money

Money is something you will require in order to operate to make money. You can do this blogging without investment of money but the returns will be far less than you are hoping for, and will take longer to develop. This adage is true; “you have to spend money to make money”. You can start out blogging cheap but in order to realise real returns you have to be smart and invest. Free only goes so far to satisfy.

#3 Momentum

Momentum is the odd member on the list and it needs explanation. Momentum is tangible in a sense that if you are not working on one project, your resource in terms of effort will be directed elsewhere. Momentum is also a direction, it is pressing forwards with focus. You can only attribute that forward drive to a few projects at a time, everything else goes on the back burner. Momentum partners with time. Humans only take on so many challenges at a time. Momentum is a finite resource.

 

Looking At Motivation

Blogging is something you have to perform consistently. I know this from my own experience. It is also something I personally struggle with, and I know many other bloggers struggle with.

Those who can keep to the rhythm and improve with each post, are the kinds that eventually win big.

Blogging is a long game, not a short one.

It is most definitely 10 marathons rather than a sprint.

Motivation in general, is a huge subject, a Human scientific study that has spawned countless areas of intrigue. NLP is one such area, Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

Motivation is an area that many self-help books concentrate on, many people have opinion on, and many people are lacking at some point in their life.

Discipline engenders motivation but in order to activate discipline you need to begin.

 

Commitment For Your New Blog or Your Mid Term Blog

In my original article, 7 Steps to Take Before Starting a New Blog In January, I framed this step as Ask Yourself, Can you Commit? In that step I poised the work of keeping up a blog as running a campaign.

What you have to realise about a blog is that it is war. Not only is it a war, it is a series of wars.

You are in the trenches, fighting for audience attention. Your Campaign goal, depending on whether you are for profit or not, is to reach as many people as possible to drive the harder stage of engagement. The point at which you get back from the audience, by providing to them.

For that to happen and for you to win those wars, you must have grit.

Staying power. Determination. Belief. Call it what you will. You need it.

Commitment for blogging is time. You need time. You need uninterrupted time to lay down your posts, maintain the blog and keep it all going.

You can’t start well then leave it to run. Once the machine’s belts are turning, they never stop and they always need feeding.

 

Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do

Doing what you love helps with motivation. If you are writing on a subject that sits inside your happy zone, finding motivation to write about it on a regular basis is child’s play.

A lot of people, and I’ve been reminded of this fact in a previous article, don’t do what they love; they do what they think will make them a lot of money, fame or reward.

I wrote an article a few years ago which instantly had someone argue that they don’t do what they love.

Not doing what you love is not a bad thing.

95% of the world population are committed to tasks they don’t like doing on a regular basis, that remaining 5% will do something they don’t enjoy at one part or another in their life, even the staggeringly wealthy.

The important lesson is that if you have already invested time in an activity that means something, you owe it to keep on building that legacy.

 

The Passion Prerequisite

Those who really excel normally have something beyond passion for what they are familiar with.

You need passion to hold your writing ambition on course when what you planned goes wrong.

If you don’t really do what you love, you have to love what you do. Sounding circular?

Loving what you do means that despite what path you have chosen, you commit in the spirit of enjoying the process and capturing a growing passion as you come more to terms with improving what you are doing.

You are never going to truly love what you have committed to but you at least enjoy and look forward to the challenge.

Work is work. There is always some drudgery involved.

It is always more preferable to do something you love but in that vein, you may become sick of what you love if you find the grind starts to take a grip.

Turning a hobby into a job can kill your love of that hobby. This does happen so be mindful of this.

There is a balance to be struck.

 

A Tip From Pat Flynn

This tip has stuck with me for a long time, it is simple but awesome, and it works.

Give yourself 30 minutes and write as many titles to articles in your chosen niche as you can.

If you are really struggling for ideas. This niche is too narrow to start.

If you have hundreds of ideas, this niche is too broad.

A niche is a niche because you have set aside some of the broader expanse of your topic zone to laser target a specific area.

If you have barely anything to write about, that niche is too specific and will severely limit the audience you can attract.

On the other side of the double-edged sword, too many ideas can be indicative of a niche that is too broad.

It could also mean that you are just brimming with ideas and if that is the case, you are likely to do well.

This exercise is going to become one of many routines that you, as a blogger, are going to have to come to terms with.

 

Early Blogging Days

These will be the most fun and the most rough on you.

When you have written your first couple of articles you are buzzing when you are a blogging noob.

It’s exciting to push content out.

It is also exciting to see green shoots.

Starting from zero is a great time.

You don’t really know what to expect.

The trouble is that you, as a new blogger, are going to be receiving views that are not large or significant. (unless you have planned to perfection).

You are bound to look at somebody else’s stats to get a gauge of where you should be at, and feel rather small in comparison. Human nature.

 

Early Blogs Don’t Have ‘Traction’

Traction is what you get when you have a small force of regular readers who are the beginning of your tribe. This nucleus occurs not only on your blog but on social media connected with your blog and the mailing list.

It takes a lot of grit, effort and patience to gain traction.

It is not an overnight event.

Only the very rare blogger is 100% successful out of the gate and you should not concern yourself with that kind of individual, they are out of your league, or in some cases have cheated the system to start more positively than you. It doesn’t mean that you can’t catch them and even pass them by later on.

Run your race!

Being ultra-fresh in any niche means that you don’t have any implied value and it is going to take you a while to be seen.

There are tasks you can perform to improve this but your initial posts are not going to attract as much audience as later articles.

It’s a numbers law.

I have no good advice on this beyond being better forearmed. There is only so much you can hustle and brute force in the beginning. The only advice I have is that you need to be consistent and keep up the hunt. You need to be committed, any less and you are wasting your time.

You need to put posts behind you to gain momentum.

 

A Word On Mentorship

Having a mentor in the beginning is a brilliant situation to be in. Having your hand held through the early stage makes you less paranoid about how badly you are doing.

The truth is that everybody does badly in the beginning. It is not worth striving if it was easy. Audience pleasing and retention is hard, don’t be under any illusions otherwise.

I didn’t start with a mentor, I started blogging cold and my learning curve was steeper as a result of that.

I made a lot of newbie mistakes in the beginning. It is the normal process.

If you are provided a golden opportunity for a mentor, take it. Shortening that learning curve will mean a lot. You will be more satisfied with your accomplishments sooner.

 

Quality/Quantity Argument

Quality is always more valuable than quantity but you don’t always win a war with quality.

Often you can boost your traffic, numbers and authority by posting slightly less, more frequently than you intend to for your standard campaign.

In 2014 I posted almost every day for a month and overall engagement increased considerably during that time.

It is the older, more incumbent bloggers, who can relax their pace and drop a large bomb slightly less frequently. You can’t do that. You don’t yet have people waiting for you with bated breath.

Quantity can be replaced long-term by consistency but early doors, the more you float to get you noticed, the better.

 

Hustle

What you do regularly requires hustle.

It is a business situation even if you plan to run your blog not for profit.

You have to be in the mood to hunt down engagement with your content which means that you have to work on ways to bring your content to the right people.

If you are chasing the wrong outcome, your hustle is for naught.

 

The Question of Authority

What you are trying to gather in the first year of your blog is an overwhelming sense from a visitor, that you know what you are talking about.

The purpose of what you write is to provide your audience an answer to a question that has been troubling them.

What is ever so more important is that you have people returning for more, because they like the cut of your silk.

 

Hustle is More Than Just Writing

Hustle is finding your audience then making them engage, either through tailoring your content, or finding the exact person that benefits the most from what you have put together.

Hustle is not cornering someone and badgering them until they relent.

Hustle is;

  • Expending resources.
  • Not sitting back and hoping they’ll come.
  • Putting the next round in the chamber, or the next post in the pipeline.

 

Early Day Blogging is Failing

This is a point you will move past by applying patience. It is also a period where you have a good chance of learning from what you are doing wrong. Someone is either likely to tell you or you come to realise it isn’t working.

Some lessons come sooner than others, Some are harder learnt.

Failing is learning, and learning is more valuable.

Sometimes, as counter intuitive and as painful as it may seem, you have to fail more to start learning more. You have to put yourself in some uncomfortable situations to test if a solution is water tight or not.

 

Mid Term Blogging

This comes after you are a year into the process, you know how one year (not necessarily a calendar year from January to January) plays out.

You are getting some traction but not all that you hope.

People are starting to find you on the Internet through the search engine but not quite as many as you want.

You have expectations now. Ones that you didn’t have in quite such a grand scale as when you were a noob. These expectations have shape and scale. You know roughly what you are shooting for. You have number goals.

That expectation brings pressure. As a writer we always hope that with every piece we write, we gain a small bump each time. It doesn’t always work that way.

 

It Takes Time

Mid Term blogging can last for a long period of time, much longer than you would have thought.

There are some bloggers who take years to click into place with their strategy and find the magic engagers and influencers that catapult their name into the frame.

You have to stick with it to make that point and to validate your effort in the blog.

That, or you quit.

Mid Term Blogging is;

  • Quality
  • Engagement
  • Looking for gaps
  • Shoring up your library of responses

Mid Term Blogging involves;

  • Social media beast mode
  • Person to person communication in spades
  • Inventive methods and out of the box thinking

Mid Term Blogging can also become;

  • A different kind of drudge
  • An opportunity to rest on your laurels
  • Lack of freshness
  • Target fixation
  • Laziness

 

Motivational Challenge

As a mid-term motivational challenge it is easy to become complacent about increasing numbers. You have to remember that this is only achieved by continual effort.

Stepping off the gas can be hazardous for blogging at any time but especially before you have attained celebrity status.

Whilst you are still a potential nobody, you can quite easily sink back into oblivion, by not keeping up the pressure.

You have to constantly be thinking how you are going to chain things together and optimise the provisions you pass out to your audience and those you plan to become your audience.

 

Dangers of Mid Term Blogging

It is quite easy to get lost from your main purpose, your niche direction and your ultimate goals.

I’m going to explain some of the changes and challenges that will occur.

 

Your Writing Will Lose Some of It’s Softer Edges

Your rose-tinted ideas from early blogging are going to be swallowed by more cynical views.

If you ever read back some of your oldest works, from the beginning, you will see how your writing has changed.

You will construct articles differently, and be more mindful of constructs and means of presentation that now work, that didn’t before.

There will be a sharper edge to your works. Wham, Bam, Thankyou Ma’am.

Simply put, you will know how to please but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t bear much resemblance to what you used to publish.

You will change;

  • Reducing the amount of flower in your descriptions.
  • Anecdotes, stories and imagery will increase.
  • Language might change for a wider world audience.

It is important to realise that some of these soft edges might be required to make you a unique voice in a crowded market. Try not to lose too much of you by becoming a robot.

 

Changing Tack

By following your audience you are not necessarily going to be charting the same direction as you had originally intended.

You may have forgotten what the point was to this steer and why you came this way.

Blogging is evolution. Even in the late game. Nothing stays the same, especially in a medium that is changing more rapidly than traditional writing.

In terms of motivation, you just need to keep the thread, wherever you are moving. Don’t think about the destination so much as the journey.

 

Clone Drone

It is very easy to become caught up in what the Jones’s are doing by looking at your competitors and trying to steal the wind out of their sales, or being a Johnny (or Janey) come lately.

This should be replaced by what you need to cover and what is important in your frame of the niche.

Don’t be a clone. Don’t be vanilla.

Serve your audience.

 

Comfortable But Vulnerable

You might feel comfortable that you’ve covered off a topic, but actually, the way you wrote it didn’t work for your audience and the wider audience.

Sometimes going back to represent your ideas in a more cognitive fashion is better than updating what you already have.

It may not need a repost as much as a completely new direction, one you haven’t considered yet.

 

Complacent Marketing Strategy

There is a great likelihood that you have become complacent with your marketing mix and the methods you use to hook interested readers without depending on the search engines.

The methods you employ will change subtly over time and you have to move with new trends.

Your audience aren’t a fixed point. They are not binary in their makeup, they aren’t yes and no. Sometimes they are maybe, not sure, stop asking me.

 

Attrition Management and Retention

You will have to manage attrition and move with the times.

Attrition will form in losing people who followed you for a long while but chose to abandon you (either through neglect or change of taste or situation).

You have to remove these people from your mailing lists before they start listing your email as spam.

Otherwise you have try to tempt them back somehow or try to capture the reason why they left and try to improve on that shortfall/oversight for future retention.

In the same way, your social media will have dropouts and on some platforms like Twitter, you will have to remove people to maintain the balance.

You have to be disciplined to do this, even if your attention has waned.

 

In Conclusion

Motivation is nothing without discipline.

As a blogger, one that may not see the recognition you hope for, the important point to keep in mind is that as long as you make the effort, you are not failing.

All bloggers, from all ends of the spectrum, have problems with motivation. It is human nature.

I’m sure there are the odd few days that bloggers like Pat Flynn and his ilk, can’t be bothered. They have the benefit of teams to fall back on and processes they have developed to get them past these feelings. These processes are ones you need to develop to be successful.

Guilt free holidays only come with precise tactics and strategies.

 

Next In The Series

The fourth step is the most important beyond Planning, Research and Motivation Assessment. In this step I will look at the notion of whether blogging is for you or not. You have to try it out and see if you like it, and I have tips on where you should go to try that.

 

Photo credits

All available via Pixabay.com, content is CC free but a pixabay link has been provided as a courtesy for an awesome service.