This is a guest post by Tommy Walker. Yeah, I know I said there wouldn’t be any more posts until after the redesign, but of course the redesign takes longer than I wanted. And Tommy is doing this cool thing right NOW, so… enjoy and see you on the new design in a few more days.
The short answer, you lack soul.
You’re more focused on writing catch phrases that can be tweeted in 140 characters, than you are about putting everything you have into your work, because that’s what some A-List blogger told you was “the way to get more traffic.”
You’ve stripped yourself out of your writing in favor of “scannable” paragraphs, brevity, and wit, and have your readers are numb, and content like this only further induces the coma.
Now please, before you click the back button out of defiance, please allow me to ask you a couple of questions:
What is your mission? Why are you blogging?
What makes you different from the ten million other bloggers that talk about the same thing? What are you giving me to stand behind? What is the mutual benefit of my reading you over the other blogs that talk about the same thing?
If you’re like me, you didn’t have a mission in the beginning; you had a broad understanding of your subject and your audience’s needs.
The problem is, your reader is staring blankly on the other side of the screen, waiting for you to figure your shit out.
When they hit “search”, they want to solve something. They want to do something.
If you’re the first result, they want you to be on a mission too, so you can do it together.
If you don’t know what your mission is, how are you supposed to help them?
DIY, Home Improvement, and weight loss blogs generally speaking do a wonderful job communicating a mutual mission.
Every single post is another idea to consider, another project to tackle, and another goal for you to achieve.
Your mission is the single most important aspect of your blog’s existence. Without it, you fail to let people know why they should support you.
Have you mastered the basics?
“Bloggers” get so caught up in being better “bloggers” they forget that “blogging” is just a platform for communicating thoughts and ideas.
I mean the basics of storytelling, persuasion, writing and the art of communication.
You have been lead to believe running a successful blog is all about “becoming the authority.”
This is a lie.
“Authority” or not, you have to communicate confidently if you’re going to survive…
Real confidence comes from mastery, and sadly most bloggers haven’t mastered communicating yet.
Instead, you emulate someone well known and try to jam original ideas into someone else’s format.
There’s nothing wrong with a little “borrowing”, but when done to an extreme, you’ll sacrifice the soul of your writing.
Instead of borrowing, why not look at the basic characteristics of a good story?
- A single theme, clearly defined
- A well developed plot
- Style: vivid word pictures, pleasing sounds and rhythm
- Faithful to source
- Dramatic appeal
- Appropriateness to listeners
(Baker and Greene, Storytelling: Art and Technique, pp. 28)
Next time you write, read your draft and scan for these elements.
Many bloggers stumble on “vivid word pictures, characterization, and dramatic appeal” opting to only report without any emotional resonance.
Question word choice, flesh out characters (especially if the character is your reader) and show you understand their exact situation, and how much lighter their situation will be when they take action on your post.
Do You Go Out Of Your Way To Promote?
Or do you expect people will read it, just because?
I’m guilty, and won’t even try to pretend like I’m not. My friend Derek Halpern has more recently started getting on me about it.
Look, the truth is, if you want people to know, you have to get out there.
Guest posts, interviews, comments, and all of those things that seem like cliche’s… they’ll work for you too, if you do it.
Don’t bet on getting well known overnight, and don’t place all your chips on any single post.
Everything works together, and you have to be consistent.
Are you using the right format?
Let’s be honest, blogging doesn’t have to be just text on the screen.
It took me three years to discover that I’m a much stronger communicator through over-produced video.
Mars Dorian, talks about marketing too, but he is much stronger when he communicates through images.
Do you have a nice voice and can hold a decent conversation? Perhaps podcasting is going to be more your thing. Illustration, photos & Live Q&A are some other new media formats that could work well for you too if you’re not the strongest writer.
Whatever it is, you must find the best format for you. The most important factor here is that you’re using a format that allows you to tell a good story with the least amount of friction.
So now what do you do?
Ask yourself “Why am I blogging?”
Really ask. Don’t just give this lip service.
Immediately dismiss answers like “to make stacks of money” and “to become famous” because those are the wrong reasons.
Dwell on this until you find your passion for your topic; it may take a while. Only accept answers that bring you closer to unearthing your mission. Don’t stop until your mission becomes clear.
Then, determine your strongest medium.
Don’t jump to the written word because it has the lowest barrier to entry. I shied from video because I feared the amount of time it would take in order to produce at a standard I found acceptable. Don’t make that mistake.
Living to your full potential is never without complications. Resistance hates when you tamper with the status quo.
The more you try, the more Resistance is going to throw obstacles at you. You must fight your way through it.
With any obstacle you must go above it, below it, around it, or straight through it. You must never lay down in front of it.
Your mission is your war cry, and the internet is your battle field. Do you belive in what you stand for? Do you believe in who you are, and why you matter to the world?
Will you dig deep into the corners of your soul and face the fears no one else will face just to channel that energy and tell the world how you overcame it?
If not, do I really have to tell you the real reason nobody is reading your blog?
Tommy Walker sabotaged his blog for too long and is now making up for lost time by guest posting on every popular site known to man. He’s preparing Season 2 of his show “Inside The Mind”, and is raising $100,000 in 30 days via an experiment with crowd-