Other blog owners have told me many times, either directly or in their blog posts, that the path to blogging success involves:
- working into the early hours;
- tonnes of promotion;
- networking like crazy;
- commenting on other blogs;
- being everywhere;
- being part of a blogging community;
- keeping to a consistent posting schedule.
The trouble is I don’t think their advice is always beneficial. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to blogging. Every individual has their own reason for blogging and that includes for business or for pleasure.
I’ve tried many approaches and now conclude that you have to do what is right for you. Don’t just believe someone else’s advice if it’s contradicts what you believe. Find out what works for you by doing what you want to do.
For a long time, I’ve felt pressured into doing things a certain way. I’m finally, after over two years of blogging, coming to a place of clarity and to understand what I wanted from blogging all along. To be helpful.
So which advice do you follow and which do you make your own mind up on?
SHOULD YOU WORK INTO THE EARLY HOURS?
By all means do. I have my reasons why I don’t though. It’s called life!
On the face of it, my life’s pretty chaotic. I drop the kids off at school, come home for a couple of hours, pick my daughter up at lunch time and then my son after school.
My wife is a Housemistress in a boarding school and we live on the campus. She works four nights a week looking after pupils in the boarding house (including weekends) and I work one night a week there too.
I have to take a qualification to work in the boarding house. It’s not onerous but it takes time.
Any time I’m not looking after kids in some capacity, studying or doing some housework, I’m working online.
If I worked into the early hours though, as anyone with young kids knows, I’d regret it the next morning!
How about you?
HOW MUCH PROMOTION IS TOO MUCH?
Or maybe I should ask what’s the right kind of promotion? They’re both blog posts in themselves but for now, here’s what I have to say.
There’s chat around social media circles about an 80:20 rule. So you promote your stuff 20% of the time and other people’s 80% of the time.
That’s not bad advice. It means you’re not spamming your social media accounts. You’re also sharing other people’s work which is good for networking and your followers will see you adding value.
The trouble is some of those who promote the 80:20 rule don’t practice what they preach.
That’s okay. There’s no hard and fast rule but telling people they use it and then you realise they don’t isn’t a good strategy.
I combine Buffer, CoSchedule, Swayy and Klout to get a handle on things.
Do you know how much self promotion you do versus promoting others? Do you know how many social media messages you send out a day and their impact?
If you want to learn more about recommended social media message frequency, I’d recommend you check out:
The Social Media Frequency Guide: How Often to Post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn And More
WILL NETWORKING LIKE CRAZY HELP YOU?
This advice isn’t far off the mark because networking is something useful in blogging. Networking like crazy though isn’t.
As much as having loads of followers on social media networks is great for social proof, how many can you network with?
It’s better to have fewer friends and followers who you engage with on a regular basis than hundreds of thousands who you don’t.
I don’t like the term Influencer Marketing. It has the premise that you’re approaching someone more influential than you to use them to your advantage. It feels like a way to force a relationship based on false pretences.
Many people are okay with that. I’m not so sure I am! If I want to get to know someone, I’ll do it because I like what they do and who they are.
With the growth of influencer marketing comes tools like Blogdash, Traackr, Buzzstream and Buzzsumo.
I’ve started receiving emails from complete strangers. They ask me to read their latest blog post because I shared a link to a similar post on Twitter. I suspect one of these tools is at work!
In all honesty though, blogging alone is lonely so it’s worth getting to know others without expectation. You never know who you’ll meet and the relationships you’ll make.
BLOG COMMENTING IS THE WAY FORWARD
I used to use blog commenting as an important part of my traffic generation. It’s also a great way to get to know people.
In the long term though, I don’t think it’s a viable solution to help with blogging success. It takes up far too much time to make it a worthwhile ongoing strategy.
I still comment on blogs but only when I feel compelled too. It’s important to comment on a relevant blog, to add value to any conversation and to do it for the right reasons. If you use it for traffic generation, just be mindful of that!
Blog commenting is also a great way to network and for others to see you as being an authority on a subject. Because of that I’m much more strategic about the blogs I comment on these days.
Regardless of whether you comment on other blogs or not, I’d always recommend answering comments on your own blog.
It’s an important part of engaging with your readers and will help to make people connect with you.
Since I removed CommentLuv from my blog and installed Disqus I’ve been much happier with comment quality here on my blog.
Whilst it’s not possible unless you’re superhuman, you could be everywhere with automation.
Social media, your own blog, guest blogging – you could be before everyone’s eyes 24-7. But is being everywhere realistic?
A better solution would be to go where your audience are. So if they’re on Twitter, be on Twitter, if they’re on Google+, be there.
Find out if you’re audience like videos and podcasts. Ask them. If they do, then incorporate that into your blogging schedule.
Maybe you don’t want to do either? That’s okay too. Not everyone wants to do them and it’s your blog after all.
The point is that trying to be everywhere will more than likely drive you demented. Does anyone have enough time to do that unless they can use others to do it?
It’s also a waste of time if your audience aren’t where you’re spending your time.
Focus on one thing at a time and make sure you nail that down before you move onto something else.
IS BEING PART OF A BLOGGING COMMUNITY A GOOD THING?
I’m in two minds on this.
I think on your own blog it’s important to develop a sense of community and to answer any comments or emails you receive from your readers.
It’s also important to network with other bloggers and get to know other people in your blogging niche.
There is a point where I start to question the usefulness of being part of a blogging community though.
If you network with the same bloggers all the time, comment on their blogs and share their stuff then:
- when your blogging community gets to a certain size you won’t be able to grow it any larger leading to a certain amount of stagnation;
- you won’t be reading and learning things beyond the community you’re a part of;
- and you may feel an indirect pressure to share and comment on blogs in your community.
The same goes for being part of a manufactured blogging community such as Blog Engage or DoSplash.
SHOULD YOU POST TO A CONSISTENT SCHEDULE?
I know many people will disagree with me on this but I don’t think it’s essential to keep to a consistent posting schedule.
Sure, you want to be posting regularly but it doesn’t have to be on any particular day of the week. Search engines like new content but they don’t rule when and how often you publish it.
I don’t wait with bated breath for bloggers to post because I know exactly when they have. Why? Because I’ve subscribed to their RSS feed or email updates.
That’s why I don’t think it’s important to post on exactly the same day or days for the rest of your life.
What’s most important with publishing new content is that you’re reliable. People can rely on reliable. Reliable content means trusted content and of high quality.
You don’t have to publish to a consistent schedule though like a robot. Reliable content takes time to produce so take that time!
I use Coschedule to keep me on the straight and narrow when it comes to publishing posts. It’s an editorial calendar with benefits!
Many people seem to fall into a consistent schedule anyway but don’t let that take over your life! That’s where an editorial calendar will help too.
My ego’s not so big yet that I think someone will be sitting up all night waiting for me to publish a new post. Is yours?