If social media has done anything, it has highlighted the fact that we humans love to jump to conclusions. And we love to latch onto assumptions that validate and agree with our own worldview. The same thing with blogging, we cling to many ‘truths’ that are in reality, mostly bunk. Here’s five of them:
1 – Comments are an indicator of how successful your blog is. Kevin Hillstrom left a comment here earlier this week, so I want to pick on him for a minute. Here’s how many comments his blog has received so far this year: 30 comments on 33 posts. Less than 1 comment per post. So his blog sucks, right? Here’s the comment Kevin left:
“70% of my annual consulting revenue comes from my blog. I know this, because I ask every CEO who hires me how they found out about me. They tell me that they heard about me via word of mouth (usually from other blog followers), then they read my content for anywhere between 6 months and 3 years before deciding to hire me.
This trend has held constant for all six of the years I’ve done database marketing work for CEOs.
I used to be a VP at Nordstrom, so one can guess that I earn a reasonable living. Multiply that by 0.7, that’s the fraction the blog is responsible for. The blog works wonders for my business.”
Lesson: Engagement can be a sign of successful content, but only if that engagement helps you reach your blogging goals. Now some bloggers like Gini Dietrich claim they get many of their customers from people they connect with after they leave comments on their blog. I can totally see that, but you shouldn’t assume that simply getting comments means your blog is successful. More comments is only a sign of success if it is helping you reach your larger goals for your blog.
2 – If you build it, they will come (AKA, Great Content Gets Found). Not complete bullshit, but it’s close. Even if you are an amazing writer and create amazing content, that content still has to get found. Now the ‘Content is King’ proponents will argue that great content always gets found. And it usually does, what they won’t tell you is that it might take weeks, months or even years for this to happen. We all have far more information coming at us than we can process. Go to Twitter right now and you’ll see a steady stream of links being shared back and forth. How is your amazing content going to stand out in that crowd?
Lesson: You get out of blogging what you put into it. If you want your content to be found, then you need to get off your blog and interact with people in their space. Now this isn’t an absolute, because you can always make the argument that blog content can be found via search. But in general, you can greatly increase the chance of your blog being discovered if you are interacting with your potential readers in their space. Leave comments on industry blogs, participate in twitter chats about the same topics that your blog covers. Don’t be lazy and wait to be discovered, get off the couch and in the game.
3 – You Shouldn’t Blog Until You Have Something to Say. The people telling you this are typically the guys that blog 5 times a year. They will also tell you that there’s so much noise now that you shouldn’t contribute to it by creating more blogging blather. My gut feeling is that most of these bloggers aren’t trying to convince you that it’s ok to blog less, they are trying to convince themselves.
Lesson: As I have been harping on here this year, you become a better blogger by blogging. The ‘I shouldn’t blog until I have something to say’ line can become an excuse you use to not make the time to blog. I know from my own experiences that the more I blog, the easier it becomes. I can blog once a week and spend roughly the same amount of time on that 1 post as I do blogging 4-5 times a week. Why? Because when I blog more often, I can more easily spot blogging ideas. Writing is like anything else, the more you do it and the more frequently you do it, the easier it becomes.
4 – Blogging is dead and social media has killed it. Ah yes the ‘blogging is dead!’ proclamation. I think I first started hearing this around 2008 when Twitter started taking off. This one is easy to fall for, especially if you are a business. You see that Facebook has 5 billion members and your blog gets 5 visitors a month, and think that’s where you need to be. But in home-buying terms, with Facebook you are renting, with your blog, you ‘own’ it. So if the landlord (Facebook) decides to change the rules on you, you can be in big trouble. But with a blog, you own that space. You can create the type of content you want, and run promotions and contests. Plus, the search benefits of blogging speak for themselves.
Lesson: Although blogging is a lot of work, it also has many natural advantages that socnets can’t match. But you need to decide if blogging is right for your individual needs. If your customers are using search as a research tool before they make a purchase, then a blog will definitely help you reach potential customers.
5 – If you haven’t started blogging by now, you’ve missed the boat. Yeah I was hearing this same thing in 2010 and 2008. The fact is, it’s probably easier for a great writer to stand out now because truly original voices are becoming harder to find. Even many of the blogging trailblazers are changing their methods to be more like larger websites, more homogenized. Truly unique voices and approaches will always stand out.
Lesson: It’s never too late to share your voice. I started blogging in 2005. There were already a lot of well-established bloggers by then. But every year since, a few new bloggers have come ‘out of no where’ and suddenly everyone loves them. There is always room for smart people with something valuable to say, don’t let a late start keep you from having a start.
What’s the biggest blogging myth that you wish would go away?