When you think of blog success, the Emmy Awards is probably last thing that comes to your mind, but there is a lot the awards can teach you about what the public enjoys.
If you dream of having a top blog, then you have to know what your readers enjoy in order to achieve blogging success.
For the past month, I have been writing about marketing guru, Whitney Keyes’ new book, Propel: Five Ways to Amp-Up Your Marketing and Accelerate Business.
The Emmys reveal to the world what the public enjoys, what entertains them, and what they are willing to spend their precious time watching.
When you want more readers for your blog, or you want more people to comment on your blog posts Whitney Keyes asks: what is the benefit to them?
What is the benefit to your audience for spending time with you?
Whitney will tell you that the 3 walls keeping your audience from you are:
1. People are busy.
2. People are bombarded.
3. People are skeptical.
And the only way to penetrate these walls and reach your audience is by building strong connections.
Think about your favorite TV show…why do you like it so much? Why do you like your favorite actor or actress? Do they deliver more than you expect? Why do you take the time to sit down and watch them?
What is the benefit to you?
In Keyes book, she outlines 7 ways to build stronger connections with an audience —
1. Brag about them.
2. Surprise them.
3. Impress them.
4. Entertain them.
5. Make things easy for them.
6. Help them.
7. Thank them.
Too often bloggers start out thinking only about that they want to say, and not enough about the fact that writing is a partnership with the reader. The reader has to be invested in the story you are telling. The reader needs a compelling reason to keep coming back to your blog posts.
Blog success us not as easy as it seems.
In 2011, the Nielsen company tracked over 181 million blogs around the world, up from 36 million only five years earlier in 2006. Overall, 6.7 million people published blogs on blogging websites, and another 12 million wrote blogs using their social networks.
That’s a lot of competition… and a lot of blog noise for your blog to be heard over.
So if you feel your writing is worthy of mass audience appeal and you aren’t getting dream-sized blog traffic (and the comments) you’ve been hoping for, then the problem could very well be that no one knows you exist beyond your few Facebook friends and relatives.
As much as we like to think that the speed of the Internet age has made it possible to fast track success, much about becoming a success has remained exactly has it always has: you either have to be famous, know someone famous, or spend years working on your craft hoping for the right break.
The Internet has not changed this… it still takes about 10,000 hours to be an over-night success.
I’ve been blogging since 2003, and I’ve seen a lot of great bloggers come and go. The average time a writer stays with their blog is 3-9 months, that’s hardly 10,000 hours. The instant access of the Internet lures writers into the false perception that by simply hitting the publish button, the world will somehow find them, read their words, love them, share their writings, and keep coming back for more, which in turn, will make them a famous writer.
Blog success just doesn’t work that way, that is, unless you are already famous.
Blogs are hard work. There’s more to them than simply writing good content. There’s the layout of your site; the colors you use (yes colors can turn readers off); page-load times (slow loading is bad); keyword research; image quality and post processing them; the design; and capturing the attention of a visitor, who on average, makes their decision about your blog in less than 4 seconds before leaving because they don’t see what they were hoping to find.
Like the actors that don’t get nominated for an Emmy, there can be many reasons why your top blogging dream isn’t coming true, or why some literary agent hasn’t stumbled upon your ‘great writing’ and offered you a lucrative book deal.
In the case of being loved by the masses, author, Whitney Keyes thinks your lack of blog success is because of …
You may have taken a misstep. Could you be a bit more polished, more compelling, and more focused on providing unique content? You have to take a clear look at your work and be willing to do whatever it takes to make it better, or
Maybe your work is good enough but your website makes your writing difficult to read. Maybe that inexpensive web hosting you’ve purchased has too much traffic on the server you share with other websites and is too slow. Maybe the competition for your blog niche is so big that your site shows up on page 10 of search instead of page 1, or
C. Something unexpected.
Your Facebook Page gets deleted by Facebook on accident and you don’t have a backup copy and it was the main driver of traffic to your blog. Your website gets hacked and you lose some of your best work. Your camera stops working, you can’t afford a replacement for a couple of months and your images are what readers love the most. Google updates its search algorithm and suddenly your highest traffic-driving page disappears completely from search, or
D. All of the above.
Trying to be one of the best at something is more like a triathlon than a marathon. It’s like the stories you hear from the actors who say they started acting in their living-room when they were 3-years-old, or started acting in college and the journey to the Emmy Awards podium took them 20 years of struggling to make it, mixed with numerous acting coaches, waiting tables and construction jobs.
But they stuck with their dream and kept working on their craft, determined to get better with each passing year, while they imagined holding that winged-woman-holding-an-atom statuette in front of their peers.
As Emmy Award winners know, to be considered the best at anything requires time, commitment and the willingness to continue improving your craft — until you are the best.
And Whitney Keyes says that will propel you to stardom.
And I believe that’s where blog success and dreams come true.
Catherine Hughes is the founder, content director and editor-at-large of 8WomenDream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead, but don’t hold that against her.
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