There are many sites that aspiring bloggers turn to in order to learn the dos and don’ts. One of the more popular sites for bloggers, and for good reasons, is Copyblogger. There are many great authors there, as there are at a number of other, similar “professional blogger” sites. Jon Morrow, the founder of GuestBlogging.com is one of the gurus at Copyblogger, and I pay attention when he talks or writes.
One of the reasons folks like me, still new to social media, including blogging, turn to Copyblogger and other sites is that we need feel the need for a “firm hand” – clear directions on what to do and how to do it right. We look for, naturally enough, the formulae that must exist in this domain, that will make us successful.
So, if I look at socialmediatoday.com, the top stories include “7 Great …”, “Three Keys …”, “… Five Signs”. When I check out the “Popular Articles” list at Copyblogger on a variety of days, I notice an equally heavy dose of numbers in those titles, as well. On one day, of thirty articles, twenty-two of them bore numeric titles, such as “10 Steps…”, “5 Simple Ways…”, “5 Steps…”. This is not at all surprising, nor was that day a fluke. A few days later, a few titles may have changed, but the number of numbers had not – 22.
It is not much of a mystery why this is the case. As folks who are not professional bloggers, we want specific advice on how to get our message out to the greatest number of people. We want to know what to do first, then second, then third. We have specific goals, for 1,000 followers or 5,000 hits or being on the first page of Google results. I know that is true of my own blog for Support For Home, focused on the issues of senior care and home care. If we do not have specific goals, how will we know when we get there, right?
So, the more objective sounding the titles are, the more likely we are to think they are part of the magic formula. “10 Secrets to…” is a heck of a lot more intriguing for many of us than “Some Stuff You Don’t Know.” It means the authors have actually categorized, calculated, enumerated in their own minds the valuable information they are willing to convey. I heartily approve and read avidly. And, I will continue to do so.
But the existence of all these numbers got me thinking about an image the aforementioned Jon Morrow uses in his videos on guest blogging:
Jon talks about this image as the inner circle of the blogosphere, which we all want to join. I not only get that, I want that. What strikes me about the image, however, is that everyone is facing inwards. If they were all facing outward, it would probably be easier to get their attention! Somehow we must penetrate that ring, to come into view.
I believe you get into the circle by going through a “fishbowl” experience, in the middle of that circle. Getting the opportunity for that experience has a great deal to do with doing the right (number of) things the right (number of) ways. I don’t think there is any question about that.
But, if you are not a very interesting fish, you are probably not going to get a viewing in the first place, no matter how good your technique or how many secrets you know. Then, once you get into that fishbowl, you had better have some pretty fancy fins, personally – that is, you had better have something to say.
So, thankfully there are folks like the gurus at socialmediatoday and Jon and his peers that can share the very real 5 secrets and 10 steps and 7 techniques. They are clearly and absolutely necessary to success in blogging. But they are not sufficient, any more than great content is sufficient. You have to have both. But you will not have great content, in my view, without one other critical ingredient — passion. A home care colleague whose blog I follow used to have someone write for her, but she fired the writer, because the home care owner had more passion than the “expert.” That was the right decision, driven by passion and commitment to senior care and home care.
So, learn all the techniques and tools and 5 Errors You Must Never Make. I’m sure trying and will keep at it.
But, if you do not have something about which you are passionate, some issues that are vital to you and some messages that you desperately want to share with 1000 followers and 100 followers of each of them, you might be better off shoeing horses. You probably won’t get kicked in the head as many times as you will as a blogger. 😉
Best wishes, Bert