Rewind the clock a few years. I’d just started my blog, Quicksprout, and was in the process of getting my first company off the ground.
Back then, I would claw tooth and nail for every visitor, conversion and sale… But it wasn’t enough.
I looked around at my competitors for ideas and noticed that they all had one thing in common: a thriving blog. I thought, “I’ve got this business but I’m already late to blogging -- is success even possible?” After years of watching my competitors and colleagues blog frequently, I decided to give it a try.
Not one to tread lightly, I decided to challenge myself: I would publish a new blog post every day, for six months straight. Along the way, I learned five unexpected, and yet valuable, lessons.
Here they are.
1. Popularity helps, but isn’t necessary
I love numbers. I totally geek out over data, facts, figures and statistics.
Naturally, I extended this mindset to the blogosphere. I always assumed it was a “numbers game,” that the top bloggers were also the ones with the most likes, tweets, and followers.
Getting more followers and fans on Facebook and Twitter became my primary goal.
Soon after I began my blogging journey, I came to realize that writing posts was not just about the gross number of audience following my writing. Yes it’s cliche, but the quality of the connection and the relationship built with my audience is what mattered most.
My most dedicated readers are what I call “True Fans” (h/t Kevin Kelley), and they tend to fall in one of two categories:
- Other influencers in my niche.
- People who are most likely to resonate with my message.
As a business owner, it’s is tremendously valuable to connect with other influencers in my niche. Why?
First and foremost it makes me feel like I belong to the community -- I’m one of the cool kids. Second, those influencers have huge audiences themselves, and they’re likely to share my stuff if they know me.
By sharing my blog posts, influencers draw attention to my blog and my message. This helps grow my audience and also motivates me to stay consistent.
The second group of followers are those who find inspiration in my content. These tend to be readers who I've personally impacted in some way. There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction I get from seeing and hearing about the impact of my work.
Second, these people also tend to share my posts with friends and family, what Bryan Harris of Video Fruit calls “Eager Sneezers”. These are like an army of sharers, giving out free endorsements all around the world.
2. Draw on the network you already have
Despite my current domination of the digital marketing blogosphere, I wasn’t always so prominent on the web. The difference between then and now boils down to one skill: blogging.
Why was I so late to the game? When I first started Quicksprout, I truly believed that I didn’t know enough people to build a real audience. I quickly learned this was not the case.
On the contrary, I discovered I was better interconnected among friends, family and colleagues than I initially realized. Moreover, many of those with whom I have a first degree connection were quick to mention my blog to their own friends, family and colleagues.
In very little time I had a decent sized following. Just three months into my efforts, I saw new people beginning to follow me every day or mention my blog in person.
3. Mistakes are inevitable and survivable
You’ve heard this a thousand times. This truth is preached everywhere from Gary Vee’s Insta account to the Bible: you have to fail to learn. And it’s true.
Before starting the 6-month challenge, I feared the repercussions of making some sort of mistake when blogging. I read thousands of detailed blogging guides trying to “protect myself” from taking action. I feared posting something that later proved to be inaccurate. I feared starting a flame war.
Would I look dumb? Would people laugh? What if no one reads my stuff? These questions stewed beneath the level of my consciousness until the day of my first post, when the boiled up with fury. Thankfully I did publish that first post, and many more.
But I have to confess --during my first weeks of blogging, I made mistakes… lots of mistakes. One was so bad that, even now, I cringe as I write about it. I posted something as fact that really was a satirical bit, never intended to be true. My entire audience (then less than a 100), thought I was being serious! It took a while until I found my e-sense of humor.
I acknowledged the error. The next day, all was forgotten. I came to learn from my own experience that mistakes are not only not-a-big-deal, but can be a lot of fun.
4. Everything is happening on social media
When I started my 6-month blogging challenge, I was determined to focus exclusively on the blog, and nothing else. I had some friends on Facebook and a decent Twitter account at the time, but nothing of consequence.
At the time, social media was growing fast, but nothing like the beast it is today. I had a growing sense that social media platforms were ideal for promoting my blog posts, and indeed this turned out to be true.
While it wasn’t necessary to spend the entire day on Twitter or Facebook, by scheduling my new posts on those platforms I was able to reach a much larger audience. As more people shared and commented on my posts, I was further driven to continue the challenge and publish better content.
At the end of the first six months of my journey as a blogger, I learned a number of unexpected lessons.
The entire process was incredibly satisfying, both personally and professionally. Looking back, it was a backbreaking amount of work, but I regret nothing.
Are you willing to make the commitment to blog daily for at least a month? What do you think will happen if you do?