As a new blogger we can very easy slip into obsessing about the thing itself… our blogs. But there’s more to blogging life than blogging. Or rather… you can’t just focus on your blog.
In an ideal world, you’d only focus on creating content. As you add to the number of published posts, you’d start to see visitor numbers growing. Within a year you’d be in a position to monetize your blog and make an income.
In this utopia there’d be a direct linear relationship between the number of posts you publish and the traffic you enjoy as a consequence. Within a couple of years of writing blog posts, you’d be living on sweet street, earning money while you sleep.
You’d wake up every day, write a blog post and publish it, check your income reports and move on to all the other things in life you enjoy doing.
It sounds perfect.
But building a blog is not like that.
But Content is the Most Important Thing, Isn’t it?
I’m a firm believer in the value of a substantial content portfolio. In fact, there have been empirical studies on the relationship between content volume and the traffic you might expect as a result of having lots of it. However, the reality is you can’t just live in the vacuum of your own blog and expect to see growth.
You have to have a bunch of irons in the fire.
If you want your blog to grow you’ll need several things on the go at one time. In terms of the “irons in the fire” analogy, we’d normally think of this as having different opportunities in place or different projects running at the same time. However, I’m using this in the context of working across multiple channels to help move the progress of your blog, other than relying on your blog content alone.
If you’re a blogger working hard to produce the best, most authoritative and high quality content you can, this is no mean feat… I speak from experience here!
Producing authoritative content devours your available time. It’s hard enough to output quality blog posts, even if you’re able to dedicate most of the time you have to your blog. Most people don’t have this luxury. They work, have family responsibilities and a whole bunch of other commitments clamouring for their time.
Time is perhaps the biggest challenge for all of us because are only so many hours in the day. Sadly these hours are not available for us to dedicate entirely to blogging.
With this in mind, why on earth am I saying we need to do more than just focus on our blogs with the little time we have? Surely, by apportioning our available time to things other than producing content we’re going to fail in lots of areas instead of succeeding in one?
I understand these questions and of course they make sense.
If we go back to our ideal world, we would of course be able to just focus upon producing content. However, we don’t inhabit an ideal world. The truth is we can’t just keep on publishing posts and expect the world will notice. The content we produce must be made visible.
Are the books we hear about the best books ever written? What about the music we get to listen to or the movies we see? Are they the best their mediums have to offer?
Sometimes they are. But most often we find out about these “products” not because they’re the best but because they are promoted, advertised and amplified.
Let’s look at another example. You might spend a year writing a novel, and it might be the finest novel ever written. But if no-one reads it, it’s just another book. People won’t find out about your novel because it exists. They’ll find out about it because they come into contact with it somehow:
- They see an advert.
- It’s promoted in a shop window they walk past.
- Someone recommends it to them.
- They read a review about it.
If your novel doesn’t get some sort of “airplay” it will just remain a book that no one has read.
In the same way, no one will find out about your blog if you remain within its vacuum. You have to have other irons in the fire to help out.
This may be a tough reality to accept, but if we want airplay we have to assign time to getting it. Nobody will see our light if we hide it under a bushel… we all have to find ways of helping people to see it.
So What Am I Talking About?
In a slightly long-winded way, I’m talking about finding different channels in which to broadcast our blogs so they might be found.
While it’s vital to have as much truly helpful content on your blog, it’s equally important to work to promote it. This means dedicating some of your available time to building a following in social media channels such as:
It might also mean you use sites like Quora to promote your knowledge and show people how helpful you are. At the same time as building up your authority, you can also get excellent ideas for content from Quora. A double win!
What about blog commenting? This is another way to show people you know your beans by supplying value to a blog discussion? You have to adhere to an etiquette when commenting on blogs of course. But if you can add value, why not share your knowledge generously and show people you’re a blogger worth knowing at the same time?
There are other positive reasons to have irons in many fires. This brings me long-windedly to the real purpose of this post.
If you have other irons in the fire, you won’t end up staring into the vacuum of your blog waiting for people to show up, and suffering alone and in silence when they don’t.
Having irons in other fires means you have other channels in which you can get feedback. It might be a blog comment that gets an amazing response from someone. Perhaps a tweet will get encouraging engagement. Or just maybe you’ll have a Pinterest Pin go viral.
Whenever you get some form of engagement on any platform it can be highly motivating, especially if you’ve yet to get such a response to the subjects you’ve posted about on your blog.
Engagement in other channels might help to motivate you to carry on working on your blog when the chips are down. If you haven’t been blogging for too long I’m sorry to say the chips will most certainly been down for what seems like an eternity at times.
Having other irons in the fire can support you when you’re not enjoying a glut of visitors. At the same time it provides opportunities to amplify your content and promotes you as a helpful blogger to be listened too.
As a blogger you’ll experience dark days where you question what you’re doing. You might imagine that things are not going to work out for you… and of course they might not. This is a real possibility. However it won’t work out for sure unless you commit at least a year to your blog and perhaps more, and work to get noticed.
What’s the number one reason why blogs fail? Because bloggers quit. They get few positive signals that what they’re doing is working and it’s depressing. This is where irons in other fires can help. They can provide positive signals that you’re on the right tracks while your blog is… well, still a vacuum, waiting for some Google love.
While it’s of course important to build up your content portfolio (nobody will spend much time on an empty blog), it’s vital to get your name some airplay and work to build up some credibility.
It’s also extremely important to get to know others who might help you. Blogging can be a very lonely place, especially if all you’re doing is staring into your own vacuum!
Building relationships with bloggers of all levels across all stages of the blogging journey will help you… maybe not in a week, but over time I guarantee it.
Blogging is hard work… but you probably know this already. When you start out you’ll be staring into the vacuum for signs of progress and it can be depressing to just see nothing.
Even though you might not have much time, put as many irons into the fire as you can so the vacuum starts vibrating!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Drop me a comment below and let’s compare notes!