Alex Bakula-Davis @AlexBDavis: what were some of the simple ways you started to get traction for your blog early on? Im starting w consistent content.
First off, are you sure you want to do a blog? I probably obsess on this blog 20 hours a day, even when I’m sleeping. I’ve recently had an epiphany. The two biggest things I think about are traffic and “will I come up with new ideas”. I’ve written over 400 posts. There are only so many ideas. And not everything you write will be great. I have over 100 posts in my Drafts folder because I don’t think they are good enough.
My goal is to create “blogerature”. Good writing that fits in the blog format. The way literature is good writing that fits into a novel. I read about two or three hours a morning to get started. I read writers that I think will inspire content for the blog. Usually very autobiographical fiction writers. Just autobiography is not good enough because most people who write an autobiography are not good writers (they spent their lives getting good at something else, hence they have the material for a good autobiography). I’ll then spend up to the rest of the day thinking of ideas for the blog and starting and stopping and starting and stopping until I have a blog post. It’s grueling. It’s 7 days a week. It never ends. And it makes zero money (no ads on this site).
So are you sure you want to do this?
But ok, you do.
So here’s what you do: assuming you aren’t writing the same BS everyone else is writing. Assuming you have something new to say that isn’t said anywhere else. Assuming you are delivering real value into the lives of your readers. Then here’s what you do:
– Build channels on Twitter, Facebook, Quora, Pinterest, Amazon, so people become aware of your blog through a variety of social media.
– “Crush It” – this comes the Gary Vaynerchuk book called “Crushing It” and I like how he thinks about these things: basically, comment on everyone else’s blog. Participate in every Facebook question. Tweet in various conversations. Answer questions on Quora. Self publish a book. Crush it everywhere. I admit I did not do this so well. But I saw Claudia do it for her blog and she built up quite a following from scratch.
– Syndicate – write for other blogs. Write for the Huffington Post, or the top blogs in whatever field you are interested in. I’ve syndicated my material on at least 10 other popular blogs and tried to syndicate on others that said, “no” (famously, the Harvard Business School blogs where they passed around my material and I saw at the bottom of the email chain, “And yet another”.)
Do this consistently for a year. You will get a following. Note it won’t be a big enough following to generate a good living from ads. But it will give you a launching pad to think about other business ideas. Someone once told me: “all you need is 1000 true fans to build a business”. So you will get your 1000 true fans. And then you can decide what to do with them.
But most importantly, cut open an artery close your heart and bleed onto the screen. Else why should I read you instead of the ten million other bleeders out there. Humans are like literary vampires. We want to feast on blood. Give it.