Hi and welcome to the continuing Perspectivseries throughout the month of January where we have partnered with Brandi Kennedy of Brandi Kennedy: Love Stories and Lifestyle for the Undaunted Woman. With each post this month, we have covered things from a single mother’s and a single father’s perspective. Some posts work really well with this. Some things I have found challenging. But it’s been an amazing experience throughout the month. We hope to continue going strong until the end of the month. For today’s prompt, we decided to cover our experiences being a blogger and what we have learned as I write about the ten things I learned blogging.
This last month has really been interesting learning about all of the people who have been on this journey and what has gone on throughout their last year. Some people had been blogging for years before I came around and they have spoken into my blogging experience, both encouraging and supporting me throughout my journey. Some people entered the blogging scene at exactly the same time I did. And one person talked about how they already earned $5000 the past year. While I have been able to make some connections and earn some money, it shocked even me they earned so much. It’s possible I just haven’t been pounding the pavement the way they have. Then again, I still have a full time job I have to do on the side. Regardless, it’s been amazing to learn about everyone’s journey and experiences.
This made me think about my experiences being a blogger. It’s been a wild and crazy first year journey with peaks and valleys. On the up side, I have made friends with some amazing bloggers. And I have made some great connections with some amazing companies. But on the down side, I have had to deal with the dark side of what can happen with auto-posting programs, driven myself to near sickeness by pushing myself, and I wrote the overly frustrated blog post where you complain at the world only to realize how crazy and unhinged you sound so you delete the post before it has the chance to see the light of day. It’s been an amazing year. Truly.
So with this in mind I started thinking about the things I learned this past year. I learned things about being a dad blogger, and things about being a blogger in general. With all I have learned, I figured I would share some of the most interesting things I learned this past year with you. Because I’m a blogger and I have run at the mouth syndrome, or something like that. “The World Must Be Peopled!” Wait. No! I have Shakespeare on my mind. But my words need to find the light of day. So from out of the depths of my brain, I bring to you the 10 things I learned blogging.
10 Things I Learned Blogging
1). Blogging Is About Relationships Which Cannot Be Faked Or Computer Generated
As much as I love doing groups with people where we work together to generate traffic, ultimately you need to create traffic based upon who you are, and what you write. This means establishing relationships with the people you meet along the way. Far too many people think they can game the blogging system through some systematic way of using the computer to drive traffic to their blog. But blogging isn’t about some trick. It may get people to come. But to be successful, you need to get people to stay. This means you need to talk to the people who view your blog and interact with them. That will drive them back to the blog more than anything else.
2) You Cannot Focus On Everything Simultaneously
Yes, you can do a lot. And with a bit of insomnia and drive, you can do a heck of a lot. But ultimately, you will need to consider taking things in one of two directions. Either, you will need to figure out how you are going to pay a virtual assistant to help you with your marketing duties, or you will need to narrow your focus to a couple of them, and hope the rest get some natural growth which will not require a ton of personal effort. If you try to do everything, you will fall apart. And even if you don’t, you won’t be giving the kind of time and effort your social media posts will need to drive traffic to your blog.
Pick a couple which work for you blog and work on those. Or better yet, maybe work on one at a time while maintaining a presense on the rest. Once you get some kind of recognition for your expertise in one, you can start to work on other ones. But don’t do it all at once. You will end up feeling overwhelmed.
3) You Need Balance In Your Life
It’s so easy to get sucked away doing one thing or another. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing. But I need to have outside relationships and outside experiences in order to have something to write about. It’s the other things in my life which promote what I write. It allows me to be inventive. And it gives me things to think about when I want to write. Burying myself in my work only leaves me wasted, and with a dearth of things to talk about. So I need to have othert things in my life which give me energy. Whether this is time with my daughter, talking to friends, or watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset, I need to have balance in my life if I want to be the best blogger I can be.
4) Never Let Anything Go Completely Out Of Your Control
I realize this makes me sound like a little bit of a control freak. But the thing I felt most haunted by this past year was a service I thought would help me grow my social media presence. Instead it left me feeling broken and betrayed. As much as it is nice to be able to trust others to do things, you still need to be able to have final say on everything. A blogger is like the major editor of a newspaper. Even if you don’t write the copy, you still need the final say before it goes to print. Well, I allowed something else to happen for me this year and it hurt others, and ultimately hurt myself. Even if you have people curating things for you, make sure you get the final say before it goes to print. It will make your life so much more secure.
5) No One Person Has All The Answers
Everyone wants a quick fix. You want to do that one step and then magically you will be successful. But the truth is, anyone who has been successful realizes there were years of investing in one’s self before success came. True success, isn’t like the lottery, where you magically have millions of dollars dropped in your lap while only paying a couple of bucks to get it. Real success comes through years of dedicated energy and effort. Part of it is honing your craft. Part of it is emulating those who have been successful before you. And another part of it includes finding your own path.
In blogging you can’t go to one person and have them magically figure it all out for you. They may have one little tidbit of advice which helps you. Hold on to this information. And then talk to someone else. You will realize successful people found different ways of getting their success. And much of that has to do with branding and what works better for them. What works for them, will not be exactly what works for you. So hear what they have to say, and then be willing to strike out on your own path. You will be a better person for it.
6) If You Aren’t Busting Your Butt, You Aren’t Doing It Right
I suppose there are people out there who write 600 words a post, once or twice a week, and then they put out their stuff on social media to promote it a couple times. Those aren’t real bloggers. They may pay for a website, and call themselves a blogger. But honestly, unless they create the most random viral thing in the world, they will be one of the 95 percent who quit blogging within the first year.
Every blogger wants to be noticed. Why else would we put personal stuff on a world wide forum. But to get noticed you have to pound the pavement. This means going to where your people are. It means seeking out facebook forums, going on to Reddit, Bloglovin, Stumbleupon as well as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Each and every place hopefully drives viewers to your blog, and then you have to engage them and keep them there through your wit, charm, and sheer force of will. This means late hours and early mornings. And it gets crazier if you carry a job and have kids as well. So while I love this new work in my life, I know every second counts if I want to be successful. So I go out there every day and strut my stuff.
7) If A Steep Learning Curve Intimidates You, Blogging Is Not For You
Once you dive into blogging, you will find yourself buried under a mountain of information you have to process on the fly. But if you love the writing, once you dive in you may hear, like me, the Ghost from the Haunted Mansion’s voice in your head on repeat, “There’s No Turning Back Now.” And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
8) You Need To Have A Short Memory
This doens’t mean you need to forget things and sit staring at your blog post while you drool into a sippy cup you borrowed from your two-year-old. It’s not about having no memory. It’s about the ability to forget and forgive the things which have happened in the past. Because you might have to or will want to work with a person in the future. If you fixate on every perceived slight, you will waste a lot of energy on people who probably don’t deserve your care or concern.
To be successful, you need to put the day behind you every day, and focus on the positive things you have control over. Then go out there and bust your butt. Don’t worry about the naysayers, or those who will try to knock you down a peg because of their own insecurity. Just be you, and try to ignore the rest. And when you acheive success, you will be the happiest person for it.
9) Be Cautious About The Relationships You Do Develop
I admit, this lesson doesn’t exactly come from blogging. It came from friends who I never realized were bloggers in their past until after they found out I was blogging. Each of them told me the horror stories of someone they developed a relationship with while blogging who intentionally tried to destroy them and ruin their reputation with their audience. People can be envious. Watch for those with this propensity. The more success you achieve, the more likely you will be to become their target. They are like the school bully. Their own insecurities make them want to bring you down to their level. Or they are like a hired assassin. They take you out because you stand in their way of acheiving something.
Whatever their reason for behaving like this, they try to destroy. So you need to be mindful of people who are out there. While it’s good to befriend people, watch how the people you engage with interact with others. It will be a good clue as to how they might interact with you. You want to have a good group of people around you who uplift you and support your efforts. Those who cannot do that, you do not need to associate with. You do not want to be caught up in their whirlwind of negativity. You will not go unscathed if you don’t steer clear of these people.
10) Give Credit To Whom Credit Is Due
I will keep this short because it seems obvious. And then I will give shoutouts. The truth is, you want to receive credit for the inspiration you have been to others. If you want that credit, put the kind of good out into the universe which will make you get it back. So tell others who have inspired you. Maybe someday you will be fortunate enough to partner with them on some project. Or maybe they will introduce you to the person who will make your blog popularity explode. You never know. But showing you appreciate them will make them appreciate you more. And so I am going to give a few shoutouts here.
Here are my shoutouts.
Brandi Kennedy – For inspiring me to be honest and vulnerable as well as work with others.
Ana De Jesus – For being a light in the world. For believing in me. For being vulnerable and an amazing and beautiful spirit. You taught me how to be more vulnerable myself.
Alison Rost – For making my mouth drool every day with your amazing recipes. For being so down to earth and welcoming. For taking the time to share with me a little bit about your life. You make me be grateful. And you remind me how important family is in my life.
Elizabeth Brico – I miss your pushing me into expanding my creative writing skills. Sometimes I felt like I was being shoved over a cliff. But only shoved over a cliff, in love, of course. You made me think and expand my writing skills and for that I am eternally grateful. Miss ya.
Cynthia Duarte – Kinda crazy we met over Twitter with an auto message, which I won’t be doing again. Haha! But You showed openness and kindness to me. You taught me about the posibilities of blogging, and you helped me in networking in ways no one else has. Thank you so much for everything you have done for me. I will never say thank you enough.
Benny Finlay – I ran across this Daddy Poppins while trying to grow my Twitter Social media presence. At the time I didn’t even get Twitter. Why would someone type there when facebook would work just as well. Mr. Finlay showed me the possibilities of Twitter. And being one of the funniest and nicest guys out there, you cannot help but love him.
Sondra Barker – One of the first people in the blogaverse I started talking to. Not only is she one of the most amazingly sweet and friendly persons you will ever get to know, but she is also one of the most beautiful. From Disney to food and back again, she showed me how to be a real food blogger. It’s not that I wanted to solely be a food blogger. But she inspired me about what one could do on a food blog, and has inspired at least one or two of my food holiday posts as well. Plus, I have been to a few of the places she suggested and they have always been amazing. So if she recommends it, just go.
Honestly, there have been a ton of people who have taught me amazing things. And this year, I really want to connect with more dad bloggers out there. I remember when starting this blog, I was hoping to inspire others. And I would love to be around more dads who inspire me. So give me a buzz. Maybe we can collaborate on some great stuff. I could write more on this post, but the editor in me would have a heart attack.
Continue The Conversation
Ok. So for you bloggers out there, how long have you been doing this? What are some of your biggest lessons you have learned? And what have been some of your biggest setbacks? For the non-bloggers out there, what things have held you back from blogging? And who are some of your favorite bloggers?
Like / Follow Me
If you liked this post, please like it at the end, and follow me here at the Guide. All email subscribers should get an email or a newsletter with the password to the Dad Rules in it. The Dad Rules are ten rules every father should know about and follow. I’m working on another special freebee this year as well. Hopefully it will be done soon. Thank you for stopping by.
Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life