Remembering the Good Ol’ Days of Quality Content
As someone who has been blogging since 2012, I remember when blogging wasn’t so much about the money. I remember when people were more focused on putting out quality content rather than the abundance of mass-produced articles I am constantly seeing. For the record, I am not the OG (original gangsta) for blogging, nor am I trying to sound like I am. I just think I’ve been blogging long enough to see the changes that have occurred since I began blogging. Now I can’t speak for all bloggers who started around the same time as I did, but I think some of them would agree.
Yes, blogging is a great way to make money (eventually). You have to look at it as more of an ultramarathon. It is nowhere close to a 100 m sprint (I’m Canadian so I use the metric system). There are a significant number of bloggers out there making a full-time or a consistent side income from the blog. Unlike me, they started that marathon from day one or at least within the first few months or so. They focused first on creating shareworthy stuff and growing their audience. For many of them, their income consists of a variety of things – sponsored blog posts, product/service reviews, affiliate marketing, writing for other sites/blogs, etc. So it is possible to create multiple streams of income from the blog.
I have read a lot of conversations in Facebook groups where people who have just started a blog but get frustrated after a few months/year because their traffic is not growing, they aren’t gaining more followers, not making money off of it, etc. There were also conversations where people wanted to start a blog to make money so they can leave their full-time job that they hate so much. It’s tough. I know, I’ve been there for both situations – Most of the jobs I’ve had, have sucked for several reasons. I know what it’s like to start a blog and be frustrated because nobody is coming to visit and nobody finds your posts interesting. Even when I made the decision to rebrand to entrepreneurship and blogging, it felt like I was starting from ground zero and that it would take forever for people to become interested in what I was blogging about.
I think the reason why people get frustrated and give up too early is that they’re focusing on the wrong things. They want to grow too fast, too soon.
Just Keep Blogging, Just Keep Blogging (in a Dory voice)
If you get frustrated and hung up on making money you will probably be disappointed and burn out rather quickly. Whether if it’s for your business or you’re trying to turn it into a business, you have to understand that the main purpose of creating content is to promote awareness. Awareness of your brand/business/story. At the end of the day, that is the ROI (return on investment) of blogging. But even that can be difficult to measure/quantify. One way to tell is if it is being shared or if people are engaging with through comments and likes. Or better yet if people tell you in person that they enjoy your content. I wouldn’t go out of my way to share something I didn’t enjoy. If I really enjoyed reading/listening to something, I want to actually mean it.
Regardless of whether or not you are blogging as a hobby or for your business, focus on putting quality content out there first. You owe it to yourself AND your audience.
They are following you for a reason.
Don’t put content out there for the sake of just having something there to be consistent. I’d rather see consistent content twice a month that is decent and share-worthy, than crappy content on a blog 3x/week. There’s nothing worse than consistent crappy content. When I say crappy content, it sounds like something from a template – there is no substance, it’s only been tailored for SEO (search engine optimization), it’s boring and dry and makes my eyes bleed (how’s that for a visual?).
Inject some personality and authenticity into the post. I want to read your opinion and your thoughts on something. It is possible to take a common topic and put your spin on it. Which is basically what I’m doing with this post.
I’m not reinventing the wheel.
I’m just making my own version of the wheel.
If you’re just starting to blog, you may not have the best content right away. That’s ok. I certainly didn’t. A lot of my early blog posts were not the greatest. In fact, they are probably some of the worst posts I’ve EVER WRITTEN for the blog. I sometimes roll my eyes and cringe when I go through one from the archives. In many of my early posts, I felt I sounded very condescending, arrogant and narcissistic. It probably had to do largely with the fact that I was anonymous until around 2015, so I felt I could say whatever I wanted because nobody knew who I was. When I rebranded, I thought about deleting all of them. I decided to keep them because it was a timeline that showed how far I had come since 2012.
Sponsored Content Can Be a Good Thing
For the record, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having sponsored content on your blog or social media. I don’t understand why people complain about seeing sponsored content on someone’s blog or social media account. This is how we are trying to make money and grow our brand. Although I can understand if people are complaining more about the lack of transparency. Working with brands can be very beneficial for your blog/business. When done right, sponsored content can also provide a lot of value and be part of a story. I suppose when ALL of your content is sponsored can be when people would start to lose interest.
Even if your mom is the only one reading your blog or following you on Instagram, keep doing what you’re doing. Because you never know who is watching, waiting and getting themselves ready to reach out to you.