One of the things I get asked a lot when I am chatting about blogging, or business, is “Is that what you did?”. And generally my answer is, “No, it’s what I wish I did!”
You see I am starting to realise that I have managed to pretty much do everything the absolute hardest way possible.
If there was a longer, hillier, windier path to get to somewhere I wanted to be, I always chose that one. And I am really not sure why (probably some deep subconscious belief that success had to be hard… but that’s a whole other blog topic!)
And the funny thing is now that I have the chance to talk to so many other bloggers on a regular basis, I can see this same trait in lots of them too. This resistance and in some cases absolute pigheadedness about doing the very things they need to do to have their blogs really take off!
Now I don’t know if it’s some sort of deep-down self sabotaging thing, or if some people just do really love the long, hard slough. But either way I wanted to share these common detours off of easy-street. And if any of these ring a bell with you, can I just ask you one question?
“Why are you making it so hard for yourself??”
Harder than it has to be option 1 – The multi-author blog!
Now this one is actually a real sneaky devil, because a lot of people (myself included) are drawn to having a multi-author blog because they actually think it will make their lives easier, and that it will be less work and responsibility.
Let me enlighten you. No, no it will not. And there are a few reasons why.
1 – No one is going to be as passionate, or as reliable, or as “on brand” as you are (unless of course you start the blog with other co-founders who are just as invested in it as you… but that can be a whole other world of dramas). So what this means is that more often than not you will have to be chasing for your content (which is no fun for anyone), or it will come back and it’s not what you briefed so you have to fix it or get it re-written (again about as fun as a poke in the eye). And in the end you probably could have created it yourself faster and with less stress.
2 – It’s expensive! I know a lot of multi-author blogs start off getting people to post for free, but if and when your blog starts to get successful (which is the plan.. right?) you are going to have to start paying your contributors (you can’t be a cheapskate forever), which means actually your blog is going to have to get A LOT more successful and also it will need to make A LOT more money than a single author blog for you to still make a decent wage for yourself (which is even more work for you… oh goodie!).
3 – You have to manage more people! Yes, having help is great, I am all for that. But the more helpers you have, the more of your time that is taken up with managing them, over-seeing them, training them. And all of a sudden you realise that you are spending all of your time doing the stuff you never wanted to do, and your writers are the ones doing your dream job (just saying!)
4 – People don’t connect as well with multi author blogs! I am not sure of the exact science behind this, but from all the ones I frequent myself this seems to be a pretty blanket rule. There are a lot of multi-author blogs out there with HUGE traffic, but very little interaction on their posts.
People just don’t seem to get engaged as much with the multi-author and magazine style blogs, as they do with more personal ones. And the less engaged they are, the less they will come back, so your battle for traffic just became that much harder as well!
Harder than it has to be option 2 – Not getting personal
Now this actually follows on quite nicely from my point above about the multi-author blogs, and how people don’t tend to create the personal connection with them. The same goes for bloggers who hold-back and don’t like to put themselves into their blogs.
I know it can be scary putting your face, or even just your opinions and stories out there into the interwebs (and it does significantly increase your chances of having a jerk or two take out their jerkiness on you which sucks!), but not doing it also significantly decreases the likelihood that your readers are going to feel some sort of real bond with you. And it is the bloggers who can form those strong bonds and strong connections who are the ones that not only grow the quickest, but who also are the most attractive to advertisers (because their readers think of them as a bestie, and any recommendation they make is worth it’s weight in gold!)
Harder than it has to be option 3 – DIYing yourself to death
Starting and running a blog can be expensive, I get that. And especially at the start it can be super tempting to just do all your own techie and marketing (and even admin) stuff.
But you can’t do it for ever, and if you ask any pro blogger what one of the biggest turning points in their blogging career was, and I bet you a lot of them say it’s when they started to invest in themselves and in their blog. Now whether that is simple paying for someone to customise and install their theme for them, or to even getting some coaching or paying for some virtual support. Trying to DIY it all yourself (especially when you actually have no idea what you are doing!) is just not good business sense. So as soon as you can afford it (or even just a little bit before then), why not try and get some experts on to your blog team, and let yourself get back to doing what you do best, creating awesome content!
Harder than it has to be option 4 – Trying to please everyone
A wise meme once said “If you’re not pissing someone off, you’re boring everyone”, and I totally believe that. To really be memorable in the blogging world you have to stand for something, and when you do this it means there are going to be people who disagree with you. It’s just how it works. And you shouldn’t be afraid of that.
There is absolutely no point trying to please everyone, it’s not possible. And it is far better to really delight just a small number of people, than it is to bore absolutely every body!