The 7 Biggest Lies About Blogging


Lately I’m seeing a new trend in blogging. It’s not necessarily disturbing, but it’s definitely interesting.

Just when we think we are starting to figure out this whole blogging thing, people come in and change all the rules. Particularly, it seems, the tried and true ones. An epidemic of bloggers telling us we’ve been doing it all wrong.

Why is this happening?

We could believe that these “thought leaders”  have been inspired by a meditation-induced a-ha moment. And now, they suddenly realize the error of their ways.

Or, here’s another take. Maybe some of these bloggers have decided that they must be contrary, go against conventional wisdom—even be sensational—in order to be heard above all the noise. It’s how they stir up conversation and attract more readers: disagreeing for the sheer sake of being different.

 

My 7 Untruths About Blogging

Whether the bloggers are giving bad advice to shake up the status quo and get noticed, or they really believe what they are preaching, bad advice can confuse both the beginners and the more experienced. Because bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, with different goals and needs, and making blanket statements can be dangerous. So, here they are, my seven untruths about blogging.

1. Every business needs a blog.

Well, no, not necessarily. There are just too many variables to consider. A blog is just one of many marketing tools at our disposal. And making sure we are using the right tools, the ones that fit our business, is key. So if your social media coach has dropped a blog into your new plan for growing your business, and the thought of it makes you nauseous, you might want to map out the pro’s and con’s before deciding.

2. Blogging is easy.

It’s all over in our culture: the ‘quick and easy’ thing. And who wouldn’t want to try something if we are promised that it’s easy.  Some say, just create a simple blog, and start writing. It’s easy, don’t worry about it, just do it. Anyone who has started blogging knows there is a little more to it than that.

It can be mastered, with some effort. What’s wrong with saying that?  Chances are if you are reading this and you are a blogger, you know damn well that it’s not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s well worth it in the end.

3. Write for yourself and your readers will show up.

This topic comes up in my workshops all the time. Writing about what interests us makes blogging more fun. And yes, you may be passionate about red wines or old black and white films, but in the end, who do you want to please, your readers or yourself?

Nowhere, in any other form of communication but blogging, would someone be advised to forget about their audience. Writing about the things our readers are interested in, the things they want to know, is a way to build our community. Why would we not want to do that, especially if we are marketing our business with our blog?

In the end, it’s your readers you want to please, not yourself. If you do this, they will come. And, most important of all, they will stay.

4. Long posts are the kiss of death.

This is another piece of advice floating around out there. But if you have something to say, say it.  If you google how long a post should be, you will find tons of different advice. Again, this boils down to what you are writing about, what you have to say, and whether you can keep the reader engaged. Don’t destroy what could have been an amazing post by being a compulsive word counter.

5. Consistency doesn’t matter; post whenever the mood strikes you.

I’m seeing this advice crop up more and more. We want to believe it because it takes the pressure off. We don’t have to have a schedule anymore. We can post whenever a new topic lands in our brains.

But, for the sake of Google (who gets trained to look for fresh stuff from you at certain times) and for your readers, who might actually look forward to Tuesdays because they can expect another engaging, thought-provoking post from you, you might still want to aim for a regular posting schedule.

6. You must be on fire with passion every time you sit down to write a blog post.

Passion is highly overrated. If I waited for it, I wouldn’t get a lot of blogging done. The novelist Jack London said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Yes, we should be passionate about our topics. Because if we are not interested, how can we expect our readers to be? But the notion that we must be shaking with excitement every time we sit down to blog is a surefire way to burn out.

Let’s get real here, folks. Passion is a good thing, but showing up at the computer and writing regularly, whether we feel like it or not will take us much, much further. And sometimes being passionate can merely be writing about the things we care about.

7. Your blog does not need to be interesting and engaging.

This is another new one I saw just this week. After I got beyond the provocative title, the point was that it’s more important to be helpful than interesting. But the fact is, there are millions and millions of “helpful” blogs out there. And it is very hard to get noticed and read—unless you are also interesting.

Interesting still matters because it is how we both attract readers and keep them. It is the extra ingredient, the secret sauce, that adds a new dimension to our blogs. And we become interesting by giving our readers fresh takes on topics that have been done to death. By telling engaging stories. By letting our voice and personality shine through.

How about you?  Have you run across advice lately that went against everything you have found to be true in your blogging?

 

Please tell us how to reach you and we will notify you as soon as registration opens
  • Tip Techmeme

About Bob Dunn

Bob Dunn is a blogger and WordPress trainer. Having taught hundreds of people through his workshops and presentations, he also does one-on-one training and support. You can find him at BobWP.com where he shares videos and tutorials about WordPress, blogging and social media.

Comments

  1. ChakkaMWilliams says:

    Thanks once again @JulianaP16!

  2. Angelique says:

    Great list! #2 especially drives me crazy. Good writing takes effort, and it also takes time and effort to find and place images, make sure that your links are correct, and do the important back-end tasks like write a good meta-description that will show when your blog post is shared on Facebook or listed on a search engine.

    •  @Angelique Glad this list rang true to you! And yes, #2 is a biggie. Just the other day I saw a conversation in a thread advising someone to start blogging, and just cringed when the first thing they said was, “Come on, start blogging, it’s so easy”. Ugh!

    • blogworld says:

       @Angelique You nailed it Angelique! You need to nail the content, the marketing (sharing on social channels) and the research (back links) to be a truly great publisher or broadcaster to earn that valuable time from your audience.

  3. I love your list, Bob! The consistency one especially bothers me. I agree that you should “blog when you have something to say” which is what many so-called experts are promoting…but I counter that with “if you don’t have something to say consistently, you probably shouldn’t be blogging.” I think having passion is also a message that gets mixed up a lot. I think it is VERY important to have passion about your niche, and that passion needs to come through in every post…but like you said, we don’t need to be shaking with excitement every time we write something.

    •  @allison_boyer Yeah, the new rules in consistency is crazy. As many blogs that I follow I can tell you that the one’s that “aren’t” consistent, end up losing me as a reader. Which is too bad, especially if the content is good.
       
      And so true about passion, it’s one of those words that has so many meanings. And passion can show through in a lot of different ways. Thanks for you comment!

      • blogworld says:

         @bobWP  @allison_boyer Alli is 100% on point here. I always advise people to think of their content like they would if they published a newspaper, magazine, radio or TV show. Think about it. They are always consistent. When was the last time you tried to watch your favorite TV show and found out they just decided not to show up?
         
        How about the last time you tuned in to a radio program and they weren’t there?
         
        Went to the store to get your favorite magazine and found out they took the month off?
        Or for anyone who subscribes to your content, found out they just decided not to mail any magazines out that month?
         
        When you decide to create a blog, podcast or web TV program, you are committing yourself to a schedule. That is what your customers expect. Break that trust and you are going to lose audience.

        •  @blogworld  @allison_boyer Rick I love those analogies… I always teach consistency in my workshops, so I may just steal these from you : )

        •  @blogworld Good point; I never really thought of it that way. But I’m guessing you are smart like that, right? …:)

  4. scoremoresales says:

    Bob,
    I enjoyed reading this. As a blogger, I struggle to be consistent and to be interesting and engaging. It is the hardest part of my business, but an aspect that has gotten me seen and heard – and in front of the prospective customers we have worked to get in front of. But is has not been easy. 

    •  @scoremoresales Yep, it’s like all aspects of our business… nothing comes easy. But like you said, it does pay off in the end. So glad to hear you are getting the results you want.

  5. meganlarsen4 says:

    It’s a good one! :) Thanks you for passing it along @MaddieRuud! I’ve gotta get a post up on #HubPages soon – I need more content up there!

  6. Literary Wonderland says:

    Having a blogging schedule doesn’t really work for me. I like to blog when the mood and/or idea strikes me. Nine times out of ten though, the mood gets me to the table and then I work through til an idea crops up and takes hold.

    I think if I chose to blog religiously on Tuesdays and Cridays only say… Well first of all, that. Luke be an interesting experiment. But in the end, I wonder how prolific it would actually be? Like a few others noted, you can’t rush it if it ain’t there.

    •  @Literary Wonderland Actually, I think the more your write consistently, the easier it becomes. Kind of like most things, practice makes perfect : ) 
       
      Like I said blogging isn’t easy. And this is one part of it. You just need to ask if blogging when the mood strikes you is right for your readers. Or is it better to give them consistent content?
       
      Another way to think of it, if you wait till ideas come to you, there may be times when they come in a flurry. Best to get them down then, and put them in reserve, then you can use those for the consistent times you aren’t inspired.

  7. officialgv5 says:

    @chrismontgomery Get the free ticket to Disney now! Go and enjoy with your family: @FreeDisney

  8. Bailey DeReus says:

    I find, especially with social media/blogging, people will say anything. Definitely makes me question what I read online much more. 

    •  @Bailey DeReus I know what you mean… mix messages don’t help us none! And once a “thought leader” puts a new idea in place, man everyone jumps on the bandwagon ; )

  9. Thanks for the common sense tips Bob. No matter how hard I try, it’s difficult for me to write posts with less than 700 words. So, I appreciated reading your opinion about not becoming a compulsive word counter. As long as we’re not rambling incoherently and our goal is to add value, I appreciate long posts. One tip for people who worry about having too much to say is to make sure you break up your text with keyword-rich header tags (great for SEO), and videos help too.

    •  @keepupweb Great points and thanks for the added thoughts. Yeah, when I talk blog design, those header tags, or sub-headings are a must. Also, using bullets, short paragraphs, etc, helps with that needed white-space to make readability a plus… 

  10. Sarcrates says:

    Thank you! I found this article very helpful. It reinforces some things I have done and encourages action in a few weak areas! Sincerely, I appreciate the help!

    •  @Sarcrates You are very welcome. Always cool to hear you are on the right track and glad that I can add a bit of food for thought… 

  11. Truth one – it takes a commitment.
    Truth two – the sooner you find your ‘sustainability’ level the more apt you are to survive
    Truth three – there is no right or wrong way, only your way. However, some ways are ‘smarter’ than others…:)
     
    That.is.all. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

    •  @bdorman264 Truth three is interesting, and true in a way, as depending on what you expect from your blog, there are so many variables. But some standards do help you find what works best for you. But in the end we all find our own way : )

  12. Thanks for sharing your tips and burying some of these lies. Most people think that blogging is easy, you can just write whatever you want and there will always be someone out there that’s interested in reading what you write. I knew this wasn’t the case and only once I started my first blog did I realise how much effort is required to come up with great content to publish.
     
    I think its important to treat blogging seriously and only put your name to a post that you’d be proud to publish in print media. Just because its online doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be high quality.

    •  @PersuadePeople You so get it : ) Like a twist on the old adage, write it and they will come. It does take effort and I have certainly seen my share of average or less than average content online. Some feel they can just pump out anything… ugh!

  13. Bob, I completely agree with you on the passion thing. It is simply over rated. Not just with writing blog posts, but even with blogging, passion is not the only thing you need – but people are with passion so much (regarding choosing the blogging niche as well) and ignore other crucial factors. 

    •  @Jane | Problogging Success Glad to hear it! And you are so right, it’s as if all you need is passion, and the rest just falls into place…

  14. Brad Dalton says:

    Writing blog posts everyday is alot of hard work even for one blog.

    I guess thats why you make video’s Bob.

    • Bob Dunn says:

      Hey Brad so true. And yes, for myself videos are easier as I do them so much and that’s what my readers want. I try to mix in full content posts when I feel creative enough on the writing end :)

      But then again my wife, the writer, would dread doing videos ;)