I recently did a big purge from my Google Reader. I usually do this once every few months. Not only do I remove subscriptions blogs that no longer seem to be active, I also use the purge as a chance to get rid of blogs that just aren’t producing great content anymore.
There are only so many “Top 5 Tips” I can take. Only so many “Blogging/TV/Newspapers/Social Media is Dead” linkbait posts can cross my stream before I hit the snooze button. But sadly, every time I go through a big RSS purge, there are a lot of blogs I’m eliminating for just those reasons.
More and more, content creators are so caught up in driving traffic, increasing their views, and improving their (gasp) influence, that I think many have lost sight of why they really even started blogging in the first place.
I suppose I could be considered late to the game when it comes to blogging (in comparison to some of the true “old timers” of the online journaling era). I had a false start on this blog in 2006, but then really got into it in early 2007. Like everyone else, I’ve had my share of dry spells. I’ve had times when I’ve gone weeks without a post. I’ve focused on various topics at length, social media, education, video, and so on, and become better known in those spaces; but I’ve never lost sight of one thing – why I do this in the first place.
Sure, I know that blogging often on certain topics can improve my search engine ranking. I know that getting links on others’ blogs helps that too. I respect the fact that what I have done here has opened up new doors and new opportunities for me and my business. These things are all wonderful side effects of blogging. But they are most certainly not my raison d’être.
I have other reasons for being here. First and foremost, it’s because I love to write. I love to spend time in the part of my brain that creates and shapes ideas. I use this space as an outlet for my thoughts, a way to get them straight. And yes, sometimes it’s even therapeutic. The fact that not only can I share what I think, know, and feel here is terrific, but what’s really cool is that people actually read it. And leave comments. I write because I enjoy it, and I keep writing because other people seem to enjoy it too. It’s win-win.
I believe that the people who are most successful with their blogs are the people that create them out of a love for something – a hobby, a profession, or some aspect of their personal life. Some do it for the sheer joy of writing and creation, and that’s great too.
But if you enter the world of blogging just so that you can be read, be popular, or be #1 on Google, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
Businesses are feeling pressure to start blogging, and I believe that in many cases, blogging can be extremely beneficial to businesses of all sizes and industries. But just because you’re writing with a business focus does not mean you can’t still write from the heart. It doesn’t mean you can’t post things just for the sheer joy of it, to work through ideas, or even as self-therapy. You could write a blog about the joys of doing theoretical physics, and if you’re writing passionately and honestly, if you can make me CARE about theoretical physics, then I’ll be way more inclined to subscribe to it than a blog about video production that simply posts boring top 5 lists of fancy video effects I can use in my next YouTube video.
Forget about SEO. Forget about backlinks and getting readers and building influence. Make those things come second. Write down a list of the things that get you fired up about your hobby, or your work, or your life. Think about those things, and let those crazy good, excited feelings well up inside you. Then, and only then, start writing.
Want to create great content? Then consistently write from the heart. It might be what makes the difference between whether your blog succeeds or not. It will sure as heck make me stay subscribed.