Close
Close

The 7 Angels of Blogging DOOM

This is a guest contribution from Rebekah Lambert, copywriter and owner of Unashamedly Creative.

Blogging is super fun, right? You get to write your own stories, express opinions, share what you learn, explore ideas, encourage debate and create a wonderful world of content that attracts like minded people.

However with all this joy inside the happy little garden of the blogosphere, there are some really poisonous, destructive people waiting to chop you down and smear their negativity all over that joy.

I call them the 7 Blogging Angels of DOOM!

And while they still manage to get their toxic tendrils in my head on occasion, most of the time, their negativity doesn’t take root- or doesn’t have hold for long.

Black crow silhouette

This is my guide to knowing thy enemy and counter why they do the things they do in the first place!

Wrong-athor:  “That’s not how you do it!”

Wrongathor is a lemon lipped little critter, motivated by feeling intellectually superior. They really enjoy telling you you’ve got it wrong.  From how you blog to the opinions you express, you can count on Wrongathor to come up with 47 different reasons why your opinion isn’t valid, your research is cock eyed and you’re just wrong, wrong, wrong!

Countering them:

True to their character, the Wrongathor will be unable to admit they are wrong, even when they are.

If you want to get a Wrongathor off your case invite them to express their opinion as a guest blog, with research and links to back up their idea.

They’ll either back off muttering about how unworthy of your precious time they are, or jump at the opportunity. Either way, it’ll usually dampen their catcalls and screeches- and may even turn them into a loyalist because you’ve given them an opportunity to speak (something Wrongathors simply LOVE to do).

SEO-ola: “Without SEO, you are NOTHING!”

To an SEO-ola, being on top of a search is everything!

SEO-ola sees Google as some kind of scoreboard and will usually come complete with all kinds of nightmare stories about the internet being a place where no-one can hear you scream without a proper ranking. They are technically savvy, and have a benchmark of ranking well to shove down your neck- and won’t hesitate to use every opportunity to make you feel like you are languishing in obscurity ‘coz the big Google scoreboard says so!

Countering them:

SEO-ola has hung their hat on being great at ranking on Google. Find the ones that get a kick out of helping others and open yourself up to learning from them. Offer to help them, promote them in your own way, and they may even swap the joy they get from ranking well with you for your skills.

Knowing SEO can’t hurt you, so friendship is the best approach here.

Uselessys: “Why bother? You’ll fail anyway”

Poor old Uselessys- everything in life is a big fat sigh away from being yet another sign of an utterly pointless existence. Everyone is out to get them, the whole world doesn’t care, trying something new is pointless because it’s all been done before? Happiness, fame or enjoying life is something that happens to other people.

Raining on your parade is their way of making sure that you, you poor naive, happy little scamp, don’t let your enthusiasm lead you to a devastating fate.

Countering them:

You can’t cure someone else’s misery. Most of the time, Uselessys has chosen a path and no amount of pouring in positive thoughts, self esteem or encouragement will change their mind. The best measure here is ignore them. 

They won’t get your happiness, and it’s not up to you to justify it. Just make sure you don’t come to them to vent when things are tough, and keep on trucking.

Big Chief BullyPants: “It’s all about me, me, ME!”

Big Chief BullyPants can’t stand it when someone else tries to wrestle the spotlight from them.Whether they’ve imagined it or not makes absolutely no difference. To them, controlling the status quo, making sure they are in charge of everyone, and ensuring you don’t get a look in is all part of the game.

They are unable to respond to criticism, feedback or someone disagreeing with their opinion. As far as they are concerned, there is no right or wrong and no place where everyone fits. Unless of course where you want to fit is sitting at their feet looking upwards.

If you have dealings with them, tantrums will be common. Unfortunately, they will make it their business to lean over the top of you like a dark storm cloud.

Countering them:

If you get the sense that Big Chief BullyPants doesn’t play with others, you’re dead right. Silence is a brilliant technique because it gives them nothing to stand on.

If you have to deal with them on a regular basis, giving them something they can be in charge of that doesn’t involve other people is your best bet. Putting them in a leadership role involving people will usually encourage their stand over tactics, but giving them someone without a human can satiate their love of power and make them feel important.

If you have nothing to give them, adopt the toddler approach. Ignore them when they are out of control, don’t let them run the show, put them on time outs if necessary and reward good behaviour with plenty of praise.

Annie 1 Candothat: “Oh please, my cat could do better!”

Annie is a 5 minute expert. She only has to look at a concept sideways and she knows what’s what. Not known for seeking out too much depth, Annie is the sort of person who does a few things well and thinks by nature, the rest is in the bag!

Countering them:

The standard Annie counter is demonstrating what goes in to doing what you do. Have a conversation with them, show them your plans, send them a few links, recommend some helpful books and videos, and most of the time, Annie will be uttering “wow, I never knew how much went into it!” before you can bat an eyelid.

Vomitron: “You must write DAILY to succeed!”

Vomitron skipped the memo on relevance and went straight the paragraph about blogging often improving search rankings, and has been stuck there ever since. They don’t get that an informative post every week is far better than a nothing piece every day. To them, one line mini blogs of commonly known info is quite fine and are puzzled by people who throw a little more into things.

Countering them:

Go easy on old Vomitron, bad habits are hard to retrain. Demonstrating how social sharing helps rankings more and that this kind of peer validation only usually comes with content human beings (not search engines) like is key.

Asking questions about what they actually care about, sharing articles that show a tremendous following that have depth and layers, and gently pushing them into the new world with encouragement will have them calming down their pukedom and getting back to decent writing in no time.

Nitpacka: “But what about paragraph 4 section c…”

Nitpicka has already made up their mind about you and is looking for the one liner they can attach to in order to take you down. They’ll pick something completely trivial in a blog and make that 20 word their lynch pin for a thousand word campaign.

The Beastie Boy’s lyric “They can’t, they won’t, and they don’t stop” has had a lasting effect, that’s for sure.

Countering them:

Some Nitpicka’s do no research whatsoever and come entirely from the gut. You’ll spot this kind because their argument won’t reference things of any great note. Therefore they are usually defused with a quick injection of factual information. Or at least sent to the benches, looking a little sillier.

Others come prepared with facts for that one line, and forget the whole picture. It is this entire picture you need to focus on. You need to keep reminding them they’ve picked a drop from an ocean and are basing the entire contents of their argument on it.

All else fails, wear ear muffs

The doom bloggers do have their own valid points, but so do you. Being different, having a diverse approach and remaining true to your own goals and voice is what will make your blog work for you in the long term.

Yes, you will have to face off with tumbleweeds on your blog when you first start. No, not everyone will understand why you do it. And maybe some will seem to do it better. But isn’t that like anything in life?

The truth of the matter is, if the bloggers of doom had it right, they’d be famous. Or they’d have blogging so sewn up that none of us would want a look in. Or they wouldn’t be so worried about anybody else they’d feel the need to breathe down your neck because they’d be too busy blogging.

So don’t let the doomsters get you down. Blog on fellow word nerds and don’t look the bloggers of Doom get to you.

What other bloggers of doom have you come across? What do you to put a sock in their mouths?

 

Rebekah’s a word weaving ninja who combines 17 years marketing experience with creativity and in-depth knowledge of consumer behaviour to build copy and campaigns customers love. Well, at least that’s what her mum keeps telling her. You can catch up with her rambles at Unashamedly Creative or read some confessions here.

7 Reasons I LOVE Running Webinars for My Blog Readers

Over the last couple of years I’ve run semi-regular webinars for ProBlogger readers (sign up to get invitations to these free webinars here).

These webinars have not only received a lot of positive feedback, they’ve also been among the most energising things I’ve done on this site.

Here’s a few quick thoughts on why I love doing webinars:

1. Real time Interactions

When I first discovered blogging, one of the things I loved was that it opened up the potential to have almost immediate reactions and feedback from readers. You can have a post up and then 10-25 minutes later there might be a comment or two there.

A webinar speeds up this interaction to the point where it is virtually instantaneous. I can ask webinar attendees a question and within seconds, see a stream of responses.

Someone can submit a question and I can ask for clarification and get it immediately.

I can share what I’m thinking on a topic and get a gauge on whether it is resonating with those listening very quickly.

I find this live interaction is very energising. It keeps me on my feet and thinking fast too!

On the other side of this interaction is that after a webinar I notice that those who attended are more interactive with me. For example, I often see webinar attendees leaving more comments on blog posts, tweeting and even writing blog posts that link to mine on their blogs.

I guess a webinar has the benefit of opening the flood gates of interaction with some people – a very valuable thing.

2. It is personal

Quite often, the reactions I get after a webinar are readers telling me that they felt like they ‘know’ me more as a result of listening to my voice for an hour – as opposed to reading words on a page.

While I try to write as I speak, something often gets lost in the written word. A webinar allows me  to more easily convey emotion, humour, tone – all of which has a big impact upon those listening.

Webinars have the ability to humanise your brand and break down false perceptions of you.

3. Verbalising your ideas has benefits

Verbalising your ideas in a webinar type situation also forces you to think about your topic in a different way. As a result, I quite often get moments of clarity on issues I’ve been struggling with in the preparation or running of a webinar. I’m not sure exactly what happens but something about ‘hearing’ myself rather than reading myself seems to crystallise my thinking.

4. ideas for content

One of the biggest benefits for me about doing a webinar is that I ALWAYS come away from running them with ideas for things to write about here on the blog.

Quite often, as you’re speaking, you get ideas but the ideas also come from questions and responses from your audience.

One of the things I do every time we run a webinar is include an option on the signup form to submit a question for us to answer on the webinar. These questions are GOLD!

I also like to run purely Q&A webinars at times which are great for this too.

Earlier this week we ran one of these Q&A sessions and had 600 questions submitted! While we could only get through a fraction of them I read each question and many of the posts I write in the coming weeks will come directly from those questions.

5. They scale ‘you’

One of the challenges that bloggers face when their audience begins to grow is that there is a ceiling on how accessible you can be to all of your readers.

While you start out responding to every question, email and tweet there comes a point where the incoming messages get beyond what you can respond to while still maintaining creating content and managing other aspects of your blog and business.

I’ve grappled with this for years now and find that webinars go a long way making yourself more accessible to readers.

6. Webinars Lend Themselves to Different Types of Communication

I’ve tried a variety of different styles of webinar over the last few years including:

Interviews/Story Telling – where I interview a blogger about their story and what they’ve learned. This story telling approach has been very well received. A couple of popular ones include webinars with Tsh Oxenreider and Ana White.

Teaching – in these webinars I almost ‘lecture’ on a topic. I use slides and take attendees on a journey through a topic from A-B. For example recent webinars on Finding Readers for a Blog and Monetizing Blogs

Q&A – in these webinars I’ve either had open Q&A sessions on any topic or have named a topic and made attendees focus their questions on exploring more narrow areas. For example here’s last weeks open Q&A session in which we covered a heap of topics.

Selling – I’ve not done much selling in webinars (I like to keep mine pitch free) but occasionally have run webinars with a pitch at the end (I warn attendees that there will be). I still make sure that these webinars are high in value/usefulness so that even if they don’t respond to the pitch that they come away satisfied.

7. Great Practice for Public Speaking

Lastly, webinars are a great way to get practice and experience for public speaking.

One of my favourite things to do is to speak at events. However, due to my location in Australia and the fact that the majority of speaking invitations I get come from overseas, I’m not able to accept the vast majority of them.

Webinars are a great way for me to get a ‘fix’ of speaking but I’ve also noticed that they’re a great place to hone my presenting skills. They’re also a good place to showcase what you can do and land you presenting gigs too!

What is Your Experience with Webinars?

I’d love to hear your experience with webinars.

Have you run them? How did they go?

Do you attend them? If so – what makes a good webinar in your experience?

When You Have Nothing Unique to Say…

I’ve got nothing unique to say.
It has all been said before.
There are so many people who are smarter than me.
Why would anyone listen to me?

Have you ever found yourself thinking like this?

If so – you’re not alone. At one point or another most bloggers do, and many would be bloggers have been stopped in their tracks by them.

Here’s the deal:

Nobody has lived your life before.
Nobody has your story.
Nobody has faced and overcome what you’ve overcome.
Nobody thinks in exactly the same way that you do.

So write – but infuse what you write with your story.

Your story is what makes it unique.
Your story is what’s never been said before.
Your story is something nobody else could ever know better than you.
Your story is why anyone would listen to you.

13 Tools and Services I Use Every Day to Build a Profitable Blogging Business

Yesterday, during our Q&A webinar, we received a lot of questions about the tools and services we recommend for different aspects of blogging. While we touched on a few, there are quite a few more that I wanted to touch on.

Not all are strictly ‘blogging tools’ but all are things we regularly use as a team.

Note: I am an affiliate for some of the following tools and services but am also a daily user of all of them and have been for a minimum of 12 months.

Note 2: I’ve updated this list with 6 more tools that I use!

Of course there’s plenty more but they are the main things that come to mind!

What tools and services would you add to the list that make up part of your core online business toolbox?

10 Tools To Help Protect Your Blog From Content Theft

This is a guest contribution from Adam Connell, blogger at Bloggingwizard.com.

If you write or publish a blog, you’ll inevitably experience the gut-wrenching feeling of content theft at some point in the life of your blog. It’s not fair but it’s now just part of the world of online content.

What can you do to protect the content you slaved over?

There is no 100% fool-proof way to protect your content, but you can make it more difficult for content thieves to steal your work and to punish them when they do.

I’m going to share some ways you can protect your content from theft and give you some resources to use to defend it against thieves and scrapers.

Padlock on door and your blog content!

How Do You Know If Your Content Has Been Stolen? 

Posting a copyright notice on your blog is a deterrent, albeit a small one. A copyright notice lets would-be content thieves know that you understand your rights to the fruits of your labor and that you intend to protect them. Nevertheless, not everyone is going to be deterred by your copyright notice.

The following online tools can be used to discover whether your content has been stolen or not. What you do after that is another story.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts are simple e-mail alerts you can establish by notifying Google that you want to keep tabs on certain keywords or phrases. Copy a unique phrase in your blog post or the title of your post and ask Google to send you an e-mail any time it is published elsewhere on the Web.

Use a plagiarism checker

There are several plagiarism checkers online. All of them have their benefits. Grammarly is a proofreading service and grammar checker, but it will also check your text against plagiarism. Plagium is another one. However, unlike Grammarly, you can check an entire URL to see if your content has been plagiarized.

While Grammarly and Plagium both are good services, Copyscape is more recognized. Like Plagium, you can check an entire URL for plagiarism, and you can put a “Protected By Copyscape” notice on your blog, which should scare away a few content scrapers.

All three services have a free service level and a premium paid service for high volume users.

Small Steps To Protecting Your Content From Theft

While Google Alerts and plagiarism checkers can tell you that someone has used your content without your permission, there are other things you can do to protect your content.

These are small steps that help you maintain a little control over your content and ensure that you at least get attribution should someone use your content without your approval.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

This WordPress plugin is useful if you are using the standalone WordPress software. The plugin has a feature that allows you to add some code to your RSS feed so that if your post is republished elsewhere, then an automatic link will be inserted pointing back to your website.

Some blogs use scraper software to automatically republish content from around the Web. No human is looking at these posts. If your blog is included among the URLs added to the scraper script, then you’ll at least get a link back. Don’t count on that link being very valuable, but it is there.

Tynt

Tynt is a service that provides code for you to insert into your web pages and will also tell you how many times your content has been copied and pasted. When someone copies and pastes your content, Tynt will add a link back to your website.

Google Authorship

Google Authorship is a content marketing strategy that associates your name or brand with your content in Google’s search index. By implementing Google Authorship you are increasing your chances of retaining control over your content by having your photo image appear next to your content in the search rankings.

While that won’t stop content thieves from scraping your content, it will make it easier to prove the content is yours and it will be easier to have stolen content removed when you file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint. Learn more about Google Authorship here.

What You Should Do If Your Content Has Been Stolen

It is not always necessary to confront a content thief. You have to determine if there’s any real damage to your content being stolen.

First, ask yourself if the person is profiting from your content. If they are, then that’s a red flag. Secondly, ask if your reputation may be damaged by someone claiming that content. And thirdly, ask if it’s worth your trouble to pursue the content thief. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

So let’s say that you determine you want to pursue the content thief and have them remove your content. Your first step should be to send them a friendly letter by e-mail, or by using their contact form, and asking them to remove your content. Alternatively, you can ask them to link back to your website.

If that doesn’t work, then you’ll have to take other measures.

You can start by finding out where their website is being hosted and contact the hosting company. Let the hosting company know that they are hosting a website that is stealing content. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the hosting company is obligated to prevent access to websites that have infringed on someone’s copyright.

WhoIsHostingThis.com

You need to find out who is hosting the website that stole your content. That’s where Who Is Hosting This comes in. Once you know who is hosting the website, you can then send a DMCA request to the hosting company to have the website taken down.

Remove content from Google

To have content removed from Google’s search index, you’ll have to file a DMCA request with Google.

One Final Step To Combatting Plagiarism: Creative Commons

As I noted earlier, copyright notices are small deterrents. The same goes for Creative Commons.

However, Creative Commons licenses are becoming more acceptable and more popular. If people know that you don’t mind them using your content for benevolent purposes, they are more likely to respect your right to that content and its privileges.

Creative Commons

You can learn about the various Creative Common licenses on the Creative Commons website.

It’s a wild Web out there

Be diligent in protecting your content and you will reap the benefits of it for a long time to come.

What sort of experiences have you had with content theft? Whether you have successfully stopped people from stealing your content or not, we’d love to hear about it.

Adam Connell is an internet marketing and SEO nut from the UK. He can be found blogging over at Bloggingwizard.com, where he talks about marketing, social media, SEO and a few other topics. Follow him on Twitter @adamjayc.

2 Thoughts on Opportunity and Success to Kickstart Your Week

Yesterday I tweeted a couple of thoughts on Twitter leading to an explosion of retweets but also questions, reactions and ideas. I thought I’d put them here on the blog too, in the hope they might help to kickstart your week!

So many of us wait for opportunity to knock on our door. Most successful ppl are prolific door openers & don’t wait for knocks [tweet this]

Sometimes, I find myself giving myself permissions to be ‘passive’ in my blogging (and life) and ‘hope’ that good things might happen to me – that opportunity might come knocking.

However, the reality is that almost every time a good thing has come my way, it was the result of me taking some kind of small action. 

I’m a fairly reserved and shy person. I don’t like to push my way into situations or force things to happen. However, over the years I’ve learned that by taking action to push doors open (even if only a tiny creak) I often find the opportunity waiting for ME!

Many times SUCCESS is more about DOING the things you know you should do, not learning the ‘secrets’ that you don’t know [tweet this]

I’m a firm believer that bloggers who’ve been blogging for more than few months already know 90% (if not more) of what they need to know about blogging successfully.

Of course, there are always new things to learn about writing, technology, techniques for finding readers etc but the fundamentals of blogging have not really changed over the last 10 years.

The challenge is DOING those fundamental things, consistently and at a high quality, over the long haul.

I like this response to my tweet yesterday by Jacqueline O’Donnell:

“It’s a bit like healthy eating and exercise really… but the ‘shiny’ secrets & promise of shortcuts has a lot of pull power :-)”

I think this is spot on.

Most of us have enough knowledge of how to be fit and healthy. We understand that a modest, balanced and nutritious diet along with regular exercise will result in a healthy body. Yet so many of us struggle to actually apply the things we know. SO many of us are drawn to look for the latest silver bullet diet or program that will solve our issues.

Knowledge isn’t bad – but gaining it is a waste of time if it doesn’t lead to action!

5 Tips To Writing Irresistibly Clickable Blog Titles

This is a guest contribution from Jackson Nwachukwu, lead blogger at DailyTipsDiary.com.

You’ve just been inspired and you’re ready to write the blog post you hope will be a hit.

The title not might be the first step in your planning process but it’s fair to say that most people automatically start thinking about what they will call their hit post.

After all, you don’t just want any blog title. You want one of those blog titles that gets readers excited before they’ve opened your post.

An average of 8 readers out of 10 will read a blog post title, while less than 3 out of the same 10 readers will read the rest of the article. This simple statistic shows how your post title greatly affects the entire content of your post.

So you stop.

Image courtesy of artur84 on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In order to quickly get a reader’s attention, you need to find smart ways of coming up with ckickable blog titles.

Imagine a reader typing a few keywords on Google search engine. Google returns a list of search results and your post title has emerged along side with other related blogs in your niche. What do you think your reader does first?

It’s very simple. He or she will scan through the list and choose for the best post title. Based on my “3E’s Blogging Rule exposure, experience and expertise, here are 5 tips that will help you write irresistibly clickable blog post titles.

1. Let Passion in

Search engines aren’t the main audience you need to write for, so it’s important to let some passion into your post title.

I made passion first on the list because it can determine the mindset your readers has when they open your post.

You can’t do well at something you have no love for and the same applies to writing a blog post. The only way to breathe life into a post title is to let passion take control of your writing. Once there is passion every other ingredient needed to write a catchy post title will surface.

2. Keep it Short but Focused

Your primary reason for writing a blog post is getting people to read it. Right?

To help connect readers to your blog post, you need a post title that clearly spells out what the post is about. The era of writing super long titles is over. When writing your post title, try to keep it short but also informative and compelling.

These two titles can give you a heads up:

A post title like “5 Tips To Writing Irresistibly Clickable Blog Titles” is much better compared to “Writing a Post Title: Top 5 Tips on How To Write A Post Title That is Clickable”.

3. Strike a Balance on Keywords Used in the Post Title

When it comes to thinking about SEO, using keywords in your blog title is advised But it’s important not to overdo it. A clickable post title should makes sense and be easy to read so don’t try to stuff awkward keywords into your title.

Looking at our two blog post titles again. The first title has eight words while the second has later has 17. In most cases, post titles with 10 words containing at least 2 keywords is considered SEO rich and will do better both in ranking and in attracting the attention of readers.

4. Make the Grammar look Good

Just because search engines don’t care about grammar doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Today, every reader wants to read well-structured blog posts that includes good grammar!

It becomes even more important when writing your post title because that is the first thing a reader will read before deciding on whether to read further or not.

More than once I have skipped over an article because of the title. If you don’t pay attention to grammar, you never know how many readers click away without reading your posts.

5. Know Which Special Characters to Use on your Post Title

There are handful of special characters you can use on your post title and those that I consider a no use characters.

The following special characters can be added in post titles: single dash (-), colon (:), question mark (?), exclamation mark (!)

  • The single dash (-) can be used to separate words in post headline
  • The colon (:) same goes for the colon, it can be used to separate words in titles
  • The question mark (?) this usually used when a title begs an answer, which means the title itself, is a question.
  • The exclamation point (!) this character is used when a title is meant to make the reader excited about a thing.

The following special characters CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be added in post titles: Ampersands (&), Greater than/Less than Symbols (< and >), the Pound Sign or Hash (#) the “At” Symbol (@).

Here is a Breakdown of these NO USE special characters

Ampersands (&) : This makes your post title URL to error out because you had the web browser  confused as to detecting  where your HTML code either begins or ends

“At” Symbol (@): The “At” Symbol (@) is a commonly used character associated with email addresses.  However, when it’s written as @ in post title URL, it confuses the web browser or RSS reader which interprets it as part of an email address rather than a web address.

Greater Than and Less Than Symbols (< and >): The two are used as tags to enclose HTML elements. This is usually used in text formatting, styling and other mark up languages and these characters, when used on your post title, cuts off your title URL.

Pound Sign or Hash (#): This character works specifically on links in certain sections of a webpage.

Let’s see how this works. When you look at the comments on each post written on ProBlogger, it has this Hash (#) symbol. So I picked this post:

Don’t Be Lazy: 9 Ways to Blog Smarter and Harder. When you click on the comment stats or icon on post pages, to access the comments on this post, you will see the link look like this http://www.problogger.net/archives/2013/06/18/9-ways-to-blog-smarter-and-harder/comment-page-1/#comment-5204560 .

Hope you have seen the Hash (#) attached to the suffix of the post link? Now imagine you added this tag on your post title. You will confuse the browser by directing you to the comment page!

In a nutshell, using any of these special characters (apart from the ones I specified earlier) on your post title kills your chances of getting your blog post translated properly by web browsers and above all confuses your readers.

In Summary

There is no right way to write blog post titles. However, learning writing tips like these will put you ten steps ahead of your competitors.

Which other methods have you been using to write blog post titles that attract readers?  

Jackson Nwachukwu is an entrepreneur, a freelance writer and the founder of Content Practical Media. Are you looking for a creative web content writer or copywriter to help grow your business website/blog’s traffic and increase sales? Hire Jackson to write for you.

Write Less, Say More

This is a guest contribution from Brooke McAlary, founder of Slow Your Home.

You’ve heard of slow food, perhaps even slow travel or slow homes. But slow…blogging? Really?

Isn’t the point of blogging to be topical, with our fingers on the pulse of global trends? Don’t we, as bloggers, pride ourselves on being the gatekeepers of information, upcoming releases and Game of Thrones memes?

Each day we feel pressured to uncover and share the next Big Thing – the app of the year, the design trend of the season, the life-hack no-one has ever shared before.

By adopting the slow blogging approach, however, you can walk away from that pressure. You intentionally choose to pull back, to put your hands up and say, “Hey, TechCrunch, you can have your 15 posts a day. I’m going to run my own race instead, thanks.”

But Why?

Aside from the obvious and very attractive point of not trying to compete with the BoingBoings, the Huffington Posts and the Apartment Therapies of the internet, slow blogging also allows you to say more while writing less.

But let’s back-track a moment.

What is Slow Blogging?

The term Slow Blogging was coined by Todd Sieling in his 2006 manifesto. Essentially Sieling outlined the movement as a rejection of immediacy and embracing the intrinsic value of our words.

In other words, wait until you have something interesting to say before hitting Publish.

What slow blogging isn’t, is lazy, ignorant or careless. It’s the exact opposite. It means you value both your time and that of your readers so much that you refuse to waste it. What you create is of value instead of simply adding to the noise.

A Slow Blogger:

  • Gives his ideas time and space to fully form. He doesn’t rush them out into the world simply to fill the silence.
  • Writes for people, not search engines.
  • Doesn’t focus on her analytics figures, subscriber count or Twitter followers. She sees the value, rather, in her tribe, her community, her people.
  • Has a simplified workflow. His days are not filled with productivity apps and curation tools. A notepad, some Post-Its or Evernote will suffice.
  • Is authentic, intentional and mindful in her writing. Honesty and transparency result from spending more time thinking and questioning.
  • Understands she cannot be everywhere. 

Why is Slow Blogging a Good Thing?

I’ve been writing about simple living for over two years, but it wasn’t until I started applying the elements of slow blogging that I saw vast improvement in my work, my community and my readership.

Slowing down, posting less frequently, spending more time thinking, studying and writing my posts, has ultimately led me to attract a much bigger audience. My readers now are engaged, inspired and my greatest champions, and I put much of that down to my decision to go Slow.

I’ll say that part again, because it bears repeating.

My readership has grown as I’ve posted less.

In addition to a more engaged audience, most bloggers who adopt all (or parts) of the slow blogging movement to their work will see the following advantages:

  • Your content will have greater depth and clarity.
  • The quality of your work will go up as your output goes down.
  • You will spend less time writing, giving you more time to spend on your life, business, work, family or cocktails in the sun.
  • You will experience less stress and less pressure as you stop focusing on traffic numbers, subscriber counts and comments.
  • You will focus more on delivering real value to the people in your audience, and therefore create a much more loyal community.
  • Yes, growth may be slower to begin with, but as you develop your voice and a reputation for depth, your audience will grow in both size and loyalty.

5 Action Steps to Slow Down Your Blogging

Does this slow blogging thing sound attractive to you? Would you like to dip your toe in the proverbial water?

Here’s 5 action steps you can take:

1. Commit to posting less frequently. If you currently post every day, try cutting back to 2-3 days a week. Less, if you feel brave. Then give it a month and judge your community’s reaction.

2. Limit social media to 10 minutes per outlet per day. Use programs like HootSuite or Buffer to automate some of your output. And only get online if you would like to, not out of obligation. The world will keep turning if you avoid Twitter for a day.

3. Simplify your writing process. Be it with a pen and paper or a simple writing app, commit to keeping your notes, outlines and drafts in one place. Keep it simple.

4. Commit to writing one longer, well-thought out piece per week/fortnight/month. Depending on your topic, this could mean spending 5-15 hours on one post. Publish and promote it, then judge the reaction of your readers.

5. Ask yourself before hitting Publish, “Is this truly helpful to my readers? Will they care? Do I care?” In other words, only post when you have something real to say.

While the Slow Blogging movement has its foundation in the minimalism and simple living niches, it can apply to a huge range of topics.

The following sites all apply elements of slow blogging, and all are very successful:

So before you cast this movement aside as not being for you, simply ask yourself if you’d benefit from a more engaged community, more readers and more popular content. Then see if there are elements of slow blogging you could incorporate into your work.

Do you already incorporate some of the elements of slow blogging to your work? Would you like to? Share with us in the comments below.

Brooke McAlary is the founder of Slow Your Home and the creator of the insanely helpful Slow Home BootCamp - where she helps you create the simpler life you want. She is also a passionate writer, blissful gardener and siesta advocate. 

Ask the ProBlogger Team any Question: Register for Our Next Free Webinar

Just a short post today to let readers know that next wee we’ll be holding a ProBlogger Webinar.

You can register for it here.

It has been a while since we’ve had a webinar here on ProBlogger so we’re going to make this one a Q&A session where you can ask any question that you might have that relates to blogging.

To help me answer your questions I’m bringing a couple of members of my team here at ProBlogger onto the webinar with me. They are:

  • Jasmin Tragas – Jasmin is our ‘producer’ works with me to produce the eBooks that we release (mainly dPS eBooks but also ProBlogger eBooks) but also our live ProBlogger Event here in Australia. In her role as an eBook producer Jasmin coordinates between our eBook authors, designers, editors and marketing team. So if you’ve got questions on that front – she’ll be the person to direct your questions to.
  • Shayne Tilley – Shayne has been working with me for several years in helping with Marketing our eBooks and events but has recently also been helping to coordinate the redesign of dPS (which is almost ready to launch) and also has been helping to get some new plugins coded that operate behind the scenes here on ProBlogger and on dPS. Shayne also wrote our Guide to Online Marketing eBook. So he’s going to be useful to ask anything about marketing but also is great on some of the more technical aspects of blogging.
  • And then there’s me – I’m happy to take questions on anything and if I (or one of my team) can’t answer your question we’ll point you to someone who can.

You can ask questions on any aspect of blogging including:

  • Finding Readers
  • Monetization
  • Content Creation
  • Building Reader Engagement
  • Time Management
  • eBook Creations
  • Live Events
  • Marketing etc

This free ‘no pitch’ webinar will run for 60-90 minutes from 8pm Eastern US time next Tuesday night (23rd July) – if you’re in other parts of the world the international times and dates are listed on the registration page.

We will attempt to record this webinar and will email anyone who registers for it with a link to the recording in the days after it is run. So to get the recording please register.

Please note that this webinar is filling up fast. On the day we can only fit 1000 people on the live webinar so apologies if we can’t squeeze everyone in. To avoid disappointment please arrive a little early to get your spot. If you miss out you’ll get access to the recording if you’ve registered.

Register today here for this webinar and we’ll see you on the call next week.