I was just on Facebook and fell down a bit of a digital rabbit hole. Someone had linked to a new blog post from a blogger I hadn’t read in years, so I checked out their blog. I started looking at their blog roll, and noticed several blogs I hadn’t read in years. I clicked on one, and noticed the most ‘recent’ post was from 2010. I started backtracking, she had written a post every few months, one post was announcing that she was ‘back’ to blogging, and that blogging was a great way to build your reputation online, establish thought leadership, etc. Then she didn’t blog again for several months, then again several months later, which was her last post.
Let’s be honest, if you are a blogger that wants to use your blog as a tool to build your influence/thought leadership, etc., you are going to be asked to give a lot more than you get. That’s pretty much how you build a name for yourself, you continuously provide smart and helpful content, and over time, people start to notice. Then in an ideal world, opportunities open up to you. Maybe you get a job offer, or work offers, maybe a book deal, perhaps you are asked to speak at an event.
But it’s sometimes very easy to ask ‘what’s in it for me?’ It can be tough to stay motivated to spend 5 hours every week on your blog, if no one is commenting and no one is subscribing and you are getting no business from it.
I’ve known countless bloggers that have launched blogs as a tool to grow their business, or to promote themselves, and they toss in the towel after a few weeks because they didn’t see the immediate results they were looking for.
On the other hands, I’ve known many bloggers that toiled away year after year with little to no recognition, then suddenly in year 5 or 6, it all takes off and suddenly everyone notices them and loves them.
What’s the difference and why do some bloggers quit while others press on? I think it comes back to motivation. From what I have noticed, most of the truly successful bloggers are motivated by helping others be better at something. When that’s your source of motivation, then you stop carrying that mental balance sheet of how much you are ‘giving’ your readers versus how much you are ‘getting’ back. Or at least it doesn’t matter as much.
For the first two years that I ran #Blogchat, I made a grand total of $800 directly off the chat. If I had launched #Blogchat because I wanted to make money off it, I would have likely killed it after a month or 2. But my motivation in starting and continuing the chat has remained the same: Helping other bloggers become better at what they do. That’s it. I see the chat as a way of ‘giving back’, because blogging has given me so much, I am happy to create a way to help other bloggers achieve some of the success I have.
What’s your motivation for blogging?
Excellent post Mack!
This sentence stood out to me: “most of the truly successful bloggers are motivated by helping others be better at something.”
For a long time I tried my hand at emulating instead of using the creativity that was given to me. I burnt myself out trying to replicate authorities in my field.
One day I decided to read up on blogging and I found that I wasn’t blogging at all. I began to research business blogs such as Copyblogger, Problogger, Mashable, etc and I found out what constitutes as real blogging.
I then took the time to attend regular #blogchat conversations and I learned more about blogging from you and the plethora of bloggers.
These experiences helped me find my motivation. My motivation revolves around sharing information associated with my niche. Today I do not feel burned out anymore because I found my mojo haha.
Thank you Mack for everything!
Mack Collier says
Love that story Patrick, thanks for sharing! I think it’s so important to find the right motivation to keep blogging because it often takes such a long time to build a successful blog. If your main motivation for blogging is instant gratification and recognition, then you probably will give up very quickly. But if you are motivated by helping others, then you’ll probably find that personal success will come as a byproduct of helping others succeed.
Kyana Davis Hansson says
Thank you for writing this post. It is so important to encourage the bloggers that have tried and still try to make a name for themselves, while also sharing with those that are just starting out that blogging is hard work. There are no shortcuts and now that there are so many people trying to make a name for themselves finding a unique voice is even more difficult. Exploring your motivation is an excellent way to determine if blogging is right for you or not.
Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case says
Great words of wisdom Mack. Folks looking for the quick buck will usually be disappointed – and if they try blogging they will be disappointed even faster. 🙂
OTOH, the blogger you mention seems to sorta get it, but for whatever reason isn’t following through.
My reason for blogging? People ask me questions all the time. This way I can give better answers, and other people can read over my shoulder too. Win/win!
Everything in the post is so true. Anyone that wants his/her blog to succeed should definitely spend more time for its building and promoting. Thank you for a good read.
What if your goal in blogging turned into making a living online, and then your blog actually opened those doors for you? Problem is that the work required to earn that living means that now you have no time for blogging.
Is it possible to outgrow a blog? Could a blog be a stepping stone to something different? Once you achieve your further goal, you can leave blogging behind? Or would you argue that you must continue blogging even when the larger goal is achieved?
Would love some honest dialogue on this topic because it seems to be where I find myself.
Mack Collier says
Jimmie if your blog is no longer necessary to growing your business, then I could see spending your time elsewhere.
But, I know that a problem I have run into in the past is getting so busy with work that I let my blog go stagnant. And the problem *I* have had is that I use my blog as a tool to build awareness for myself, and if I’m not blogging, I can lose a stream of referrals and business.
So it can be a catch-22, but I think if you use your blog as a source of referrals and business, you really can’t afford to let it whither, even if you get busy with work. Because what happens tomorrow when the work is done and your pipeline of business from your blog has dried up because you haven’t been maintaining the blog?
Jan Hoadley says
Helping people live better and empowering food choices is my motivation. And yes it can be discouraging sometimes because although I sometimes talk about something we’re trying or farm shares etc., most is about “life” and those food choices we all have.
Our target customer seeks simplicity, personal contact, how to do what they can for themselves and even if they don’t *do* it then know what it takes. I’m probably not the best blogger out there, nor the most famous…but write for people looking for *something* and that is hard to quantify in that money alone can’t get it. Since I tweaked it to that, readership has doubled. So it may not result in thousands of dollars of sales, but if it helps people take steps towards living better, or think of things in a different way, it’s building relationships. I think the rest will take care of itself. (Hoping!)