WHY DO WE BLOG?
In this strange life I lead of both publicist and blogger, I often have to bite my tongue on social media. I see a lot of comments about brands that shouldn’t be made in public places. Sometimes I rush to defend my PR brethren and feel a little guilty for being “the man” and sometimes I side with the bloggers and feel guilty that I am betraying my profession. I witness some pretty upsetting behavior — like when, this week, I saw a blogger post something a brand sent them to review on eBay — and she talking about it openly on social media.
Come on, guys. We’re better than this. And everyone is watching ALL OF THE TIME. You gotta know that.
But right now I want to hone in on two very simple questions, bloggers: WHO ARE WE WRITING FOR? WHY DO WE BLOG?
“I’m writing for myself.”
Of course you are. Aren’t we all? I mean, let’s be honest, guys. Bloggers are a little narcissistic. Otherwise we’d go be accountants. Writing probably fulfills a need for you. As any creative outlet, passion project, or satisfying full-time career would. Right? RIGHT?
But are you writing for yourself alone? Not unless you are the only one reading it, in which case you’re keeping a diary, not a blog.
“I’m blogging because it’s easy.”
*AJ bursts out laughing and runs away* Easy?! No, it’s really not.
“I’m blogging to make money.”
Totally fair but blogging is hard work, so you’d better love it. You’d better be prepared for some late nights and some tight deadlines.
And if you don’t have any readers, no one’s paying you, right?
WHO ARE WE WRITING FOR? WHY DO WE BLOG?
Because there’s an audience out there. And they want information. And we’re in a position to give it to them. Because we’ve worked hard to build a following on social media and it’s made us influential. Because we’re passionate about engaging with our readers. Because we like connecting to people in real life and online. Because it makes us part of a global community. Because we like it.
We may have started for ourselves and as a result, we may do it for money. Eventually we may do it to get free stuff or for internet fame, but I really think all of those reasons have to be secondary if you want to succeed. When the really hard decisions have to be made, and you really need to think about why you blog or what you should blog, you should be thinking about who’s engaging with your content. I promise keeping that in mind at all times will make you infinitely more successful, long term.
People read your blog because they like you. Your audience returns and grows because they like you in earnest. And only then will people partner and work with you. Only then will the brands come, the money, the fame, etc.
Bloggers, next time you find yourself in a forum typing out a question akin to “should I write about ________________ for no money?” or “I went to ________________ and didn’t know if I should cover it for my blog,” etc., I beg you pause first and ask yourself, “Would my readers enjoy this content?” Because when they are happy, that is what benefits you the MOST. THAT is why you blog.
And by the way, if you do blog about a brand without them asking you to or paying you to, I also beg you to send them the link and say “Hey! Look what I did! My readers loved it. You should work with me for reals.” (Ok, don’t say it exactly like that. Let’s keep it professional, people.)
And that’s all I have to say about that.
But if you want a little more insight, I like this piece by Joshua Becker, “15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog.” Took me back to my early days!
It was suggested to me, wisely, that if you are reviewing a product or writing a sponsored post for a brand, you have to write for them. Well, yes, you do. I totally agree. But you still have to keep your audience in mind! And to that end, I also would add this advice – when you’re initially approached for these opportunities, make sure it’s something your audience will want to know about. Don’t just accept the opportunity because it makes you a few bucks. In short, don’t be a sell out! 😉
This post is dedicated to Melissa – a conversation with her inspired this post. She rules. Read her blog.