I read a lot of blog posts that explains exactly what you should do to become a blogger superstar.
You should install the right plugins.
You should write headlines that gets clicks.
You should write “awesome content”.
Get the hang of advanced SEO.
Write guest blog posts, write ebooks and comment on other blogs like crazy.
I get all that.
But I also recognize it. When I was younger, I dreamt of becoming a published author. (I still do by the way, but that’s beside the point.) As a young aspiring novelist I also hungered for good advice on how to become published.
And with some creative googling (yes, I’m not that old!) I found a lot of advice. When to write during the day (mornings, apparently), how to structure a manuscript, how to show and not tell in writing, how to contact publishers and the list just goes on and on.
As life kept floating by, I soon found myself with a time-consuming career and basically all the professional writing I could stomach. (PR proved to be more lucrative than most novelist endeavors by the way, but that beside the point.) I also learned a thing or two about taking advice.
At the core of being a novelist, you need to have a certain edge. It might be for depth, like Willam Faulkner, character like Joyce Carol Oates, zeitgeist like Douglas Coupland, language like Lewis Carroll, suspense like Ray Bradbury, style like Ernest Hemingway or storytelling like J.R.R Tolkien.
Even though there are thousands of different literary edges one could have, they belong only to a few. Like blogging superstardom.
I know this now the hard way. When I on rare occassions read passages from my teenage- and twenty-something novels, I always feel that sting in my heart as I realize what a crap novelist I was. Promising? Maybe. Clarity of style? Sure, for a young boy at least. An edge of some sort? No way.
But just as for blogging, there was just an abundance of advice on how to get published. But none were for me. Advice still is – and always will be – best served individually. This is true for PR as well, but that’s beside the point.
I often remind myself of the words of Soren Kierkegaard who I think said it best: “
If One Is Truly to Succeed in Leading a Person to a Specific Place, One Must First and Foremost Take Care to Find Him Where He is and Begin There.
This is the secret in the entire art of helping.
Anyone who cannot do this is himself under a delusion if he thinks he is able to help someone else. In order truly to help someone else, I must understand more than he–but certainly first and foremost understand what he understands.
If I do not do that, then my greater understanding does not help him at all. If I nevertheless want to assert my greater understanding, then it is because I am vain or proud, then basically instead of benefiting him I really want to be admired by him.
But all true helping begins with a humbling.
The helper must first humble himself under the person he wants to help and thereby understand that to help is not to dominate but to serve, that to help is a not to be the most dominating but the most patient, that to help is a willingness for the time being to put up with being in the wrong and not understanding what the other understands.
So, with the blogger superstar territory comes the need to also be a leader in your community—by being it’s servant. And maybe you’re one of the rare few who can live by the virtues that comes with the territory of being someone people turn to for advice.
But even if you are such a person, do you really want to be a blogger superstar, servant to thousands and blogging full-time?
Do you really want that? Is that why you blog?
I wouldn’t want to, that’s for sure. I love PR. I love web. I love corporate stuff. That’s what I want to do. And maybe, some day, if that stuff works out really well (or not at all), I want to give that novelist thing another crack. But I wouldn’t want to be a paid full-time blogger, never!
Imagine writing all day long about how PR should be done while others are out there actually doing it. Scary thought.
Am I saying that you and me who don’t have blogger superstar capacity should call it quits, then? I can’t speak for you, but I don’t blog for the masses anyway. My blog was never intended to be a mass communication device. It’s a relationship tool.
Here’s how I see it:
Maybe you who reads this think better of me after reading it? And you might very well be my only reader today. What if you one day become very important and you need some PR advice you can trust?
Or if you become a PR superstar yourself and you decide to employ me? Or maybe we become colleagues down the line? Or maybe you leave a comment and teach me something vital?
The list on how you singlehandedly could change my life to the better goes on.
The point is, I’d rather have one reader like that, than thousands and thousands of readers just looking for a quick and free lunch on my expense. It’s that simple.
Maybe you are one of those rare social media naturals and you want to give blogger superstardom a go. If so, my best of luck to you! But if you’re not, then I would like you to consider my view on personal blogging.
Focus on how you can cater to your small – but for you highly significant! – community of readers instead.
Maybe the only readers you have are your family, your friends, your colleagues and maybe those who you do business with (who looks you up on google before deciding whether to do business with you or not).
Aren’t that small group of people really those who matters most to you, anyway? So write for them, then.
That’s what I do.
That’s what I take seriously.
I only care about YOU because YOU are actually reading this long blog post right now; I don’t care about all the poor souls out there who aren’t. It’s just YOU and ME. And maybe someday we can change each other’s lives—wouldn’t that be something worth blogging for?