Last month on October 28th, Julie and I launched a monthly Blogging Better resources link-up. In the spirit of #BloggingBetter, I thought I would share some of my favorite blogging and social media Pinterest boards that highlight resources from around the web for all levels of bloggers, authors and small businesses. I’ve taken a lot of time to cultivate these and I think they’re the best blogging Pinterest boards out there. I also want to give you something to read before the next link up, since so many of you have been interested enough to sign up for email updates and RSVP’d to the Facebook event, Google+ event, or Eventbrite (you can still sign up for next month’s link-up on those sites).
But first I want to get to the heart of why I’m doing this link up and why I’m focusing more on the subject of blogging. First of all, I’ve met some new bloggers recently and I find that quite a few of them are stressed over small things: that their stats aren’t big, that they aren’t making any money, or that their social media isn’t growing quite fast enough.
If you’re going to be blogging for a long time, you need to stop stressing over those things. Do they matter? Yes. But if your blog is under a year old, keep doing exactly what you’re doing and keep moving forward.
These are important aspects of a blog’s authority but they aren’t the only way to be a successful blogger and over the next few months during Blogging Better, I’m going to give you insight into my blog stats and successes and show you how to build a blog that can bring you opportunities most bloggers dream about. One of the keys is to stop getting so caught up in your stats, monetization and the real key? STOP doing what everyone else does.
In blogging, there are a lot of followers and very few leaders. Most bloggers are afraid to lead the pack. They’re afraid to be different. They’re afraid to give advice that differs from what other “successful” bloggers suggest, so they never end up with opportunities of a lifetime.
They do the same damn, cliche thing everyone else does. And no one cares about their opinion.
They aren’t influential.
Sure, many followers have large numbers. But you and I aren’t stupid. Think about it. Anyone can get followers. Sometimes it’s a game of follow/follow back. But in reality, that means next to nothing. It doesn’t mean people are reading your blog. It doesn’t mean you’re being heard. It doesn’t mean much at all.
I tell new bloggers all the time: numbers aren’t everything and as I just said above, successful blogging is about influence, not numbers. It’s about leading the pack; having a strong voice. I was contacted by an NPR affiliate station for an interview when my blog was very, very new. It was 6 months old and I probably had 200-400 unique pageviews a day. But this was one of the defining moments in my career and I had the chance to interview with world renowned experts who had real history to their research.
It was amazing.
It’s still a highlight in my career, and many bloggers with millions of views per month will never see these kinds of opportunities because their blog has devolved into spam for advertisers. I’m not afraid to say that I don’t have millions of views. I absolutely don’t blog like other bloggers. I don’t buy content. I don’t participate in gimmicks. I carefully select advertising and I only publish advertisements on rare occasions because my content matters.
I write. I blog according to what I want to say and I’m focused on making my blog work for my career. I think this has worked well for me because two years into blogging, I was contacted by the CW TV network through a production company. The production company interviewed me and made a pilot TV show out of my blog and the work I did there. Two years in. Guess how much traffic I had? Not much more than 15,000 unique views per month. For many bloggers, they don’t see these kinds of opportunities until 4-6 years in.
And it was because I was strategic about standing out and it was because my blog was unlike any other blog that was out there at the time.
You’ll find that bloggers who have a singular focus: making money and getting thousands of “junk” fans and junk pageviews lose their integrity really quickly. Not to mention, no one wants to read a Walmart ad. That isn’t to say that all bloggers who have a lot of fans or pageviews don’t have integrity (Absolutely not! Some huge bloggers are up there on my list of favorites.); it simply means when a bloggers focus is solely to make money or earn fans, she loses out on big opportunities. It also means when you follow a big blogger, you should take a look at their platform more closely. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Anyone can get 100,000 followers on Twitter, but 100,000 junk fans won’t do anything for your career or credibility. Learn how to be critical of others’ platforms so you can judge who to follow and who not to. (On a related note, today Julie is talking about increasing interaction on your blog in an authentic way.)
My point is, there’s a lot of crap out there and you need to be careful who you emulate and who you look up to as you grow. Amazing things can happen to you as you blog if you let yourself be unique, if you stand out from the crowd and if you create excellent content. There’s no substitute for quality and no amount of inflated fans or pageviews will earn you credibility in the blogging world, especially if your content sucks (or if you buy it).
What ultimately matters is that you find your voice and stick with it. Don’t copycat someone else’s voice, style, etc. Don’t blog about recipes or DIY/crafts just because it seems popular. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t blog about those if they’re your life or your dream is to be featured in Martha Stewart magazine (but you should only write about that IF it leads to your dream career), or that you shouldn’t write about something popular. The key is, you need to stand out and the only way to do that is to be YOU.
On that note, show some personality. No one cares what you’re wearing or what you’re reviewing. Readers follow blogs because they see a human being behind the blog. It’s that simple. (Not to mention, unless you’re a fashion blog, you shouldn’t be focusing on fashion and unless you’re a junk blog, you shouldn’t be doing free reviews of products.) Show some personality. Stop asking your readers questions and start telling them what YOU think. Write about something that pisses you off. Be human. Be vulnerable.
That’s how you gain readers.
I could write all day and night about blogging and social media. I love both topics and they’re two things I’m passionate about and do professionally. There’s no way I could possibly write about every single topic related to blogging, which is why I rely on really great articles to pin on Pinterest. I take my time cultivating my Pinterest boards and I read through articles before linking them so I can make sure the posts give really great advice. I recently introduced a handful of other bloggers to collaborate with me and share their own resources on a few of these boards. The great thing about having awesome collaborators is that they’re vetting the resources with their experience as a blogger, too, making for a list of trusted resources that will be useful.
If you’re looking for the best blogging Pinterest boards, take a look at these boards and browse through the articles linked. Some of them belong to me, but they’re in an easy to find place, and some of them belong to my Pinterest board collaborators who have a lot of experience blogging. There are 100 plus invaluable blogging and social media resources here for all levels of bloggers, authors and small businesses and it’s constantly growing.
The Business of Blogging
Blogging: Media Kits
Social Media Management
Social Media Tips
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Now it’s your turn. Join us for the second Blogging Better link-up below:
Once a month, I’m co-hosting a link up on blogging resources called Blogging Better with Julie DenOuden. We would love it if you linked up your best blogging resources below. Our readers are new bloggers, mid-level bloggers, hobby bloggers, professional bloggers, small businesses and social media managers. Our link-up will go live on the last Tuesday of every month. Join us on Twitter using the hashtags #bloggingbetter and #blogbetter.
About Your Hosts
Julie DenOuden is my co-host and a fellow Southern California blogger. Julie blogs at Girl on the Move, a blog about traveling, cupcakes and social media resources. She started blogging just over two years ago and truly has some of the finest organizational skills you’ll ever see. Julie is a great resource for social media tips and her 31 Days to Create a Social Media Plan is a must-read for any blogger.
If you’re new here, my name is Lisa Kerr. I’m a veteran blogger of more than four years whose work has been featured on the Huffington Post TED Weekends, HuffPo Live, NPR and more. During my four years of blogging, Oprah’s network contacted me and the CW developed a pilot TV show about my first blog, so I’ve learned a lot about the business side of blogging, blogging beyond monetization and protecting your intellectual property. I now advise companies about how to connect with their clients by creating a compelling story and building community and I also work with new and mid-level bloggers, teaching them how to manage their social media communities, tips and tricks for WordPress optimization, and how to create a professional writing portfolio that will further your career.
I hope you’ll find the tools and tips we share here helpful in developing your blog, and as always, we’re here to answer any questions you may have (either by email or comments) in future posts.
To join the link-up:
Visit at least 2 posts from below and comment on them.
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