I usually blog about social media or social marketing (yes, there’s a difference), but I also have a few other recurring themes on this blog: armchair sociology, arbitrary self-help, better storytelling tips, and debunking other people’s bullshit. And, like any blogger, I’d love it if each of my posts generated thousands of page views and made me rich, famous and / or passionately adored by my growing armada of smart, attractive readers (hi there).
But, in reality, some of what I write fails. And that’s okay, because maybe it should.
They Can’t All Be Winners
And technically, if they were all winners, they’d really all just be average, right?
When one of my posts fails to live up to my expectations for it (which is to say, it fails to be the best post ever), I find it worthwhile to examine why that may have happened.
Maybe I wrote about a topic that no one else is interested in.
Maybe I didn’t make an interesting point.
Maybe what I wrote isn’t really useful.
Maybe I wrote has already been covered by other, better authors.
Or maybe I wrote a wonderful post, but it was released at the wrong time of day…
… or at the same time as a hundred other, similar posts…
… or during major breaking news…
… or while my tastemakers were on vacation…
… or any other reason why a perfectly good post gets lost in the shuffle.
Or, maybe it was a great post, seen by a lot of people… but they weren’t the right people.
In which case, that’s the good kind of failure.
Why We Write
If I usually blog about social media, and then I spend a day blogging about cars or hats, I shouldn’t be surprised when those posts don’t resonate with my usual readers, because that’s not what they’re expecting from me. That’s not why they read my blog.
However, that unexpected topic may be exactly what someone else, who’s never even heard of my blog, would love to read… if they only knew it existed.
And that’s the real reason bad blog traffic is good for you: it forces you to refocus.
To me, blogging (or any creative act) really comes down to a pair of motivations:
- Why are you blogging, and
- What do you want to be blogging about?
These are worth articulating, especially if you blog about social marketing.
See, social marketing is an echo chamber. This means blogs that blog about blogging will receive exponentially higher traffic than blogs that blog about tilapia farming, because the cycle is self-sustaining. Our social marketing world regurgitates itself. And although this means its numbers are an aberration, its numbers are also used to justify the entire medium’s existence.
Thus, if you start blogging about social media, you automatically feel compelled to blog in such a way that your blog will become popular to other practitioners of social media… even if you really only want “that kind of traffic,” not “that kind of audience.”
When you’re writing posts that you think are great, but which aren’t resonating with your audience, double-check the goals of your audience vs. your goals as a writer. Maybe your goals have changed, but your audience probably hasn’t… yet.
And, surprisingly, that can the best feeling of all:
The feeling that it’s time to move on.