It can happen, you know.
One day, you become enthralled with a new idea for a post, so you whip it up and publish it to your blog, sure it’s going to get people buzzing all around the blogosphere.
But that’s not what happens. Instead, your world explodes in an inferno of criticism.
Angry comments. Hate email. Losing hundreds of friends on Facebook or Twitter.
Or even worse?
People just write you off. They see your post and think, “This person is an idiot,” and they resolve to ignore anything you say until the day you die.
Of course, that’ll never happen to you, right?
Well, you might be surprised. Here are 12 warning signs to watch for, just to make sure you never get blindsided:
1. Holding back the good stuff
Ever feel like some of your ideas are just too valuable to give away for free on your blog? You’d rather package them up into an e-book or audio course and transform them into your flagship product.
If you don’t offer real value from the get go, no one will ever talk about your blog, and it’ll never grow. You’ll be holding onto those ideas forever.
The better approach?
Pretend like everyone is paying you to write, and make every blog post worth at least $100. Make it so astonishingly valuable they can’t help but talk about it.
And then think up something else to sell later.
2. All you’re thinking about is making money
Just as the predator cartoon character visualizes its cute, furry prey as a piece of steak, you see your reader as a source of money.
Your blog is nothing more than an ongoing pitch fest. You want to sell your “great” content, not give it away for free. And you’re constantly pitching your latest e-course or e-book.
Not a good idea! Here’s why:
Selling anything, online or offline, is about trust. If all you’re doing is pitching stuff, people won’t trust you, and they’ll write you off as just another sleazy Internet marketer.
First offer advice, insight and solutions. Make a difference. Entertain.
People will want to buy from you later, without you having to do much selling.
3. Making empty promises
Is your blog post promising to help the reader make an extra $5,000? Lose 50 pounds? Reignite the passion with their spouse?
Well, you better back it up. Not just with a story and a few platitudes, but a real step-by-step guide to making it happen.
During the early days of the Internet you might have gotten away with starting a blog that only provides cotton candy content. Now though, people expect real meat and potatoes.
So, be careful of what you promise. If you make a big promise, back it up with advice people can take action on immediately.
Otherwise, people will just unsubscribe from your blog. They might even stop by your comments section and leave you a few choice words.
4. Not being worthy of the crowd
Imagine you’re about to deliver your next post in person to a packed conference hall of 5,000 people.
You wait nervously behind the massive, heavy curtains with the stage manager whispering last-minute instructions in your ear. Your palms are sweaty, your heart is pounding and your mouth is dry.
Your name is announced and you step out from the curtains, like a scared rabbit, into the bright lights to rousing music and deafening applause.
The crowd falls silent as you stand behind the microphone, center-stage.
Everyone’s watching you. Expectant.
If this was your arena — if you were no longer invisible — how much more effort would you put in? How much harder would you prepare, research, write and edit your posts? What would you do to craft the sentence structure, punctuation and pauses to get the right tone, flow, rhythm and emotion?
That’s what you should be doing now with every post you write. Then you’ll get the results you so desperately crave.
5. Being bored
If you’re bored with your writing, your audience will be bored by it too.
If you no longer feel passionate and excited about your topic, you might be running low on creative energy. And the only way to fix that is to allow that energy to recharge.
You have to take a break.
Yes, I know you want to get to the finish line early. But you need to take a break to get excited again. Otherwise your readers will sense your boredom, and be bored too.
And we can’t be having that now, can we?
6. Waffling on and on and on and on…
Why say something in 10 words when you can impress with 50?
You love the sound of your own voice and so you end up repeating yourself by saying pretty much the same thing, over and over, but in a slightly different way. You add unnecessary details into your writing.
You lose focus and don’t take enough time, care and attention to really trim your writing down to the essential message.
Be economical. Trim the fat. Make your writing lean and use power words.
7. The Ego has landed
Don’t fall into the trap of making your posts all about you.
I hate to break it to you, but it’s not about you at all.
Your readers aren’t interested in you! They’re interested in helpful, timely advice, innovative solutions and entertaining stories… with some extra inspiration and motivation for good measure.
Your blog doesn’t exist so you can share pointless, personal stories about your cat.
You had pasta for dinner? Who cares?
You’ve had a migraine all week and your partner/kid/mom is driving you crazy. Whatever…
If your story doesn’t have a point directly related to the message you are trying to deliver, please save us the detail.
Cater to your readers, or you won’t have any.
Work hard to understand them. Know them. Know what keeps them awake at night. Now go and write for them…
8. Not infusing your personality into the content
There’s a flip side to the advice in the previous point…
You can’t remove all of your personality from your posts, or it will be bland. It still needs some relevant stories, funny remarks, and other personal touches.
So, sprinkle it in. Talk about what your audience is interested in, but do it your way.
Yes, there’s a fine balance, since it can’t be all about you, but don’t disappear completely. You can share your stories and experiences while still focusing thoroughly on your readers’ needs.
The biggest sin on the Internet is to be boring. Don’t be guilty of this, or you’ll soon be forgotten!
9. Preaching from the pulpit
You’re clever right?
Maybe using complicated sentence structure and generally showing off your God-given writing talents makes you feel fabulously important and superior? You pompously deliver your 10 Commandments from on High to your lowly, unworthy followers.
Err… How can I put this…?
People hate that!
If you want your audience to like and trust you, you need to understand that you are the servant, not the master. Write with a little humility, and people will love you for it.
10. So you think you’re funny, eh?
Yep, and everyone needs to know about it!
But chances are your readers have a different sense of humor to yours. Or maybe they’re in a serious mood today… Maybe they’re even a little worried or anxious.
It takes a great writer to express sarcasm and wit. If you try too hard, you might just come across as insensitive or downright rude.
If you’re unsure, don’t use humor.
11. Ignoring the Opposite Sex
Are you speaking to both sexes?
My name’s Chris. Could be a guy. Could be a gal. Can you tell?
If you’re a guy, you might be coming across as a red-blooded, burger-eating, beer-swilling blogger.
Or you’re a gal and, when you write, boy do you love talking about your incredible multi-tasking skills, your darling, but time-consuming kids and your oh-so-busy-and-hardly-ever-there husband…
Chances are you’re alienating half your audience.
Be sure to accommodate all of your audience. Include, don’t exclude.
12. Getting defensive
You publish your latest post, and then it happens…
Some fool dares add her own thoughts and advice. And she doesn’t agree with what you wrote.
This makes you feel inadequate. You think…
“How dare she show me up in public?”
So you respond:
“Thanks for your great comments Sam. You clearly have a great point here, BUT…”
In reclaiming the high ground, you’ve you’ve made Sam feel silly. Even worse, now the rest of your audience is feeling sorry for her and looking at you like you’re a great, big meanie.
The better approach?
Before you write the word ‘but’… stop.
Be accommodating. Replace ‘but’ with ‘and’.
Or start a new sentence and add to their comments just as they added to your ideas.
Yes defend your thoughts and ideas, but don’t be rude and try scoring points. And don’t be so sensitive! Everyone’s entitled to an opinion.
When your readers offer help and advice, thank and encourage them.
This interaction will breathe new life and energy into your blog. And those watching will feel comfortable to come out of the shadows and make a contribution of their own.
Your great post now becomes even more memorable.
So… how do you plead?
And it’s best to be honest here.
If you’ve made a few of these mistakes, take responsibility. All is not lost.
Do you realize the beauty of the opportunity right in front of you? You can make the decision to start doing things differently, right here and now.
You have the opportunity to stop being mediocre.
You have the opportunity to finally build a successful blog.
You have the opportunity to turn your blog into a prolific online business that frees you from your day job, and allows you to work wherever you want, whenever you want, on your own terms.
But you have to want it bad enough… And too few bloggers do.
You have to be truly sick and tired of being mediocre!
Are you going to be just another half-asleep post reader today, or are you ready to commit to a brighter, bigger future? Are you ready to do what’s necessary to become truly independent?
Easy choice, right?
Start doing things differently today. Start approaching your blog and your audience as if the stakes are enormously high.
Because they are! And it’s your future that’s on the line here…