It’s the same thing every year. Posts show up across social media in January predicting the future of blogging, describing what worked and what didn’t over the past 12 months. They analyze how to change it up in the new year and highlight new themes, plugins, plans, and methods. If you write your own blog it’s like listening to a marching band full of drummers. Bam. Bang. Boom.
Oh sweet melody, wherefore art thou?
At the same time popular and well-known bloggers show off new blog designs, write detailed posts about why they are going back to an old way of doing things, explain why they are leaving this platform or that network, and encourage other bloggers to buy into a new service that’s just appeared on the market.
It got me thinking. How does a small blogger determine between good advice and bad advice? How do you know which is which for your own blog? Do you need to follow all the trends? Should you?
You can read all the blog posts and Facebook updates you want about what others are doing but ultimately you need to march to the beat of your own blog. Here’s why…
1. You are relatable
Your voice resonates with others. Your readers have found you and continue to follow you because of what you have to say. They can relate to your story, your background, your viewpoint, and they want to interact with you based on that relatability.
While it might work for a blogger with one million pageviews per-month and 500 responses per-post to stop accepting comments on their blog it might not be the best choice for you.
Your readers want to ask questions, they want to cheer you on and let you know when you have been a help or encouragement to them. Because you are relatable you need to make decisions for your site based on what’s best for you and your readers. Not on what another blogger in another category or niche is doing.
2. You have unique goals
Many bloggers want to make a living from their blog. Hundreds of thousands of pageviews and a half-a-million followers on Instagram or Facebook is nothing to sneeze at, for sure. These are not bad targets for which to shoot.
But sharing your experience, encouraging others, teaching truths, and building relationships are also noble pursuits. The goals you have set for your own blog are unique to you. It is important not to downplay or undermine this uniqueness because of what others do or say.
Keep moving forward towards your own end line. Don’t worry about what others are doing or not doing. Anytime you want to add a social media platform or a new service to your repertoire hold it up against your goals. Does it mesh? Is it going to help you achieve your brand of success? Will it further your message in a positive way?
If so, great. Go for it. If not, maybe now isn’t the right time. So everyone is on Periscope. Good for them. Is that the best use of your time and resources right now?
Feel free to revisit the issue in three to six months. Things might change.
But don’t force what’s trendy now for your own long-term success.
3. You’ve got the same 24 hours as the next gal
We all know we have the same amount of time to work with in a day. What we don’t all have is income from our sites to allow us to hire VAs, staff, photographer, social media consultants and strategists, and personal chefs.
Because you are at your own unique point in your blogging journey you may not have the resources to hire any of these helps. Maybe you are slowly working in that direction. Awesome. That’s great. But remember, how you use your time is going to look a lot different than someone with the assistance mentioned above.
Your job is to determine how best you use your time.
Do you need to focus on social media? Maybe you need more posts? Perhaps a site clean-up is in order. Look at your goals and start prioritizing your time and your energy.
Don’t burn yourself out by overexerting in one particular area. Your energy is just as important as your time. Pull out your goal sheets from my HOW To Blog Kit and start using your 24-hours in a what that is best for you.
This isn’t a race. It’s an adventure. Don’t miss out on all the fun because you are trying to keep up with somebody else.
4. You’ve got your own rhythm
We don’t all listen to the same music. We don’t all like the same songs. That’s part of what makes music so personal and intimate, it speaks to us differently.
In blogging you have your own rhythm. You might like to write when inspiration hits. Or, you might have a set schedule and calendar for your posts. However you create is due to your own personal style, preferences, and opportunities.
If you enjoy writing three times per week, do it. If once a week is more your speed don’t apologize just keep dancin’. Your rhythm is part of your journey to success. It’s what will help keep you balanced and motivated. If you try to change it because other bloggers are doing it differently you will fail.
Remember, it’s marching to the beat of your blog, not someone else’s.
If you are still trying to find your rhythm keep marching. Try something. See how it works for you. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to throw it out and try something new.
Does Facebook bring you readers? Then spend time on it. Do your readers like list posts? If not, don’t write them even if the “experts” say you should.
Never be afraid to blog totally outside the box. What works for one may or may not work for you. That’s okay.
5. Your voice matters
If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time you know I completely buy into this notion that your voice matters.
Have you ever met anyone who said, “I only read blog posts from X and no one else.”
No, you haven’t. People are naturally curious. They want to learn and explore. They do that by spending time on social media and surfing around the web. They search and stumble and discover and get inspired by looking around. If you aren’t out there marching to your own beat they will pass right over you.
See, your voice, your ideas, and your delivery will draw in some really unique and interested readers. Be ready. If you are marching to your own beat they will stop and read what you have to say. If you try to be like someone else they’ll see you for the fraud you are and move on.
As I compose this post I’m listening to Amazon Music. There are so many options available to me, jazz, R&B, pop, alternative, classical, and more. Today, I’m listening to the Upbeat Jazz Station. Tomorrow I might listen to the James Taylor station or the Roy Orbison station. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’ll feel like tomorrow.
It’s the same with blog readers, different days bring different needs and moods. You’ve got to share what you know in your own unique style because it might be just what someone else needs.
Are you humorous, then be as funny as you are. Are you more serious and introspective, then write about the serious stuff. There are seven billion people in the world. Someone out there needs your perspective. So make it happen.
Copycat bloggers are the worst. Writers who want to be something they aren’t may make a big splash at first but they can’t hang for the long haul. Don’t be a copycat, be yourself. Dance and strut and share and make your own music. Your success depends on it.