So, should I stop blogging?
Seriously, I’m starting to feel really anxious about keeping up with my main blog.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my blog and its topic, but frankly, I’m struggling to keep up. I’m just not cranking out content like I used to, and feel as if I’m contributing “too little too late.” I’m starting to freak about folks potentially sending unsubscribe pings my way, and I just can’t handle the thought of such rejection.
It could be a Spring thing, but my overall traffic is down a bit since it’s peak. Then again, I’m only cranking out half as much content as a year ago. According to my Feedburner, since last June, I’ve had exactly 58,000 views, 22, 241 clicks, and 2047 downloads on my blog. I have several hundred folks, mostly marketers, who subscribe to and receive e-mail versions of my blog content any time I post, as well as 936 RSS subscribers. Then again, I’d be remiss not to divulge that less 20 percent of the RSS subscribers actually engage (code word for “read”) the content on a regular basis.
It was easier in the beginning. Being early had advantages. There was novelty and a sense of originality in every keystroke. Aspiring bloggers often gave me the benefit of the doubt and just subscribed. For all I know, I could have scratched my knee and they would have linked to me or repackaged my dubious wisdom.
Now, I’m at a crossroad. I can move forward, do nothing, or pull up stakes and go home. To resolve this, let’s first try to establish a compelling argument for why I shouldn’t blog. Indeed, understanding the barriers, challenges, and pain points may well be the path to figuring out how to do this right.
Ten Reasons Why I Should Stop Blogging
- Too Late: Great blog entries are well-timed. They manage to surface at just the moment when we’re all thinking about the issue. I’ve yet to master the fine art of timing. Even when I do have just the right thought at the right time, other more important obligations (like taking my kids to and from daycare, or servicing a client) mess up the flow.
- I’m Irrelevant: Staying relevant to the conversation is really hard. It takes time and nurturing, and tons of listening. Sometimes, I worry I’m talking to myself, not the broader audience. You not only need to do lots of listening, you also need to know how to translate it into smart, relevant, useful, and engaging content.
- I’m Surrounded: Every time I blink, another darn blog appears. Marketing blogs in particular are popping up like mushrooms in a wet forest. Many are pretty damn good, and I have this unsettling feeling they’re but a keystroke away from calling my bluff.
- I’m Getting Sloppy: My high school teachers would go nuts if they saw some of the grammatical errors I make on late-night blog posts. That’s just not acceptable. At the end of the day, this will kill my credibility. Maybe the Blackberry is getting the better of me and shaping bad habits. This must change.
- I’m Selfish: The reality is I’m not giving back enough. I rarely have time to contribute to other folks’ conversations, so why should they give back to me? Every once in a while, I do leave comments for others, but I worry they’re too pithy and insincere, maybe even too (subconsciously) motivated by dreams of link love. Authenticity and sincerity are the price of admission to conversation. For this to work, I can’t be selfish.
- I’m Boring: Sometimes, I look back on my righteous blog posts and just say to myself, “Dude, spice it up, or folks will fall asleep.” Indeed, when folks are busy and attention’s scarce, you can’t be boring. You can’t just regurgitate or wax the breaking marketing story. If you’re boring, readers are snoring.
- I’m Not Reaching Out: A couple weeks ago, I received a thoughtful, non-intrusive e-mail from Hewlett-Packard marketing blogger Eric Kintz, requeswting my, and other CMOs’, thoughts on his highly provocative post questioning the marketing upside of Second Life. This, in turn, led to a fabulous e-mail exchange, and threaded discussion on his blog. Kudos to Eric for reaching out, particularly in such a non-intrusive, value-added manner. I can learn from that.
- I’m getting confused: Yes, I’m in the business of consumer-generated media (CGM) measurements, but all this Web 2.0 stuff is getting confusing. I can’t keep up. All the gizmos and widgets are getting too complex for my simple mind. Can I really compete against the widgeteers? Should I just roll-up my sleeves and figure it out?
- I haven’t figure out RSS: Painful to admit, I still haven’t figured out RSS to its full potential, which makes me feel a bit phony. How can I exploit the full potential of my blog without a solid grip on the communications glue of the space? Yes, I subscribe to feeds, but I barely give them the engagement or attention they deserve.
- I’m Tired: This stuff takes work. You can’t just start a blog and expect wonders. Like all great things in life, you must make a real investment.
But here’s the rub. This isn’t just Pete Blackshaw’s dilemma. This is everyone’s challenge. The failed blog graveyard (which includes brand and corporate blogs) is crowded. Even with “add water and stir” blog publishing tools, creating great and compelling online content takes real work and commitment. Many things need to fall in place, all against the right mindset, for blog publishing to work.
The rewards can be rich – nay, incredible — but it takes work, patience, active listening, iteration, allowances for failure, and a very long-term view.
I think I’m going to stick it out!