About a month or two after I started blogging I received the best blogging advice I’ve ever received. This was during a time when I was consuming blogging advice the same way I consume Wheat Thins: rapidly and without constraint. I pinned every pin that had anything to do with increasing traffic or followers or making money. I was joining all sorts of Facebook blogging groups and copying and pasting the advice they’d give into an email chain to myself. I was watching YouTube videos about blogging while I did the dishes.
It was exhausting.
Then one day amidst this rapid-fire consumption, I happened upon the best blogging advice I’ve ever heard. It didn’t have anything to do with SEO or rich pins or what size your blog photos should be. It was simply this:
Talk to your followers. Love your followers and be content with your followers.The advice giver likened blogging to a big conference. Every blogger had his or her own room where his or her own followers were seated listening to them. In this conference, it can be very tempting to look past all the nice people in your room and instead shout incessantly to all those people passing by in the hall, “HEY! HEY!! COME HERE! LOOK IN MY ROOM! LOOK! I’VE GOT STUFF TO GIVE YOU!! COME INNN!!!!!”
It can be easy to look at those nice people in your room and think, “Hmph. What a pitiful bunch. I was hoping for more. That person down the hall, they’ve got SO many more! And they started after me! How did they get all those people? WHY IS NO ONE COMING IN MY ROOM?!”
Don’t do this.
Realize, all those nice people in your room are there to hear YOU. They’re there because they like you. They like what you have to say. Talk to them instead of talking to all the people in the hall. And if there are only three people in your room? TALK to those three people. Engage with them. Love them.
You’ll be far more content and your followers will love you all the more. Which will have the added benefit of, yes, growing your blog. But, doing it in an organic way and bringing in far more loyal followers than those who came one time to get something for free.
When I received this advice, it was like a tangible weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I thought, “Oh good, you mean I don’t HAVE to do all this extra stuff just to get more people in my room???” I had never heard that advice before, in all my days of blog advice acquisition, the tips always told me to want more, more, MORE. More re-tweets, more page views, more comments, more sponsors. Never be content. While these tips can actually be very helpful and necessary to grow your blog, it can be really easy to inherit a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality in the blogosphere if we don’t keep it in check.
For me, the advice to just talk with my people means blogging at the pace I want to blog at and letting go of all those little things that I don’t enjoy doing but do anyway because I think everyone else is (link parties, I’m looking at you).
So don’t worry what other bloggers may think of you because you’re not on self-hosted wordpress or you don’t have many twitter followers or you only make pennies on AdSense or whatever blog insecurities you have, just talk to your people. (Also other people care far less about these details than we do).
A little example: I’m a member of a group in my town called Interfaithful Moms. Its a fantastic group- we meet together twice a month, have speakers from all different religions who speak on all different topics. Our leader, we’ll call her Jen, works very hard to find all these speakers, type out discussion questions for us each week, find child care for the meetings, bring refreshments, etc. We’re so very grateful for her.
And she wishes more people would come into this particular “room.”
Last month one of our meetings fell on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Jen decided to make this meeting really special. She found a speaker from Israel who had family members die in the Holocaust. She put together a song presentation, a prayer ceremony, and a candle lighting where we each read names of some of those who died. She bought dozens of white roses and attached a printed prayer on each one. She posted fliers for the meeting all over town.
And on the day of the meeting?? It was only the usual women from our group that came. No new members. I’m not certain, but I think this saddened Jen a little- all those fliers, all those left over roses. But did we, the people in the room care about the size of the audience?? No way! It was an AMAZING presentation she had put together! Tears were shed. It was powerful and we were so grateful.
I really hope that instead of looking at the door longing for more people to walk through that Jen was able to look around the room that day and think, “Wow, I did this. Look at these people who came. They are really getting something out of this meeting. That feels great!”
So, whether you have three people or 300,000, talk to your people.
Love your people.