|I typed "Birthday" into a free stock photo website.|
I swear this is what came up.
Every so often, I trawl around the blog-o-sphere and have a look at what else is happening, and what blogging advice is out there. You see, while my blog is comparatively old, at least in Australian terms, it turns out that the most powerful and influential blogs are generally less than five years old. Somehow these blogging whippersnappers have come in and whippersnipped my lawn - before I got a chance to cut the grass and live fat off the land first.
The metaphor may be long and confusing, but the point is clear.
I have been blogging for eight years. And yet, I still suck at it. And to celebrate my anniversary, here are eight reasons why.
1. I do not have children.
The biggest bloggers all seem to be parents; generally women. It's cool, it's totally cool, I get that blogging is a fantastic outlet for mothers, a great way to keep connected, share stories and even make money. I am a feminist and value your personal choices. That sounds sarcastic, I know, but I do mean it. However, this means it's difficult for me to join that conversation. The fact that I don't have children disqualifies me from any discussion about child-rearing, no matter how many times I might point out that I was once a child who was parented. I get that I do not understand the love a parent feels for their child, no matter how many times I might point out that I've seen how upset my mother gets if I even stub a toe. I did recently blog about something emerging from my body, but for some reason a colonoscopy doesn't cut it next to a baby. WHO KNEW.
2. I don't make anything/cook anything/photograph anything/style anything/advise anyone.
I am completely and utterly void of internet-appropriate talent. I have nothing of originality to offer the greater digital audience. All I have are half-baked ideas and concepts; washed down with a pinch of sass and OCCASIONAL OVERUSE OF CAPS. I have no expertise in anything. According to the experts, blogging is supposed to be about finding your "niche" and targeting an audience that is interested in that niche. My niche turns out to be a large-ish, Girl Clumsy-shaped hole in a small corner of the lounge room that is the world wide web. I know they say it's a "long tail", but this is ridiculous.
3. I don't write enough about my Emotions and Feelings.
|I typed "Emotions" into a free stock photo website.|
I swear this is what came up.
(In case it needed to be said, I am not passing judgement on bloggers who do write about their personal stories of hardship. I read and admire many such blogs. The reason I do not write about my own is because they really do pale into insignificance).
4. I don't do guest posts on other blogs.
Frankly, nobody's asked me, and I haven't asked anybody. What would I say? "Hey, popular fashion/lifestyle/parenting/fitness/photography blogger, you know what you need? A guest post about the time I went through two different KFC drive-thrus on the one half hour trip!" Sure, the issue of Snack Boxes not being fulfilling is one to canvass, but I'm pretty sure no other blog wants to hand me the easel.
5. I do not have enough social media networks.
I have Twitter. I have Facebook. I have Instagram on my iPhone, and I use it occasionally so I can put a filter on a picture and feel artistic. I got an invite to Pinterest, signed up, tried to set up a "pinboard" or whatever, the whole thing collapsed, and I gave up on the spot. I have not been able to summon the merest fraction of energy required to go back into the damn thing and work out how to become a "pinner". Which is apparently what I need to do to become a successful blogger, because it's now the most popular site driving traffic to blogs and rah-rah-rah GOD DAMNIT HOW DO YOU BLOGGERS KEEP THIS UP IT'S EXHAUSTING.
6. I have never read nor written an "eBook".
Apparently as bloggers you're supposed to write eBooks. Or at the very least, read other bloggers' eBooks, often about blogging. Is it just me, or does blogging seem to be turning into a giant pyramid scheme? You write an eBook that tells buyers how they can make money by writing an eBook.
7. I have not attended a blogging conference.
At the end of June there was a one-day blogging conference in Sydney. I thought about flying down, meeting some people, making contacts, finally learning what the hell "SEO" stands for, and why I'm supposed to be using it. In the end, I couldn't make it work time and cost-wise. Everyone who's ever been to a blogging conference says you have to go. But I'm so behind the eight-ball already. I mean, there's at least 17 different eBooks I'd need to read before I went. And then I'd have to try to explain who I am, and what I write about, and sum it up in a catchy way.... which leads me to...
8. I do not have a proper "brand".
This neatly wraps up all of the above points. I'm Girl Clumsy. That's not a good brand. No one wants to be associated with clumsiness. Unless Band-Aids or ElastoPlast get involved, a quest to "monetise" Girl Clumsy would be about as effective as trying to polish crystal with a pork sandwich. But as a brand, even a crappy one, I'm supposed to write for my readers, and keep in mind what they would like to read about.
In that case, PLEASE tell me what you'd like to read about. I struggle for ideas sometimes. I don't know what people like, but I'm happy to try any suggestions. Even kinky ones. Maybe I could crank out the next 50 Shades of Grey?
At the end of the day, I blog because I like to write, and I hate to write, so I make myself write publicly to hopefully get feedback to remind me that I do in fact like to write. Convoluted? Sure. It doesn't always work - this year has seen me lose a friend due, in part, to a blog post - but generally I like to throw things up and see if any of 'em stick. Sometimes I'm even proud of things I write.
However I realise this laissez-faire, scatter-gun approach is NOT good for brand-building. I can't hope to ever make money out of this thing. All these words, words, words - I'm pretty sure eight years' worth would equate to several eBooks - but no moola.
And I'm starting to think it really is too late. I missed the blogging train in 2009/2010, which seems to be when I should've really started shovelling coal into the engine. I guess I'm a little bitter. I started blogging in an era where you didn't seem to have to have an audience, a readership, targeted demographics and media kits. You could just write about what you wanted and if you were entertaining enough, people would hopefully come back and read your stuff.
Now with the much-trumpeted death of traditional media in sniffing distance, blogging is becoming the new mainstream. It's learning from its predecessors' mistakes and honing in on what grabs and keeps readers, and more importantly, how to make money from those statistics.
Maybe I'm more than bitter. Maybe I'm a bit frustrated. Maybe I'm quite envious. Maybe I'm even getting... ANGRY.
But on the plus side, at least I've written a blog about my Emotions and Feelings. eBook format to follow.
|I typed "eBook" into a free stock photo website.|
I swear this is what came up.