Sometimes it seems like the entire blogosphere has been consumed with a very narrow-minded idea of what a blog is supposed to be. Many bloggers think their job is to create a never-ending instruction manual on a chosen topic. You know, find something you can teach and keep your audience happy with page after page of content. That has certainly worked for some, but it would be a mistake to think it is the extent of blogging. In the larger writing world, that kind of stuff is only a small fraction of the total content, so why is it so prolific online?
I think it’s all Steve Pavlina’s fault. Go back about 7 years and he (and a few others) had a disproportionate impact on the blog world. Their style of writing long-winded instructional pieces worked for them, so everyone copied it, and the copycats got copied, and here we are, with blogs occupying a pretty narrow band on the writing spectrum.
There are exceptions, of course, but not many. Godin blogs different. So did Gary Vaynerchuk with Wine Library TV. And a handful of others. But, really, only a small fraction of the blogosphere have the creativity and courage to do something truly different.
To use the analogy of books, self-help occupies 90% of the shelf space at the blogging “bookstore.” Not just by personal development guys, either, but bloggers on every subject have adopted that same “10 ways to X” model. What happened to other categories of writing, like novels/narratives? I don’t mean fiction (although that could make for a cool blog, too), but what about blogs that tell a story over time? That’s different, and that interests me. I want BlogAndrew to be more like a sculpture than an instructional manual. Each post has a purpose of its own, but it also chips away at a larger idea that simply couldn’t be expressed in 10 easy bullet points.
In a sense, I want my blog to be an expression of me, as a person, not a guidebook on some topic where I am merely the sterilized conveyor of information. To me, that is much more interesting
Over the years, I’ve learned all the rules of blogging… how to guest post your way to fame and fortune, how to leave comments to get noticed, how to write killer headlines, how to hook your readers with emotional stories. I practiced those things with other projects in the past, but now, I just don’t care about what I’m “supposed” to do.
With BlogAndrew, I want to blog different. My only desire here is to find the most accurate version of “me” that I can be, and to express that every day. But, it turns out, “me” is quite a bit different than what the conventional wisdom says. For example:
- I don’t follow the sacred Pavlina model of writing long, seminal pieces on my blog’s subject matter.
- In fact, I don’t even have a subject at all. My blog isn’t “about” anything, it is just an expression of myself, again, more like a sculpture than a guidebook.
- Plus, I don’t have a target audience in mind (other than human beings, I guess).
- I’m not using marketing techniques hardly at all. I don’t plan on doing a lot of guest posts or blog comments or whatever else the blogging pros tell you to do these days.
Instead, the only thing that feels “me” to me is something totally foreign to a lot of bloggers: writing!
My content is my marketing. Publishing epic sh…stuff is the beginning and the end of BlogAndrew. This is why I post every day. As a writer, publishing is my only job, so I might as well do it right. And, since I’m not bogged down in some flavor-of-the-month strategy to gain more followers, I have more freedom to publish every day. I just write. For me. For you. For whoever wants to listen to what I’m shouting.
As far as marketing, most of my posts are designed to be shared. My goal is for you (and your friends!) to spend < 1 minute reading something that might make you think all day. I want my posts to be shared and talked about because people find them valuable. I write with the intention to inspire, and if I do that job well, I believe those who have been inspired will do the “marketing” for me. I mean, who needs to do guest posts when you have an army of inspired followers, right?
Will this work? I don’t know, and I don’t really care if it works in a conventional sense. Why? Because I have a deeply-held belief that the only way to make anything successful is to be 100,000% yourself. And this crazy path of writing every day and not doing any marketing and breaking all the rules is the one that fits me.
If you’re a writer (or a human being), I challenge you to blog/be different. Throw the rules out the window and just follow your own guidance. From that place, you can never really go wrong.