I was reading a great blog post yesterday about rejection by Exmoor Jane, and it got me to thinking. Exmoor Jane covered rejection in relationships and as a writer of books and articles, and whilst it was all good stuff, I think there’s one area she didn’t cover.
Rejection as a blogger.
Which is just another kind of rejection for professional writers, right? Well, actually I don’t think it is. You see I too, like Exmoor Jane, write for a living and as she said, rejection slips and rejection emails are very much par for the course. I used to laugh and tell my clients ‘if you donna like this word I find you another word!’ Being knocked back is very much part of moving forward as a writer because rejection eliminates ideas and allows you to get on with ideas that stick.
I find it’s not the same when you’re a blogger, and I’ve been wondering ‘why’. Why do I (and other bloggers I’m guessing) take rejection so hard? Why do I crumple and die when I lovingly craft a blog post, click the publish button and send out the word of its publication by Twitter and Facebook, and receive no retweets? Or worse, only three stalwarts comment (thank you loyal readers, you know who you are!). When that happens I agonise over what I did wrong.
Was it too much ‘pimping out’ of the blog post? Did people get sick of hearing about it? I click through to Statcounter and Clicky to get my stats on an almost hourly basis. Nup, still not boiling. Only TWO people on the website! Quelle horreur.
After a while of this not-boiling and blatant lack-of-interest, I start to look inwards. Or rather I start to pull myself inside out.
‘I can’t write.’
‘No one reads my blog anymore’
And yet, this is the only time I do this. When I don’t do it with my professional writing, I think that represents the difference in approach. You see, this is my blog. It’s not my innermost feelings – I have a diary for that – but it is still personal. It’s a space I use to write in a way I hope will resonate with other people. When that resonation doesn’t happen, I feel discouraged. More often than not, I not only stop watching the pot for any sign of boiling, I even shut the gas off.
I have been thinking a great deal about this for some time and have come to the conclusion that blogs start to fail when…
1) Their readership moves on. You know all those ‘mummy blogs’ out there? What happens when the kids grow up and don’t say cute things anymore? What happens when they can no longer bond over breastfeeding? In general the readership moves on. The only way for a blog to survive is to grow with its readers.
2) A blog becomes erratic. In my case this means I get busy with real life stuff and stop posting as much. People read blogs as a matter of habit and if they go to their reader and your latest blog post isn’t all fresh and shiny in their inbox they grow out of the habit of reading your blog.
3) Or a blog becomes boring. If you say the same thing day after day chances are people will move along. Or if your blog becomes too visually mundane and boring they can tire of it. How often should you refresh your blog tone and look? I think once every six months (at least) if not once every couple of months (smaller changes). If you change your look and feel more often your brand message gets very confused and readers get confused.
4) You’ve become a stranger. Funny thing about blogging, it truly is a community and if you stop checking in on other people’s blogs and commenting on their tweets chances are they’ll forget about you too. The online blog writing of blogging is only 40% of the experience in my humble opinion. The greater 60% time should be spent on linking in with other blogger communities.
5) You don’t engage with your readers. Am I the only one who has gone back to a blog post I commented on to see whether the writer has replied to my comment? I’m sure I’m not. People like to feel heard and if you’re not replying to your comments then you’re missing a huge part of essential interaction with your readers.
And as for feeling rejected as a blogger… there’s only one piece of advice I can give. And I give it to myself as much as I remind you of it…
Get back up again. Sing it with me…
So loyal readers (all three of you!) what do you think the major reasons behind a failing blog are? Be kind, please and don’t name blog names just give general examples so we can all learn from them and all get back up together!