This is a blogging problem that can affect any blogger in the world.
Most of us have been through it at one time or another – I think about it before I hit publish on every single post.
In fact, in the past it’s caused me to delete entire drafts because I became so uncertain.
So what’s going on? Let’s find out.
Before you hit publish…
Before you hit publish again on your blog you need to do one thing.
It seems simple but it’s something that actually can be quite subtle in how it manifests.
It will be different for you depending on your personality, niche, blog and even how old you are?
So what is this global blogging epidemic?
Specifically, it’s the question of whether your blog is actually helping the person who reads it or whether you’re just making more noise that no one needs.
As I said, it can be really hard to determine.
The line between noise and helping someone
As always, I can only speak about my personal experience here.
But one of the interesting things about owning a site like Blog Tyrant is that I get hundreds of comments and emails each week about all the different ideas people are trying with their blogs.
Often I am quite shocked at the plans people have.
The classic example is the new blogger who wants to start a “make money online” blog without ever having made a dollar online.
That really confuses me.
The older I get the more sensitive I am to the reality that it’s real-life human beings on the other end of my blog and if they are getting tips or information from something I produced I better make damn sure that it’s helping them.
I try to take that responsibility seriously.
Of course, I’m not deluding myself here – it’s not like it’s surgery or translating for the UN. But I really do want to make sure that no one leaves my site with some false impression of what blogging is like, or with an idea that isn’t actually going to be of use to them.
How do you make sure your blog isn’t just noise?
The great thing about making your blog more useful is that it also helps to make it more popular. The more value you provide the more likely people are to subscribe, share and engage with your content.
How, then, do we make sure that our blog isn’t just another piece of noise taking up server space and never really adding anything to the usefulness of the web?
Here are some ideas:
- Think about who might read it
It took me a long time to learn this one (because I’m an idiot…) but it’s important to think about who might read your articles as opposed to who you want to read them. For example, if you’re writing a controversial piece about depression you’d better hope it’s suitable for the at-risk 16-year-old who might stumble upon it and take it to heart.
- See if you can go longer
Some people will hate this idea but in my experience if you can turn a short 600-word post into an incredibly detailed 5,000-word beast of long form content then you are really showing some loving care for your readers. That type of thing takes research, dedication and a lot of guts to do regularly.
- Go on a journey instead of a lecture
I used to be pretty arrogant with my blogging. It wasn’t until it was pointed out to me that I started to consider what my voice sounded like, and the impact it might have. It took a long time but now I try to cultivate a kind of side-by-side feel instead of one where I talk “at” people. I genuinely don’t think my marketing methods are better than anyone else’s and so I try to make sure that comes across with the words now as well. Here’s someone who does it perfectly.
- Add more variations to your posts
Last week in my post about building a blog we looked at why it’s a good idea to add more mediums to your posts. This is another reason. By adding videos, audio, graphics, etc. you increase the chance that you’ll create something in a format that will touch someone when it otherwise might have been skipped.
- Link to people who know more than you
There is a reason that professors make their students do bibliographies. It shows that you’ve been studying and it acknowledges that work of the people who came before you. But from a marketing point of view it also makes your blog more valuable because it shows that you’ve put in the work. Derek Halpern cites at least one study in almost every post he writes and it makes him seem like more of an expert, not less, because he can sift through the junk for insights.
A lot of these are very subjective calls that you’ll have to make, and that’s why this particular problem with blogging is so hard to solve with a quick catch phrase.
In the end I think the main test is whether or not your post is going to help the people who read it.
If it doesn’t do that then it might not be worth hitting publish.
Do you get nervous about hitting publish?
Have you ever had that feeling of nervousness before you hit publish because you’re worried about the impact it’ll have? I’d be really interested to know what you think about this issue and how you’ve overcome it for yourself. How do you make sure your blog is useful and helping?
Please leave one of your usual awesome comments.