Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
May 5, 201111:32 PM

Wanting Something

How badly do you want something?

It's very interesting to think about the things we want and lay them against the things we have. Take a long hard look at what you have. How did you get it? Did you get it because it just showed up? Was it given to you? Odds are it was neither of those things. You did something about it. You committed yourself to it. You didn't stop until you had it. You wanted it bad enough to truly (and deeply) commit yourself to the tasks that needed to happen for the stars to align.

We want more followers on Twitter. We want our Blog to be more popular. We want our videos to go viral on YouTube. We want people to like us on Facebook.

Even if we tossed aside asking "why" a brand would want any of these things (let's assume it fits perfectly into their marketing strategy), the truth is that wanting any of those things are nice and easy to say. What's hard is committing to making it happen. After a recent speaking engagement, one of the audience members approached me and asked for my opinion about their Blog. They had been Blogging for a few years but didn't feel like the Blog was getting the attention and recognition that it deserved. My first question was: "why do you Blog?" Their answer back was (and I'm paraphrasing here): "Because if I Blog and my posts get picked up, people will know who I am and... if everything goes well... they will buy from me." I then asked them how often they Blog? The answer: "it's not a huge priority for me and stuff always gets in the way - from my work to family life, but it's important to me and I try to get to it as often as I can."

Are you feeling this?

I did a quick audit of this person's Blog. Here are my top-level notes:

  • Erratic posting schedule. Sometimes the Blog is updated multiple times during one day, then there are weeks of nothing and then the odd post here and there.
  • Random topics. While there is a thread of context that lines the post, the majority of content is random thoughts that brain-dumped into a post.
  • Lack of flow. The Blog posts feel rushed and not all that thought-out.

So...

The truth? This person is not committed to making their Blog successful. They may be trying in earnest, but if they really wanted it to be successful, they would do everything they could (post more regularly, choose a line of thinking and attack it, spend the time with each post to construct a salient point, etc...) to make it happen. The same is true about Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or whatever. For the most part, brands want to be successful in these channels but they lack the commitment. A lot of this happens because they see the channels as either trends or campaigns (things that will have a beginning, middle and end... in a timely fashion), but the truth is a little different.

It's a platform. Not a campaign.

This Blog (and my Twitter feed, Facebook page, etc...) is a continually humbling experience. I can easily look at my web analytics and know exactly what is resonating (and what is not). On top of that, I'm able to benchmark my work (or my commitment) against others. I know where I stand. I can walk the streets shaking my head, not understanding why more people are following me on Twitter, or I can take a cold hard look at the screen and admit that I don't tweet often and when I do, it's mostly a prompt for people to come and see what I'm up to here, on this Blog. See, if I really wanted more followers on Twitter, I know exactly what to do. Clearly, it's just not as important to me as other opportunities.

Humility and wanting.

Marketers aren't known for their humility. I'm doing my best to be humble. To be honest. To be open to thinking about (and sharing) why some stuff works and why other stuff does not. In the end, the majority of the answer is not about the talent or the ability to pull a thought together, it's about the commitment. The blank screen does not care... it's agnostic. If you write, good for you. If you don't, good for you. That being said, if you keep at it... If you use these platforms to think deeply about what you're about and why you think your industry is the way it is, then slowly over time you'll find your groove and your talent will shine.

Sadly, most people want it fast and easy. That's good news for those who are truly committed to it, because they're the ones who actually get what they want.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Ron De Giusti
    Mitch Joel

    I started blogging / vlogging because I wanted to give back to the industry I work in. I didn't want to be passive in my profession.

    But, what I have found is that I have gotten a LOT more back from vlogging than me wanting to impart knowledge with my vlogging. I have had some great conversations with people because of vlogging and I am continually learning because of it.

    How badly do I want something? If I go a few days without recording a video for my blog, I am just dying to get back at it.

    It just one of the most positive feedback loops that someone can get in to.

    I think you feel the same way about your podcasts Mitch. And, I hope others get into sharing knowledge on their professions via things like blogs, vlogs, podcasts, tweets, etc.

    Reply
  • Posted by Nancy Davis
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch,

    I only began blogging a few weeks ago. I started out posting seven days a week, but have since scaled back to five days. My blog is about hope, and about having a better life. It is about getting past abuse, but I did not want to put that in the title.

    If I can show even one person that they are never without hope, the blog will have accomplished its mission. My personal goals are much larger than that, but to me my blog is for that person who has lost hoe and needs something to hang onto.

    That is why I do it. I write because I love it, and if I did not my "inner Seth" would be keeping me awake at night.

    My blog is not fancy, but it is really sincere and straightforward. I write because I have been through Hell, and if I can show some people where the exit door is, it makes my experience worthwhile.

    Reply
    • Nancy - want an odd tip? Don't blog so frequently. i once did a one-month experiment where i blogged once a day, for every business day in the week. The result is that my traffic remained steady, with no increase. When i dropped my blogging frequency to once - max twice - a week, i saw a marked increase in traffic.

      My best guess is that you can't expect people to hang on your every word. Too much writing - especially in a day and age where many people don't have the patience to read - just fatigues your audience, and you risk diluting the quality of your posts.

      My formula now is to post once weekly, and if i have anything additional to say, it's a bonus. My peak traffic day is Wednesday, so i'm currently experimenting with posting on Tuesday and Thursday to round out that peak a bit.

      Just a few thoughts. Hope they help.

      - Ryan

      Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I think the word "commitment", followed by action, is what it's all about in anything in life. If we want results, we first need to apply the thought, the decision, the commitment, then take steps towards the realization of that goal.

    I think it's important to post when you have something important to say; that you believe will provide value to someone reading it. Not a new thought, not a profound thought: but it makes the "writing real".

    I'm working on my groove:) Cheers! Kaarina

    Reply
  • Posted by Don O'Connor
    Mitch Joel

    There's my kick in the pants! Thanks!

    Reply
  • Posted by Brian
    Mitch Joel

    Thanks Mitch... It MUST be a long term strategy.... I appreciate that reminder this today.... Best, Brian-

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Hi Mitch,

    I think one of the reasons this happens (besides wanting fast and easy money) is they don't have a known direction to head. They are not focused on any particular thing and tend to get distracted by shiny things. I too, was doing this at one point. Now my main focus is my blog. Still learning the strategies, but still focused.

    Reply
  • Posted by Deniz Kayahan
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, thanks for the valuable reminder once again. It's pretty easy to change the long term root of a blog without necessary attention in this ckaotic and trendy days. I think where do you start is key, sometimes its better to stop what you do if it does not go anywhere.

    Reply
  • Posted by treb
    Mitch Joel

    Thanks for reminding me Mitch... This post will really help me a lot... Thanks for sharing...

    Reply
  • Posted by Scott_Valentine
    Mitch Joel

    I absolutely love this post and will be sharing it profusely.

    Intent is the key to all creation and ultimately the most sincere barometer of determining successful action across the social web.

    It's not a popularity contest nor is it a race to get 1,000,000 followers (although that seems to be how many people and brands measure social media effectiveness).

    In my opinion creating content is about creating two-way conversation that builds connections and turns those connections into meaningful relationships of value for all parties. I don't care how many followers you have on Twitter - I want to learn what you think, understand what you mean and share relevant information with others in my own unique sphere of influence.

    The passion and intent of all the incredible content you create continues to inspire and as always I eagerly look forward to the next post!

    Reply
  • Posted by Marika
    Marika

    I like this very much.

    Reply
  • Posted by Stephen Beach
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch,

    I've recently downloaded loads and loads of your podcasts for my car trips...your blog and your podcasts are sometimes inspiring, sometimes helpful...and sometimes I have to pause and think "wait a second...what?" in order to fully grasp the content. I'm going to start a blog on my company's website soon, and I really appreciate your advice in developing this platform.

    Thanks,

    Stephen

    Reply
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