Professional blogs are boring.
They replicate mass media.
They don’t bring any fresh ideas to the table.
They take middle-of-the-road positions on everything.
They focus on churning out content, not for its intrinsic value but for clicks (for revenue)
They outsource their content at very little cost (guest posts or ghostwriters).
They refrain from controversial positions in fear of losing their audience.
And often, their success was simply built on being the first to leverage some marketing strategy (which is perfectly reasonable and not bad at all).
Simply put, their business is designed to replicate how top-tier new media organizations are structured, just on a smaller, niche-focused scale.
The part of this problem is that they’re handcuffed to this system. There is no urgency or need for change or to shake things up. In fact, they’re profitable when they maintain the status quo. And I think the blogging industry's status quo is garbage.
Here's some questions I want to run through:
Whose blogs do you religiously follow?
And would you, without hesitation, fork over $20 or $30 to buy a product (i.e. a book) simply because it was something they created?
And spend a week of your time reading this book?
And then talk about it offline?
Would you read something they wrote about a completely different industry that you care less about?
If your answer is yes to every single question that I just asked, the blogger you follow probably does not have a professional blog, or, if they do, it’s only one part of their work. You’re not a fan of the blog, you’re a fan of the person.
I am a fan of only a handful of content creators. In other words, I consume all of their content almost immediately as it comes out. Even if it’s about sports, fashion or some other topic that I could care less about. It doesn’t matter because I like them that much. And all of these content creators are totally different. Most of them are authors, but some are also artists, journalists, or entrepreneurs - or a combination of the above. But regardless of their profession, every single one of them does something interesting besides blogging. The only thing that they have in common with each other is their ability to tell a great story.
And I know it’s so fucking hard to be a blogger or a writer that people want to follow because it actually means writing in a compelling way or doing cool shit that is worthy enough to talk about, but that’s what you have to do to meaningfully cut through the noise. I’m not a superstar on the internet or anything, but these are things I think about, have seen other people do, and that have served me well in the time I've been writing.
All these courses on how to do affiliate marketing or podcasts on how to create an ‘award-winning blog’ (whatever that means) are just making money off you by trying to convince you that doing what everyone else does is a good strategy. And it’s not.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t want your blog to make money. In my view, you’d be crazy if you didn’t want to profit selling your ideas. After all, I’m a lawyer and I make money by synthesizing information, developing a story (that incorporates this information) and then selling that story to someone who can help us achieve our objective.
However, realize this.
You are your own person with your own values, opinions and perspectives. Don’t sell that stuff out just to make a quick buck. If you’re concentrating on the long-term, find ways to be different. Don’t look towards A-List Blogs for guidance because they’re built on a dying business model. In today’s attention economy, innovation is the only means for survival.