“Dad, I need you to build a website for me. I am starting a business and I am going to make a lot of money selling my products online.”
I nodded my head and asked her if she had a name for her business. She told me it was “New Invented Jewelry.” I nodded my head again and asked her if she had tried googling the name to see what sort of competition was out there.
I already knew the answer and what we would find but I didn’t want to start the conversation by throwing cold water on her dreams. Instead I asked her to walk to the computer with me and suggested that we try to figure out what expectations were realistic for her new venture.
Unrealistic expectations kill blogs, businesses and dreams. I have had multiple conversations with people who are shocked by how many people aren’t reading their blogs. The conversation isn’t limited to those who do business online or to people who run personal blogs. More than a few people have told me they believe if you write it they will come is a realistic approach to online success.
I try not to be obnoxious or harsh in my response. I don’t believe there is one approach that is successful so I won’t fault people who do things differently than I do, but I do wonder about people who believe Internet Mythology.
And this idea of “if you write it they will come” is Internet Mythology.
Very few new bloggers or online businesses will see the sort of immediate success that is suggested by this mythology that so many promote.
I suppose that you could say this mythology plays a role in my creating some of my more colorful headlines. Posts like Cheaper Than A $5 Whore With Less Risk of Infection, Things Bloggers Say During Sex and 69 Reasons Why Fathers Make Better Lovers are all suggestive but they are not as lurid and lascivious as they sound.
I play with headlines and complain about a society that prizes short attention spans and instant gratification. I use words like insouciant and defenestrate because they please me and I write first for me and then for you.
Sometimes I play it straight because I wonder if it will raise engagement levels. Since I haven’t conducted a scientific study I am not entirely sure about it. My gut says it is not entirely true. There is a low barrier to entry in blogging and the noise level is enormous.
What Distinguishes Our Posts From Everyone Else?
The obvious answer is how well it is written and whether the information is valuable to the readers. But I tend to focus on voice, passion and personality. Bloggers who put some of themselves into their words do better, at least with me they do.
I like reading posts that aren’t sterile and devoid of feeling. This isn’t a medical treatise, contract or financial report. It is a conversation between friends. It is a backyard barbecue that I host.
So I write and write and write and then I write some more.
Writing is a skill that improves with practice and so is storytelling.
Part of the reason I take part in prompts like those you find here is because it provides a consistent opportunity to practice my storytelling. And part of it is there are stories locked inside of me that are begging to be told.
Where is Your Focus?
This dark eyed beauty of mine is on the verge of turning eight. If you stick around you’ll get a chance to read the post I write to/about her. I do it every year because I like chronicling the lives of my children.
It is natural. I am a father. I am a dad blogger. There are a ton of parents who read this blog. If I write about my experience with Nintendo people ask questions about what games are appropriate for kids and which aren’t.
Some of the most heavily trafficked posts here are about mean moms and whether children should be on Facebook. With my oldest about to hit middle school I am sure I’ll start talking about dating, drugs and sex as it relates to kids his age.
But that doesn’t mean that I can’t integrate writing, marketing and social media into the mix. Nor does it mean that I can’t use some of the discussions with the kids as launch pads for discussions or examples.
When my favorite girl and I reached the computer she was shocked by how many people had the same idea she had. She couldn’t believe how many competitors were out there. So we had a very short conversation about whether it made sense to try to compete and what she might need to do to be successful.
It made for a very good teaching moment.I think one of my favorite moments was talking about the joy of the journey and how you can start out in one place and end up somewhere entirely different.
When she asked me if it has ever happened to me I looked at her and said it is happening right now. Stay tuned, things are afoot. More on that to come, for now it is time for your friend Jack to get some sleep. It is 2:30 AM and morning comes far too soon.