The Challenge That Every Blogger Faces

Dad says the sun never stops shining.

Picture by Matthew Bowden

You are reading these words for one of three reasons:

  1. You are a blogger and you can’t help but click on a post about the challenge that every blogger faces.
  2. You are a blogger and you hope that I am going to provide you with the solution to that aforementioned challenge.
  3. You are originally from cleveland and can’t help but come listen to me bash your hometown.

Or alternatively you love my writing and can’t wait to tell me that you are going to do everything in your power to see that I am given the notoriety you know that I am due. In any case it doesn’t matter to me because I am grateful that you are here and am going to ask you to stick around because things are about to get even more interesting.

There is a writer named Chuck who should be a friend of mine, but isn’t. Not because he doesn’t like me but because he doesn’t know me. Ah hell, if he knew me he still might not be my friend in which case I’d have to accuse him of having no taste. Or is that because he has taste. Hell if I know.

So Chuck wrote a great post called Twenty five Lies Writers Tell (And Start To Believe) that is worth reading more than once. But for the purposes of this post we are going to focus in line item number 9 in which he says that we don’t write for ourselves, we write for others.

He is write, I mean right.  Many if not most of us hope to grow our blogs and turn them into something more than they are. Quite a few of us hope to use them to become published authors of books, public speakers and or find other ways to monetize them.

When Opportunity knocks I'll see it.

Self Promotion- The Challenge That Every Blogger Faces

That means that Self Promotion is The Challenge That Every Blogger Faces. Yep, we all have to figure out how to let the people know that we are out here because if they only knew that our blog would be the solution to their problem they would pay real money to read it. If only three million people were willing to pay a dollar a month for this material I’d be a very happy man.

But they don’t know I am here. Oh sure, the 17 long time readers do. They have been hanging with me for 8 years and I have been damn lucky to meet/pickup a bunch of others along the way-but you are not enough.

Or are you.

Hell, I want you to feel valued and appreciated. You could be enough. One of you lurkers could be the person who has the ability and or connection to make my blogging dreams come true, or maybe not.

Since we haven’t connected I have to believe that I need to continue to work on growing my blog. There are lots of ways of doing that, some of which I hate. In theory I could  write, beg, plead and or command you to do what you can to make Babble crown me one of the world’s best Dad bloggers.

In conjunction with that I could try to become a speaker at one or more of the blogging conferences. Dad 2.0, Mom 2.0, BlogHer, BlogWorld, Jack’s World- damn I could be the keynote at any or all of them. Damn, I hope that I would be a part of the problem with blogging conference speakers.

Enough About Me What About You

Someone tell the guy in the back row to stop heckling me or I am going to defenestrate him myself. The reason I can write about me is that these words also apply to you. When I look at my efforts to promote my blog I see myself walking a fine line between being cool and a douchebag. I try not to make every comment about me or to always include a link to my blog.

I try to balance the output of links and broadcast messages on Twitter, G+ and Facebook. Ideally everyone should feel like there is a two way conversation going on and not just some father screaming “LOOK AT ME.”

But it is not easy.

Sometimes I think that I have made a mistake by not building a newsletter list or doing more to get people to subscribe to the blog.  Instead I have tried to rely upon a more organic process of building this joint. It is not an exaggeration to say that I am building a more dedicated and devoted readership this way, but I would be lying if I said that I haven’t wanted to make it go faster.

So let’s turn the floor over to you. What do you have to say about all this? Would you like to see things change here?  If you are a blogger what do you do to promote your blog? What do you think about all this?


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  1. Jens P. Berget March 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Hey Jack,

    I believe in taking one step at a time, and doing things slowly. And to make my blog ready for more traffic before I actually get it. The structure is important and I need to be happy with the design etc…

    Like someone mentioned above, guest posts are probably the easiest and most powerful way to get more traffic and more readers to your blog. But, I’ve been focusing on keyword research lately and SEO. I believe that if we do this right we’ll get new readers every single day with close to no effort at all 🙂

    • Jack April 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Hi Jens,

      There is a lot to be said for taking things one step at a time. I debated about setting up a development site and staging area to work on the new design before I made it public.

      It helps prevent embarrassment and issues but I opted not to do it because I have made a practice of living this side out in public.

      I am very curious to see how your experiment with SEO turns out and what you think of it.

  2. Lessons Of A Dad March 29, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    I can sooooo feel this post. I started my dad blog a little less than a year ago, and I still haven’t monet…I mean, built up readership for it yet. Ok, I went a little ahead of myself. I wanted to use the first year to build a community around my blog, but with all my work as a teacher, I haven’t even done that much.

    Sigh. Well, it’s summer vacation in the Philippines now. Maybe, as my blog reaches its first anniv in June, I can somehow start really marketing it and monetize it in year 2, somehow. Truth be told, I’m still a bit lost beyond the twitter, FB, blog catalog, stumbleupon bit. I’ll try pinterest when my teaching load is a bit less (still gonna be a busy summer, but it should have its lulls).

    Anyway, God bless you, man!

    • Jack March 30, 2012 at 9:21 am

      It takes time to build a solid community and there is nothing wrong with that. Some bloggers find it hard to be patient enough to do it, but it is important.

      In the “real world” people are rarely surprised if it takes their business time to come up to speed- same thing happens here.

      Give yourself time to find your voice and figure out how you want it all to work and good things will happen.

  3. Bill Dorman March 29, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I used to try and not talk about myself, but it’s just too damn hard because I know ‘me’ better than anything.

    Knowing what you are trying to do, I’m going to say you need to take it up a notch and get more ‘purposeful’ and start taking advantage of every little trick known to man short of douchbaggery. But who am I to judge anyone else; just because it might look ‘icky’ to me, if it’s working for you then run like hell with it.

    I think you can be purposeful and strategic in here without selling your soul. When I say ‘I want to take it up a notch’ that is what I’m talking about. However, with most of this stuff in here……I can be damn lazy too and be content with just showing up.

    BTW – your heckler….you are in an auditorium with no windows so he’s not concerned.

    You probably hate this, but look at your sentence by #2. Just trying to fix your collar bro…..:)

    • Jack March 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      There is a lot to be said for talking about what you know best and “me” isn’t always a bad thing.

      I think you are right about stepping it up- so we’ll make that happen. Thank you for the tip about that sentence, much appreciated.

  4. Nancy Davis March 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I struggle with this too. I really do want to make my blog into something, and there is a huge battle to not cross that line into ‘shameless self-promotion’ all of the time.

    The flipside is ‘toiling away in obscurity’

    I think the best plan is to have some other bloggers who really like your work and will promote you without being asked. That is to me, the best option, but what do I know?

    • Jack March 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Hi Nancy,

      Toiling away in obscurity sounds quite romantic but it is really not what we want to do, now is it. So the question is what do we do.

      I think your suggestion has merit and I understand the question/concern regarding how to get our buddies to help promote us.

      Part of that I think is just asking for the help.

  5. March 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    I’m sure I don’t have nearly the following you have, but then I have only been doing this for a year. So far I am relying on Twitter, Facebook, and guest posts. Any and all other suggestions I will be curious to hear. I’ll be checking back.

    • Jack March 29, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Hi Bridget,

      The three “methods” you mention are solid. The question I always ask is what sort of engagement are you driving/building in those areas and what is your goal.

      That has an impact on everything.

  6. vanita March 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    You slay me Jack. I probably have as many dedicated readers as you, so you’re not alone. Majority of my visitors and revenue are due to the Almighty Google and search engines, but we have two very different blogs, don’t we? Being a personal blogger you definitely have a harder time than me. But you also have a more entertaining blog. I’d expect you to have a much larger audiance than me and I’m sure u do and are being modest. I can only offer two very basic suggestions. Guest posting because everyone needs to enjoy your personailty as i do and cutting your RSS feed in half. You give it all away via email friend. Honestly I read via email and happily go on my way. Bad but true. I understand wanting to offer readers the convenience of reading via email so how about offering that to newsletter subscribers?what are u going to do with that subscriber list? I’m thinking on it. Lol.

    • Jack March 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

      Hi Vanita,

      I have a bunch of guest posts floating around. I like doing it and agree they help, but they provide a limited punch. That is not to say that they shouldn’t be done because that is not true either.

      It is important to try and target some of that.

      I hear what you are saying about RSS/Email and here is my take. If I can “see” you there than I don’t mind your not being on the blog.

      It is not ideal but the theory is that you are still reading and I can still use the number as part of my media kit so it is not a complete wash.

      As for the newsletter- well I am working on it.

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