This is a guest post from Lorraine Reguly, who is a freelance writer/blogger and one of the winners of the Aha!NOW guest post giveaway. You would love her tips for bloggers shared in this post.
Have you ever compared yourself to others and felt like they had it all… and you had nothing?
Have you ever wondered how (or why) so many other bloggers became so popular?
Have you ever turned green with envy when you watched someone else succeed, and wished it was YOU that was experiencing success?
Basically, I’d like to know this: Have you ever felt like a guppy in an ocean of sharks?
If you’re nodding your head right now – or thinking, “Yeah, I have…” – I can relate; I’ve been there, too.
I have done all of the above at some point during my online career, and today I’m going to share some words of wisdom and some of my experiences, as well as empathize with you.
I’m also going to offer some insights and advice that you can use to arm yourself so you don’t drown or get eaten alive.
By the end of this post, you’ll feel better about yourself. Guaranteed.
Plus, you’ll learn a few strategies that will make you a better blogger and a more understanding person.
As a bonus, you will be enlightened to some of the tips and tricks that others seem to know about – that you don’t.
Here A Blog, There A Blog, Everywhere A Blog-Blog…
As you already know, there are millions of blogs in the blogosphere, and some blogs are more popular than others.
How do you make your blog stand out from the rest? How do you grow your blog – or business? And how the heck can you stop feeling inferior or like a guppy who blogs in an ocean of sharks?
What To Do When You Feel Like A Guppy and Blog In An Ocean Of Sharks
There are several things you can do to alleviate these feelings and grow as a blogger.
1. Determine the Type of Blogger You Want to Be
There’s a difference between simple blogging and successful blogging. Knowing the difference will help you decide which type of blogger you want to be.
Bloggers who blog as a hobby view blogging as something fun (and maybe even relaxing), and as a way to connect with like-minded people.
Bloggers who blog for a living can also view blogging as a fun activity (and probably began their blog as a hobby), but somewhere along their way, they learned how to make money.
If earning money is your end goal, you need to determine which ways will work for you.
The possible ways you can earn online include: through affiliate links, through sponsored posts, through Adsense or other types of ads, through selling banner and other types of advertising on your site, through promotion of products using Amazon Associates, through writing and selling your books or ebooks (or both), by selling products and/or services, and by accepting donations. (I’m sure there are other ways, too. I might just not know about them yet.)
For the majority of these ways, you need to learn something about business and marketing to be successful in your endeavours.
Regardless of what you do, heed Danny Iny’s advice: “Pick what really connects with you.” (Quote taken from interview with Adam Franklin on How to grow your online audience with Danny Iny)
2. Make Time For Learning
Making time for learning is, perhaps, the most difficult to do because of the amount of time it takes. But it’s worth it to gain the knowledge others have acquired… even if it takes you ten times longer to do.
Case in point: When I first started blogging, I used to see “Click-to-Tweet” links in blog posts everywhere! I asked several people how to do this on a free blog (mine was not yet self-hosted) and I ended up having to go through a whole bunch of steps in order to achieve the desired result that a simple plugin will do for you.
Geez. I guess I should’ve listened to the “experts” after all and gotten my own site right away! I would’ve saved myself a few headaches for sure! Plus, I wouldn’t have felt so much like a guppy in an ocean of sharks. 😉
FYI, I wrote a 10-step tutorialon how to create a Click-to-Tweet link. Ana Hoffman wrote a two-option post on Google+ about this, Ramsay Taplin wrote one after seeing this strategy used on Neil Patel’s blog, and Adrienne Smith wrote a post about how to do this, too.
Depending on the type of blog you have (self-hosted or not), one of these posts is sure to help you!
3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Bloggers
To be successful and grow as both a person and a blogger, you need to do is stop comparing yourself to others and embrace your uniqueness.
You are unique; you have your own attributes and talents. No one is exactly like you, and therefore cannot offer your experiences to others.
Only you can do this! Embrace yourself and your uniqueness, and stop comparing yourself to others! (Yes, I know I said this twice. That’s how important this point is.)
Instead of making comparisons, the important thing to do is to express your gratitude, whenever and wherever possible, for the talents, resources, and relationships you have.
The simple fact of the matter is this: people need people, no matter who you are. No one can dispute this.
Comparing yourself to others is pointless. It’s not going to make you feel better if you compare yourself to some of the sharks, even though it will make you feel a bit superior if you compare yourself to some of the guppies. So why bother at all?
Besides, each person’s journey is different. No shark began as a shark. Growth takes time.
4. Realize that Blogging Growth Takes Time
There are two different types of growth I’m referring to here. One is how to grow a blog. The other is your own personal growth. The two are often tied together; as you learn more about blogging and become a better blogger, you’ll grow as an individual.
When I first began blogging, I knew nothing about it. Seriously. Absolutely nothing. But that didn’t matter.
I was still able to amass a following. I learned many things along the way, too, including things I didn’t ever want to know, didn’t think I needed to know, and I am learning more and more all the time.
As a self-proclaimed non-techie, I struggled with what others perceive as “simple” things. But I had a desire to learn, to be better, and to grow.
I also asked a lot of questions. I was always asking others “How do you (blank)?” or “How can I (blank)?”
Case in point: I once thought of Dear Blogger’s Greg Narayan as a bit of a shark. I’ve learned a lot from Greg. As a self-proclaimed non-techie, I was surprised that Greg was able to teach me some html coding!
Even though I don’t fully comprehend the intricacies of it, I now know how to make neat things I can include in my blog posts, from colourful boxes to how to highlight text to how to create and code page jumps.
The great thing about most people is that they are willing to share their knowledge. Sometimes getting the desired results is free; sometimes a price tag is attached to it. There are some free workarounds for bloggers on a budget.
If you are trying to grow a blog or a business, there are many different ways you can grow.
5. Write Well and Own Your Own Voice
This tip is obvious and should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. You need to write well. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this.
At the most rudimentary level, a post riddled with typos, or one that has no discernable flow, is difficult to read. It shows that you don’t care enough to be bothered with editing your posts.
While I am not going to delve into the numerous ways that you can improve your writing (there are entire blogs devoted to this topic!), I will suggest that you employ the four ways you can improve your writing skills outlined by the lovely lady who has been freelancing longer than I.
If you need some help with Point #3, I’d suggest subscribing to sites that offer writing tips – like Daily Writing Tips .
Each writer I know has his or her own voice, and it’s important that you find yours, own it and love it. Don’t try to copy someone else’s. Be unique. Write from your heart, and enjoy it.
Readers like to see fresh, new voices, not imitations of other people. Have you ever eaten imitation lobster or crab? Does it taste the same as the real stuff? No, it doesn’t! It may taste… alright… but it’s not the best.
To be the best, be yourself. You are the best person for that job! Let your writing reflect this.
6. Build a Support System of Your Own and Engage With Others
Building a support system is something that takes time. Don’t expect to have a relationship with everyone you meet, but do work on building relationships.
Join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Join communities on Google+. Participate in discussions. Find other like-minded bloggers in your niche to connect with. Reciprocate comments.
Engage with your community of readers not just on your blog but also on the various social media sites where they are found. This takes time, but each interaction serves to cement the relationship or connection.
If you know anything about marketing – or even if you don’t – you will know that word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective ways to sell your “stuff” (whether your “stuff” is a product or service, or even one of your blog posts).
How can you build these relationships? For starters, read the blog posts of the bloggers you want to connect with, comment on them, and share them. Tell your friends about them. Link to their posts from yours.
Eventually you will evoke curiosity from that blogger-shark! The shark will notice you, and instead of eating you alive, might just become your friend, take you under his/her “fin” (not wing – we’re doing a fish analogy here, not birds!) and help you grow.
7. Position Yourself Properly and Support Others With Gestures of Appreciation
Position yourself among those you admire and can learn from. Use their expertise to help further yourself, your business, your traffic, and your knowledge. Remember, people need people. They need you as much as you need them!
Demonstrate your appreciation of others – influencers and readers alike – with gestures of appreciation.
These gestures can include kind words, praise, words of thanks, social shares of their blog posts, or mentions/tags/ on social media. (I know I love it when others share my posts and mention me on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter! Don’t you just love it when people mention you?)
By identifying specific people and complimenting them, you will not only win their love but their respect, too. Double win-win!
FYI, Ana Hoffman says: “I’d say a blogger becomes a shark when other sharks start sharing their content.”
8. Focus on the Positive, and Don’t Give Up
Don’t give up, regardless of what you’re trying to do. It takes time to accomplish things, and hard work to achieve results. Persevere. Stay determined. Continue learning.
Focus on the positive. Celebrate your victories. Look at how far you have already come, and create new goals once you’ve attained your current ones.
Above all, enjoy the journey.
My Best Advice
Regardless of where you’re at in your blogging stages, my best advice is to realize that no one blogger or business owner knows everything. We learn from one another. Just take a look at the whole “Click-to-Tweet” issue mentioned in tip #2 above!
It doesn’t matter if you feel like a guppy in an ocean of sharks; what matters is that you simply keep going when you want to give up, write the best blog posts you can, set your priorities straight, and above all else, keep following your heart.
If you stay true to yourself, you’ll feel like a shark and be seen that way by others, even if you still perceive yourself as a guppy. Trust me on this. I speak from experience.
I’m not a shark nor a guppy. I have learned my worth and value. I have experienced both failure and success. Neither is all it’s cracked up to be.
Actionable tips for bloggers to start feeling like a blogger-shark:
- Determine the Type of Blogger You Want to Be
- Make Time For Learning
- Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Bloggers
- Realize that Blogging Growth Takes Time
- Write Well and Own Your Own Voice
- Build a Support System of Your Own
- Position Yourself Properly and Support Others With Gestures of Appreciation
- Focus on the Positive, and Don’t Give Up
One Blog, Two Blog, Red Blog, Blue Blog
With over 7 billion people in this world today, and millions – if not billions – of blogs, it’s easy to get lost in an ocean of bloggers, and even harder to make your voice heard.
Where are you at in your blogging career?
Share Your Thoughts –
Is your voice being heard? What kind of things are you doing to stand out? Which suggestion(s) are you going to implement to help you along your blogging journey? Do you agree with these tips for bloggers?
Photo Credit: Mary O-Malley, Lorraine Reguly
Disclaimer: The views expressed and shared in this guest post are of the guest blogger. The ownership and responsibility of the images used lies with the guest blogger.
Posted on: September 25th, 2014
Last Updated on: October 5th, 2014