Blogging fears. We all have them. And we don’t always want to talk about them.
But when we sit down to write, they rear their ugly heads, those nasty trolls with the beady eyes and crazy orange hair:
“What makes you think you can write?”
“Why would anyone be interested in what you have to say?”
“Didn’t you know there are no interesting things left to blog about?”
When we finally take them out of the jar and hold them up to the light, they are really about one thing:
We are afraid our readers won’t like what we write.
10 Secret Fears of Bloggers
Whether you started blogging yesterday or you’ve published a bazillion posts, you will recognize these fears. Some you could knock over with a feather, others terrorize you every time you sit down to write.
The good news is, unless you have multiple personality disorder, you can only have 5 of these fears at any one time. And that already makes the whole thing more manageable, doesn’t it?
Okay, here they are:
1. I have nothing to say.
Blank Screen Syndrome hits us all. But the ideas, or what Stephen King calls “The Boys in the Basement,” are there. You just need to get them before they go poof.
Pay attention to when they come. Maybe it’s in the shower. Or when you are scrubbing the sink. One of my past clients said that one day, when she was driving, the radio broke and rich, juicy ideas started flooding her brain. She found that driving brought her the best ideas, but the radio had been drowning them out.
2. I have too much to say.
This fear usually means that your topic is too big. Or maybe you hear people say I never read long posts. But that isn’t necessarily true. Long-post forms are more and more popular and, if the content is good, even Google likes them.
Remember, you can always take smaller pieces from older posts, elaborate on them and repurpose them into a new post. Here’s an example. You list five things that you shouldn’t do on Twitter. One of them is a short explanation about staying away from auto-direct messages. Just take that info, expand on it, and turn it into a new post: Why You Should Not Use Auto-direct Messages on Twitter. The obvious benefit is that, if you do that with each of the tips from the original post, you now have five additional posts.
When breaking your content into more manageable chunks, try going from the general to the specific with mind mapping. Put your big topic in the middle of your paper or whiteboard. Draw a circle around it. Quickly break the topic into smaller chunks, with straight lines coming out from your center topic. You’ll find the farther you go out with your circles and lines, the more specific your sub-topics become, until you have a subject that is just the right size to write about in one post.
3. If I don’t have a niche, no one will read my posts.
This fear is real. Listen to it. If you want to write about everything in the world, just know this one thing.
Niched blogs attract more readers.
It’s easier if your business is already “nichified.” But even if it isn’t, you can find your blogging focus. If you think about where your interests and passions intersect, what your target clients care most about, the thing you are best at doing and a topic that has enough content to write about, you are well on your way.
The other part of the niche is the drawing your parameters. How much niche is just right for you blog? It can vary depending on your needs. Is it purely tutorial-based content? Informational? Reviews? And when you get into monetizing your blog, it’s key that you find the right focus .
Lastly, there is no reason you cannot occasionally go outside your niche.
4. If I move to a niche, I’ll lose readers.
Let’s knock this fear off its feet. Yes, losing readers is painful. But you will lose the right readers, the ones who don’t fit your target market.
Why consider having a niche?Take this example. Your reader is young, married expecting her first child and looking for her first house. Will she want to read a blog that just gives general real estate advice? Or would she rather read posts by a blogger whose real estate business specializes in finding houses for couples who are first-time buyers and starting a family? Which one would you read?
When you make that transition, more times than not the subject areas will overlap (that is, unless you go off into left field, which may require a new blog). For those readers who are not interested, let them move on. They will be replaced by people who eagerly await your next post, who can’t wait to consume all that rich, focused content.
5. If I take a stand, some people won’t like that.
This fear will only hold you back. True, some readers won’t like what you write. But they will respect your courage in taking a stand. Your readers are looking for bloggers with passion and they want to read posts that engage them.
The one thing to prepare yourself for is reader reaction. When you express your opinion,well, human nature kicks in. How many comments you will receive is anyone’s guess. But don’t fear the trolls. If a topic fits your subject area, go for it.
6. If I don’t take a stand, my posts will be boring.
Pay attention to this one. Because if your posts are wishy washy, they will be boring. Many of my favorite bloggers are not afraid to voice an opinion. I don’t always agree with them, but I love the reader engagement and honesty their posts spark.
On the other hand, it’s quite possible that with some content, it doesn’t make sense to voice an opinion. Tutorial posts are a good example. A blogger may write these amazing, thought-provoking posts, but you are there primarily to learn something. In the end, if you can adding a bit of storytelling to any post, is a bonus.
7. If I write as an expert, my readers will think I’m pompous.
Let’s put this one on the bad fear side because it makes you doubt yourself. It makes you wonder, “Who am I to give advice? Will my readers just think I’m full of myself?”
The bottom line? If you write from the heart, about the thing you know most about, you’ll have happy readers. So write both about things you know and things you think. No one starts out as an expert. They grow into it.
8. If I don’t offer ‘expert’ advice, readers will go somewhere else to get it.
This fear is genuine. Although, the word “expert” has gotten a bad rap (everyone seems to be an expert these days), your readers are looking for someone who can give them advice for the one thing they need help with. Don’t be afraid to position yourself as an expert of sorts.
9. What if I don’t get any comments? (Also known as fear of failure.)
The conventional wisdom these days is that comments are not quite as important as they used to be. And, depending on the type of blog you have, getting few comments is not a bad sign. For example, since the majority of our posts are tutorials. Sometimes a reader has a question, but mostly, people consume the content and move on.
The social media effect also plays into this. You may share a post on Facebook, someone will go and read it, and return to Facebook to leave a comment. Crazy, huh? But it’s happening more and more. So, a better measure of the success of your content is to look at your traffic numbers.
10. I’ll get a bunch of comments and then what will I do? (Also known as fear of success.)
Managing reader comments takes time. As you engage more of your readers, you may find that it isn’t physically possible to reply to every comment. Give yourself permission to skip a few.
Fortunately, you can ignore some comments, especially the ones that just say, “Nice post.” Because what can you say to that?
Many of the most popular blogs have closed comments just because of the inordinate time it takes to reply. Who knows, maybe they have set the tone for all blogs and people are just not as excited as they used to be about conversations in the blog comments.
Of course, fears can abound and you may have your own personal demons that keep you from blogging. But we hope we have given you a bit of inspiration and food for thought.