Note: This post is the introduction of a series of articles covering uncreative ways of making your blog (or online business) successful. If you like what you read, subscribe my RSS feed to stay tuned, because there is more to follow.
Do you consider yourself creative? I sure do.
If you are anything like me, you are always full of brilliant ideas, and these ideas seem to come faster, one after the other, than they could be accomplished. If you are anything like me, you take a piece of paper and a pen, and write those ideas down, so that you don’t have to keep them in mind, and also to make sure that they are not forgotten. And if you are anything like me, you have at least three notebooks (the analogue ones) full of these ideas, many of which you will never achieve.
I have a creative job (I’m an editor and a journalist, beside managing the newspaper I write for), and I started both my personal blog and this one, to write a piece of my creativity out of me, then, after a while, I noticed something.
And if you’re anything like me, that’s bad news for you, too.
Your blog’s success, and your personal success as a blogger has nothing to do with creativity. In fact, for reasons that I will unravel in another post, your creativity can be the greatest hurdle and threat to your blog’s success.
Let me explain!
Of course, it used to be different back in the old days. Around 2000, blogging in itself was a groundbreaking, creative phenomenon. The very idea of publishing by a click of your mouse and writing articles on anything that was on your mind for millions to read (potentially) was a revolution and a frenzy of creativity. But although it does not appear too remote on a historic scale, times have changed a lot since those early days.
Blogging, by today, has evolved into a fully-fledged business model . I think I’m not far off the mark guessing that I’m not the first one telling you this, and part of the reason you started blogging was (apart from getting rid of your overflowing creativity, of course), that you’ve heard about this business model.
While finding, exploring and building up a business model is one of the most creative tasks I can imagine, once the big work is done, and the model is working, creativity becomes secondary, if not less important than that.
Think about the subtlety of McDonald’s’ business model, and the enormous work its founder, Ray Kroc has achieved. Still, if you ask your former classmates, who ended up working for McDonald’s, creativity is not likely to be among the first qualities they will highlight describing their jobs. But even if you consider the ultimate source of creativity in the corporate world: Google. Their founders and employees had to be extremely creative to make it what it is now, but once the AdSense system is all set, you just buy and sell based on a certain algorithm, exactly as you’d do at a traditional shop or market. Without any creativity, whatsoever.
Blogging is no different. It’s business model, of course, is still very young, and is undergoing a constant maturation. But the changes that took place in the recent years already rewrote the rules that draw a line between successful blogs and those that will never make it.
And while the process of writing may still remain a creative activity (within strict limits, as I’ll tell you later in details), whether people will actually find and read what you wrote (ie. your blog’s success) has nothing to do with creativity. If you write for yourself, for your close friends, as a part of a therapy or you are simply having fun writing, it may even be fine for you.
But if you’re chipping in to the business section of the blogosphere, your blog’s traffic is a much more important measurement of its success than the amount or the quality of its content. Coherence between the two, obviously exists. But there’s no easier way to put it than this:
- Low quality content + Low traffic = Unsuccessful blog
- High quality content + Low traffic = Unsuccessful blog
- Low quality content + High traffic = Successful blog(?)
- High quality content + High traffic = Successful blog
While many will argue whether combination #3 can be called a success (in fact, it’s a very rare combination, and I firmly believe that high quality content is a prerequisite of sustainable, high quality traffic), one thing is for sure: creativity in itself will never take you to #4.
Even when it comes to using your creativity to drive traffic to your blog or website: you may have brilliant ideas or tiny tricks or secrets that have never been used before: but the big picture will more likely be defined by how you utilize those techniques that you didn’t have to find out, because they are echoed all across the blogosphere.
In this upcoming series of blogposts (I have written down at least 50 topics to cover by now, so the series is likely to last all year), I will show you how to fend off the temptation of your creativity, and focus on what you really want: making your blog successful.