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Friday, September 04, 2015

 

Friday Speak Out!: How I Ventured the “Road less traveled” …and Found the Path to Success!

by Jennifer Brown Banks

I did everything wrong. At least, according to the experts. As a newbie blogger six years ago, I allowed my gut, business instincts, and personal goals to navigate my journey.

I didn’t blindly follow the advice of every “Tom, Dick and Harry” who fashioned themselves as being an authority on my blogging career. Instead, I sought “mentorship” by studying the top guns: Darren Rowse, Brian Clark and a few others who demonstrated true “success” by their cult-like followings and impressive incomes. But even then, I was selective in what I chose to apply to my own efforts, realizing that we all have different strengths, resources and lifestyles.

I blogged on a free platform. A decision that many said would serve like a “scarlet letter,” branding me as an unprofessional, unworthy of serious consideration from clients and peers.

I said “no” to SEO. Many times when I tried to apply it, I felt it made my writing seem stiff and redundant. I opted to write for readers and not robots.

Instead of trying to grow my fan base through the social media frenzy, I opted to grow my knowledge base. I read a lot, experimented, encouraged feedback, was transparent about my failures, and eventually found answers that caused fewer detours on the path to success.

And you can too.

Here are a few principles and lessons I discovered along my blogging journey, to shorten your learning curve and help you go the distance:

1. Be willing to fail, in order to succeed.

This may seem contradictory here, but it isn’t. Here’s a case in point. Though I have been fortunate to garner several blogging awards at my site, Pen and Prosper, (including Top 25 Blogs for Writers honors), it’s not my first blog attempt. The former two were a flop! But, I didn’t stop. And you shouldn’t either. As they say, “If at first you don’t succeed…”

2. Be a detective; follow the clues.

Want to know if you’re on the right track with the content that you provide? Pay attention to readers’ comments, Google analytics, and the flow of traffic. For example, I used to publish on weekends, until I noticed that I got very little views and levels of engagement. With time, wisdom and discernment, you can become your own “expert.”

3. Remember that blogging is a relationship.

Give. Be courteous. Though you may not be able to schedule a “date night,“ you can “woo” your readers. Take periodic polls and survey them to understand their needs. Shake things up a bit, keep things interesting. Why not interview a comedy writer? Or sponsor a contest, conduct book reviews, or share links of interest? Successful blogging is not all about numbers; it’s about “connecting” with people.

Regardless to the obstacles you may encounter along the way, stay on track. Chart your own course.
Keeping in mind what matters most: “It’s not how you start, but how you finish!”

* * *
JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is an award-winning blogger, ghost writer and veteran freelancer. Her work has appeared extensively online, including: Pro Blogger, Tiny Buddha, Daily Blog Tips, and the Well-Fed Writer. When she’s not at the keyboard, she’s typically in the kitchen. Visit her award-winning site at:
http://Penandprosper.blogspot.com/

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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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10 Comments:

Blogger Sioux said...

Jennifer--Blogging IS all about the relationship. And what wonderful relationships I've formed through blogging.

3:19 AM  
Blogger Sioux said...

Jennifer--By the way, Ruthie Foster is coming to St. Louis on February 19. Eat your heart out! ;)

3:26 AM  
Blogger Susan Sundwall said...

Jennifer, as always, you advise is stellar! Love your blog.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Brown Banks said...

Sioux,

I couldn't agree more! Sure wish I could see Ruthie. :-)

Green with envy here...

9:55 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Brown Banks said...

Susan,

Thanks so much. I value your readership and support.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

Wise words, Jennifer. Appreciate your insight and advice. Thank you!

6:45 PM  
Blogger Linda O'Connell said...

Great advice. Your articles are always insightful and prompt me to move forward.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Sheila Good said...

Excellent article.Thank you for sharing.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Brown Banks said...

Thanks so much, Linda.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Brown Banks said...

Sheila,

Glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for adding to the mix here. :-)

4:44 AM  

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