This is in follow up to Aloysa's post from yesterday, Why Personal Finance Blogs Became Cliche.
First of all, I agree with Aloysa's post completely. Wholeheartedly. In fact, when I open my reader, and look at the post topics, I get a little bitchy (and even verbalize it on Twitter sometimes). But that doesn't mean that I'm different from other bloggers. I too spout the same, boring old "advice" on a very narrow topic from time to time.
We're all learning and trying to evolve and be better bloggers.
But I think, as bloggers, we all try to find out niche and make a spot for ourselves where not many other bloggers are writing. I'm a personal finance blogger; it's a boring topic and it's over saturated.
When perusing the comments on Aloysa's topic, there were a couple about teaching people things. I got into a bit of a debate on Twitter with another blogger about blog audiences and personal finance blogs not being for other bloggers.
The blogger I was debating with is a new blogger, and while the goal of blogging is not to reach other bloggers, newer bloggers have one tool in their toolkit to get ahead: other bloggers. Newer bloggers don't have a steady stream of non-blogger readers vying to read their blogs to see their advice.
It's a little egotistical to think that this is the case. And that goes for all of you who avoid other bloggers when you are just starting out so you can "teach people" about money and "help people with their ____".
When I see blogs like that, I avoid them because it alienates the REAL readers.
Yes, the real readers. The people who actually read your blog (regularly) are made up of probably 90% bloggers, and, if you are lucky, (VERY LUCKY) 20% non-bloggers that think you are credible, dumb, entertaining, funny, or whatever it is that makes them keep reading your blog. Bloggers are what keep your bounce rate and returning visitors rate from making you want to cry every time you log on to Analytics.
Friends, there are hundreds (thousands?) of blogs covering money topics out there. How is it that you think that you saying the exact same thing on your blog will be something of authority to the masses?
It won't. Why, as somebody researching a money topic, would I ever bypass Moneyville, Gail Vaz Oxlade, Forbes, MSN Money, (etc, etc) to seek out your tiny little blog (even if it's a huge blog, it's tiny when compared to the aforementioned) to get information?
So, most of your (regular) readers are bloggers when you're first starting out (and, a lot of those bloggers don't even care what you have to say - they're visiting/promoting/commenting on your blog to get noticed, to get a link back, or because you reciprocate. But that's another post for another day).
I'm not saying that we, as bloggers, do not learn from each other. WE DO. Quite a lot. I even wrote a post about that before. But we need to start treating our blogs more like a business, figure out our audience (hint - it's likely bloggers at first) and targeting that market.
Since most of the people who read our blogs are other bloggers in the beginning, and usually from the same genre, why are we trying to "teach" other bloggers how to do things? Heck, they've probably already written about it.
Some might write generic posts like "how to increase your credit score" to get search engine traffic from those search terms, but unless you have a wildly popular blog with tons of readers and just the best SEO skills ever, you won't even be on the first page because all of your predecessors have written about that.
Even if you want to get to the point where you have readers that aren't bloggers, other bloggers are the ones to help you kick start your blog. They are the ones promoting your posts, commenting on them, helping your PR, Alexa, and Moz rankings to get your blog out there and attract those readers. Why alienate the very people who will be key to your success in gaining other readers to "help"?
Now, I'm not saying that everyone should just stop writing about generic topics if you love writing about them, because quite frankly, I don't really care. Except when I'm grumpy in the morning. But I'll get over it. What I'm saying is that we all need to get off our high horses, and get over ourselves in thinking that we know these nuggets of knowledge that nobody can get anywhere else and will flock to our blogs to find out about.
I'm not saying never write about topics with a lesson, I'm simply saying that you must know your audience as a blogger and tailor some posts accordingly. It doesn't have to be all posts, but some.
And really, by all means, write about generic topics sometimes. It's really what brings search engine results to our blogs and maybe the reader will like how we present it and stay. But don't write about them all the time, because that alienates your regular readers.
Now, there are some blogs with authority, and that's great, but they usually find a way to make those topics a little less dry. If you are going to write about generic topics, think about how you do that thing differently than the rest of world; what can you offer that another post might not? What is your twist that makes that post believable, or that tip worth trying? Having that twist is what made those bloggers like Get Rich Slowly build authority and non-blogger readership.
Or, maybe this whole post is a reflection of my thinking that I know everything 😉 Probably that, too.