This guest post is by JC of JCDFitness.
Every blogger who’s responsible for a sizeable readership knows the excitement associated with gaining new subscribers and exposure.
The process is encouraging and humbling at the same time – people are actually reading what you have to say. They’re not only reading, but commenting and coming back every single time you hit publish. They have your site bookmarked, and never fail to tweet about it whenever you publish something new.
Everyone has their reasons for producing content, but if we take a look around the web, it’s easy to see the reason why most of us are blogging. It’s a basic need that everyone shares: community. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to manage and nurture reader relationships through content. Every piece of content you write and present must be of superb quality—if it’s not, don’t click publish.
How can we ensure that everything we create is genuine, worthwhile, and full of awesome?
By being accountable.
Without some form of accountability and sincerity in your work, your blog will likely never make it. Let yourself slip up too many times, and you’ll become another screech in the cacophony of blogging noise. Your readers will figure you out and many of them will leave.
Accountability in action
Many months ago, I received a product from some fellow bloggers in my niche. They were launching their first digital download for profit and had set up an affiliate program to assist with promotions. I was familiar with their work and enjoyed their writings on multiple subjects.
I opened the ebook within a few weeks of receiving it. I scoured most of it, but not all—and that was my biggest mistake. Thinking it looked fine, I signed up for the affiliate program.
Finally, while I was writing a post, I realized that the product fit nicely into the discussion, so I promoted the product in my post, and hit the Publish button.
And then it hit me—square in the kisser.
I received an email from a colleague I’ve garnered much respect for. He questioned my motives for promoting the product and challenged me to read it a few times over and re-examine why I was promoting it.
After my second and third looks into the product, I found myself asking the question, “Would I purchase this and if I did, would I recommend it to my friends and family?”
I wish I could have said yes, but it was impossible. I had nothing against the author or their previous writing. But their product contained a few things I disagreed with. I simply couldn’t feel good about referring it to anyone—especially my readers.
I took down the link, checked my affiliate account to ensure a refund could be processed if needed, and called it a day. Later that evening, I made a decision.
I made up my mind that I will always seek another’s opinion before I publish something I’ve never promoted before on any site I own.
Developing an accountability system
That night, I phoned a friend and established a weekly accountability system. He, too, is a blogger in the same niche, and we now meet once a week to discuss our goals, the articles we’re working on—we even critique each other’s writing before publishing.
If we catch an affiliate product link, paragraph, or even one measly sentence that’s incongruous with our goals and ideals, we communicate this to one another immediately. It’s our goal to produce the best content with our readers’ interests in mind.
They are, after all, the only reason we write.
While most would like to go it alone, it’s fairly easy to let ourselves slip up every now and then. No one’s perfect, and none of us can expect to make the right judgment call 100% of the time. But, what if that one time we screw up, it costs us our entire audience? What if it could’ve been avoided by inviting some extra accountability from someone you respect and who cares about you?
You’d be crushed if you inadvertently did something that ruined your relationship with your audience. All your hard work would be in vain, and re-establishing your credibility would seem almost impossible—and it might be. It would be even more frustrating if your mistake could’ve been avoided altogether had you created an accountability system to keep you on your toes.
If your audience means anything to you, I challenge you to seek out one or two people who will hold you to the standards you’d like to live by—someone who’s not afraid to call a spade a spade, and who’ll give it to you straight if they see you’re headed for trouble.
What about you? How do you hold yourself accountable and ensure your work is always your best? Let us know in the comments.
JC is the author of JCDFitness, where he shows regular people how easy it is to lose fat, build muscle and transform their body using his simple No-BS Approach to Looking Great Naked. Follow him on Twitter.