They say one of the best ways to improve your craft (whatever that may be) is to learn from the greats. The experts, the legends, the Mohammad Alis and J.K. Rowlings of the field. So before I started my blog, I took notes from the best.
What made the popular blogs great? Was it the fantastic design? The voice of the writer? The consistently useful content and easy subscription buttons and successful marketing? While a combination of these things certainly made them top tier blogs, I noticed they had something else in common.
Whether it was a post here at ProBlogger or pithy commentary from social media blogging gods, the words were imbued with energy. They resonated on the page and I devoured them. I thought, These guys know what they’re talking about! and I subscribed. I read their posts and felt energized.
I hoped that one day I could write the same way.
Ah, there it was, the lack of confidence. It wasn’t that I thought I was a bad writer, or that I thought the popular bloggers were better than me (okay, maybe it was a little of that, too), I just didn’t believe that I could truly reach that level. I made up excuses. They were experts, they’d been doing this forever, they had tons of subscribers and a gorgeous blog and who was I to think that I could do as well as they did?
So I didn’t try. I kept plugging away at my blog. I redesigned it and wrote posts consistently. My followers slowly started to grow.
Then one of my Twitter friends put out a call for guest bloggers and I had a crazy idea: Maybe I should offer to guest post. The thought instantly terrified me, of course. What if she didn’t like my post? What if she said no? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how ridiculous I was being. Was I really going to pass up an opportunity because she might privately decline?
So I wrote the post and e-mailed it to her before I could change my mind. She posted it. And her followers liked it a lot. I was floored by the positive response. I guest posted again and to my shock, those followers like it too!
Suddenly I didn’t have an excuse not to be confident. People liked my writing. People listened. I’d been my biggest obstacle all along.
The key, friends, is confidence. It draws readers in like bees to honey—we love confident people. They give us inspiration and their charisma is contagious, energizing even. But you don’t need to wait for someone else to be inspirational—you can be that inspiration. But it has to start with you.
Believe in yourself and the rest will follow
This is so important. You don’t need to be Bono or the Yoda of your niche to have something worthwhile to share with others. You don’t need to be rich or a celebrity, heck, you don’t even need a few hundred Twitter followers.
All you need is to believe in yourself. To know that you have something to say, that your opinion is important, that you are worth listening to. And once you believe that, once you know that it’s true, others will believe it too.
Things don’t change by themselves. You can’t expect your blog to grow if you keep to the same “good enough” routine. Be proactive. Read about how to build your blog, then actually do the steps. Go out there and make yourself known. Offer to write guest posts for other blogs. Never stop moving.
Because the moment you stop building, the moment you accept the routine, you’ve lost your momentum.
Don’t hold yourself back
I challenge you to shove your fears aside and try something new. Dare to be better, dare to do something different. Maybe you’ve never guest blogged before—go out there and choose three blogs you’d like to post for. Write the posts and contact them. At the very worst they say no and you have three more posts for your blog.
At the best they say yes, and you’ve opened a whole new realm of opportunity.
I don’t care who you are, if you’ve been blogging for a few weeks or a few years, if you have 50 Twitter followers or 5,000 (or no Twitter account at all!) You have something to say, I know you do. You have thoughts, opinions, dreams, and it’s time you start believing in yourself and speak up.
Go out there and take a chance. You never know, you might just become one of the greats that others look up to.