There’s one common thing about the four blogs that I run today—I started them all for myself.
- ProBlogger Blog Tips: When I started ProBlogger I was experimenting with the medium of blogging to make a living. I was already doing it to some extent, but I’d been looking for a blog on how to do it better and couldn’t find it. So I started it myself with the goal of improving my blogging and connecting with others who were blogging for an income.
- Digital Photography School: My previous photography blog was about camera reviews (which I partly started because I was researching cameras to buy), but after a couple of years of using a digital camera I wanted to connect with other digital camera owners to learn from them. Most of the photography sites around back then were either focused upon film or were stagnant info sites without dynamic, updated content, so I started dPS in an attempt to document what I was learning and connect with others in the space.
- TwiTip Twitter Tips: Similar to the start of ProBlogger, TwiTip was a blog that I wanted to read about a medium that I was experimenting with.
- FeelGooder: This blog was all about topics that I’ve always wanted to have a blog on. I’ve long wanted to read a blog that helped people lead a more positive life, and while there are some great ones about, I started FeelGooder based upon some core topics that I wanted to grow in and explore.
I started each of these blogs at least partially with my own need to learn and grow in mind. Interestingly, in each case I’m not sure I’d call myself an “expert” on the topics I’m exploring. In the beginning of each blog I certainly had an interest, but I was also still growing in my understanding of the topics involved.
I contrast the above list with most of the other blogs that I’ve started over the years (ones which failed), and in most cases I feel that they at least partially failed because I didn’t really have an interest in the topics—I was writing them more because I thought they could be popular or profitable.
Why writing for you works
Why does writing for yourself work? Three main reasons come to mind.
Firstly, since you’re writing about something that you are personally interested in, you’ll find people are more drawn to it because it’ll be written in a more engaged and personal tone. People tend to have pretty good intuition in this way—if you’re not really engaged, the chances are that your audience won’t be either.
Secondly, because you’re engaged, you’ll find it a lot easier to sustain the blog for the long term. It’s tough to keep a blog going for a year or more when you’re not really interested in the topic!
Lastly, you’ll be writing about real needs, problems, and learning. Because you’re writing about a topic you have something invested in personally, you’ll be a lot more in tune with real needs of those who are reading. For example, on dPS in the early days, I was writing about the basics of digital photography as I discovered them for myself. While I wasn’t an expert teaching a comprehensive guide to the topic, readers seemed to connect on a deeper level because I was writing from their perspective about challenges that they were feeling and facing in their own photography.
Do you write for you? I’d love to hear your take on this issue in the comments.