While preparing my book launch, I was forced by my marketing expert to explore the blogging world a bit. I was reluctant to do this. I had some standard excuses like the lack of time, but it was really the question of going out of my comfort zone.
In the end I visited 25 blogs and contacted their owners asking them to spread the word about my book.
I’ve had some results, but it wasn’t the most important thing I found.
I discovered a whole realm of treasures. I have been involved in the internet marketing world for too long. I almost believed that blogging was about creating leads, driving traffic, converting the readers into subscribers and providing products they will buy. That blogging with soul doesn’t exist.
I forgot the main purpose of blogging. It’s not about getting profits. It’s about putting yourself out there; sharing your messages; sharing your experiences; sharing your opinions; providing your unique value. It’s about exchanging, not extracting the ideas, about being yourself for the sake of being yourself.
Behind each of the blogs I visited I found an individual, a distinct personality. I could find something of value for myself after reading a couple of posts on each of them. Every single one!
Now I’m wondering what was so surprising about that. In hindsight, all of that is obvious. Every human has his own unique way, his method of digesting the events around him, his techniques to cope with life.
It’s the everyday pulp from the mainstream media and big gurus which convinced me that there is something like a universal voice—almost always aggressively pushy, often boring, arrogant, preaching and without a touch of personality.
That was my impression of the content on the Internet before I made this ‘blog tour’.
Blogging with soul
I found something opposite. I found people:
Angela sharing how she managed to make her husband’s birthday party on budget. I quadrupled my savings rate during the last two years, I know quite a lot about frugality. I can appreciate the master at work.
Allie who works at home and shares her experience with other parents.
Katrina who generously shares her experience of burn out and breakdown.
Robert who came out of the shadows and tells personal stories about raising a child with a disability. That calls for loads of courage, integrity and transparency.
Chris who openly shares his life’s lessons. He has a very successful blog, but he communicated to his readers that he will back off from posting frequently because he wants to give more time to his family.
Jason who is an enormously talented writer. He is able to present deep issues in a light tone, which makes you at the same moment laugh and ponder your life.
Melanie who – among other things – shares her personal insights from Bible lectures. For 17 years I have been a member of a church community where we try to see what the Word of God has to say about our everyday life. I admire her gift to draw very personal conclusions from the Bible.
Ashleigh who articulated the idea of blogging much better than me.
Frederick who writes about what fatherhood means for him.
Roaen who is not afraid to describe her struggles to get fit.
Doug a man with the mission to take fatherhood to a whole new level.
Emilia who very openly shares working-at-home-woman’s frustrations. I appreciate her honesty very much. And she was one of the bloggers who actually gave me a hand with my launch. Thanks once again, Emilia!
Monica yet another mom who has the courage to tell about her weight loss and mean attitudes toward stay-at-home parents.
Dan who had a huge blog but found the time to reply to my mail.
Aleksandra who shared with her readers the story of her home repair after it was struck by a fallen tree. Such personal peeks into bloggers’ lives gives the Net a human touch.
Jim, another talented writer who abundantly shares his point of view in fatherhood, taking a lot from personal experience.
Kerry who offered me help but was too busy to finalize that. I shed a tear when reading her post about parents’ dilemmas.
Matt who writes so funny that I almost burst out laughing while eating my breakfast in front of computer. I barely avoid the disaster.
Jim who writes sponsored posts with such a load of personal touch that I wouldn’t have ever guessed they were sponsored if he didn’t state that explicitly.
Dear Louida. Seeing her blog for the first time I judged it as dry and impersonal, but she agreed to help me immediately. God bless you!
Some of them have giant blogs with hundreds of thousands of followers. Some own obscure pre-WordPress blogs and got a sparse engagement. But they all are people like you and me. They are all unique. They have their own problems, doubts, challenges and successes and they share them with the world. They sacrifice their time to allow total strangers to gain some wisdom from their experience.
Those people don’t preach integrity and transparency, they live them. They use their own lives as teaching materials for us. They don’t shrink from showing their weakness … and their greatness.
I judged some of them after visiting their blogs, after receiving (or not) their replies to my plea. I attributed them some low motives; I was wrong every time. That was another lesson to me.
Writing this post I wondered about our tendency to follow the big gurus. After this ‘blog tour’ I think gurus’ stuff is a waste of time. To most of them you and I are just a number in their traffic or subscription statistics.
They don’t interact with their readers. They don’t even reply to the comments on their blogs. They are detached from real life and common folks.
They don’t act like normal people; their blogs are just some kind of avatars, not the real substance of them. Their blogging is soulless.
I decided that people who don’t answer my comments are not worth my time to read their content. (Tweet this!)
I advise the same course of action to you. The Web is enormously huge and rich with authentic people who will gladly support you. Don’t waste your time on plastic avatars; connect with the real people. Save your efforts for those who are blogging with soul.
12 thoughts on “Blogging With Soul”
This post really spoke to me, Michal. There’s bound to be people from some corner of the planet who can relate to the authentic you. Just be the best you you can be. I have seen blogs which are not really anything interesting for me, but when I read the comments on their posts, they actually have a loyal following who love their work.
I initially started my blog with one intention and that is to make some money on the side by just reading personal development books and writing reviews for them regularly. But right after I did my first one (it’s my very first blog post), I decided that that would be soulless. I knew I had other personal thoughts on personal growth to say and I needed to say or write them down. And share them with people while at it.
I do have to say not all the gurus’ blogging are soulless though. And good luck with the book launch! 🙂
In the post referred to the book launch I did in January. But the next is coming, so thank you Jeremy.
“Not all are soulless”, you say? Provide some examples then. Gurus who answer the comments don’t count. 😉
“In the post referred to the book launch I did in January. But the next is coming, so thank you Jeremy.”
==> Ah, I see. Didn’t realise it, sorry!
Why don’t Gurus who answer comments count? Haha… And how would you define a Guru?
Well, a person with 100k following.
And those who reply to comments are not “detached from real life and common folks”.
I think the problem with the gurus is that because they have a ‘gurus’ status they don’t feel they need to reply to comments or interact with readers. Which is a shame because that’s what blogging is about… connecting.
I’m glad you realized it’s not just about the money. If think people who are just ‘init’ for the money will get bored quickly.
Readers only stay loyal when you help them or become a valuable resource. You can’t be that when it’s only about the money.
By the way, what you said here… “almost always aggressively pushy, often boring, arrogant, preaching and without a touch of personality”. Reminds me of a British politician! (minus the ‘aggressively pushy’.)
Thanks for read
He, he, politics do that with people. Everywhere. Maybe I’ve just created a new definition of “politician”? 😉
I think you also missed my point a bit. Blogging is about being humane. Only then you can help or “become a valuable resource”.
First, thanks for providing such a rich list of blogs full of soul. I will be adding them to Feedly under Inspiration.
The whole point of blogs – when it first started – was to be *personal*. When a blogger can touch us and teach us at the same time, it’s golden. The ones who share freely of themselves, warts and all, are so precious, and the ones I will always go back to.
The thing about just being a statistic? That’s true for many, but certainly not all. I wonder though whether one can wear a guru hat AND lay it all out for us to learn from.
Thanks for calling out the BS on the self-proclaimed gurus 🙂
The only man with a huge following I can think of is Pat Flynn.
I’m sure there are more of such examples, but I have no time to read the whole Internet 😉
Wonderful post, Michal. I agree with everything you’ve said here.
Looks like you’re getting more into blogging, and me – into self-publishing (where you’ve already had a success). We’re all on the same journey here.
Let us be thankful for the time we live in – the era of bloggers and indie authors and all the possibilities the Internet offers.
Keep up the good work 🙂
Well put Lidiya. Every so often I write in my gratitude journal things like Internet and Internet communities. There is a lot to be thankful for.
Great post, Michal. It hit home in this one for me, especially when you spoke about blogging is about sharing messages, experiences and providing a unique value. When I first started blogging, I wanted to spread my awareness for health and fitness, based on my experiences. I never saw myself as an expert, I was merely putting myself out there because I know there will be a small group of people who will appreciate it. My believe is that in all things in life, money is secondary, what you bring to others is the one that matters the most. When people find value in my work, I feel satisfied. It’s crazy but not many people gets it.
As for the plastic avatars, I wouldn’t say all of them are soulless. I know some who provided value when they had literally zero followers and still continue to provide value four years later and more. They don’t reply to all their comments mainly because with 100+ over comments, they don’t have the capacity to do so. One example is Pat from SmartPassiveIncome.com, someone I’ve been following for a while. Correct me if I’m wrong, would he be one of the gurus in your above mentioned post?
I didn’t mean replying to all the comments. In case of gurus that’s physically impossible. I’m against not replying at all. That’s the indicator of ignoring your audience to the point of arrogance.
I’ve been following Pat for the last several months and I had at least a few conversations with him in the comment section of his blog.