Hey guys and gals: this is my 50th post on Y3B – WOOHOO!
Now it may not seem like much to the more prominent bloggers, writers, social media rockstars, and master promoters out there but I’m pretty darn excited! I started Y3B as a sort of hobby but, when I realized just how much I love blogging as an extension of my passions in writing, marketing, video games, and creative pursuits thereof, I saw the urgency in ramping up my efforts. Here I am, world!
Prepare for one of my usual long-winded ramblings but, please, let me know if you can relate!
Finding The Perfect Balance In Blogging: Making A Living While Remaining Authentic
One thing I’ve tried to do, almost to a fault, is provide very detailed articles with little or no “content borrowing”. This is a raw, sometimes chaotic, all-original blog and, if I may say so, it’s more than most of the junk out there. Sadly, I don’t have the numbers to show for it but that is my fault. The problem I’ve also discovered is that, in covering all the bases, I leave little left to discuss. Considering the aforementioned, a big focus for me and all “creative engineers” is engaging our audience in ongoing conversations (in other words, retaining our visitors).
Blogging, like many creative ventures (i.e. video game and web design), is a delicate balancing act. We are charged with the responsibility of managing expectations and delivering on our promises. Our readers come to us because they found something they like and to NOT continue building upon that is a wasted effort, whether you’re trying to monetize or just do it for the love and passion of the experience. To that end I say, “Why can’t you do both?”The tricky part in doing what you love and making a living is maintaining the purity, credibility, and authenticity of your end-user experience. When we blog, we try to meet a real need while doing things we believe in (at least that’s how it should be). That’s why I don’t believe in niches, trends, and pop culture. If your content is compelling and authentic, authority and credibility will come naturally, though slowly. In many ways, the pure blogging experience is a process of gradual self-discovery and refinement. The tools, tricks, and tips out there only help facilitate efficiency, consistency, and growth but they do not replace the experience that comes with time.
Looking Back To Move Forward: Evolving Our Intellectual Property
So here I am at a vital milestone, a crossroads in the evolution of my grand plan and life’s work. I’m looking to really ramp up my blogging efforts and tie all my projects together in a way that is natural, non-intrusive, and REAL. The key there is making warm connections, rather than going for mass appeal (and spamming). I’m not here to force anything on anyone or reinvent the wheel. Whatever issue I tackle, I do so because I truly care and I will always try to help those that can relate. That is my promise to you, my audience. What is your promise/guarantee to your audience and customers?
This here is not just my journey – it’s OUR journey together! As such, I want to share my goals with you all and hope you do the same. Nothing focuses commitment as much as going public with your plans. We got lots to cover here so hang in there.
For those that have been following my blog the past several months, it may be evident that I’ve bounced around between topics as I have done for around four years now. It would seem I have no real “niche” (niches are rather over-rated) or focus but I assure you there are underlying themes. In the months leading into 2012, I hope to bring it all together and help the little guys out there that, like me, are trying to bootstrap efforts or just do things differently (it would seem that honesty and selflessness are rare on the web); after all, not all of us have budget dollars to dump into traditional advertising and massive project teams.
Building Up Your Ideas So An Exit Strategy Is Not Really Necessary
My exit strategy is simple: never HAVE to exit or abandon. Little by little, with the help of my esteemed cohorts, I’m trying to cultivate a community that believes in my vision and can help us materialise our collective dreams so I don’t have to sell my network/system or give up, like most business owners and innovators seem to do (especially when the idea well runs dry and they stand to make some quick cash).
Most blogs and web sites alike come into play with their only end-game being “selling out”. I think that’s a shame. While I do plan to monetize, I want to stay pure and authentic (which every worthwhile blog or business should aim to do). I don’t want to build something special only to abandon it. Think about all your favorite little sites and services. Chances are they got bought out and bastardized at some point or will soon (for example, CBS Interactive owns GameSpot and the community has never quite been the same since). It seems like that is a terrible fate and a horrible show of appreciation to your loyalists! Instead, I think it’s better to be able to replicate, maybe even franchise, systems that work to build networks of success stories, rather than feeding megacorporations and stagnating the flow of cash (and innovation at that).
Bringing Our Content All Together To Boost Traffic
In my efforts to bring quality content in the form of blogs, syndicated articles, web sites, and more, I am using Y3B as a catalyst and hub for everything. I’ve already begin aggressively putting out new content but, more importantly, I’m still fine-tuning old content so it remains relevant and timeless. My commitment here is to always have something interesting for someone out there, rather than merely regurgitating “what’s hot” (subject matter that often is not timeless or always relevant/interesting).
Steps You And I Can Take To Remain Competitive And Pervasive Online
Now let’s delve into the specifics of my master plan. My hope here is to perhaps give some of you some good ideas for your own ventures and creative exploits. Here is where I plan to focus my efforts:
- Network with other creative and innovative geeks like JulioFromNY, KiNgDeeM, and myself via social platforms and media networks (StumbleUpon, Facebook, Squidoo, NetworkedBlogs, etc.) to set up future collaboration like cross-promotions, project teams, web site launches, and the like.
- Begin more aggressive link building campaigns by reaching out to like-minded geeks and helping each other out whatever way we can. I need some more work-out buddies so we can keep each other diligent and motivated!
- Update my most popular content and expand series work to keep giving you all what you want and need. I appreciate the support and this is my humble way of showing thanks.
- Create FREE documents and publications for syndication, focusing on quick reference, white papers, and DIY/How-To materials. These will be more concise, introductory versions of premium services and content but, at the same time, they will be valuable resources on their own.
- Go public with site updates using mailing lists, Tweets, and Facebook updates in a non-spammy, non-salespitchy manner to protect the authenticity of the experiences I am forging for you all.
- Launch web sites that focus on user-generated content, timeless works, effective communication, and shared knowledge. Of course, there will be plenty of video game content, marketing tools, and productivity aides too!
- Reach out to and support more bloggers and entrepreneurs by offering free and premium services. I have and will continue to subscribe and link to my favorite content so, if you have something special, let me know – I want to check it out! From there, we can do the cross-promotion, guest blogging, and other collaborations.
- Acquire and develop time killers such as video games and useful tools/applets to help reduce my bounce rate and keep visitors coming back.
That’s quite a bit to keep up with but blogging is hard work. You just can’t cut corners and tools only help ease some of the leg work. It’s tougher for me because, until I move to a self-hosted option, quite a lot of tools and “monetization” options are unavailable.
I really want to increase participation and collaboration. The value there for you and I alike is immense, especially if you’re trying to get discovered or just stand out above all the noise and rehashed junk out there. The urgency, again, is in bringing value to the web. I find that the best content is the hardest to discover, which is where tools like Squidoo, StumbleUpon, BlogEngage, and many others come in handy!
Let’s Brainstorm Our Creative And Marketing Strategies (Online Promotion FTW)
So,let’s discuss this all a bit. What are your goals in the online arena? What tools are you using? How much participation does your traffic translate to?. The last item is the tricky part. It’s harder to get conversations and real support (and retention) going when you consider just getting people to come to your blogs and web sites.
CALL TO ACTION: Did you find the information here useful? What are your next steps, especially now that us little guys need to work harder to get noticed on the web? Could you relate to my vision and mission? What are your creative, geeky, and/or business goals? Let me know and let’s discuss!