This is the last article from the series “How To Build Reputation With Your Blog”. If you came here directly, you may want to read the first 6 articles.
How To Build Reputation With Your Blog – The Series
How To Build Reputation With Your Blog – Clearly State Your Expertise
How To Build Reputation With Your Blog – Write Constantly
How To Build Reputation With Your Blog – Interact With Your Audience
How To Build Reputation With Your Blog – Interact With Your Peers
How To Build Reputation With Your Blog – Differentiate
How To Build Reputation With Your Blog – Create Value
First of all, congratulations: you’ve read all the 6 articles from the series. That’s the good news. The bad news is that all you’ve learned or decided to apply so far will be completely useless if you don’t have patience. Exactly, no matter how good you are in your field, how often do you write, how active is your interaction with your audience or with your peers, if you’re not patient enough, it won’t count. Not a bit. The whole wonderful scaffold you built for your blogging ascension will crumble at your first step, if you don’t give it enough time to mellow.
But since you already had the patience to read the first 6 articles, there’s hope :-). Let’s try to find out together why you need time to create online reputation.
The 2 Main Reasons
Reputation, being it online or offline, is never built instantly. It’s a function of authority and authenticity, that’s fundamental, but it’s also a function of time.It needs authenticity and authority stretched over a significant amount of time.
And here’s the first reason for this: people don’t assign value to other people instantly. They need a certain amount of time to make the connection between their needs and your expertise. Just because you’re out there raising your flag, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to be followed. You still need to be evaluated. People live in their own circles and they have very strict rules for those who are accepted in those circles (even if those rules are not clearly expressed, they’re still there).
And people also need proof. They need to witness you constantly performing at a certain level. They will not invest their trust in you if you’re not getting over a certain threshold. Interesting enough, once you’re over that threshold, they won’t need proof anymore. You can goof around in circles, once you had your square centimeter in their brains, it will be very difficult to get out. The acceptance process is a very inertial one. It takes time to get in their heads, but it will also take time to get out of there.
The second reason for patience is that you need this time for yourself. This time is not about their heads, it’s about yours. Blogging is an interactive process. You can’t tell from the beginning what your audience will be. You don’t know it yet, you have to go out and try a few approaches. Only after you know your real audience, the one generated by your blogging, you can start capitalizing on it. It’s a fine tuning process between what you do and what others needs and you need to watch this carefully.
You also need time in order to understand how you can provide value. Many bloggers are collapsing exactly when they’re starting to gain some momentum. They’re becoming successful, but strangely enough, they can’t handle the extra work that comes with this success. It’s not that they’re not able to schedule their tasks, it’s a more subtle process. Somehow, they don’t understand what they are suppose to do: continue blogging? On what tone? Do workshops? What kind? Write books? How many?… This sense of orientation is built in time, by observing and understanding your specific market demands and your own unique skills.
The Hare And The Tortoise
Blogging is much like a tortoise race. You gotta be there constantly. Step by step, enjoying the pace and doing your job. And yet, many bloggers are taking the hare attitude: be spectacular, hunt that big hit that it will get you out of the crowd. Some of them succeed at this quite often: they get featured on delicious, or digg, or lifehacker. And? After the big traffic spike, nothing is left. The term “success” in blogging has nothing to do with big traffic. It’s all about meaningful relationships, sustainable value and, yes, conversions.
Early and fast success is spectacular but it won’t win the race. It will win a temporary surge of admiration, and, maybe money. But it won’t create a long term flow of opportunities and revenue. The tortoise wins the race because it’s patient. Because it stays there and it does its job. The hare will make detours, change its focus, shift to other areas of interest. And in the end, will come in the second place.
Your 2 Different Bubbles
One other thing that you have to be aware of in building online reputation is that you will live in two different time bubbles. One is your time bubble, and the other is your readers time bubble. Your time bubble is going really fast. The readers time bubble is much slower. If you really take the time to analyze your readers behavior, you’ll understand that many of them are reading your blog only once a month. Yes, only once a month.
There is of course a hard core of admirers and followers, but those are not your main audience. The real audience is made by real people who are interested in your message. And those people have their own lives. Their own universe. Already filled with other people. And they will make room for newcomers with extreme scarcity.
Many bloggers are exhausting their time bubble in the first 6 months. By the end of this period they said everything they had to say. They’re finished. And yet, in the time bubbles of the readers, they only made a few ripples. Nothing significant. Oh, that guy who used to write about personal development, I kinda remember him. But now he’s out of the game, right?
You have to synchronize those two time bubbles. Meaning there will be times when you will have to repeat yourself on the blog. Or to say the same thing in 50 different ways. Or to slow down, splitting your message in a few posts. You’re not cheating, you’re just synchronizing the two time bubbles. I once read something about how dolphins are communicating. A researcher had this idea of playing their sounds at a much lower speed. It came out that the dolphins were talking on fast forward. Once slowed down, their language could actually be deciphered. Ok, it was a science-fiction novel, but you got the idea.
Oh, and I remember that I started to remember Steve Pavlina’s name 2 years after I read his first article. Until that, it was just a curiosity or something that I accidentally stumbled upon. It took 2 years for Steve to buy the square centimeter in my head that says “personal development”. During that time, Steve wrote and wrote and wrote. He stayed in his time bubble, waiting for me to remember his name.
Ok, Now What?
I hope you enjoyed this series. I will compile an ebook and make it available on this blog as a free download in a couple of days. I also ponder the idea of starting an online course on this topic. From the stats it looks like this topic is really interesting for a lot of my readers. If I’m starting this course, it will be out mid-October.
I’m slowing down my time bubble, as you can see. I know you have other stuff to do.
But if you’re really interested in this, you’ll come in October. Just to see if there’s something new. 😉