I was sharing some thoughts with a few other “seasoned” bloggers this past weekend and we discussed, among other things, how we really found our place in the blogosphere and what specifically contributed to our success (besides blind luck).
We all had varying (and fun) stories but we came away with more than a few things that I think we all can be gently reminded of and one of those things was turning failure into success.
And sure, I know, no one likes to talk about “failure,” right? It’s just not that thing that you bring up in conversation:
Hey Joe, how have you failed recently? I’d love to know!
Right? But I believe it’s important, and for the sake of clarity for my readers and the community here I want to be as specific as possible – you see, there are two kinds of failure:
- Passive Failure
- Active Failure
Here’s what I mean by these two:
Passive failure happens every single day in the blogging world and is the dominant modus operandi (mode of operating) among the vast majority of bloggers.
It is the fine art of doing nothing and yet expecting that things will grow. It is the fine art of whining when things don’t work and yet doing nothing to get it to work. I believe we call this “insanity,” right?
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Thank you Mr. Albert Einstein!
Ultimately it’s a lack of intentionality with your blog that’ll be the death of you! At the end of the day you simply write, hit the publish button, and then expect the world to arrive in droves.
Active failure doesn’t happen as often as it should but it’s essentially everything that “passive” failure is not: It’s intentional by nature and definition and has an element of risk-taking in the mix.
It’s trying new things and being able to risk the consequences of it not working out! By the way, this for me this is really the only way that I’ve been able to learn the whats, hows, and whys of blogging – failing my way into them.
The thing that gets me is that the amount of risk involved is so low! What, really, does a blogger have to lose than a few minutes (or hours) of work and perhaps a few less readers that day?
Here are a few examples of “active failure” that you can challenge yourself with:
- Trying a new WordPress Theme for your blog.
- Trying a new WordPress Plugin for your blog.
- Trying a 3rd party service that might increase readership.
- Getting rid of (a lot) of your WordPress Plugins that might be bloating your site.
- Installing something like Webmaster Tools and getting into the “code” of your WordPress Theme.
- Trying a different content type, like video posts for example.
- Trying to publish twice instead of once a week.
- Trying to publish less this week (*gasp!*).
- Trying a few of the monetization strategies that I’ve laid out.
- Trying your hand in blog advertising.
- Stepping back and building your blog strategy from scratch (see Blog Starter Kit for some ideas).
- Build a Personal Landing Page for yourself and your blog.
- Get a blogging buddy, get some help!
- And more…
The point here is to be intentional, try something new, risk a bit, and stick your neck out there a tad!
And if you find yourself “failing” more then I would argue you’re doing something right!
No blogger ever made his way to the top without seriously doing something stupid (at least once, if not multiple times). I know this from experience!