When is it time to quit blogging (you might be surprised!)

quit blogging

A friend of mine was pretty down about his blogging recently. He wrote me a note and told me that he was disheartened because he was putting a lot of effort into his writing but nobody was reading his blog. Was it time for him to quit blogging?

Let’s talk about this subject openly and honestly today. What are the practical motivations to blog … even when people aren’t reading it?

Let’s face it. It’s HARD to attract an audience and it’s getting even harder every day.

I’m not going to give you a “rah-rah” motivational speech. I know it really hurts when you’re doing good work and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere — I was there for a long time, too. It’s frustrating, and it’s lonely listening to the crickets every day.

I’m not going to spin a tale of “10 ways to increase your readership or traffic.” There has been so much written about that already it could fill volumes.

Instead, I am going to talk about PRACTICAL reasons to persist, even in those moments when you’re feeling down. If you think it’s time to quit, think again.

I’m going to assume you are blogging to build a personal or business brand, not just for the joy of it, and you’d like somebody to eventually notice you. You need to keep going. Here are 10 motivations to blog, even when nobody’s reading it:

1) Learning and growing.

To blog about a subject, you have to learn about the subject, perhaps even master it. Blogging makes you smarter!

2) Clarity.

The other day I had to take a tough position with a customer and I needed to get really clear on my position and why I was thinking that way. Blogging about the topic crystallized my view. Writing a position helps you think things through.

3) Personal improvement.

My blog is much better, and much different, than it was a year ago. It will be much different in the future, too because through this practice, I am becoming more effective. You are improving through every blog post you write. You are taking one more step toward excellence. You will get better. Writing will become easier. But you won’t get to experience that if you quit blogging.

4) Search engine benefits. 

This may be the most obvious business benefit of blogging. Search engines give preference to websites that have fresh, relevant content. Hubspot research shows that sites with blogs get 55% more traffic than sites without blogs — even if there are no readers!

5) Upgrade your skillset.

Unless you are in a position of guaranteed lifetime employment, you need to keep sharpening your skills. Showing a potential employer a volume of work you’ve created through your blog provides insight into how you communicate and your thought process. In a business world with an insatiable need for content, learning to blog and grow a community is a valuable, marketable skill.

6) Infinite search.

Some time ago I received a call from a potential new customer in the Middle East looking to me as a possible marketing consultant. I had to wonder how in the world they found me! Turns out they were looking for somebody who could help explain the future of social media and when they entered this into Google, a blog post I wrote years ago popped up!  Your content keeps working for you month after month!

7) Your content engine.

Your investment in a consistent stream of quality content can be leveraged in many ways to support a content marketing strategy. I use links from blog posts to answer customer questions, as the basis for speeches, newsletter content, and as reading assignments for workshops. Blog posts can even become part of a new book.

8) Blogging is good for you.

Research shows that regular blogging improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity, and even speeds healing after surgery. Cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not. Scientists believe blogging helps your neurobiology.

9) Build a network.

Almost every significant business contact I have somehow came through my blog. Even my first five readers are still friends Whether you are a solopreneur or blogging to market your business, building relationships through a blog will facilitate your personal growth.

10) Numbers versus impact.

I saved this for last because it is the most important.

One of my favorite blogging stories that I have repeated over the years comes from my friend Dr. Alice Ackerman. Much of her early blogging efforts were aimed at educating the community on the importance of childhood vaccinations. But she had some doubt as to whether she was making an impact. For more than a year, her posts limped along. In fact, she averaged 4.5 readers a day.

But one of her readers wrote her and told her that because of a blog post, she had changed her mind about childhood immunization and was taking action to immunize her children.

You see, Alice only had five readers, but she changed the life of one of them. Who are you touching with your blog? Are you sure you know?

This impact would have never happened if she had quit blogging. Isn’t that a great reason to keep going and have some motivation to blog?

Is it time to quit blogging?

It might take years to establish yourself as a blogger (or any type of content creator). As long as you are at least seeing small positive signs — social shares, some comments, new subscribers — keep going. Are people asking you to be on a podcast? Contribute to a blog? Answer a question? These are signs that you are gaining authority.

Sometimes it truly is time to quit. Nothing wrong with that.

But the pattern I have seen with creating content is that nothing seems to happen and then it does. My friend Chris Brogan, one of the most famous bloggers on the planet famously said it took him three years to have his first 100 readers.

So as long as you are seeing signs of life, keep going. Too many people quit blogging too soon. And remember this post — there are a lot of benefits accruing through your content, even if nobody is reading it.

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com

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