2 days ago, I wrote this post:Be Like Clark Kent, Not Superman
People were wondering how I got a simple blog post to reach 30,000 people and get 300 up votes (that doesn't sound like a lot but if you blog on Quora you have to remember that people have to go through a sign up process before they can "like" your post so it places downward pressure on the number received).
The question was how. I didn't follow any of the rules that all the other bloggers tell you to use:
- It didn't have a very compelling title (no numbers, no inherent tension, like the title of this post)
- It didn't have a picture
- It didn't use a list format (i.e., 37 Reasons Reality TV is Killing You)
- It didn't have tactical advice, but rather spoke in generalities
- It didn't have a target market, but rather was broad
- It got personal when most readers don't know you or care about you
- It was psychological and emotional, things nobody wants to read about, right?
Etc, etc, etc.
So then, what worked? Well, I think it had two things going for it.
First, I applied it to something in popular culture happening right at that moment (i.e., the new Superman movie).
Second, and this is the most important part in my mind, I wrote about something I truly believe in and a philosophy I had spent the last year living.
I think a lot of the problem is people try to reverse engineer success and they focus only on the mechanics and forget the emotional aspect.
People start businesses to make money rather than figuring out what they're passionate about, doing it, and finding a way to get paid for it.
People write blog posts to get traffic to their site, product, or service rather than keeping a public diary of the thoughts and conflicts going on in their own head.
Steve Jobs biggest problem at Apple, and the one that continues today, is that investors only care about a stock price return and forget that the reason you should invest in the company is because you're in love with the culture and the product. If you build great products, the money will come.
"If you build it, they will come."
Sounds like a great line from a great Iowa baseball movie.
But it's the truth. If you do what you love, the passion will spill out of your cup, onto innocent bystanders who will thank you for quenching their thirst.
It's the only way you'll get through all the downs and the struggles. You have to truly love what you do, truly love and believe in what you write about, and forget about ad impressions, driving traffic, or how you might appear to the outside public.
I watched a movie this weekend and in it was a great piece of wisdom. A grandmother was asking her grandson about the woman he was about to ask to marry him. The grandmother asked one simple, yet powerful question:
"Could you live without her?"
If the answer's yes, then you shouldn't marry her.
The same goes for what you write about and what you spend your 50 working years on this planet doing. Could you live without it?
If the answer's no, and you choose to write about it, I guarantee you that you'll be getting way more than a measly 26,000 views.