Know the Difference Between The Things That Feed Your Soul, and The Things That feed Your Ego.
I decided to do a little post specifically for bloggers. I feel that I have learnt so much on my blogging journey, and I just wanted to do a little series sharing my findings. Im no expert, never claim to be, but, because of my background, I do know about running a business, and many things cross over believe it or not! I hope it will be useful for those of you that blog! This is probably a post mainly for bloggers, but if you use social media in any way, you may find it useful to! Im probing you in this post (get your mind out the gutters, filthy rats). I want to encourage you to analyse your own views on this, be honest with yourself, and ask yourself, have you fallen into the vanity metrics trap. I also want to hopefully, help you understand why you are wasting energy and stress on these if you have succumbed, and give you a few tips how you can dump them. Leave your ego’s at the door people, honesty is what its all about with this one!
Have you fallen into the Vanity metrics trap?
When I had my business, I used to attend a lot of workshops and business lectures because I wanted to learn everything I could, and know how to build a successful business. You know me by now, my nerdy nature means I like to learn learn learn! I just have a brain that needs knowledge.. Vanity metrics used to be spoken about in these courses a lot.
So, what is a vanity metric? Do you know? Well its that little monster that can make us feel amazing or make us feel shitty. It can lift us, or make us feel deflated. It can literally make us obsess and become someone we don’t recognise anymore. It sounds like a powerful little devil eh? Well, it is! Yet, vanity metrics are not really adding any real worth to us. They give us a temporary high, fleetingly make us feel good, but realistically don’t add much. They are the one night stand of the blogging world…. Vanity metrics are the things that so many of us place value on, like the much sought after followers, page views, likes, etc. In business, you learnt that vanity metrics don’t equate to money in the till! Its a similar thing in blogging, 300 people liking your photo does not mean that those 300 people will be visiting your blog!
Some would say that vanity metrics are about ego, and I suppose in some ways, they are. I have done a lot of work over the years understanding ego, as it is the thing that I feel is most likely to make us unhappy. I could write a whole post on the destructiveness of ego, and probably will one day, but for this post I want to give you some ways to avoid falling into the vanity metrics trap. Falling into that trap can make you de-motivated, but also give you a false sense of what works for your blog. Frustration in the blogging world is apparently at an all time high, and it is in a lot of ways, down to this little monster we are talking about today. Annoyance at slow growth is something we all bang on about. Algorithms are cursed at. Many of us are hitting brick walls because we feel we are banging our heads against them. Even resentment at how Susan, with her ability to find a different flower wall every day and never, ever, ever has a hair out of place, (but posts fairly average photos) grows in followers by the shed load, and it grates on us. It gives us the hump. We know we write fab content, so why haven’t we got eleventy million followers? (My Instagram experiment may help you with that too, you can click on the pink words to read)
Well, I am really hoping that I can show you that those metric don’t hold as much sway as you may think. Those figures on the most part, are just stroking our ego. When we are blinded by the vanity metrics, they are our outward validation we seek that we are popular, worthy, just bloody fabulous. Its about ego. See? Im hoping that through understanding these little vanity metric nasties, it will make your blogging journey happier, and more about the reasons that you started. Im sure very few of us started writing blogs because we wanted 3000 likes on an Instagram photo! We started because we love to write, or we felt we had something to share, or we enjoy the process. Vanity metrics make us lose sight of that. Yes, social media is advertising, but with such a hugely saturated blogging market, ya kinda got to think differently!
So, what advice can I give you to not be taken in by the little buggers? The first and most important tip is;
Stop Giving A Shit – Yep. Truly. That is my top tip. Stop focusing on analysing the numbers, and start focusing on the metrics that actually mean something. The actionable metrics and the engagement metrics. These are what mean something. It may surprise you to know that despite my fairly low social media following, me barely ever asking for followers, never playing any of the tactics for followers etc, and just bumbling along on social media, my blog traffic numbers are the same per month as someone with almost fifteen times my social media following! I know this because I have discussed it with someone who’s figures are fifteen times mine. Surprised?? Im not saying this for any other reason than to illustrate that you really can stop feeling stress over followers. Iv linked to a couple of pages that give some good information about these metrics (in pink) but I warn you, they go in to depth…
Write down your goals, and work backwards from them – I have recently done this and it helped me re-focus and I found it very useful. My goals for my blog when I started were;
I want my content to be read, and hopefully give something to someone. Iv always said my blog is written like I chat to my mates. I share my fave products with my friends, so I share with my readers too! Whether people take from my blog inspiration, a different thought process, a new way of looking at something, some positivity, a fabulous new lippy to add to their collection, whatever it is. I just want my readers to feel something and encourage them to live their fullest life.
I want to be in a regular writing habit and committed to my writing to encourage me to finish my blooming book Iv been trying to write for 20 years!!!. Yep. This goal is all about me me me!
A thousand strangers liking my latest photo will not lead to engaged and loyal readers to my blog. They may, on a few occasions pop across for a read, but very few become retained readers (my analytics tell me this).
Stop checking your followers etc daily – It will make you miserable. Instead check things like your bounce rate. This tells you far more valuable things like how long people are staying around on your blog, thereby, indicating wether or not they are finding content they want to read. A low bounce rate means your readers are engaged. Winner!
Appreciate your readers – Answer comments, have genuine interest in your readers, want to connect with them. I have made so many fabulous friends through the people that read my blog. I blooming love them!
Set Goals, but not follower/stat based – I know, I know, am I mad!?! Page views are great, but how many of those page views end up in someone returning every time you post, or buying through your affiliate links if you have them, or in a comment on your blog, or someone loving your content enough to share it on their own socials? Set goals around that sort of thing instead.
Sort out your SEO – Every Saturday, I put myself in blog school. Yep, I truly do. Nerdy Kerry is alive and strong. I work Saturday mornings in my day job, so when I finish, as Im in work mode, I spend 1-2 hours teaching myself something to do with blogging. That could be how to put a plug in on my bog, or how to understand my google analytics. Recently, I have been trying to get my head round SEO. This is where you are helping your posts to be liked by the little google gremlins. I am understanding how important it is, and I strongly advise you do too.
Use the three to One Rule – they say people read blogs if it teaches them something, makes them feel something or is useful. If you do posts that are “brandwork” posts, (sponsored, affiliated, collabs etc) these can make people feel a little sold too (even if written fantastically) so there should be one of these, to three relateable or searchable posts. I know I personally switch off from blogs that are constant brand work.
When you are not distracted by the naughty little vanity metrics, and freeing your mind of the frustrations and negativity they encourage, you will attract and find organic growth and followers that stay around and engage. I promise you that you will find that far more satisfying and motivating than numbers on an app.
So, what do you think? Did you know anything about vanity metrics? Did you recognise yourself as someone that gets distracted by these? Do you find yourself distracted by these little devils? Are you aware of your stats and where your traffic comes from? Do you ever look back at the reasons why you started blogging? Have your goals changed as your blog has grown? id love to hear your experiences.