Be a Blogger, Be a Blessing

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How can you be a blogger and be a blessing? OK, dear readers, I’m going to get a little hokey but bear with me. My mind often goes places that are alien even to me. Here it goes.

I haven’t stopped thinking about a post Jaime Donovan wrote a few weeks ago called The Greed That Ate The Blog. She wrote about bloggers who get so caught up in money that they forget about pleasing their readers. Jaime is wise beyond her years, which is why Mr. Groovy and I adore her. Anyway, I commented on her piece, as did many others, and then I forgot about it—or so I thought.

Later that week, Mr. Groovy was watching a TED Talk given by Nick Vujicic on Overcoming Hopelessness. For those of you not familiar with Nick, he’s a motivational speaker who was born with a rare disorder which left him without limbs. I first heard him speak on Oprah’s Life Class.

In Overcoming Hopelessness, Nick expresses that although we may not be GIVEN a miracle in our own lives, perhaps we can BE the miracle for someone else. He recalls being bullied and tormented horribly as a boy. Can you imagine the cruelty thrust upon a kid with no arms and legs who is integrated into a school program among children without disabilities? Nick no longer wanted to live and attempted suicide, unsuccessfully.

Flash forward to grown-up Nick, where during one of his speaking appearances he noticed a little boy in the audience with no arms and no legs. Nick recalled how when he was a child, he had never seen someone like himself, without limbs. Images of the misery in store for this boy immediately flashed through Nick’s mind. He sprang into action and had the father bring the little boy up on stage, while 2,000 people in the audience cried. This little boy’s life would never be the same again.

Nick’s point was that although he never received the miracle of being physically restored, he could use his own experience to BECOME the miracle for someone else.

The morning after watching Nick’s Ted Talk, Mr. Groovy and I were discussing Jaime’s greed post. And it occurred to me that as bloggers, we too may be in a similar position as Nick—granted, we may not be a miracle for someone else, but we have a wonderful platform in which to connect to others. Can we use our platform to be a blessing?

Think back in your life to someone who offered a gentle word or a piece of advice on a day that perhaps was one of your worst, ever. Did the kindness of an acquaintance bring you out of a funk? That’s certainly been the case for me. Sadly, I’m sure I never told the person, or said thank you.  But was that person looking for thanks or praise? I don’t think so.

Now consider our blogging experiences. Sometimes we’re running on the hamster wheel, seeking comments, Twitter followers, or more side-hustle income than someone else. But do we really know the reach of our words? I don’t think so. Analytics, comments and all that stuff are fine, but they won’t tell us if we made someone’s day. They won’t show how we lifted someone’s spirits. We mustn’t forget that we send our words out into the ether, with intangible results.

I know the kind of bloggers Jaime was referring to and I don’t consider myself or Mr. Groovy to be among that money-hungry tribe. And if you’re a blogger reading this now, you probably don’t consider yourself a part of that tribe either. But we’re all capable of becoming greedy. It doesn’t take much. A little flattery, recognition, or blog income may be bestowed upon us and we suddenly morph into someone we never set out to be.

Therefore, I wanted to remind everyone, including myself, to consider your reach and your responsibilities to your readers. What do you really want to accomplish when all is said and done? If you pulled the plug on your blog tomorrow, what would you hope people remember? Is it possible to be a blessing through your writing?

Here are a few tenets to consider and questions we might ask of ourselves:

Service.  Do you want to set an example, inform or teach? How do you wish to help others? Do you share knowledge and experiences with honesty? Do you admit your mistakes so that others may avoid them? Do you reach out to readers or other bloggers who are struggling, or who need a push?

Personal Connections.  Do you answer your comments and emails eagerly? Do you make kind remarks on other people’s websites? Do you offer words of encouragement? From what I’ve seen, personal finance bloggers are among the most gracious and civilized writers in the blogosphere. But we still need to remember the old adage—if you have nothing kind to say, don’t say anything.

Write for People, not Page Views. This is a biggie. Many of us feel we need to be slaves to analytics, SEO, our number of readers, page views, Twitter followers, etc. But we cannot focus primarily on writing for results and accolades. Writing is an art form. And as is true with any art form, if you produce your art solely for results and reactions, you might as well throw in the towel now.

We must write for people. How do you offer value to a reader who is taking his first financial baby step? Or to the one who knows everything? How much time and preparation do you put into a post before you publish? Do you do research to back up facts or claims? Do you write and re-write?

Do you have a zany sense of humor? Maybe you find irony in most situations, even the bad ones. Use it. Use all of your experiences and all of your smarts to find your voice and express it. People will connect to YOU.

What did you need to be exposed to when you began your financial journey? When you surfed the internet for that one sage piece of advice you want so badly, did you find it? Information overload is ever-present. You read one article and before you know it, you’ve clicked through link after link, until you no longer remember what the heck you were searching for! Then you feel exhausted and annoyed because of the wasted time.

But what happens when you find someone with a clear and genuine voice? When you feel the charisma, as if that person is speaking directly to you? Do you find yourself returning to him or her like an old friend? I know I surely do. And that’s the kind of blogger we should all aspire to be.

Be selfless, especially when you feel like being a selfish hoarder. Have you found some great tool, shortcut or trick of the trade? Or a superior way of making money? Do you feel like keeping these gems to yourself? Share them. Have you been offered a guest post and you find yourself in a conundrum, wondering how much of an effort you should give to someone else’s blog? Give your best effort and share your best work. Be generous in all you do and you’ll be surprised at what you get in return.

Be patient. Above all, be patient. With your readers and your fellow bloggers—and mostly with yourself. Mom always said Rome wasn’t built in a day. That goes for a good website and a decent following too.

Be a blogger, be a blessing.

Mrs. Groovy—out!

 

 

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27 Comments

  1. I like what Ms. Montana said directly above:

    “If people want to make money without helping others, they ought to stick to buying stocks.”

    I’d be shocked if I can match work income with blog/writing income, it’s just not the main focus of my blog.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I agree, TJ. That sentence rocks! I’m so glad that Mr. Groovy and I were able to approach this as a hobby. If we counted on the blog for income it would become something entirely different. I see some bloggers who get turned around when they start making money. It’s too good to pass up and so they begin writing totally for key words, etc. That would suck the joy right out of it for us. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I think great blogs are build out of service. When we really try to serve our readers and add value. The blogs I follow that do monetize in a big way, do it out of trying to add even more value that can’t be contained in a 700 word blog post. When the audience needs something, they build it for them, or recommend it. It’s one the reasons I like emailing, skyping or taking surveys with my readers. I want to know how to help. If enough people ask for the same things, I will look into creating or finding it for them. I think a genuine interest in helping others in the foundation of any business. If people want to make money without helping others, they ought to stick to buying stocks.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks for your thoughts, Ms. Montana. I appreciate so much how you approach blogging from a genuine desire to help and build community. You’re very kind, which is one of the things Mr. Groovy and I admire most about you. You take it to a level that I don’t see many others taking. Keep it up!

  3. Oh my gaddddd I love this post. You write in such a lovely way! This is so true, I like to think that I will always write to be helpful – I don’t want blogging to become my full time job – as much as I love it and could easily spend all day on it – so hopefully this will keep me from being a ‘greedy’ blogger 🙂

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank you Francesca. And I just took a quick look at your website – and I must say it’s one of the prettiest blogs I’ve ever seen!

      I agree with you on not wanting the blog to become a full time job. We’ll definitely have more time to devote to it when we retire but we need to keep it fun.

  4. Thanks for this great post. My goal right now is to be helpful, and it seems that many of the big blogs started off this way, just wanting to provide a service for friends and family or give themselves a pep talk (MMM, Frugalwoods) and good things follow good intentions.
    When I work in the hospital, I don’t know and don’t want to learn about how to bill more for a visit. Our coders handle the paperwork, and I don’t want to be tempted to do anything other than what’s best for the patient.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank you, Julie! “Good things follow good intentions” – I LOVE that!

      Interesting point about your work. There’s such a disparity between the goal of providing good healthcare and the goals of healthcare administration/managed care. I hope one day that changes.

  5. I read blogs for years (MANY years) and never commented but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn a TON. I think many folks read to understand and feel they may not have anything to add to the conversation – and that is fine! Not in it for the money – doing it because I feel the need to give back. If some money comes along, that’s fine to pay for the site, hosting, etc. but definitely not what I am planning on at all.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I still read many blogs without commenting, especially if they already have tons of comments. We may attempt to monetize after we stop working but I suspect it would be a very organic process, as opposed to a very strategic one. For one thing, we’re not looking to create any jobs for ourselves. I don’t know of anyone who makes money on line without working at it. Thanks for your thoughts, Vicki.

  6. We had this conversation about reach this week and how are words go far beyond that which we can ever imagine. I want to help everyone I can and share the blessing. We’re so lucky to be in such a supportive community, so let’s keep sharing the love! 🙂

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Share the love! We should make some bumper stickers! Mr. Groovy and I have already reached far beyond what we imagined when he started the blog last August. We also feel very blessed to be in this community and to have acceptance from people we respect. Thanks for commenting, Claudia.

  7. It is so important to lift others up. I have benefited from years of reading personal finance blogs. I definitely disagree with some folks, but I am not going to use the blog I’ve created based upon the inspiration I’ve gotten from them to trash them. It is easier to choose to do good.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Right, once your head gets out of the inspired mode it’s difficult to get it back in. Take the high road. I see a few people out there who take on “influencers” in debates, in an attempt to get social media play. That’s a pretty ballsy effort.

  8. Great post! There are many times that you read blog posts where the reader isn’t the reason behind it. While I understand bloggers need to make money (I know I try to), the readers should be the focus, not just the thing you leverage to make money. I know that from time to time that has slipped my focus but I keep trying to make sure the simple idea is behind my posts.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank you Thias. The income prospects just seem too tantalizing for some bloggers when they see others doing well. And some don’t realize the time and effort it takes to become an overnight success.

      I have not seen any signs of your focus slipping. It’s evident you write for your audience.

  9. Thanks for the shout out! I don’t mind affiliates or sponsored posts now and then on blogs, but there have been bloggers that have forgotten about their audience and just put up the weirdest things that doesn’t really make sense on their blogs.

    Like when investment or finance blogs put up gambling or payday loan ads. Um yeah. That’s a little weird!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      You’re welcome, Jaime. That’s exactly it, they’ve forgotten their audience. When there are too many plugs for products, or signup forms that drop repeatedly, I back out of the site. Yeah, the ads for gambling and payday loans are weird. With some services you don’t have a choice though.

  10. I love it! And I agree. The times where people say: “I really needed to hear this today” are the WHY of the blog. Though we’re still just picking up pennies in monetization, I worry about that fine line. Readers understand it’s nice for us to get a buck here and there, but we also don’t want them to think that’s our sole purpose. Because obviously, if I was in it for the money, I would have quit a long time ago! The community and the connection are the two greatest reasons for having a blog.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      The WHY of the blog is so important, Maggie. The community and connection are most important to Mr. G and me, too. I still feel like there are many untapped sources for our reach. So many people in their 40s have not been saving and think they must work forever. We want to show that it can be done – admittedly we got lucky with the sale of our condo but we also took advantage of the opportunity – not everyone would pick up and leave friends and family to cash in on the equity. But that was our jump-start to freedom.

  11. What a great post and reminder! I have monetized my blog, but it is not the main focus. When we began our debt free journey and educated ourselves on money we wanted to share our knowledge with others. That’s the main purpose to share and help someone else out there who needs it. I have received a few e-mail and comment from readers who have confirmed it. It makes all the work maintaining the blog worth it.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Brian. I think monetizing your blog is great. There’s money to go around for everyone, why not you? But you definitely have not veered away from your main purpose. With your posts, your comments, and your sharing on Twitter, you show how much you’re committed to helping people. You’re definitely a mainstay in the community!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, James. I try not to have thoughts that are too deep, LOL. I’m too serious to begin with.

  12. What a great post — it feels like a lot of the bloggers I follow on Twitter are out for the numbers only. Makes me question if it’s worth following them every time I see one of their tweets.

    I started my blog as a way to compile financial information for my friends that I’ve found helpful in my own journey. Because of this, I write all my posts using my friends as the audience. If someone else gets something out of it, that’s great. But my blog will never be monetized, since I don’t have any interest in publicizing it any more than I already do. It was never meant to create income and, when the time comes, I’ll discontinue it completely.

    Thanks for the reminder to always keep the reader in mind 🙂

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Kate. I find the bombardment on the websites for paid services even more disconcerting. Some are grasping for straws and it shows. As I commented on Jaime’s post, I don’t begrudge anyone for making money, but we shouldn’t lose sight of trying to be of service.

      It’s great that you know exactly who your audience is and whom you’re writing for. You never know about the monetizing. Sometimes you’re not looking for publicity and it comes to you. Stranger things have happened and I think it’s more likely to fall into your lap when you’re not desperate or fearful.

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