The blogger who doesn’t have a Ferrari to sell

I remember a conversation I had with a friend about blogging a few years ago. I was making light of my attempts during the mid-2000s. In hindsight, I realized that I had made a few assumptions. One was that my older blogs were failures and the second – that the current one is a success.  The third involved my friend’s nasal hair. I doubt if that is either a matter of interest or a point of concern for anyone else but him.

I jumped on the bandwagon sometime in 2004. For a decade, only a handful of people knew of it. I rotted away in digital elephant graveyards. I kept pretending that the lack of readership didn’t matter. I convinced myself that blogging was just a playground for writers.

A quiet place where we showcased our love for language. Shared our eccentric opinions on life. As if readers were predisposed to give a crap about it.

It wasn’t until 2014 since I found some modicum of success. I created the Verseherder persona. I began writing about the birds I spotted in south India. The special encounters I had with them. I added a few photographs. Wrote some poetry too. And my readership steadily increased. People seemed eager to read about birds. That year, I gained about 500 email subscribers. At that stage, I was more focused on describing the anatomies of birds; their shapes, sizes, colors, and crests.

In the following year, I was Freshly Pressed and then, featured on WordPress Discover. I ended up with over 3400 unique followers and 4,600+ email subscribers. Soon my writing style started to change according to how I want to communicate. How the majority of readers preferred to consume it became a secondary concern.

Even today, the numbers aren’t great. I won’t deny that I wish I had more followers. I can be needy, like that. I probably should promote the blog a lot more. Upgrade my WordPress account. More listicles. More Buzzsumo. A suite of hacks I need to give a hoot about.

But I don’t give myself the time for it. Because, at the back of my mind, I think the blog is serving its purpose. It finds me interesting projects to collaborate on. A few job opportunities keep finding their way into my inboxes based on its promotion on social media, especially LinkedIn.

A personal blog is a professional portfolio of sorts. A piece of digital real estate to showcase some body of work to prospective clients.

Verseherder

If you are a creative writer with zero interest in full-time corporate employment, it can certainly boost the chances of landing part-time gigs. Because recruitment begins with evaluating the candidate’s online persona. Whether a consultant, a freelancer or a clock-pusher, an active blog will go a long way to add credibility to your content writing expertise.

You can showcase your consistency and creativity in delivering engaging content. You can impress clients or employers by showcasing your digital marketing expertise. If your blog has a highly-interactive community, it can also help you win social media marketing projects.

There are several other ways of leveraging the platform. For instance, it can drive you to generate content on a regular basis. By giving your content some sort of direction and purpose, it eggs you to practice harder.

Sometimes, I tell young writers to stop fretting over how popular their blogs are. There are many ways that they can be successful bloggers. Instead, I want them to focus on becoming better writers. And prioritize their own progress over the success of the channel they choose to communicate through.

After all, not everyone blogs for the same reason. It can mean different things to different people. It depends on which stage of the journey you are in, as a writer.

As for you and me, let’s keep talking about birds of south India and life on planet earth.

Crested Serpent Eagle, Anaimalai Hills

 

(Photographs: Kodaikanal, Chennai)

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47 comments

      1. I guess I meant while searching for prospective jobs – blogging as a hobby in itself should make a difference. But, yes, maybe striking a balance is needed for that to have a certain impact.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great Post….many times I have found myself introspecting for the similar questions or set standards. Blogging 4 years back for me was alien concept, something that I barely understood or followed for a while. It’s now a hobby & to share my passion with my virtual buddies….its a fulfilling “expressive” connection, I would say…Keep writing*Keep Inspiring 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Huzzah! High Five to that! Sounds amusing though. If I were engaged in conversation with said character, I would probably state at it and then awkwardly burst into laughter! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great advice Christy. I ignored the publicity bit up until last December and feel quite silly for not having realised the potential of social media platforms. But then I was too old and was dragged into it kicking and screaming 🙂 (And I have been trying to excise my liberally sprinkled emoticons from my old posts ever since I decided to put on the professional mask!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I blogged for eleven years. I loved it because I have always loved writing. And then, in January I axed it because I realised that my sense of self started being associated with the blog and its popularity. Having 33 subscribers over 10 years obviously did nothing good to my sense of self.

    Do I regret not blogging now? Of course I do. But I write in my job (http://content.mobicip.com/content/confessions-mommy-blogger, being just one of them) and that gives me some relief. However, sometimes when a really funny thought crosses my mind, my fingers itch to put that down somewhere, but I lie down and it passes.

    Love your style of writing. Not particularly interested in birds, but read you for your style.

    PS: Your title sets me thinking of the original – is the man who sold his Ferrari a monk, or he who doesn’t need one?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, LG! Pleased as peach that the title proved to be some amuse bouchée for thought. I haven’t read Robin Sharma’s book. They all sound Alchemist-y to me. Wished they were more Ayan Rand-y (shrugs) how on earth did the fellow even get a Ferrari?

      I am curious, did you save any of your writing from the earlier personas? I know how it feels to be demotivated by the lack of followers. It’s just irksome because it seems unfair, at times. It’s not a competitive feeling but rather a bewilderment of “why not me?” At least, in my case.

      Thank you for sharing the blogger link too. Will devour it today!

      Like

      1. Before I clicked the “delete” button, I had a flicker of doubt if I should save what I had written. And then I had the lightbulb moment to let go. My loved-ones still chide me for not saving, but I have never been one for hoarding.
        One reason I did not have as many followers as I had expected is my age. My contemporaries were not into the digital media of reading as much as the current generations are. And no matter how funny and engaging one’s writings are, it is hard to cross the generational barrier to bring in readers from other age groups.
        Sigh. Right person in wrong times.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwwww yes TP, poetry! But many a times it feels forced. And when I read it back to myself, I wonder if I was wearing a funny hat and smoking a silly cigarette when I had written it.

      Like

  4. Mad Christy, I am glad you made that journey from that blog in 2004 to verseherder. More love, words, followers and all that you wish from this space of yours. Good luck! And well, thanks for suggesting that I moved to WP..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You seem to have patience aplenty Christy …and thanks for the recap!

    Need, urge, desires, purpose, opportunities …..and all those fringe benefits that may come along with commitment …you’ve brought it all together sensibly and rather luringly …. think WP should be thanking you for this post…. officially! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Birds & blogs…guess everything has got something to give …what n how seems our choice… 🙂 Thanks so much for discussing about blogging now 🙂 bloggers like me may need it now and then;-)

        Liked by 1 person

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