There is this belief in the blogging world that once you write a bad blog post that you’re finished.
Or that you should only publish the best content that you create.
The reality is that blog posts, like any other type of content, are subjective.
Yes, some blog posts will get more views and engagement than others. But even a post that you feel is bad will likely be useful to somebody. And getting into this rut of thinking that you create bad blog posts will only lead you to quit blogging and then you’re not going to experience any of the opportunity.
Here are a few of my thoughts on what to do if you start feeling bad about a blog post.
1. Most Are Bad
One of my favorite quotes about creating content comes from Dolly Parton. She’s incredibly smart. She has more talent and drive than anyone. When she says something about life I’m usually listening for the wisdom.
She has commented about her songwriting. She said something to the effect that she’s written 5,000+ songs to get 5 hits. Now, I would say that she has more than 5 hits, but you get her point.
Most of what you create is not good.
It’s true with any type of content. Songs, movies, podcasts, etc. You have to focus on quantity in order to reach the level of quality that you’re looking for. And even then you’re still going to create some stinkers. But that’s okay. If you keep on creating content you’re going to find some good ones. It’s the creators that let the stinkers get to them that are unable to move on and continue creating home runs.
2. You Can’t Predict The Home Runs
One of the things I’ve noticed about blogging over the years is that you can’t really predict home run posts. I look at my stats once in awhile and sometimes out of nowhere a post will get a bunch of views or start ranking really well on Google or something like that. And I’ll wonder what the post was or when I wrote it. They seem to always take me by surprise.
Do you pick up on trends in what works and what doesn’t? Of course. But most of the time it seems impossible to predict. And you see this across other types of content as well. Songwriters and artists talk about it all the time. They know that some songs will be hits, but they’re just as often surprised when a certain song becomes a hit with the fans.
So if you can’t predict it, why worry when one doesn’t hit?
3. Look At Your Process
When things seem to start missing the mark it’s good to go back to the process you’re using to create posts. I love golf and it seems the best golfers in the world are always focusing on the fundamentals. When they start to struggle they go back to their grip, their ball position, their alignment and things like that. Just the basics. Usually they find something that has slowly gotten off the mark.
But they also look at their process. They look to see if they’re rushing something in their pre-shot routine. They look at their practice regimen. They look at the process.
Blogging is the same. Is there something in your process that you’re missing? Could you shake something up to find a new source of inspiration?
Obviously it’s about results, but it seems that the best in any industry go back to the process and focus on that as a way to build toward better results.
4. Consider An Internal Reward System
You might be chasing the engagement from others too much. Obviously you want others to appreciate your posts. You want them to comment and share and interact with your brand. That is important. But you need to have a balance where you’re creating content that you’re proud of. That makes you feel good.
I heard a singer talk about a Venn Diagram for creating hit music. In one circle you have things that make you proud. In the other circle you have things that the public seems to really like. You work to find where those two circles intersect and focus on that area.
Obviously that’s not easy. You’re going to miss sometimes. Sometimes you’ll create something that only you like. Sometimes you experiment too much and you create something you hate, but that others seem to love.
But if the goal is to find the intersection you’re going to get some internal rewards for you what you’re creating. And that will keep you going even during the times when you’re not getting the external rewards you have in the past.
5. Train Yourself To Spot Positive Feedback
Sometimes we can get into a negativity rut where we’re focused on just the negative things in our lives. I think it stems from our ancestors. They relied on seeing the negative things, the threats, so that they could avoid them and continue living. If they saw a saber tooth tiger, for example, their mind and body put them into survival mode.
Today we still tend to rely on this instinct, but it can hurt us sometimes. We spot the negative. It’s good in some ways. We can learn to improve. But other times it just leads us to avoid the negativity. And in blogging that means we stop blogging.
You can train yourself to spot the positives. If you ever start feeling that a post was bad, start looking for a few signs that some readers enjoyed it. You can usually find it and that can help you onto writing the next post and then another.
Bad posts are going to happen. In fact, they happen more often than the good ones happen. Even the best bloggers on the web create more bad posts than good. I think it was Seth Godin that said that 50% of his posts are not good. I’m not sure how he came to that estimate or how he judges what is good and bad, but his point is that a lot of what he creates he feels is not great.
Just accepting that fact allows you to settle in and focus on creating consistently. This will lead to a large number of good posts. Even if some aren’t so good.