The Endowment Effect: Why It’s Easy To Overvalue Your Blog

The Endowment Effect for Blogging
It takes a lot of work to get your blog to the point of freewheeling. via Flickr

One of my favorite blogs is PsyBlog. I’ve linked to it before and I’m going to use it again for reference in this post.

This time we’re talking about The Endowment Effect and how it can impact your blog.

Here’s the rundown on The Endowment Effect:

No matter what it is—a pair of jeans, a car or even a house—in that moment when an object becomes your property, it undergoes a transformation.

Because you chose it and you associate it with yourself, its value is immediately increased (Morewedge et al., 2009). If someone offers to buy it from you, the chances are you want to charge much more than they are prepared to pay.

That is a cognitive bias called ‘the endowment effect’.

We all struggle with keeping stuff. To us, it’s treasure. To many others it’s just trash taking up space.

I read this post when it was first published and I’ve come back to it a few times. I’ve sold a few things recently and while I still tried to get a good price I realized that it’s only worth what someone is willing to pay. I try to take the point of view that sentimental value is great, but unless it’s a photograph or love letter there is really no value in hanging on to all kinds of junk that will sit around.

The truth is I don’t really have that much stuff. I like taking clothing I haven’t worn in a few months to Goodwill.

But I still find myself being taken over by The Endowment Effect.

The Endowment Effect in Blogging

I think this happens to bloggers and businesses that blog. And I think it’s partly the reason why so many blogs go dormant after just a little bit of time investment.

A blog post is a labor of love. It’s hard work every time we put together a post. We feel that special connection to it just like we do when we purchase something or receive a gift. It has more value to us than it does for anyone else.

For new blogs the issue with this feeling is that we think we should be getting tons of traffic, social shares and comments. After all, this post is amazing.

But it takes time for a blog to build an audience. It’s a slow moving process that picks up steam with each post.

Remember those manual merry go round toys they used to have in parks? You could get a few kids on it and push and push it around until the momentum was built up and then you’d all jump on?

That’s how blogging works. You push and push and it’s really difficult to get the thing going, but once you start getting momentum there is no stopping you.

The trick is to fight the urge to overvalue your blog posts. This gives you freedom to do two things.

First, it allows you to really focus only on what your target audience wants to read. When you focus too much on what you want to read you’ll miss giving value to your reader.

Second, it keeps you focusing on the long-term, which puts your expectations in the right place so you can stick to your blog strategy and see it through until you have momentum.

The only thing to watch out for is not being confident in your blogging. Keep your confidence. What you’re right is great, but don’t overvalue it. Get as much feedback as you can and improve, but always be confident in your ability to create something great.

Like everything in life it’s a balance.

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