“Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.”
-John Doe, Se7en
Everybody makes mistakes. Sin is defined as “any reprehensible or regrettable action” by dictionary.com.
If you’ve never made a mistake or done anything you regret, stop reading this post now and go write a book because we all have many things to learn from you.
Most of us make mistakes, but what is important is how you respond.
One defining characteristic of any successful person is the ability to self-correct. If you can see what you are doing and see what isn’t working and fix it yourself, you are on the right path.
I think it was Albert Einstein who said, “the definition of ‘insanity’ is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results,” and he was a pretty smart cookie.
When David Fincher released his film Se7en in 1995 it shocked a lot of people. We all had heard of the seven deadly sins, but until 1995, none of us had seen how harmful they could actually be when used for malicious purposes.
It was a wake-up call as well as a fantastic movie. It’s hard to not get invested in that movie.
Every time I watch it, I can’t get the film out of my mind. I decided to write then and share it because I thought you could benefit from it too. So, now I present to you: The Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging.
1. Lust: Loving your readers is great, but take it slow.
In the ancient days of 2006, a business would create a newsletter and then a company blog and start begging everyone with a pulse to join their newsletter without providing any worthy content.
These days, lusting after readers like that will get you labeled as desperate–or even as a spammer. So keep it in your pants and truly get to know the first people who connect with your blog. In return, they might just love you for life.
2. Gluttony: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Once bloggers decide to take a seat at the table, the often dig in with gusto. The downside: they decide they’re going to blog every day, including weekends, about anything and everything they can think of, instead of being strategic and focused.
You don’t need to be everyone at all times, you just need to be saying the right things to the right people at a consistent pace.
3. Greed: It’s hard to shake hands while you’re reaching for someone’s wallet.
We’d all like to make money through our efforts online, and if your writing is strong, it’ll happen. But if all you do on your blog is spout off sales messages or ask for book deals, no one’s going to stick around.
Be yourself. Be helpful. Be a good listener. Then the opportunities will come to you.
4. Sloth: Always avoid the temptation to “set it and forget it.”
Starting a blog? That’s easy. Keeping it alive and growing? That takes commitment, adaptability and good-old effort.
You would never open a storefront, then close shop two weeks later because of low turnout. Go for the long term, and plan accordingly.
5. Wrath: There are a lot of people out there itching for a punch in the nose, but you’re not the one to give it to them.
Once you’re active online, you’re bound to get a few critics. Some will offer valuable feedback. Some with shout obscenities.
You won’t have a hard time telling the difference, so focus on the ones who deserve a response, but remember what you learned in kindergarden and be nice.
6. Envy: Don’t be dissuaded by other people “doing it better than you.”
Someone will always have more subscribers, more comments, and more Tweets.
Focus on who you are and what you have to offer your readers, not on what the other guy is doing. And when you must steal an idea (because hey, it happens), find a way to make it so much bigger and better, no one can even recognize the original.
7. Pride: Stay humble, rock star. Successful writing really is easier than you’d think.
If you plan ahead, pace yourself and listen more than you talk, you’ll strike a chord with existing readers and potential readers alike.
It will open new opportunities and enhance your personal brand in ways you never imagined. But don’t let it go to your head. There’s always more work to do.
And that pretty much sums it up.
It’s inevitable that we will screw up somehow in our blogging efforts, but if we all try to keep these 7 ideas in our mind, maybe we can at least avoid the wrath of John Doe’s justice, oh, and maybe even grow our brand a little online in the process.