I’ve been blogging for 4 (?) (5?) years now? Honestly, I lose count. The “when I started” line is fuzzy, because I hid my blog for SO. LONG. (More than a year!) before I actually started promoting it. (Ugh.)
I bring this up today for two reasons: 1. I feel like I’ve been blogging a significant chunk of my adult life, so I can speak from experience (not that you need experience to let that little voice in your head make you feel like a complete idiot) and 2. I kick myself all the time for holding myself back for so long because I was afraid of promoting my blog, thinking what I had to say wasn’t good enough, or that I’d be made fun of.
Do you feel like this too? I honestly think it’s one of the #1 issues that holds people back from blogging success. I mean, who am I to be giving advice? Taking photos of myself in clothing and posting them on the internet–could there be anything more vain? Posting recipes? I didn’t go to culinary school! Beauty tutorials–from the girl whose first eyeshadow purchase was the color of gang green?
You catch my drift, right?
This topic is a tough one, and it’s one that came up in our Facebook group the other day. At that point, I realized that this is something we haven’t really addressed in a blog post yet on BFK. (Although it’s something we discuss in our motivational “Friday coffee chat” email series, so if you haven’t signed up using the top form above, make sure to do so!)
Here is the precise question we received from Amy, one of our BFK BFF’s:
So, getting slightly more personal here. One of the things I struggle with the most when it comes to blogging is the self-promotion aspect. I’m not sure if it’s a confidence thing but I find it really tough to overcome the voice in my head that says no one is interested in what I have to say. I’m wondering if any of you wonderful people have experienced something similar, and how you’ve overcome it?
When the confidence struggle gets real, I fall back on two pieces of advice that never fail me:
1. Imagine your followers in a room
I don’t remember where I heard this piece of advice, but it has seriously helped me SO. MUCH. If anyone knows where this came from, please let me know so I can properly credit them for this genius concept!
But really, how many followers do you have? Total them. Tally them up–across your blog, facebook, instagram, whatever. What’s that number?
If you’re feeling all, “ugh. That’s such a low number. Only THAT many people care about what I have to say?”
Do this–imagine ALL of those people in a room.
How big would the room have to be to fit that many people? How would you feel speaking up in front of all of them? Imagine if you were putting on a conference–how stoked would you be if you sold THAT MANY tickets? That’s absurd, right?!
I know it seems small when you compare it to some other bloggers, but stop doing that–and instead, focus on the fact that you have that many people who REALLY care about what you have to offer and what you have to say. So many, that you would be literally nauseated to speak in front of a group that size.
That’s a pretty powerful thing, isn’t it?
So stop telling yourself nobody is listening. Chances are, you could book out an entire restaurant/conference complex/theatre/concert venue/event space/hockey stadium with the amount of people who are waiting in line wanting to listen to you. (And that’s more than anyone else you know can probably say!)
2. Remember, there are no “new” ideas–you are the only thing that is unique.
Before I started blogging, I was lucky enough to work under a ton of really amazing creative people at two different ad agencies. One, in particular, I will never forget. He was always full of so many good ideas–he was the one you always wanted in your brainstorms, to mull over a strategy with. He won tons of awards, worked on some famous accounts–you get the point. He’s brilliant.
One of the most striking things he ever taught me–there are no new ideas.
Kind of disruptive coming from one of the lead creative strategists at a top agency, am I right?
But it’s true. There’s nothing out there that hasn’t been done before. So stop trying to think you need to re-invent the wheel for people to listen. You don’t.
You are the only thing that is going to make an existing concept unique. As long as you are being your authentic self, you are going to attract an audience who genuinely cares what you have to say. It’s the hardest, yet easiest thing to do: be yourself.
In addition to these two pieces of advice, there were SO MANY incredible words of wisdom from other members of our Facebook group! We were overwhelmed with the responses–we couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
Here are a select few of our favorites:
How to get over the fear of self-promotion: Advice from our BFK community:
“The reason that I started this blogging journey was for the 5 people in my life that have always pushed me to start a blog/styling biz, and if my posts reach at least one of those people and make an impression then my “job” is done…I can’t allow myself to get too caught up, or have too much pressure applied, since I am still quite new still, so I just accept where I am now and know that I will continue to learn and grow…We all have something different to offer, and if you are passionate about something, I believe confidence naturally follows.” –Brandi of BrandiSoileau.com
“I always go back to my “why.” Basically, why I started my blog in the first place. Any time I think of my “why,” any kind of doubt about who is reading or who could care less goes away. No matter how big or small your audience, just remember someone IS reading and does care about what you have to say. There’s only one YOU! I always love the random messages I get from time to time about how I’ve made an impact on that person. I remember those messages when I doubt myself because even if it’s only person, it makes the process totally worth it!” –Meli of simplymeli.com
“I think like most things, the confidence in self-promotion comes over time. I know when I first started I used to mumble “I have a blog” like I was embarrassed, but the more I had readers interacting with my content & telling me they enjoyed what they were reading the more confidence I got that I DID have something to say that people wanted to hear. I also like to remind myself that there is only one me- so what I say is unique and will resonate with someone! –Gentry
“We tend to think action requires confidence, but more often it’s confidence that comes from taking action. (Jess’ note: Erin, I want to plaster this on a t-shirt and wear it every day.) Stop overthinking it, hit publish, and remember you can always edit, delete, etc. later. Focus more on the process of creating and less on whether people will like it. Once you start to see yourself as someone who doesn’t hesitate and who just takes action, you become more confident. Doubts don’t necessarily go away, I think you just learn to smile at them a little, brush them off, and keep doing your thing! I recommend reading Liz Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creating Living Beyond Fear for more inspiration.” –Erin of ErinCoaching.com
My advice: 1. When I am feeling stuck on how to write a blog post, I actually choose a specific reader or follower or two and pretend I’m writing them an email or letter as a friend. It makes me lose my natural shyness and frees me up to write with abandon. 2. And as dorky and silly as this sounds, when I get a really nice comment, or a really kind email from a lovely reader who’s taken the time to tell me something nice, I sometimes pop them in a special folder called Praise 😂 I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s easy to forget or disregard the nice feedback when you’re not feeling confident. And there is nothing like re-reading a few “warm fuzzies” to boost you mentally when you are having a doubtful day and to remind yourself that people do like what you put out there!” – Maya
Next time you’re feeling down on yourself, we hope this advice can serve as the little extra push you need!