If you ever want to start a blog, it can be LOTS of fun. Blogging can be an outlet, it can be a venue for many different things. It can even, in some rare cases, make you some money! I’ve been actively running websites and blogs now for nearly 4 years and so I thought I’d write a 10 part series on what I’ve learned!! This week, it’s all about being real.
I am who I am. I’m a dude that coupons. Yea, that’s right. I coupon. Ladies move on over because my binder is bigger than your binder! Okay, so that would never come out of my mouth, but my point is embrace who you are. Readers read your stuff because they like YOU. I love coupons. I love what they have done to my life and what they can do to yours. I am passionate and unapologetic about it! I share my struggles, I share my pain, and yea even my issues at the register. You even get to see me on national television misplace coupons and have the cashier find them…gasp! I’m real a guy who makes mistakes and that’s okay!!
When I post something I’m sharing a little bit of myself. I’m sharing something real with the reader. If you are not being real with people, they will pick up on it eventually. I have gotten into a good habit in recent years of following an old Reagan adage, ‘trust but verify.’ I genuinely believe that if I posted something, people will trust me. BUT I make every attempt to post proof. When I first started WeUseCoupons, I learned the hard way that some people will mislead you. I also learned that some people can be very good at lying and even leading a double life, especially online. But I also learned that people get tangled in their web of lies after a while, and let’s not forget, it’s the internet. People can find out pretty much ANYTHING. If you aren’t being authentic, well then you aren’t going to last long. It will catch you eventually.
Seth Godin, (a great read for bloggers and non-bloggers alike) posted this a few years ago and it struck me. “Mother Theresa was filled with self doubt. But she was an authentic saint, because she always acted like one.” Authenticity, for me, is doing what you promise, not “being who you are”. I find myself constantly second guessing myself. I am extremely uncomfortable in front of cameras, but you wouldn’t know it. I constantly stand in the line of fire, whether it’s my local station, CNN Live or FrugalTV on YouTube. I have learned to accept and bear the fear, even though I am completely enveloped with doubt. Another area are my own posts. I post constantly but doubt anyone cares or reads. I spend hours writing about something, say this series, and wonder if anyone will leave a comment or share it on Facebook. But the quote above reminds me of something, Mother Theresa was human, just like you and me. I’m no saint, but I do have skin and bones and I guess that makes me more like Mother Theresa than I thought.
Lastly, remember, when I say you need to be authentic that does NOT mean over share. I’m not a huge personal facebooker, but I have noticed that people on Facebook share deeply personal things. ‘I got in a fight with my husband today’, or ‘I think that witch should go back into her hole,’ are not opinions that should be shared with readers (in my opinion). It’s rare that you will ever see me criticize someone or something. There is a simple reason, it’s not professional. If you wouldn’t say it at work, you shouldn’t say it on your blog. There is a line when ‘being real,’ becoming a reality show. Don’t air out your dirty laundry!
I really like Seth’s line, because to me it sums it up. Do what you promise to do every day, deliver yourself.
Lessons I’ve Learned While Blogging is a 10 Part series. Next week’s article is about drama.