Lessons I’ve Learned While Blogging – Perception is Reality

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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 perception. 

Everyone makes judgments.  We look at what someone is wearing, how they hold themselves and immediately size them up.  Blogging is no different.  Whether it’s your first post or your 5,000th, every post is judged.  Every picture is criticized.  Learning to deal with this reality is tricky.

Bloggers need to understand a few things, first no one is perfect.  We just need to accept that right out of the gate.  We all have things we aren’t proud of, we all have things we wish we wouldn’t have done, on and offline.  Embrace those faults but don’t flaunt them.  People who remind others only about their faults and failures and doing those people a disservice!  It would be like saying welcome to my home, I’m sorry I didn’t do the dishes.  People don’t need to know that!!  You should NOT dwell on your failures, learn from them and move on.  Trust me others will dwell on your faults all day long.

Secondly, do everything in your power to control the perception of you and your site.  This is so important.  I go to extra lengths not to express certain controversial opinions personally.  Many people on WUC will express them, but I stay away.  I do this for many reasons, but the primary one is I don’t want myself to become an objection.  I try hard to stay neutral and fair.  I also try not to post anything overly controversial.  Now as a blogger marketing guru’s will tell you that controversy sells, but what they won’t tell you is that controversy is polarizing and fleeting.  You may get great traffic for a few weeks, but you have burned much of your audience.  Controversy only feeds small blogs.  (If you look at the graph on the left, you will see a blog that in my niche that posted some very controversial articles.  A year ago she had 28,000 readers, today she has only 23,000.)  Blogs live and die on controversy and the the sad truth is that the majority die.

Finally, perception is important.  I’ll give you a little feel for how powerful perception is.  I was on TLC’s Extreme Couponing and in one of my episodes we worked with Operation TroopAid and donated lots of items to our troops.  Although noble, that was only the fourth time we had given to that organization.  We continue to support them generally giving every 3-4 months but I have been stopped in stores by people who just want to thank me.  In my opinion, I am not deserving of the thanks, all I did was give out of my abundance to people in need.  I LOVE giving things away and want to encourage others to do the same, but I don’t need or seek rewards or accolades.

But others perception becomes their perceived reality of me. 

If people perceive you to be snarky, you get that reputation quickly.  If they perceive you to be kind or vicious, you get that reputation whether it is deserved or not.  Understand that perceptions are HARD to break and change.  So be aware that everything you do effects it.

Lessons I’ve Learned While Blogging is a 10 Part series.  Next week’s article touches on Even Big Bloggers are Insecure!

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Comments

  1. Linda says:

    Great article, enjoyed reading it. It would be good to have a name, who you are? I know your not a computer. I don’t see an “About Me” tab?

  2. Linda says:

    Just read all your “Lessons I’ve Learned” arlticles. Very well written and personable. Found out your a man…LOL..that was as surprise. I did find the “About Us/Me” tab and read it all with much enjoyment. I’ve been couponing for about 2 years now. Nathan, something I just don’t get, maybe you can email me the answer. I have not figured out how a lot of you have paid off debt, car loans, mortgages, etc. with no extra income. Couponing is not a paycheck/job with benefits, pension, health insurance, etc…doesn’t pay the bills. I must be missing something because so many bloggers claim they are debt free by using coupons when they can barely pay or not pay their bills. How does getting free stuff pay your bills? I never see anyone answer this but claim it does happen. thanks

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