How to succeed in blogging without really writing

Scrabble letters spelling 'Blog'

If you’ve come to this post looking for tips on how to become a super-successful blogger without having to put much effort into this whole writing-words business, then you’re about to be pretty disappointed.

And if you appreciated the title’s reference to the 1950s Broadway musical about a window washer who becomes a successful businessman, hello, fellow nerd! We should hang out.

The BIBs (Brilliance in Blogging Awards) recently opened for nominations, which always causes a great deal of frenzy and excitement in the blogging community. But something is different this year.

There’s no ‘Writer’ award.

That’s odd, I thought. Writing is the most important thing about blogging, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

I’m not so sure.

My favourite bloggers are, without a doubt, the writers. Yes, all blogs involve writing to some extent, but there’s a difference between just writing and being a writer. Good writing is hard to define, but, like hardcore pornography, I know it when I see it. The writers are the ones who make me laugh with a clever phrase, or think about something in a totally new way, or perfectly express something I’ve felt all along but never had the right words for.

Often, these bloggers I love so much aren’t the ‘big’ bloggers.

The bloggers with the biggest following and the most influence aren’t necessarily the best writers. They’re the ones who are good at all the other stuff that goes along with blogging – social media, networking, branding and self-promotion.

I recently read the book “Hit Makers: How Things Become Popular,” where the author Derek Thompson said, “Content is king, but distribution is your kingdom”. And he’s right. Having good content is important, but it’s not enough if no one sees it. A lot of blogging success is about making the right connections and promoting yourself in the right way. Most of it, maybe.

Which is why there’s a social media award for the 2017 BIBS but not one for writing.

Part of me feels a bit sad that writing doesn’t seem that critical to blog success. I think of all those talented writers out there, drafting brilliant posts that hardly anyone reads, while some mega blogger’s review of designer socks or whatever gets 10,000 likes on Facebook. It’s kind of shit.

Personally, I’d love to see good writers get their fair share of the internet’s attention, but that probably won’t happen when everyone is competing for it. An expertly crafted but underpromoted post has no chance when there are 2.75 million blog posts written a day, and many of those 2.75 million posts are being actively splattered all over the internet via Facebook groups, linkys and auto-tweets.

If you love the writing aspect of blogging but aren’t good at/can’t be arsed with/don’t have time for all the shouty-shouty stuff, your writing – no matter how good it is – will probably disappear into the chaotic mess of the internet. Them’s the breaks, my writerly friends.

What do you think? How important is writing to blogging success?

Lucy At Home

36 Comment

  1. I totally and wholeheartedly agree.

  2. I completely agree. It’s so funny I just wrote a comment on Rhyming with Whines post about blogger stats that literally said the same thing, good writers that lack in self promotion skills i.e. social media know-how fall to the way side. The awards are a popularity contest no doubt.

  3. It is a shame there is no writer category. There are so many bloggers that are amazing writers but not well-known at all. Being savvy on social media and able to self-promote is a big part of blogging and I think it is a shame that sometimes those who get recognised are simply those who are able to shout loudest. The one thing I do like about the BiBs though is that the judging panel also pick some of the finalists from those nominated – it’s not all about the numbers and popular support which means that some of the lesser known bloggers do have a chance too.

  4. It is a shame there is no writer category. There are so many bloggers that are amazing writers but not well-known at all. Being savvy on social media and able to self-promote is a big part of blogging and I think it is a shame that sometimes those who get recognised are simply those who are able to shout loudest. The one thing I do like about the BiBs though is that the judging panel also pick some of the finalists from those nominated – it’s not all about the numbers and popular support which means that some of the lesser known bloggers do have a chance too.

  5. Totally agree. There is a place for bloggers who write reviews and are great at social media and do all the other things that are part of the modern blogger’s toolkit – and I don’t begrudge them that one bit. But it is a crying shame that great writing isn’t recognised. Many of the ‘top’ bloggers are good writers – but many are not (but are brilliant at other aspects of being a successful blogger). I’m actually okay with that.

    What I’m not okay with is great writing being overlooked altogether, or when people define their own self-worth relative to others based on their Tots ranking, as if that somehow makes them superior. Who’s better – the better self-promoter or the better writer? It depends entirely on what’s important to you.

    If you want to make money from blogging, then self-promotion is more important (but, please, spare me the humble brags). That’s fine, but don’t look down on those of us who write because we like to write and aspire to be better writers. Just because we don’t do 11 sponsored posts a week and aren’t in the top 100 of Tots doesn’t make us ‘bad’ bloggers – just bloggers with a different set of priorities.

    Now, will someone vote for me in Readers’ Choice? (Or Fran, cos she’s brilliantly funny.)

    1. I’ve just posted my comment to this post (which was a very similar sentiment to yours) and then flicked through the comments. I just wanted to say I love this: “Who’s better – the better self-promoter or the better writer? It depends entirely on what’s important to you.” It gives me great encouragement to keep honing my skills and that it’s okay to want to write and not just chase better stats. Thanks!

  6. I am so with you on this. Absolutely spot on with your observation about designer sock reviews and the like. Blogging is all about stats and being a PR for your one woman empire. Personally I have fallen out of love with the whole circus. Not that I’m bitter or anything….

  7. Completely agree. I almost give up entirely on an almost weekly basis, purely because I think what’s the point? And then I remember that actually it shouldn’t matter if hardly anyone reads my stuff, because I’m doing it for myself, not for money/fame/freebies.

  8. Couldn’t agree more. I love to write, and only really read blogs where the writing gets me all up in my area (so to speak). I’m shite at promoting myself, awful at even admitting that’s what needs to happen for people to find/read me, but actually lose no sleep over all those people who ARE great at social media but bore me. I do love that blogging has bits for everyone, but I’m pretty resigned to the fact I ain’t never going to win any awards with my three Twitter friends…!

  9. Agree wholeheartedly! ‘Nuff said

  10. I agree that writing should be recognised and there are some bloody great writers out there. However like you say if they don’t promote they don’t get readers but that’s really just like anything else in life. If brands don’t advertise no one knows about them and therefore they have no customers and so on. Also some of my favourite blogs are heavily image/video based and I find them as inspiring and emotional as well written blogs. Everyone is different and looks for different things in their own and other’s blogs and I think that’s great.

  11. This makes me sad, but I think what you’re saying is true. I blog from the writing side and it’s such a hard slog (which I generally feel I’m losing) to get my writing out there. Not saying it’s award winning or anything but I get a small amount of nice feedback and sometimes it feels like if it’s decent writing then why do I generally get less than a hundred views per post? But you’re right it’s about being able to promote it etc and they are just very different skill sets, not everyone has both together, though I guess that would be ideal!!

  12. Ha! Totally agree. I always say this to myself when I realise I have failed to become the super successful blogger I feel I should be capable of being! It’s not that I’m not a good writer – I tell myself – I just don’t have the time or inclination for all the promotional bluster (or, indeed, for much writing of blog posts either at the moment!).

  13. It’s so hard isn’t it – I feel exactly the same. Is it about writing well? Or is it about just writing anything and plugging it really well? I feel so thinly spread – but of writing, bit of promoting, keeping up with all social media platforms., emails blah blah. It’s a lot! And should I compromise my writing to spend more time getting it seen?! Arghhhh x #BlogCrush

  14. Totally agree. I just wrote for myself now and I’ve never been happier with my blog. I’ll never be a top blogger or win an award because I can’t be bothered with the promotion. I’m not saying I’m a particularly good writer either to be fair, but being proud of what I put out in the world and having it being totally 100% true to me… and then walking away and spending the rest of my time with my family instead of tied to my phone or computer screen, that’s far far more important to me than being high in tots or whatever.

  15. I think all the comments show their agreement with you and among them are some bloody great writers. There is a place for the self-promoting, soul selling, sock wearing bloggers with floppy hats who love to show off the back of themselves – it obviously works or brands wouldn’t endorse them, but I’m so glad I’m not forced to make money out of my blog and I can stay true to my writing style. Agh, who am I kidding, even I get drawn along by it all sometimes! (Keep your eyes out for a ridiculous post about a sarong. (I’m a travel blogger for Pete’s sake!) I keeled.)

  16. I could have sworn I already commented on this as soon as Island Living told me about it when I was having one of my MANY blog moans to her! You inspired me so much I also wrote about it (although way less eloquently or succinctly than you). Frankly I’m stumped by the no writer award. Quite the most ridiculous thing ever!

  17. Totally agree with this. And for the record, I am always drawn to your posts in linkys purely because you are such a good writer and can always express so eloquently what I’m thinking and feeling. #BlogCrush

  18. Totally agree with this. And for the record, I am always drawn to your posts in linkys purely because you are such a good writer and can always express so eloquently what I’m thinking and feeling. #BlogCrush

  19. Loving your blogging related posts right now. 🙂

    It’s a real shame there’s no writer’s award. Partly because it sends a message that the writing isn’t as important as the pictures. And partly because it means there’s only the Reader’s Choice awards for those blogs who don’t fit neatly into the pre-selected categories. Which makes choosing a complete PITA.

    I agree with all your other points as well. 🙂 Numbers are only one measure of blogging success. As long as I’m meeting nice people, proud of my blog and think if I came across it I’d read it, I’m cool. 🙂

  20. What an ace post and I totally agree with you, I rarely follow any ‘big’ bloggers and prefer to stick the smaller bloggers. Popping over from #blogcrush

  21. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. I noticed the other week that a fellow blogger who started at the same time as me had a much higher DA and was doing much more brand work. I was pretty down about it because I feel like I work really hard on my blog.

    Hubby, patient as ever, looked into it and pointed out that this other blogger was doing lots and lots of giveaways (which means lots of page views) whereas my posts are more from the heart. I guess we all need to decide what we want from blogging. I want to connect with people – that’s my goal – and so I’m working on building a community, rather than selling stuff. I will just have to accept that the page views & brand work will suffer as a consequence. But hopefully I’ll get there in the end.

    Fab post. Sorry for the ramble-y comment! #blogcrush

  22. I think it’s so sad there’s no writer’s award! You raise a good point – if you want what you write to get read you have to play the social media game. #BlogCrush xx

  23. I think they need to put more emphasis on writing, some of the people who are asking people to vote for them are garbage. I’m not saying that to be rude, but they have grammar mistakes all over the place in every single post. They use incorrect spelling like they have never heard of spellcheck – in every post. I can overlook it if it’s a once in a while but when it is every single post you need to get an editor or stop calling yourself a writer. #BlogCrush

  24. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! What a brilliant post and you really sum it up. There are some beautiful writers out there but it does feel as though there is a lack of recognition this year for them xx #blogcrush

  25. From reading a.lot of blogs I have come to understand that writing matters little to the success of a blog. Im not going to lie this saddens me. When I started blogging I seriously thought it was great that even in the technological era we could find great wordsmiths…i was a little green. Now I apreciate all the different arts and some top bloggers are at the top of the fame game because they are great business minds, not amazing writers – like some authors! Great post #blogcrush

  26. It’s defintiely kind of shit. I would like to think that the reason that most bloggers started blogging was for the love of writing and not for a pair of flippin socks. I’ve been offered so much free stuff from hair products, to shoes but still have never accepted – I love to write from the heart and not about the free stuff – blogging was never ever about that for me. So if you fancy some free shampoo or some shoes that light up let me know! #BlogCrush

  27. It’s very wrong that’s for sure…..my first offer was this week….air freshener….uh no! No thank you! I love the writing malarkey. Is there nuffin’ we can do? #blogcrush

  28. Definitely agree with this post!
    It can be very disheartening.
    #blogcrush

  29. I think it’s a big mistake not having a writers category. I absolutely agree with you. I read some brilliant blogs with amazing writers and for me that’s what keeps me coming back. I am useless with social media and hate all the self promoting. But I’ve finally accepted my blog for what it is and even if no one reads it I couldn’t be happier #blogcrush

  30. I’m not sure what I can say that hasn’t already been said! I’m by no means a great writer, but I blog because I enjoy writing as well as I can manage. I also enjoy reading a well written article and do struggle when one of the linky posts I need to read (because I do like to follow the rules) is not very well written.

    I definitely don’t begrudge people who focus more on the promotion and quantity. Folks need to make money after all. But I agree it would have been nice to see an award category celebrating the written word!

    p.s. Always enjoy reading your posts. I have yet to come across one that is less than superbly written 🙂 #BlogCrush

  31. I love how you compare good writing to hardcore porn! I think it’s sad there is no writing category after all isn’t it the main reason most of us start? #blogcrush

  32. Totally agree. Sad as it is. With so many people shouting about themselves, you will never be heard if you don’t shout too.
    #blogcrush

  33. Great post and hopefully food for thought for next years awards #blogcrush

  34. You know I’m absolutely with you on this. I like the social media side but mostly just the 10pm chit-chats with fellow bloggy pals. Scheduling and promoting sucks the life out of my like a giant mood-hoover. Brilliantly written as always x #blogcrush

  35. Amazing post and I totally agree with you. I think it such a shame there is no writer category in the Bibs this year..it just shows writing isn’t the most important thing when it comes to blogging anymore. I am rubbish at social media so my stats aren’t great but I love writing so I will keep plodding on regardless.xx #BlogCrush

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