How to prove that my blog is just not average?
In the question What can I ask my readers to help me and how?, a skeptical answer is provided: my blog which is about challenging existing dogmas is just an average. There are many cranky blog of social criticism out there, and while I disagree that my blog is one of them, I agree that I lack a measurement to make this a concrete statement. For now, I can say that it provides a theoretical framework, and there are many influential thinkers and activists following it. They all says that the ideas are strange and unique, and other people should read it. Occasionally there is a random person thanking me for writing it.
Of course, in my perspective, I know how impactful my blog is, and how influential my readers are. My evaluation on my content is confirmed by who has read it. But I cannot convey this insight to you or any stranger who wants evidence that I deserve their attentions. What I just describe are just empty words.
How can I prove that my blog is not an average?
Assertions about quality from the creator of a work, whether it's a blog, a novel, a video, a podcast, or anything else, are not convincing because of the conflict of interest. Even if your work is the greatest thing since sliced bread, you saying it undermines the claim, because lots of people who instead have moldy crusts would say the exact same thing. To prove the exceptional quality of your work, therefore, you need one or both of:
- influential readers saying so
- influential or numerous readers being actively engaged, for example through substantial comments
Many people (myself included) write blogs, and most of us will only ever reach our friends and a few others. The ones who've gotten more attention have inspired people to comment, tweet, promote on their own blogs, and otherwise draw attention to your work. And the whims of the Twitterverse (or other equivalents) can be hard to predict; sometimes there's just no visible explanation for one person having 50,000 followers while another with similar output has 5.
One thing is under your control: engage with the people who respond to you. If someone asks a question, answer it -- and maybe expand on the theme in a later blog post, if there's enough substance there, linking back to the question. If someone raises an argument against what you write, take it seriously and respond constructively and respectfully. Have a conversation with readers who've signalled that they might participate, in other words.
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Everything Monica said, and then this: There are, at very least, three components to this.
Are your ideas exceptional? Most people's aren't, of course, but some peoples are. No one can tell you how to have exceptional ideas, of course.
Is your expression of these ideas exceptional enough that people outside some inner circle of people who sympathise with your ideas will be able to follow them? This is a writing question, and the answer, generally speaking, is that you have to meet the reader where they are now. The problem with most thinkers is that they have been thinking about their subject so long that they have lost touch with the experience and ideas of ordinary people and simply don't know how to talk to them anymore. There is even a name for this: The Curse of Knowledge.
Are your ideas appealing? Just because an idea is original, or even true, does not mean that it is appealing to people. Very few people are in favor of radical change of anything that touches their lives. They care about things like can I pay my mortgage, can I feed my kids, will my job be there tomorrow. Any idea that involves a radical derangement of the status quo, no matter how rosy a picture it paints of the future state to be achieved, is unappealing if people don't feel confident that they will be able to pay their mortgage and feed their kids and keep their job in the interim. Basically, people like ideas in which they get more stuff without losing any of the stuff they have now.
Of these, only the second is a writing problem. The only writing advice I think anyone can give is to make sure you are addressing the audience you want to reach in terms they understand on a subject they actually care about. Otherwise, they are going to ignore you, however brilliant your ideas may be.
I suspect that the number one source of disappointment for bloggers stems from their grossly overestimating how much other people care about the things that they care about.
I suspect that the vast majority of blogs fall into one of two categories:
Blogs about things lots of people care about that are ignored because there are thousands of other blogs on the same subject and theirs is not exceptional enough to stand out.
Blogs about things that very few people care about that very few people read because very few people care about the subject.
The same, by the way, is true for pretty much every form of communication.
There are only two ways out of this that I can see:
Write exceptionally well about something lots of people care about.
Write something so exceptionally compelling that you induce a lot of people to care about something they did not care about before.
The first is tough. The second, it should be obvious, is a whole lot tougher.
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