How to Quit Hitting the
Snooze Button on Your Blog

image of man with alarm clock

Conversation in social media is supposed to be “open source,” right?

We’re supposed to gain energy and excitement from being open to the entire internet, to ideas that come to us from literally every corner of the globe.

But too often “social media” turns into a predictably closed circuit of the same people having the same conversation.

Finding your own tribe can be a wonderful thing. It can also make your blog unbearably boring.

The move from “wonderful” to “boring” happens when we fall into a pattern of always interacting with the same people, always talking about the same topics, and always reinforcing existing networks. There’s no growth, only stagnation.

I’ve seen this happen often with myself. I think that I’m growing and cultivating, but all I’m doing is reinforcing what’s already there.

So, here’s another idea.

If you’re an existing leader . . .

  • Give someone else a chance to use your platform.
  • Let a new voice guest post on your blog.
  • Tell your network about an up-and-coming blogger.
  • Bring a different perspective to the conversation.
  • Introduce a new or relatively unknown participant to your circle.

If you’re not a leader yet (but you’re working on it) . . .

  • Make an effort to bring in new ideas to the conversation. Be willing to talk about what no one else is.
  • Push the boundaries of what’s expected in your field.
  • Proactively connect with people outside your niche, or in overlapping niches. Sometimes the best ideas come from an intersection of unexpected opposites.
  • Don’t just blindly follow established leaders. Actually make a conscious decision to follow them if you think they have value to offer. In other words, don’t follow someone just because everyone else does.
  • Guest post for someone you don’t already know well. Bring your ideas to a totally new audience.

Awesome things can happen when we consciously branch out beyond our habitual circles of association.

Instead of just aligning with people with the same skills and strengths as us, we can seek out those with different talents that complement our strengths.

Instead of reinforcing the same patterns of conversations, we can move beyond our comfort zones and make more meaningful connections. We can find new and interesting ways of approaching tired problems.

Instead of reenacting the same mental synapses, we can actually diverge and possibly . . . just maybe . . . innovate.

Get remarkable by getting out of your comfort zone

Who knows, maybe a lawyer could teach you how to build a better case for selling your product. Perhaps a teacher could help you communicate better with the beginners in your audience. Maybe a politician could teach you how to better dodge questions and avoid dealing with real issues.

OK, just kidding with that last one.

When we make a conscious effort to continually bring in fresh ideas and voices, we grow. We break the patterns that we’ve created. We move beyond plateaus to higher ground.

We can only change the game when we change the rules we play by.

And if we do, then just maybe, we can create something that’s really new. And isn’t that what we live for?

About the Author: Jonathan Mead is a writer, martial artist and trafficker of truth. He recently released a free ebook called The Zero Hour Workweek, aimed at helping people find freedom from the 9 to 5.

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Comments

  1. Hey Jonathan,

    I’ve been guilty of this.

    Not only in writing and blogging but music-making as well.

    You listen to enough of one style and your tunes don’t break free of those constraints. By introducing my ears to different styles I can bring in fun new strands of music into an existing genre (ex. dubstep into house music). I have more fun creating, people have more fun listening.

    It’s great how you’ve described the same exact process but applied to writing.

    Introduce a new idea to your field – one taken from another place that could even be commonplace there, but is fresh and disruptive in yours.

    “We can only change the game when we change the rules we play by.”

    In the spirit of this article and your site Illuminated Mind, perhaps it could be even better said as:

    “We can only change the game when we see what the rules are and then consciously break them.”

    Here’s to being aware when we’re stuck in a cycle or constraints and consciously breaking out of them to be able to create something new, remarkable and exciting.

    Oleg

  2. Brilliant post Jonathan, I’ve realized this thing over the past few weeks and I have started adding a lot of completely different blogs to my feed which is proving beneficial as I don’t get bored easily and this acts as a break from the normal schedule plus gets more focus when I am actually on a blog of my niche.
    Your advice works……thanks for explaining the topic.

  3. Hi Jonathan,

    I am not a leader yet. I checked your points for me. Yes. I think that i am doing good as you said.

    1. I talk via my blog not just by text and images. I bring the resource via videos. People love the way i am doing.

    2. I push the boundaries of traffic sources. Yes. My traffic sources are included video sharing sites. I am getting lots of traffic as direct traffic. People watch my videos on youtube, metacafe, dailymotion, howcast, wonderhowto, 5min etc and come directly to my site as i mentioned my blog name in all videos.

    3. My thesis niche overlaps with wordpress, blogging. So i am often writing tutorials for wordpress, blogging also.

    4. Although many pro bloggers writing about blogging and internet marketing, i choose only 3 bloggers to follow as their vision matches with mine.

    5. Still no guest posts published. I am writing now. Hope in next week, my first guest post will be published somewhere on blogosphere.

  4. Hi Jonathan!

    Yeah, just like the offline world it’s all too easy to run in the same loops. I don’t think I realized quite how much I was doing it until I expanded the offerings of my business.

    As soon as I started looking for relevant content in other places, I realized how few people I actually knew.

  5. Heh, it’s sort of how a black man got elected to the President of the United States or how a Republican got elected to the Massachusetts Senate. By opening one’s eyes and ears to the person, and not what color skin a person has or what political party a person belongs, magic can happen.

  6. Jonathan,

    Getting up at 7:00AM is too late for a blogger. Good ideas start at 4:00AM. Don’t “kill you best ideas” by waking up so late people! :)

    Good write!

  7. Hey Jonathan, great post. I try to offer different type of content but I’m guilty of mainly sticking with what I assume my readers enjoy learning about. Have had my posts shared. I did have someone approach me lately of being a guest blogger so I guess I need to look into that further.

    Thanks for your input and suggestions. Definitely gave me something to think about.

    Adrienne

  8. Refreshing insight that I believe will work. I’ve tried some of your ideas like asking for ideas and tips from people outside the literary industry, and letting guest bloggers have a turn on my blog – interesting on both counts. Thanks for your post, Jonathan.

    Here’s my invitation to contact me with your guest post for The Story Woman blog – promoting writing memoir is what we do. Would love something to add a different flavor or open my readers’ eyes to new takes!

  9. I want to let you know that ever one can do this it only takes
    practice. I used write poems, and I won a $1000.00 on my 1st
    try. You have go out there and show people your talents. I have
    a good talent, to make people laugh. I went on stage at two
    comady clubs here in Florida. The more people that came to see you ,you were given more time on stage. My jokes where called
    infered dirty. I used my experence as a nurse for my routine.
    The audance laugh so hard they fell out of there chairs. Laughter
    is the best Medicine. God Bless every one
    Christine B

  10. I think that some of the spelling was wrong. To make people
    laugh, is a good thing. To be talented enough to win a contest
    for writing pomes, is a great achievement. Keep up the good work. God Bless. Christine B

  11. Great post Jonathan. I look forward to reading your book as well. I’m glad that you brought up the point about creating a stagnant tribe of people.

    Where it is critical to have your own list, your own audience, or your own set of followers, eventually you end up preaching to the choir.

    I know that I need to do a better job of working on my diversity in posts, and I think that it is important to always keep this idea of maintain a slight level of uncomfortability every time one posts, trying to push things along a little further.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  12. Everything writen should be a lesson for others to join.

  13. Interesting story, how to make the reader quickly into our pages in a way appropriate schedule.

  14. It’s always an interesting exercise to post guest posts that you don’t 100% personally agree with (but, of course, where you can see the person’s point — you’re not violating your own beliefs, just challenging them a bit). I remember when Copyblogger ran a post from a trackback spammer. It was definitely controversial (although absolutely beneficial to the readers, because it taught us how to deal with this pesty behavior), but it added a nice jolt of energy.

    One thing Brian & I have discovered that we have in common is that we’ll learn from anyone. We do study the scorpions, but we also give a lot of thought to how to use their techniques ethically and respectfully without becoming scorpions ourselves.

  15. Another great post that fishtails perfectly into some ideas I’ve been having recently about adding new stuff to one of my blogs. Thanks for giving me the encouragement to try!

  16. Good listening makes for good writing, so getting out of your usual circle is critical. It also does wonders for your perspective. I learn all kinds of things from people who have no idea what I do.

  17. I recommend BloggerLinkUp.com for anyone looking for guest bloggers, or for bloggers who want to offer themselves as guest bloggers.

    You can also use this site to offer products to bloggers for review.

  18. Christine B, I loved hearing your experiences on just plain putting yourself out there!

  19. Great read. I think it’s more about adopting an aggressive, open mentality before you focus on tactics. Whatever your objectives are you have to be active and creative in searching out any and all opportunities to expand your reach and influence. You have to always be searching for the next step that will take you forward.

  20. I couldn’t agree more with those sentiments, Jonathan. To continue the alarm clock analogy, I’ll be making sure I get out of bed before it goes off from now on. (That would have made more sense without the analogy, but hey ho).

  21. One thing I’ve noticed is the “a listers” don’t plug or give props to some of the smaller people that follow and support them. Sure, they’ll do it from time to time.. but I think they could do more.

    A simple idea would be to plug one of their followers on Twitter. Maybe a follower of the day or week?

    But anyway this is one reason why its the same people having the same conversation. Nobody else is allowed into the party ;)

  22. I’ve always made my biggest breakthroughs while taking to a seeming random person about my ideas. They had nothing to do with the field, but because of that, they had a different view point and explained it in a different way.

    This has always lead to an ‘AH HA’ moment and spurted deeper growth and development in what I was working on.

    Thanks for sharing Jonathan!

  23. Another way blogs get stale is when the author succumbs to the pressure of always being politically correct. Because bloggers are so exposed, we’re open targets to people who criticize us for taking a stand on issues.

    Just last week, I was called “judgmental” because I expressed sadness about something. And another person challenged my use of homeopathic remedies, because she puts her faith in “scientific” medicines.

    All this pressure can be enough to make bloggers timid about expressing their beliefs, especially if it’s something that will polarize readers.

    I say we should polarize. Nobody’s perfectly neutral or objective. If they were they wouldn’t be human.

  24. Jonathan,

    You are right, freshness is so important. So is the language used – many years ago i was advised to write as if I was explaining whatever I was writing about to a friend.

    For me, the struggle is between writing varied output and keeping a focus to my blogs.

  25. I had a guest blogger for a few sessions at my Beauty Blog. Her website looked pretty active; her convictions were acceptable…but…

    Maybe she was saving stuff for other places; sometimes I’m tempted to do that. But, the posts she made at my blog were incredibly boring. I lost subscribers and only had aboue 15!

    As a courtesy, I left a link to her blog for months before doing some housecleaning and checking to see if there was a link to ME at her website. When there wasn’t, I removed hers and the boring posts. Now, there is a statement about guest blogging policy and I’m picky about who gets to guest post. The foot in my mouth will be my own.

    I usually like to apply my car/husband trading theories: if you can’t trade UP, it’s too much paperwork. So, I’m going to stick to guests or references to people I see as stronger than me.

  26. Doing this is very special to me I can express myself,in many
    diffrent ways. I can tell you how hard it was for me raising my
    two boys by myself. I was in my 30′s and I had a drunk for a
    husband. I was lucky I had my nures’s liceanse and I lived in NJ.
    I live in Florida now and the pay is much lower here. I’d worked
    16hrs a week. I devorced my hubsand, and Ive been married 3X
    sence. I tried to find some who would help with the boys. They
    are grown up now and doing fine. God Bless. Christine B

  27. I would love to follow your suggestion and have some more people post on my blog but that seems to be a really hard thing to do, i have not found anyone interested yet.

  28. Great post. I am always willing to step out of my comfort zone and experiment with new ideas. Maybe I am destined to become a good leader?

  29. This is great… I was beginning to get bored with the “sameness” of our articles. You’ve given me some ideas that will add excitement and comments to our site. I’m happy to post articles submitted to us provided they are well written and topical. I promise to be open-minded.

  30. You’ve encouraged me so that I’ve decided to add a “featured guest article” section to our home page. I will encourage guest writers to submit an article and we will feature it along with their photo or website logo. I will leave the topics up to the authors as long as they appeal to baby-boomer women. I’m looking forward this new venture. Thank you for your suggestion.

  31. Very inspiring Jonathan. I find it funny how often we need to be reminded to keep things fresh, engaging and different! It’s so easy to let stagnation and the status quo consume us, so thanks for lighting that fire.

  32. Thanks for sharing. I’ve had a few guest posts on my blog as well as writing some for other people. Adding them to my own blog was hardest though. Funnily enough I think I used them as a snooze button to cover periods when I had other stuff to do. But I was worried my readers wouldn’t like them and only wanted to hear from me. Fortunately that didn’t seem to be the case and it was a win-win-win situation with everyone being happy – me the host, the guest writer and the readers.

    Ah, I love a happy ending:)

  33. already starting the guest post idea. so far its slow traffic hopefully it will speed up

  34. Great reinforcement to keep me on my path. I’m a new blogger; an allopathic practicing dermatologist physician with a slightly out-there blog. I’m taking risk showing my other side, which is my lifelong interest in alternative health and nutrition. I’m fusing what I’ve learned in traditional medicine which I’ve used to filter my study of alternative ‘science’. My traditional colleagues will bristle, but I’m having a great time creating the content because my content is all about my passions; a little derm, a little alternative health and a little bit of local stuff about my beloved home town. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually have an audience some day!

  35. @Cynthia,

    If you’re interested in alternative health, visit http://www.mercola.com.

  36. “But too often “social media” turns into a predictably closed circuit of the same people having the same conversation.”

    This statement is so true…

    It’s always important to expand your reach and try to connect with new people everyday.

    Believe it or not, some people are just catching on to this Internet and social networking thing…

  37. I really bad in “getting our from comfort zone thing”. But as i read this article, i surely will try it and see how it can improve me.

  38. Thanks Jonathan! I really liked the guest post idea, will attempt it for sure and let you know how it works for me.

  39. Thanks Jonathan. I’ve been actively embracing this philosophy for some time, but today I hesitated. Your post has renewed my confidence. I like this quote by Craig Groeschel – To reach people no one else is reaching we must do things no one else is doing.

    Cheers, Simon.

  40. Jonathan, Great article.

    My tips to alleviate the ‘unbearable boredom’ of my blog, for the writer, not the reader :-) , are as follows:

    1) Write at least one article per week on my own blog that requires me to go off and learn something new that is related to my niche but outside it.

    2) Read and comment on one new blog per week. There is always the chance of that revelation at the intersection of ideas.

  41. When I make sure I want to do something regularly, I set an alert on my Outlook to pop up at certain times. For instance, when I need to take medication, set an alert every day at the same time. It’s a lifesaver, and I force myself to do it no matter how busy I am.

    Make an alert to write a blog at 8 a.m. each morning, or noon, or 8 o’clock.

  42. Great ideas! I liked the guest blogger idea. I think it will benefit to get a guest blogger that is just not a friend, but someone who isn’t typically in your circle.

  43. I am trying to make money blogging, can anyone tell me how to do that. It is very hard to find something online to make money.
    Please let me know if there is anything out there. We are about
    to lose our house if can’t make the payments. I hope you under
    stand the urgency, the we would have to live on the street.
    We can’t afford to pay a laywer. God Bless

  44. I covered a bunch of basic topics in my blog when I started and once that was done I decided to write for fun, things that interested me. I can’t say this is a good model, but it keeps me writing and that is over half the battle.

  45. great post. adding something new to the table will certainly spice things up. If only it could be that easy.

  46. What a great perspective to look at things. New lifeblood is a great way of incorporating new ideas to your life and changing your views.

    Cheers

  47. Refreshing! Thanks for helping some of us to think outside of our own little box in the blog world!

  48. Really good stuff, I could stay here for hours. I learned so much in just 5 minutes, that I went to my facebook fan page blogging for dollars and told them all to check you out. I love to learn and wanted them to have the benifit as well. Stop by and see us some day and leave one of your posts with us. :-)
    Ross Joyner

  49. Very interesting read – thank you.

    A former boss of mine once told me to organise a meeting where the focus was going to be on ideas, creativity etc. She told me not to invite just the ‘creative’ people in the company, but someone from finance, an administrator, etc – pointing out that these people would bring something completely different to the meeting. She was right too! ;)