Recently I’ve been subscribing to a lot of email mailing lists. I look at the professional bloggers who seem to have their shit together, and I subscribe. I want to know what they’re doing, how they talk to their readers, and how they represent their brand. I pay attention, because I want to do it better.
(P.s. – I still haven’t decided if I’m going to swear or curse on Creativindie. In Oregon, we curse like we breathe. It’s entirely natural and not offensive. Is there even an expression “have their stuff together?” If so I’ve never heard it. If you approve or disapprove strongly of blog cursing, let me know in the comments.)
But I’m getting annoyed. I’m starting to see certain bloggers as… just people. Not megastars or celebrities. Just people that I probably wouldn’t want to have a long conversation with, because they would get on my nerves.
Here are some of the things that bother me:
1) Sneaky Advertising. I understand that bloggers need to make money on their blogs. I’d prefer if they do it with their own products, or by writing posts about other awesome stuff that they recommend. That’s cool. I don’t mind when Thesis blogs try and sell Thesis, or Genesis blogs try and sell Genesis. I tolerate (although it’s distracting) big random Google ads in the middle of the text that I have to skip over.
What’s super annoying, though, are text-links that go to some totally non-related corporate website selling insurance or something. This is probably a poorly chosen WordPress plugin. I don’t know. I just don’t like it.
2) Me, me, me! I get it, bloggers need to be personal. We need to start out our posts with interesting stories about our childhood, because stories are entertaining, and we’re really in the entertainment business. But personally, and maybe it’s just me, I follow bloggers who have something to teach me. I have my own goals and interests and I want to achieve my own success, faster. So when a blogger starts talking too much about her/his own life, unless there’s a powerful, shocking, revolutionary discovery at the end of it, I’ll stop reading. Especially if they’re complaining.
(However – I also understand that many bloggers complain on purpose, to make them more human, so that readers will identify with them. They’ll admit their fears, worries, challenges and failures. I’ll probably do a lot of that too. If I get annoying, slap me. Hard.)
3) Overglorify themselves. Maybe they got one post or mention on a big site like CopyBlogger or ZenHabits, and so they display that logo on their website. It’s a smart move, of course, because they get instant brand-loyalty-transfer. I can’t say I’m not going to do it. But when it’s obvious that they’re a really small fish, or young and inexperienced, or emotionally shallow, then it seems fake and calculated.
(In my book the most emotional people are the shallowest. “Moody” people who fluctuate and shake their fists at the sky, or blow up in anger, or break down and sob. I’ve known serious depression. It’s hard work to learn how to manage it. But you can.)
4) Don’t transcribe their podcasts. Ok, I’m being picky. I understand that a lot of people don’t like to read, so podcasts and videos are a great idea. But I like to read. So if you only provide podcasts, with a “summary” or “notes” instead of the full, word-by-word transcription, that means you’re not making your content available to me.
(I’ll probably never get into videos or podcasts. Sorry, I’m an introvert, with a dash of social anxiety disorder. That’s why I express myself in writing and painting. Since this blog is for authors and artists, I’m going to assume that most of you are like me, and you like to read).
5) Are too colorful. I know this one is stupid. But have you ever visited a blog that is clean and professional, but has just a bit too many colors? Bright pink, dark red, black, gray and everything in between? I’m hypersensitive to that stuff. Pink especially makes me want to hurt kittens. And I love kittens.
Of course you can’t please everybody, and the same things that annoy me may really appeal to these bloggers’ readers.
I’m not trying to be overly critical, but I want to make sure I recognize the things that can be annoying before I start doing them myself.
Am I crazy? What do pro-bloggers do that annoy you? And how do you feel about blog-cursing?