“Should I write a blog?” A new author posted that question on one of my favorite online groups. She had just published her first book and was seeking ways to promote it.
Her question launched an extensive discussion. The newbie’s main concern was that “everyone’s blogging” and “there’s no room for a new blogger.” Why invest time and effort in a blog if there are no readers?
But the author made an assumption – and an erroneous one: that everybody is blogging.
In 1999 there were 23 blogs on the internet, says web designer Jesse James Garrett. Just seven years later that number had exploded to 50 million. That proliferation of blogs presented in the data may lead you to think, like the young author above, that the blogosphere is too crowded. Why start a blog? Or equally discouraging … why keep writing one?
Yet the facts reveal a different take on blogging. In 2006, bloggers Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba tracked online data from Wikipedia and Yahoo and discovered a startling statistic: only 1 percent of online users actively create new content. McConnell and Huba dubbed this principle “The 1% Rule.”
The other 99%? Those users simply view content. Some call them lurkers. Bottom line, of all the folks reading, absorbing, and gathering information from the internet, 99% of them do not create a smidgen of the content … or very little of it.
Those numbers are dramatic. True, The 1% Rule grew out of evidence in specialized internet communities (such as a wiki or even a forum). Generalized internet posts pull in many more users, so the numbers of content creators may be higher.
But not by much. A few variations to The 1% Rule speak to that, one being the 1-9-90 Principle. Here, too, just 1% of a community creates new content. Meanwhile, 9% add to that content or update it. And 90% consume it.
Yet in spite of those stipulations – that The 1% Rule applies only to specialized internet communities or that a total of 10% of users post content – the conclusion is clear. If you create new content, you’re in the minority.
A host of other good reasons beg you, the writer, to start a blog and keep adding to it: you build your online presence. You are forced to write regularly. You have a creative outlet. You find a tribe of true fans. You produce content that you can repurpose into a book, eBook, social media posts, speaking presentations …
But one of the most compelling reasons is this: by blogging, you separate yourself from the 99 percent of people that don’t blog. You stand out by producing original content. That fact alone moves you from the “consumer” column into the “creator” column.
Then over time, as you focus on a particular topic, you accumulate plenty of research. You connect with and interview people who are associated with your topic. You uncover ideas and information about that topic form all kinds of angles. Soon, you’re doing more than simply producing content. Your content also has depth. The 99% (or 90%) not only benefit from what you write, but they respect the intellectual capital you offer.
Should you write a blog? If you’re passionate about a topic and want others to know about it … well, yes. There’s plenty of room for new bloggers or even for writers that are considering resurrecting their blog.
Because everybody’s not doing it. You’ll stand apart whether you’re in the 1% … or even the 10%.
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