Being a pro blogger involves breaking rules and honoring rules.
Being a pro involves sticking to fundamentals but being flexible in applying these ideals.
Experience is the #1 tool in your rule arsenal. Blogging experience appeals to your intuition. The intuition tells you what rules to break and what rules to follow. For example, I break publishing rules common to most bloggers because my experience appeals to my gut hunch in that regard. But I follow specific blogging rules too commonly held by the masses because my experience goads me to do so.
Experience teaches you what to let go and what to hold, for blogging is an experience to learn from spanning years of your life. I break ample rules. But I honor rules too. Why? Experience told me that list building, SEO-optimizing and a more traditional blogging path did not suit me and my readers. Experience told me that I loved guest posting, genuine blog commenting and networking. I honored these blogging rules. I followed these fundamentals. I let go rules like driving Google traffic and building a huge email list.
A while back, one of my good blogging friends reached out to me. He is likely reading 🙂 He asked if I was ready to accept his guest post. I informed him I closed guest posting months ago. He reminded me we agreed to do a guest post exchange but simply moved on from his request, aka, our agreement. He released on it. Oh shoot; I totally forgot we agreed to exchange guest posts because we agreed quite a few months ago. I replied letting him know I would accept his guest post, thanking him for reminding me of our agreement.
I broke my rule for permanently closing guest posting for a good friend I trust. But I never would break a blogging rule or policy for a stranger because I do not know strangers enough to trust these individuals.. What is their agenda? What is their motive?
A while back, a stranger reached out to me. He promised to do a link exchange; this would be the first and last link exchange I ever did. Lesson learned. He offered to place my guest post on Market Watch – to get an eBook link on a DA 92 blog – to place his guest post on Blogging From Paradise. Brilliant. I took that trade.
He published my guest post. I published his guest post. But a few months later when I clicked my guest post link on Market Watch, he or Market Watch removed my guest post. I did not take the removal personally but deleted his guest post on BFP immediately because I cannot promote someone I do not know and trust. I cherish the lesson he taught me; only break rules or policies for trusted bloggers. I never did a link exchange prior. I will never do a link exchange again. My blog has since moved in a different direction.
Bloggers who I bonded with and did business with sometimes pitched me advertising opportunities at my old, cheaper rates. I honored the cheap rates until realizing:
- the value of my blog
- the value of my brand
- the fact I ran a serious blogging business; not a charity
Even though I befriended the bloggers and did prior business with the bloggers I rose rates for them and everyone across the board. I never break pricing policies for anyone because I suffered horribly basing my blogging business on individual budgets, the poverty consciousness of clients determining my pricing. I had to sit with fears in my mind vibing with the fears in client minds to see how we co-created my struggles.
Lesson learned. I remain firm with a few rules but break many rules. I never change some policies but do change other policies. My intimately personal experiences offer me an intuitive guide I honor diligently
Ditto for you.
Experience is the ideal blogging teacher.