Should YOU Stop Blogging, Too?

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Should YOU Stop Blogging, Too?

Last week, well-known blogger, video-marketing expert, author and speaker, Jim Kukral, announced that after 9 years, he was bailing on his blog.

Why?

Because he believes his business-building energies would be much better allocated to creating a single, substantial piece of content to share each month, likely in the format of an ebook, than to blogging.

As proof, Jim points to the year he took of of blogging to focus on video and how much more his business grew during that period.

As happened when Seth Godin announced he was leaving traditional publishing a few months back, a bunch of people started clamoring about this being the beginning of a larger move for a lot of people.

And, I just happened to be one of the people clamoring.

So, let me add a bit of clarity to my 140-character rant…

I don’t necessarily see a lot of people abandoning blogging to follow Jim’s approach. At least, not if they’re smart. Because they’re not Jim. They don’t have his expertise, abilities, following, track-record, relationships, mission, goals, business-model, blah, blah, blah. I said the same thing when Seth walked away from traditional publishing.

Good for them, but you’re not them.

BUT…

What I do see is a lot of people looking at what Jim, who’s a thought-leader in the field, did and saying:

“Maybe I should step back and really examine what I’m doing in social media, how it relates to my bigger business model, whether I even HAVE a bigger business model, and consider what might happen if I shifted more of my social media energies into some other attention, engagement and value channels?”

That’s a question I see far too few people asking on a regular enough basis…if ever.

So, to me, Jim’s decision and announcement was a bold step for him. Maybe it’ll stick, maybe not. He’s smart enough to know how and when to adapt. But, the bigger message we should all take from his announcement is not that blogging is dead, but that:

  1. We need to examine why we’re doing what we’re doing on a regular basis, then
  2. Respond and evolve to accommodate change, both external market-imposed change, and internal shifts in where we want to take our businesses and lives.

Question is, when was the last time you did that inventory?

Because, if you’re in this game to not only have an impact, but make a living, it’s mission critical to own the fact that:

Your blog is NOT your business!

It may give you personal joy, but from a business standpoint, it’s simply a vehicle to:

  • Grab attention,
  • Engage,
  • Create rapport,
  • Build trust
  • Provide value,
  • Establish credibility and thought leadership, then
  • Call people to action.

And, it’s important, really important, to be confident that you’re allocating your limited resources to the vehicles that are performing best today, without regard to what worked best yesterday, last month or last year.

As always, I leave you with a question…

When was the last time you stepped back and did a cost-benefit comparison between your blog and any 10 other ways to accomplish a similar end?

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55 responses

55 Responses to “Should YOU Stop Blogging, Too?”

  1. Your point:

    “I don’t necessarily see a lot of people abandoning blogging to follow Jim’s approach. At least, not if they’re smart. Because they’re not Jim”

    is the best takeaway from this post, in my opinion. So many times, people online will see what a power leader chooses to do and attempt to duplicate it themselves, ignoring the fact they lack the experience/network/wisdom/back channels/etc. etc. etc. of the leader in question.

    I’ve been guilty of trying things in the past without having key critical components in place. I will admit – those efforts did deliver some fantastic bits of wisdom from the school of hard knocks that I’ve built on since to this day. One’s online business is (or should be) always a learning experience.

  2. Roger Beaty says:

    I agree with Barbara Ling, rather than just copy the power leader we should learn from them, examine our situation and apply whichever lessons fit in with our objectives and plan. With limited resources, and we all face that challenge, we need to focus on what is returning results rather than the trendy, shiny, feel good activity, i.e. blog etc. Plan your work and work your plan, striving to keep everything in balance and in alignment with your goals.

  3. Sharon Leah says:

    I blog because I enjoy it (personal), but I also want to build credibility within specific communities. Jim Kukral has that and more. He’s wise to pay attention to where he gets the most benefit from time spent. But as you said, we’re not Jim, or Seth Godin.

    Sharon Leah

  4. Alexandra says:

    I have the companion questions– when should you *start* blogging (and why)

    Very thoughtful post, thank you!

  5. Farnoosh says:

    Hello Jonathan, I so wish I had had a chance to meet you at Blogworld. Reading this reminds me of a really dear friend of ours who was a popular blogger – Virgin Blogger Notes- even though she had blogged for just a few months. She had a following which kept growing and a large influence already but one day, she quit. She dropped everything. She went back to focusing on her novel. It was very sad but I really understand it and respect it. Thank you for a great perspective and for making us ask the right question.

  6. Alexandra says:

    Interesting read. I wonder sometimes about whether my energy would be put to better use if I did not have my blog, almost five years old, in the back of my mind.

  7. josephfrancia says:

    Leaving blogging is am option for Jim, given his established reputation and substantial following. It obviously is not an option for those who are just making a name in social media. But, as with any other initiative, a regular inventory of what is the best use of our time and resources is really needed.

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  9. “Your blog is NOT your business!”

    Nicely put and provocative too!

    You mean we should be earning real money from our blogs and it’s not just for fun and we should be doing a kind of ROI?

    But that makes it sound like a regular business Jonathan!

    Spoilsport!

    :-)

    • You’re joking around Alex, but this is a big issue in the blogosphere. Plenty of folks are kidding themselves that social networking and writing are a substitute for a real revenue stream…

      … it’s all fun and games until the bills stack up!

      The point that i’m taking away from this is: A blog itself isn’t a business… it’s simply a tool to connect your business with something that it needs (exposure, networks, fans etc).

  10. John Soares says:

    Jonathan, I did just such an assessment last July when hiking alone in the mountains. I decided to reorder my life priorities and put being in nature, my health, and my family and friends above business, and especially above blogging and spending time on social media.

    I consolidated three business blogs into one and greatly reduced my blogging schedule with a focus on quality over quantity. I now have more time for my main business, and especially more time for truly being alive.

    Turns out I’ve read several posts today from bloggers who are either quitting or cutting way back. I salute them.

    • @John,

      Sounds like you went through a similar cognitive journey as I did when I traveled to Italy earlier this year.

      I was completely disconnected from external distractions and no only did the world not fall apart in my absence – I actually enjoyed life more!

      I’ve contemplated blogging less, switching to just monthly or quarterly ebooks (like Jim’s doing), and even quitting Twitter altogether.

      Still haven’t found my balance yet, but I’m working on it!

      - Chris

      • John Soares says:

        Chris, I strongly recommend that people heavily involved in the online world take several days every few months to be completely disconnected from the Internet, and also the cell phone as much as possible. That’s how I get clarity on what I want to do, and it’s also when I get my best ideas.

        Thanks for your Italy story. I’ll be going to Spain for a few weeks next spring.

  11. Pamela Quinn says:

    I started blogging because everyone said you needed to. I now blog because it’s fun. I teach yoga and Ayurveda and have an optimistic approach that is zen neutral (sort of). My blog gives me a chance to be a little edgier and creative in my expression. I do take my time with it and have found that if I just have that “feeling” when I’m hitting publish, I will get to the right people. When I become a yoga empire, I will continue to blog only for fun and creativity. Shanti, Pamela

  12. Great post Jonathan, as a relative newcomer to the world of blogging this concept has always intrigued me. My commercial background made me pretty skeptical, as an entrepreneur, to engage in something so time consuming with such a risky promise of ROI.

    That said, getting smart advice from people who have “done it” enabled me to build a blog that directly feeds new clients into the business… while affording me a type of freedom that was previously utterly unavailable.

    I seem to have made it work… but I definitely more and more people are making the mistake of thinking that “a blog is a business”.

    That’s kind of like saying that a TV commercial is your business, isn’t it?

  13. Having just presented a session on blogging at PodCamp NH yesterday, this post provided a nice counterpoint to recent conversations on the topic.

    It is so important for each blogger to understand – deeply – why she is blogging. I don’t fault people for starting without a plan – I think it’s more important to start than to have a fully-formed strategy, BUT – once you’re investing your time and brain power on a regular basis – you’ve got to step back for a moment and think hard about what you’re trying to accomplish.

    Though I believe a blog is one of the most powerful tools available today for building a platform and the business it supports, I also believe it’s important to try out other types of online and offline communication as well. We all know it’s a bad idea to put all your eggs in one basket – why should it be any different with blogging?

    For instance, I heard Christopher Penn speak yesterday on behalf of blue sky factory. He laid out some pretty persuasive stats on the power of email (over blogging or other social media tools) to engage and convert. Something to think about. The most successful plans are the ones that integrate the best bits of each medium.

    TKS for the post. Good stuff!

  14. Joel Libava says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Great to meet you, last week. (Finally!)

    Anyway, when I read Jim’s post, I knew that his idea wasn’t for me. I like Jim. He helps me a lot. He’s helped me with branding, and is always shall we say “encouraging” me.

    (Translation; Hammering me! In a good way.)

    You’re right; just because someone else who’s quite successful and quite smart is doing something different, it doesn’t mean that I have to.

    But, I am going to be some things differently. Attending Blogworld (3rd year in a row) really forced me to look at what I’m doing; what’s working, and what’s not even close to working.

    For me, it’s critical to stop doing things that are not generating revenue, but are sucking too much of my time..time I need to start growing my business, damn-it!

    The Franchise King®

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  16. Mark Dykeman says:

    I don’t regularly or formally conduct a cost benefit analysis of how I spend my online time, including blogging. It’s only within the past 2 – 3 months that I’ve begun examining it from an entrepreneurial perspective. That’s because I’ve only started to think of myself as an entrepreneur (hint: it has to do with the direction in which the money flows…)

    It’s a fair question (how should you be spending your online time, including blogging) and it’s one that I do ask myself informally every now and then. I think it’s a question that you should ask yourself frequently.

    The answer to the question depends on a lot of variables, so I don’t think there’s necessarily one right answer. But, when you stop and think about it, blogging attempts to replace some of the networking, advertising and publicity work that entrepreneurs have done in the past. It also frees you from location lock (i.e. being limited to my physical presence or the outlets which I expend time and energy).

    I think that there are tipping points where blogging frequency can reduce or cease, but they’re somehow tied to audience size, reputation, and successful products and services. The locations of these tipping points would vary.

  17. Deb Ng says:

    ” When was the last time you stepped back and did a cost-benefit comparison between your blog and any 10 other ways to accomplish a similar end?”

    When I sold my blog network. Seriously. I loved it but it was an incredible time suck. After I sold, I focused my energy onto a job I loved, a blog I loved (that I didn’t have to update if I didn’t want to), and, like Jim, into creating books and ebooks.

    I’ll miss Jim’s blogging, but knowing that he’ll still be putting out content will make it worth the wait.

  18. Great thoughts better questions.

    Jim has built his reputation and online presence so he can afford to shift his attentions.

    He has a solid audience and that is key.

    Better questions for those who do not is what will be best vehicle to reach my target audience and then go there.

  19. Kevin says:

    Interesting piece, and well said.

    Jim and Seth certainly do have a different foundation than I do. It might not be knowledge (although we talk about different things), but it certainly is network and reach.

    As for cost/benefit analysis: definitely worthwhile to do that from time to time. The challenge in the current web environment is that social media “popularity” tends to work exponentially. If I tried to attach an ROI to each Tweet I do, or blog post, I would definitely see a loss at this point.

    I just simply don’t have the same reach. But, it’s a means to an end. At least, that’s the goal.

    I use Google Analytics quite a bit. And I attach really esoteric dollar amounts to actions taken by visitors on my blog, based on solid predictions of what an email sign-up, post comment, or any other action might mean to me financially down the road.

    I think we need to do this with every bit of activity we do ourselves, online. We can’t let the work of measurement consume us, however. We need to do the real work too.

    Lastly, if I had Jim or Seth’s money? I’d probably quit blogging too. :) Except on my kayak fishing blog. Because I would be doing a LOT of that.

  20. Hugh says:

    I love the idea of stepping back and taking an inventory of our lives, really examining what our goals are and if what we’re doing is getting us closer to achieving our goals. I agree with most people here in believing that blogging is far from dead. It’s time to move on, however, when, like Jim, you realize that your time is limited and there are different ways to connect with people that provide more value than blogging. I’m not familiar with Jim, so off to check him out…

  21. Josh Pies says:

    It seems to me that all too many times people get their business model confused with their social media plan. Jonathan, thanks for reminding us that our blog is NOT our business. As a film & video producer I am immersed in an industry that DOES get this – all of the DSLR touting video pro’s have phenomenal blogs about their craft BUT they are NOT solely bloggers. They are highly successful Directors of Photography!

    I see this as a challenge to us all – what is your business model? What is your value added that PAYS THE BILLS? If an activity does not pay the bills directly then the it seems to me that it ought to support that end. So its time to get introspective and see if the credibility that social media can bring is driving ROI or not.

    But that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong
    (had to borrow from Dennis Miller at some point, right?)

  22. Hi Jonathan – Appropriately evaluating business components – blog or other – requires front end work: setting an intention and then identifying how that component intersects with other components, contributing to revenue. The good news is you can implement the front end work and start anew at any time, even with the same vehicle.

    Successful businesses are constantly making these evaluations against their planning, and then modifying and pivoting as necessary. You’ve got to identify the meaningful data and make sure it’s on your dashboard, though.

    Where we’ve seen people (even ourselves LOL) go wrong, over and over again, is when they can’t deviate from their pre-conceptions. When there’s a more indirect correlation between revenue and activity, as you point out, this is even harder. It’s always tempting to see using the tool as the outcome, but the hammer isn’t the house.

  23. [...] here to see the original: Should YOU Stop Blogging, Too? Comments [...]

  24. what i like about this post is how it dovetails with my current experience – i’ve taken a lot of time to look into what has worked for people online and now that i’ve seen all their strategies and steps, instead of wanting to mimic their paths i find i want to do just the opposite – i want to explore what feels right for my mission, rather than following in the tracks of where others have tread.
    so your point – that we’re not jim, so what he does is not necessarily “the right step” for anyone BUT jim – hits home.
    since i’m just now starting to share my thoughts on my blog, reaching out into the great beyond, and am really interested primarily in exciting people about living as imaginatively as possible, i can keep to that for right now and explore where there is to go from here.
    the reminder that we are best served by being ourselves and choosing what works for us as individuals, rather than following a guru’s path, is a great way to start the week.
    thanks, jonathan

  25. Julie Halsey says:

    Great post, Jonathan. In a field where people tend to follow the latest guru or adopt a method/technology that is the latest trend without thinking…’where is my audience’ and what is the best method to reach them and how is the best method to reach them’. Those questions should be answered first and then apply the method, tool, etc. accordingly. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype of what the ‘leader’ is doing without thinking about our own unique business model and target audience and niche. Bringing a solid business approach is important – as you said so well.
    julie

  26. Sean D'Souza says:

    I find that our membership site at 5000bc is the best use of my time. We restrict members. In 8 years we only have allowed in 450 members. And while I do other stuff, it’s easily the place I spend most of my time.

    I have my blogs going etc. but it’s easily not the best use of my time.

  27. Dino Herbert says:

    Jonathan,

    This post reminds us that the world of business and entrepreneurship has an ever-changing landscape. The mission of the business must be paramount and then, depending on the current position in relation to that mission, business owners should match the particular strategy to the given resources and environment.

    If blogging (for business purposes) leads in the direction of the mission, then it’s a good idea; otherwise it should be sacrificed for a another medium. There are many other ways to interact with the intended audience.

    Thanks again for a great post!

  28. Jim Kukral says:

    Jonathan, just wanted to say thanks for getting my point. I’m glad that your audience is responding in the right way. Do what’s best for you…

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Loud and clear, Jim. I love the “prompt” you gave all of us, even if that wasn’t the original intent.

      And, yup, my tribe really does rock, grateful for them every day. : )

  29. [...] morning I found Jonathan Fields’ assessment of the Kukral/blogging situation. Jonathan proposed that blogging wasn’t dead, but that maybe this was a good time to take [...]

  30. [...] morning I found Jonathan Fields’ assessment of the Kukral/blogging situation. Jonathan proposed that blogging wasn’t dead, but that maybe this was a good time to take [...]

  31. John Sherry says:

    Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week comes to mind whereby he made working less give him more…time and money. Blogging is big but it’s also time consuming so the new key to the door will be how to make big blogging time free as well as a profit plus exercise without using the affiliate bubble which is beconing over inflated. If only I knew what that was then I’d be a blogonnaire! Any ideas anyone?

  32. This is a very informative post! I have a lot of business, as well as personal, interests and often find it a challenge to fit any sort of regular blogging into an average day or week. This has caused me to review what I want from blogging before I’ve realistically even started!

    Thanks!

  33. A few thoughts on this:

    1. Do what works for you and what you enjoy.

    2. A blog might be your business and if it isn’t now, it might be in the future. I think we are seeing a shift going “beyond blogging” now to other creative forms of online content including online magazines, shows, whatever. The ways to monetize online content are vast. Perhaps the blog isn’t the problem, it is the business model.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      No doubt, the business model, or lack of one is where a lot of the challenge lies for a lot of people. You’ve gotta know why you’re building what your building before you can get a feel for how best to build it. That may change over time, but you’ve always gotta be asking the questions.

  34. Gina says:

    Aloha!
    I recently stopped all non business building building practices to save time, money and create focus.
    I left blogging trainings, blogging groups and have pared down what I read about blogging drastically.

    As you stated, “Your blog is NOT your business!” and boy is it clear when you stop the blog machine!

    Since stopping the machine I’ve gained more clients on and off line and have more time to develop my skills in my “business”.
    I’m back to using my blog as a means for communication and to enlighten my clients. What a delightfully light feeling!

  35. Keith says:

    I recently spent a couple months mainly publishing only guest posts on my site while I evaluated what was working. My answer is that a blog is still a great tool for business, much the same as social media is. Where it gets muddy for me is what was working and what wasn’t. It is so much easier on my sites that just sell products, work hard on design, SEO, and offering a comparable product at a comparable price. With blogging about a topic like marketing, blogging, social media etc… it is much different.

    Anyway, I won’t quit blogging ….. yet.

  36. Suzanne Vara says:

    Jonathan

    What works for one we know does not always work for others. It is about finding what will get your audience to do what you want from them. If blogs achieve that, then use your time wisely and put efforts there; if it is videos then go there. It is always using your time wisely to achieve your goals have have the audience respond.

    You do have to try new things while keeping on track with the ones that are working. You will not know if something new will work unless you try but it has to be your way and not emulating someone else.

    So well said here Jonathan. Obviously for Jim the audience responded well to the vids and now he can take it further and stop the blogging. I think he will do real well as he did not just wake up one day and turn the switch. Proper research goes a long way.

    @SuzanneVara

  37. I’m w/you J. I’m not abandoning my blog, even though I’m not nearly as prudent as I need to be w/ my entries, I still have a strong abiding desire to “print forward” to blog it out, to write till the cows come home and tell me that their milk has turned to chedder cheese. I think there are still enough of us out there that want the “instant grat” version of life, to keep us bloggers BLOGGNG goin for quite some time to come and so Ya, I’m still “in” (and I can only hope against hope that YOU are too babe – I’m an addict for your posts!)

  38. hmmm… this is getting frighteningly valuable. Like, you’re really writing something that we’re supposed to think about and apply to our businesses and our lives. you have balls my friend…

  39. I think a lot of people are missing the point. This really has nothing to do with blogging. What it has to do with is quality of product. If most bloggers spent half as much time in business, customer, and product development as they did crafting blog posts and planning social media strategies, we’d see hundreds, if not thousands more success stories.

    This really isn’t about the medium, but what you do with it.

  40. I sat next to Jim during BlogWorld poker which was fab. Jim’s leveraged his blog to build a successful career for himself so he can do as he pleases and he should. For people who haven’t got a published book yet and don’t have clients lining up to pay $350/hr for their advice blogging remains a viable way to build up a successful business.

    Jim is the master of catching headlines like I’m Quitting Blogging and This Book Will Make You Money. I’ll be looking forward to what tricks he pulls out next and definitely cheering him on.

    Loved meeting you at BlogWorld too Jonathan and have a rather fetching photo of your eyes adorning my blog right now. It was fun:) What tricks do you have up your sleeve for us?! I’m cooking up a few…

  41. Michael Hess says:

    Couldn’t agree more, in fact I wrote an article on the subject–and how I abandoned blogging in my own business– in one of my recent BNet columns.

    Very few businesses blog well, and even fewer can truly demonstrate that their blogs have any business value or justify the time and other resources invested.

    It is a bandwagon that many (if not most) companies really can feel comfortable jumping off if their overall marketing and messaging is strong to begin with.

    Michael Hess
    CEO, Skooba Design
    BNet Columnist, “Business With Class”

  42. Craig Deakin says:

    I was fairly suprised by this post, as I’ve recently did the same with craigdeakin.com

    I actually stopped because I want/need to focus more on ” bigger ” projects that I’ve got planned and need to be in the right position to execute those ideas.

  43. You have to be very clear and ask yourself: “What’s the end goal?” And then ask yourself, how does allocating my time to this task/this activity, help me get closer to that end goal? If it doesn’t, then it’s just “busy work” as far as I’m concerned.

  44. Collin says:

    I’m curious: will you not lose some of your following if you stop blogging?

    The post was great, by the way.

  45. [...] Should YOU stop blogging too? (via [...]

  46. I agree with this well-stated post for the most part, in that it makes sense to do more of whatever is working to move your business or goals forward, while not getting stuck and falling into the one-trick pony hole either. Balance!

    Thanks, Jonathan and Jim!

    Peter

  47. [...] of our dreams we can get lost in the work. Jonathan Fields wrote brilliant piece dissecting why a well known blogger gave up blogging. We have to know our needs so we know how to grow our brand and [...]

  48. [...] of our dreams we can get lost in the work. Jonathan Fields wrote brilliant piece dissecting why a well known blogger gave up blogging. We have to know our needs so we know how to grow our brand and [...]

  49. [...] Should YOU Stop Blogging, Good for them, but you’re not them. BUT… What I do see is a … questions– when should you *start* blogging (and why) … [...] here to see the original: Should YOU Stop Blogging, Too [...]