The Importance of Specialization
After reading Heinlein’s famous quote, ‘specialization’ became a bit of a dirty word for me. Never mind that it’s how you get really good at something, or why the industrialization was so successful, being a renaissance man is where it’s at. It’s a romantic notion, but generally false. Especially when it comes to bloging, I find. What do I mean by that? Well, I guess you’ll just have to keep reading to find out.
When one starts blogging, like I did a year and a half or so ago, one reads all sorts of advice on the subject. It’s only natural, really. Much of it is repetitive and self-aggrandizing as you would expect, and almost everything written in the last few years is gimmicky SEO advice, but I did pick up a few nuggets worth retaining, even if they all didn’t seem important at the time.
Over the last couple months, on particular one keeps coming back to me as the numbers mount in it’s favor. Specialize. Specialize. Specialize. Pick a topic, pursue it regularly, and build an audience. It makes sense, but sometimes it is hard to see the momentum building slowly.
Take a look at the below graph:
Can you spot the differences? The first spike is the result of active efforts to promote traffic along with the natural traffic that our Kickstarter produced. It was thrilling, short lived, and often difficult to maintain. In seems like half the work that some bloggers do is flogging their own work. The intervening 10 months are more normal traffic – first slowly falling, and then slowly rising. The last three months show what happens when the Monday Miniatures column really starts to take off though. Keep in mind that it had been going on for months, but in October people I have never met started submitting pictures of their work. It was really amazing.
Could we be doing more to get the word out about this particular feature? Absolutely, but that’s not the point. The point is that if you make regular, interesting content, people will make a regular effort to read it and the whole thing will become quite self sustaining. It’s obvious now, but when you are just starting out, it’s easy advice to ignore. Give ‘em what they want, and then give it to them over and over again.