The Absolutely, Positively, 100% Guaranteed Way To Hit Home Runs In Everything You Do

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“Stuff that I do, if I have one or two or five or eleven peaks, as long as I’m productive and make enough stuff, maybe I have more chances at making some really good peaks, whether they’re sketches or jokes or drawings.” – Demetri Martin

I gave you the answer to the title of this article without even writing anything unique. Damn. I guess you can stop reading now. ;)

Demetri’s quote really resonated with me because of how closely it’s associated with blogging and virtually any other form of work or art.

Let’s say you’re writing a blog: most of your articles will receive an average (relative to you) level of visitors and comments. This is your core audience and they’re very important. Then some of your articles will resonate with another, larger, audience and you’ll get an extraordinary amount of traffic. These are the home runs, Demetri’s peaks.

You could take the stance that it’s better to focus only trying to hit home runs, but a lot of it has nothing to do with you. I’m consistently surprised which articles get lots of visitors/comments and which ones don’t.

As artists we have to focus on producing what we believe to be quality content for our core audience.

We’ve prepared. We’ve gone to batting practice. We’ve hit the weight room. We’ve shot the steroids. (Oh wait, not the part.) There is not much left to do.

Whether any piece of content ends up being a home run or not is mostly out of our control after that point.  That said, hitting home runs is fun! Let’s start from the beginning …

How To Never Hit Home Runs

Before we can figure out how to hit home runs let’s talk about how not to hit home runs.

Don’t swing. Ever. Keep telling yourself: “I’ll do it some day. Maybe tomorrow. Next week sounds good. Oh, but next year. Next year will be amazing.” And so it goes. (Life Lesson #11: Some day never comes.)

My friend John used to say, paraphrased, “Just do something. Create something. Anything. Throw shit at the wall and see what sticks. Then figure out what works and do more of that.” There is a lot you can do as far as research and planning that will make the “sticking” more likely, but if you’re at a point where you haven’t swung the bat, the time is now.

When you’ve taken a swing, know this …

Base Hits Are Better Than Home Runs

Ask any baseball coach if he’d rather have 10 base hits or 1 home run, and unless he is an utter fool, he will go for the base hits. A hit is an opportunity. A home run is a rarity.

Take lots of swings, because most of the pieces of content you create will be base hits. Every base hit is a step closer to a home run. (You’ll probably also have a few strikeouts, which are creations that simply don’t resonate at all with your audience. Don’t worry about it. Keep swinging.)

Consistently getting base hits is important because they put you in a position to win. And they help you deal with the strikeouts. Home runs, or massively popular pieces of content, can be complete game changers, but they won’t happen often.

I submit that if we’re going to think about hitting home runs then we should focus on hitting game changing home runs. Otherwise known as Grand Slams.

A Home Run Is Only A Game Changer If …

What happens if you hit a home run with no men on base? Game changer? Not at all.

So here’s the rub: A home run isn’t a game changer unless you’re consistently getting those base hits.

Let’s say you run a small blog and are consistently writing good content. One day you write a really awesome article that explodes your site traffic. If not for all of your consistently good content the visitors from the really popular article probably wouldn’t stick around.

My goal is to consistently hit base hits. I’ve had a few strikeouts and I’ve had some home runs (again, this is relative). But the base hits are what will win this ball game for me.

And I like winning.

How about you? Do you consistently produce so you have more chances at reaching the peaks? Do you hit lots of base hits and some home runs? Let me know what you’re up to below …

Photo Credit

{ 24 comments }

Marcin

“Then some of your articles will resonate with another, larger, audience and you’ll get an extraordinary amount of traffic” – it’s just 80/20 principle in action. 20% of articles will result in 80% of new traffic.

“Do you consistently produce so you have more chances at reaching the peaks?” – for sure, persistence is the key to success. I don’t know what are the rules of baseball but I practice the art of showing up. It builds momentum. And as you wrote “one day you write a really awesome article that explodes your site traffic”. Woody Allen said that eighty percent of success is showing up and that’s true.

Karol

Dziekuje Marcin!

Yes, there has been a lot written about this topic. I just did a quick analysis of traffic, and the top 10% of articles have brought 64% of traffic. If I count the top 20%, it’s ~80%. :) It’s interesting how these rules actually are rules.

As far as not knowing the rules of baseball: to be honest, I knew this would be skewed for my international readers, but I hoped the general concept would still shine through. I’m not even a baseball fan. ;) (Well, I used to play it, but I never enjoyed watching.)

Looking forward to answering these Polish interview questions. :)

Karol

FGN

“You’ll always miss %100 of the shots that you never take.”

Great post, and great analogy to the Boys of Summer!

Karol

Exactly. And thank you FGN. :)

Ash

Just sayin….

You’re genius.

Karol

hehe Thanks Ash! :)

Ivana Sendecka

Great post!
In Seth Godin’s language of Linchpin, he is calling out to everyone to SHIP.
World’s does not have lack of talented people, but lack of those who are shipping.
Shipping even despite fear of failure, as in my opinion there is no such thing as failure only lessons learned.
Keep on shipping your super cool art, Karol.
;-)

Karol

Yes, shipping is important. Linchpin is a great book. The best thing about shipping is once you start shipping you don’t want to stop.

Thank you Ivana. :)

Caleb

Demitri Martin = Awesome. Person.
This article really “resonated” with me Karol :)

Karol

Definitely. Awesome.

Thanks for allowing yourself to “resonate.” :)

pat

For starters, I must say I really enjoy the pics you find to lead us into your posts; this one brought a great big grin to my face.
Guess hitting home runs wouldn’t be so downright exhilarating if they happened allday, every day!
Load the bases first–great strategy! Thanks for that Karol.

Karol

Thanks Pat! (flickr.com/search/advanced for pics)

pat

By the way – I clicked on the ‘Life Lesson #11: Some day never comes’ link and ended up at “101 Lessons Learned After 29 Years Of Living Life”. Then I did a search on your site for “Life Lesson #11: Some day never comes” and still came up empty.

Is it me or ???

Karol

Yes, it’s you. :) Go back to the link and scroll down to #11. hehe

Scott Spethman

I’ll say first off I was one of those stumblers who came across your 21 reasons blog, only I didn’t stay for that average 2 minutes, I stayed for hours. Your post on hubpages inspired me to start my own. So far I have gotten a few foul balls but hope to be posting some base hits soon. Thanks for the inspiration, have a good one!

Karol

Wow, thank you Scott! I’m glad you connected with what I’ve got going on here. :)

The HubPages won’t instantly be base hits. They’re usually slower moving than that. They’re like being walked as opposed to an actual hit. :) Same ending, different journey.

Christopher

Good advice, reminds me of a book I just read War on Art. Talks a lot about inner resistance and all the things we tell ourselves to not create (mostly referred to writing but was for anything in general).

Karol

hehe, funny you should mention that book…it has been one of my favorites for about 3-4 years AND I mention it in the upcoming Sweet Shit Saturday :)

Robin

Thanks for the pep talk to keep making those base hits. I don’t know if you ever imagined that your blog would be the inspiration for a stay at home mom with a child on the austism spectrum but it is. I feel like our lives could not be more different but we make a connection through your words.

Karol

Hey Robin, do you know how to make someone’s day? Leave a comment like that. :) Thank you THIS (it’s a lot) much!

Steven Ponec

You and The Middle Finger Project contain Epic Win in your blog post titles. The titles of yours always hit a home run.
I agree with the hit metaphor. People are so afraid of risks and trying out new ideas. They’ll continually tell you things are impossible, or say you don’t have enough credibility, or experience, or that people are out to scam you. I’d rather go all out for those hits and flounder and flail miserably than ever step up to the plate.

Karol

Thanks Steven! (Ash rules!) Awesome that you’re stepping up to the plate. :)

Grace

As usual, Karol, I’m lovin’ your words. I’m also an older mom-type person that loves travelling vicariously through blogs like yours and Chris G’s. This is really the only part of my life where I feel really supported in being a “freedom fighter,” so it means the world to me!!

Karol

Thank you Grace! It really does mean a lot to know you’re into what I’m doing here.

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