“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 …