The Hunger Games Guide to Surviving Your First Year of Blogging

the-hunger-gamesThe first year of blogging is the worst.

It doesn’t matter how tough you are; it will beat you to your knees over and over.

It hits hard. There’s no wonder why up to 80% of blogs are abandoned within the first month.

Imagine working so hard, writing a ton of content, leaving comments, trying to build your email list – doing everything you’re suppose to do and getting No Results.

During the first year, you’re nobody. You’re writing in obscurity. You’re finding your voice. You’re working on your craft. It’s not easy. But today I want to make it a bit easier with this Survival Guide.

The Hunger Games has a few hidden lessons behind all the violence. By the way: Spoiler Alert. If you haven’t watched the movie, I do talk about some details that might ruin your Hunger Games experience. Just thought you should know.

Differentiate or Die

Peeta Mellark: “Don’t go for the bow Katniss.”

At the beginning of the Hunger Games, Katniss is told not to go for the bow and arrow by two characters. The reason is because the other 20+ fighters will also be going for the weapons and it always ends up being a bloodbath.

The fighters who survive are the ones who know this and make a different move. The ones who survived ran for the woods. In your first year of blogging, I suggest you run for the woods, too; and avoid the bloodbath.

The blogger who sees what everyone else is doing and does something completely different is going to stand out. The blogger who knows that being unique is more important than conforming to the norm is going to be one step closer to surviving their first year.

Make an Impression – Fast

Katniss & Peeta had a mentor. His name was Haymitch. Before the Hunger Games all the fighters would be able to show off their talents to potential sponsors. These sponsors would then send them supplies during the games.

Haymitch Abernathy: “This is the time to show them everything. Make sure they remember you.”

Those who did not make an impression on the sponsors would be at a disadvantage. This is why Haymitch tells them both to show the sponsors everything

…And I’m telling you now that in your first year of blogging, you can’t hold back. You need to show your readers everything you know.

All the content that you believe should be behind a paid subscription, should be given away for free. This free content will spread your ideas, brand, blog and business far and wide. And of course, you’ll be far less likely to quit if people start to know who you are.

Know Your Strengthskatniss-bow-arrow

“You know how to hunt. Show them how good you are. There’ll be a bow, make sure you use it. Peeta, you make sure to show your strength.”

Haymitch also suggested they focused on showing off their strengths. This is what they were good at, and this is what made them memorable. Blogging is no different.

The content creation process is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. You’ll struggle with finding things to write about, looking for interesting angles for your content and using different content mediums.

I highly recommend doing what feels right, especially in your first year. If writing isn’t your thing, then start an audio podcast. If audio isn’t your thing, then start a YouTube channel.

Whatever you do, start somewhere and make sure you focus on your strengths. Writing is only one form of spreading ideas. Do what you do best and you’ll be well on your way to celebrating your blog’s 1st birthday.

Don’t Underestimate The Power of Friends

Cinna: “Did they explain about trying to get sponsors?
Katniss Everdeen: “Yeah, but I’m not very good at making friends.”

Sponsors only gave to those fighters they liked. Katniss wasn’t great at being likable, but she knew she had to change that if she wanted to survive the Hunger Games. Although in blogging this isn’t a life or death situation, it is important.

I recommend linking out to other bloggers in your industry so that they can begin to notice you. The first year is very lonely. No one knows who you are until you make yourself known.

How exactly? – Reciprocity is key

Leave comments on other blogs. Email bloggers to say hi and introduce yourself. Retweet their articles. Include them in a round up post. All these things can get you on their radar. That’s how you start creating relationships. Give before you receive and you’ll do great.

What did you learn from The Hunger Games?

Did you see it? Did you like it? Are there any more hidden lessons? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.. and share this if you found it helpful.

  • http://www.bundles.telcoservicesgroup.net/phone-service/ Heather Protz

    I can literally feel this article. This is what happens with every single blogger and why a majority of the blogs are abandoned after the first few days. Great tips.

  • http://www.maturespringchick.com bcpendleton

    Very inspiring info… I have been blogging for a month now. I can tell that I may need to make some changes.

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      Thanks.. glad it inspired you – if you have any questions, feel free to ask

  • http://greatlifeblog.wordpress.com/ Amanda | personal development

    I loved the Hunger Games. But I never thought of using it to learn hidden lessons about blogging. Thank you, Hector!

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      You’re welcome.. :0) – great movie by the way

  • http://cindycaldwell.wordpress.com/ Cindy Caldwell

    Just saw “The Hunger Games” this past weekend. Of all the discussions and thoughts that came out of the movie, I didn’t tie it into writing or blogging. Excellent article…very creative motivation!

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      Thanks Cindy.. glad you liked it.

  • http://www.internetnewbieincome.com willie@ internet newbie income

    Hello Hector,

    I started my first blog back in 2009 on blogger.com, then in 2010 I moved it over to WP.org.

    After observing other bloggers and marketers, I was kinda at a loss of what and where to begin my blogging.

    So, I settled on the idea of just telling my entrepreneur and online expereinces of trying figure out and build an income streams from home.

    I consider myself a serial entrepreneur, have been since my youth. So I just try to learn from others such as yourself and then share my own story.

    I had abandoned my first blog for a few months, because I didn’t have a free opt in gift to offer anyone, and started another blog, I had got in one of those blog network communites, mainly to get and help others get back links.

    After a while I had a successul marketer look at my first blog as well as my second blog, he recommended that I stay with my first blog, which he said, because of it’s age, had a page rank of 2.

    He suggested that I stay with my first blog and build it up, so that is what I am trying to do, though sometimes it get’s hard coming up with great content.

    But as they say anything worth doing and worth having is worth the fight to acheive it.

    Thanks,

    Willie

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      I completely agree with that advice. Page rank 2 sites rank better in the search engines and have a higher authority. If you have that, then you should definitely try to grow that – better than trying to start something new.

      Unless you’re not interested in that niche anymore and want to start something that you care a bit more about. In the end, if it doesn’t make you feel good inside to build it, then is it really worth your time?

      Just a thought..

  • http://www.geekshirtshq.com Geek shirts

    I have been blogging for 18 months, writing has become a passion for me. I think video is out of the question for me ad I have the sort of face that would be ideal for radio!! :)

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      Then writing and audio podcasting is your thing.. go for it!!

  • http://www.sharpbizimage.com Rebecca Olkowski

    I just saw Hunger Games and your post is a great analogy. I believe I started seriously blogging around the same time as you. It’s so true that you have to run for the woods and be different. That isn’t always easy when you are still unknown. However survival depends on the ability not to quit and play it smart and with integrity. I think for me it’s time to quit hiding in the woods and do something bold.
    I love your style and you always provide excellent information.

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      Thanks Rebecca, glad you liked the post. – and yes, the woods aren’t meant for hiding – make it happen :0)

      take care

  • http://scrumpybumpy.blogspot.com/ leslie

    Great article.
    I’ve been at it for 1yr almost exactly, and I you totally nailed it. I love blogging, but sometimes I’m feeling so hopeless by it all.
    I only 19 followers, whaaaat?

    I like that you practice what you preach, you are so active in getting your own website/blog out there with all your emails and newsletters and what not. Great ideas and great tips you have. Love it.

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      It takes time. If you’ve picked the right niche, and are creating content that people want to read, then it’s only a matter of time until your audience starts to find you online.

      Be sure to check out the 8-part marketing course if you need extra help :0)

  • http://techtidbits01.blogspot.com/ Gwen Lehman

    I really enjoyed The Hunger Games and i’m a first year blogger, so I completely connected with this article. I often struggle with what to write about because I think people already know the things I know and I’m not sure if I’m contributing anything new. With that said, I’m going to look at my strengths and keep pressing on with my blogging.

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      This was a tough one for me, too. But the key is to understand that there will ALWAYS be people who need your help. In this niche and in the fitness niche, there are hundreds of other sources that know 10 times more than I do, but that’s not my audience. My audience are the people who need the information that I’m putting out.

      If you follow the principles of inbound marketing, those people will find you. :0)

  • http://www.ElevateEverything.com Doc Seth

    Great tips Hector- Most people try and be someone else without realizing that we don’t need 2 of anybody. We need everybody to just be themselves, because no one can do YOU like YOU.

    We don’t need anymore copy-cats, we need more individuality.

    Great post!

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      Exactly right..

  • http://www.ramblingsofawahm.com/transitioning-from-blogger-to-wahm-preparing-myself-my-readers-and-my-blog/ Allie | Ramblings of a WAHM

    Hector,

    This is good.

    I am reading the books right now and saw the movie. I like your analogies, they are right on, I just hope I don’t get eaten by raving dogs in the end if I don’t get it right, lol.

    One thing also from the Hunger Games. Sometimes you just have to step back and watch. Hideout and learn what others are doing. Not necessarily in a tree, lol. Once you know the others around you, it is easier to know what you need to do.

    ~Allie

  • http://dave-stevegoodwin.com/blog Steve Goodwin

    Nice post! I can definitely attest to having a rough start in blogging at the beginning. Until we really started getting out there and networking (making friends), we weren’t getting all that much notice or comments. Now that we are consistently reading, commenting, and networking with other like minded individuals, the field is really opening up and we are starting to gain new opportunities that were not available earlier! This is a great way to start building your role as a leader/expert in your field!

    Thanks for the positive insight on the blogging experience!

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      Glad to hear you’re getting results. Networking is a big part of getting noticed online and it sounds like you guys are on the right track..

      appreciate your comment

  • https://jenhasgoodscents.scentsy.us Jennie Young

    Great info, Hector. Thank you!

    • http://www.inboundpro.net/ Hector Cuevas

      Welcome

  • http://www.alaskagirlatheart.com Pamela

    Awesome comparison and great advice. Although my blog is technically over one year old, I didn’t give it very much attention until January. It definitely has been a bit lonely at times, but lukily I’ve acquired a few followers who seem very interested and engaged.

    One thing I would add is…don’t count on your friends. Most of my followers are strangers. I’ve found it extremely hard to get friends interested in supporting my blog publically (by following me). Although those same friends seem to have a lot of opinions about what I should and should not write about.

    Thanks again!!!

  • http://www.zoealexanderuk.com/blog Zoe

    Hi Hector! I haven’t seen the Hunger games but I totally understand where you are coming from! Your posts are always so informative and you have given me a real clarity to how to develop my blog! Thank you! Watch what your competitors are doing, and do the opposite!

  • http://www.zoealexanderuk.com/blog Zoe

    Thanks for the emails and the offer given above!

  • http://www.anywherethereswater.com Andrea Leschak

    Having seen the movie I completely relate. I started our company blog a year ago, made it 2 posts, then stopped. My reason, I took constructive criticism personally instead of objectively. Now, a year later, I’m writing content & feeling more comfortable with my voice. I now accept the critiques as instructional and if relevant, incorporate the changes. Thanks for your post.

  • http://horsemarkcards.com Vickie Horsfall

    I loved the Hunger Games and how you used it to give excellent information of blogging. I am preparing to begin a blog and your suggestions are very helpful.
    Thanks for the guidance. Enjoy your day!

  • http://www.laurahoward78.blogspot.com Laura

    What do you mean by “Include them in a round up post”?

  • http://www.bubblesdeux.com Dee Dee

    Hi Hector,

    I’ve been blogging for 6 years now and up until a year ago I was on a closed site where I didn’t have to pay attention to the ‘real’ world. Now that I’m here with everyone else, you quickly realize the net isn’t just sitting around waiting for you to arrive.

    I love this post because it’s all true! I was thinking blogging is a lot like being in a Mad Max movie, but that’s what happens when you show your age online. :)

  • http://lauraleewalker.com Laura-Lee Walker

    Great post Hector! Hunger Games was an amazing movie and it fits in perfect with your tips. I love to use your method of guest blogging as it accomplishes two things: 1) Learning more about different techniques of blogging. 2) Gives you the opportunity to build that network and share your blogs in return.

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