The topic of this article really came about through a conversation between Brandon Cox and I during an email string about guest blogging post ideas. When this came up on the list of possibilities…I knew it couldn’t go without being published on RobbSutton.com as I feel this is a vital part of blogging that should not be ignored. Giving back is just as important…if not more so…than success.

There is the old saying…”the more you give…the more you will receive”. As much as that is true in our personal relationships and life interactions, it is even more relevant in the professional world as the more you put out in a positive manner, the more you will receive in return. Over the course of my professional life, I have seen a lot. One of the things that strikes me as odd most often (and I still see it all of the time) is a life cycle that some successful entrepreneurs go through.

They start out with nothing. As a man (or woman) with nothing but an idea, you are willing to give away the farm in pursuit of your dreams. You are willing to help out whoever you can in the hope they will help you grow your business and your dream as well. This giving atmosphere breads drastic change…and as a result…success is achieved for all of the involved parties. Along the road of success, something changes for this entrepreneur. They get greedy. The shift from giving to taking is a drastic one…and now…they are looking for what they can get out of each and every situation over what they can put in. In the beginning, nothing changes. Success still comes and people are still willing to help. As time moves forward, outsiders become aware of what is happening and draw back. The help leaves and the selfish entrepreneur is left to fend for himself. Success dwindles and the ego rises. In the end…failure comes and the entrepreneur can’t figure out why. (you see this in employees as well…usually ends up in being fired)

How Can I Apply This Story To My Blog?

The story is really a simple one. If you stop giving back…you will stop receiving. As bloggers and aspiring entrepreneurs…we have a social responsibility to give back more than we receive. If you want to see sustained success over time, this is a necessary part of your business model you need to take a serious look over. Even your small, just getting started blog is growing due to the spread of your small readership. As things get bigger, word of mouth and the strength of your brand is resting on the shoulders of those that support you.

It is not that you are so incredibly amazing that everyone wants to kiss your ass, it is how you have presented value and giving back over time. When you stop giving back to your readers, they will stop giving back to you in the form of links, spreading the word, commenting on articles, downloading ebooks, buying ebooks, etc. When you step into the selfish nature that comes with a growing ego, you are starting the beginning of your end.

How Can I Continue Giving Back?

As a blogger, you can continue to give back in a multitude of ways. Here are a couple that I keep on tap.

  • Give things away! (ebooks, content, help, etc.)
  • Attend blogging meetups and conferences.
  • Help another blogger get their blog started (remember when someone helped you?)
  • Provide consistent quality content.
  • Never forget you are never bigger than one of your readers.
  • Contests and giveaways that are easy to enter for your readers (good for traffic too).
  • Run charity contests where the proceeds go to a charity of your choice.
  • Linking to other blogs.

See the trend? By paying it forward…you are insuring your success over time.

As you look at your blogging and the business aspect, watch for the trends in your own attitude and lifestyle as you start to see success. Do not overlook the importance of your social responsibility to continue giving back as much as was freely given to you.

Image by Travis Jon Allison