My enthusiasm to succeed in my online efforts has led me to read an enormous amount of information. I am sure that the same can be said for many of you.
I would like you step back for a moment and consider how much of that information has actually been helpful to you. I would personally estimate perhaps 10%.
Now, you might argue that you have to read a lot of rubbish to uncover the rough diamonds, and that is true to an extent. But I do not believe for a second that we need to read as much as we do in order to be successful. In fact, I believe it can be to your detriment, and I’ll tell you why.
The Three Types Of Internet Marketing Content
Any article you digest relating to internet marketing is likely to do one of three things:
1. Introduce you to a new concept
2. Reinforce your knowledge of an existing concept
3. Provide you with a “micro-strategy” inside of an existing concept
If you are already up and running with your online business, and have a good idea of what you are trying to achieve, then all three of these article types carry little value compared to what you could be doing instead. Let’s look at them each in turn.
A New Concept
Let’s say you have set up a niche site for dog training (yes, that old nugget). You have created content, carried out on site SEO, and are busy building up backlinks. Then you read an article called “Affiliate Marketing Made Easy”. You have never really looked into affiliate marketing before, so this is all new to you and sounds exciting.
How does that help you in your current efforts? It doesn’t. Not only that, it can distract you. If progress on your dog training site has not lived up to your expectations to date, then your enthusiasm may be dropping. Reading about how you can easily make money elsewhere is not going to help you in focusing on your efforts.
Success takes time. If your efforts are constantly distracted by the promise of greener grass on other side, then your chances of hitting your targets will decrease rapidly.
Let’s say your backlinking strategy is going along quite well. You are leaving relevant comments on blogs. You are establishing yourself as a helpful source on a couple of related forums. You are submitting your published content to article directories in the hope of getting it syndicated. You have set up a complex linkwheel that is drip feeding SEO juice to your main site.
It seems like you have got a really good strategy going on. So why do you need to read about how to do something you already know all about? You’re probably hoping that there will be a little nugget of additional information in there that can help you further. But I’ll tell you what can help you – doing more backlinking. You will gain far more knowledge and experience in doing, rather than reading up on something you already have a good familiarity with.
I’ll give you an example of a micro-strategy. Let’s say you have your backlinking strategy down pretty good. You’ve got it all laid out – all you need to do is execute. Then you come across an article with an all-new way of backlinking that is just guaranteed to work.
The natural temptation is to try the new strategy, but that would be entirely the wrong thing to do. The only you way you are going to find out what truly works is through your own experience. If you are going to be successful, you are going to try many things, and the majority of those efforts will result in failure. But it is only in experiencing the failures that you learn enough to lead you to success.
Flitting from one idea or strategy to the next without committing enough time and energy to each will never get you anywhere. If you are constantly reading articles about the new and exciting strategy, then you will struggle to remained focussed on your current efforts.
Having Said All That…
I should include a caveat before I leave you to give me your thoughts in the comments section below – I still think you should read. You should never stop reading, and you should never stop learning. However, I think everyone can gain value in considering how valuable doing is. In my opinion, learning by doing beats learning by reading every single time in the long run.
Of course, if you have no idea what to do to achieve your goals, you will need to establish a solid base of knowledge – and this will require reading. However, once you are past that point, you should be pouring the vast majority of your efforts into advancing your knowledge and experience through action.
One final thing – yes, it is rather ironic that I am arguing that you should read less, as I am producing a blog. There is quality content available on the internet, and you should still be digesting that as part of your overall workload. And I would of course like to think that my content is amongst that quality. Therefore, I still think you should read my blog. However, if you only had say an hour a day to commit to your online business, then I would say that you shouldn’t be reading any blog, including mine. I am not afraid to say that, because ultimately my aim is to help you, not myself!
Graphic courtesy of My Melting Brain