True Confessions of a Boring Blogger

Hi, my name’s Virginia and I used to be boring.

I’m here today because I get it.

No, I think I finally get it.

Marketing. The science. The art. Its value to humanity. Its relationship building potential. Its place in this whole big world of ours. I get it now.

It started as a directive.

For some time now I’ve watched the number of comments flat line on the blog. Since I took on the job of BCI’s main blogger, page views have been down, comments have been down, and the reputation for being a constant source of search industry insight has all but disappeared. I silently pondered the problem… until Bruce called me out.

Two weeks ago I got an email from the big guy. He had noticed. Where were the comments on the blog? Where were the Sphinns? The social media nods? The community? He asked Susan and I to think of ways to remedy this, to get conversations going, to increase engagement. And there it was. I couldn’t ignore the glaring omission any longer. Something had to be done. But first, we had to figure out what had gone wrong.

The problem was actually obvious.

To me, at least. There had been one very big change and it stood as a clear divider between the time people shared and cared about the Bruce Clay, Inc. blog and the time people, well, stopped. Lisa Barone, long the heart and soul of the blog, had left and taken her loyal readers with her. She’d taken her quirky personality, ruthless pursuit of ethics and insatiable appetite for speaking her mind. And of course, that’s what people were really after when they stopped by.

Luckily for all of us, Lisa wasn’t gone long. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that at her new home, Outspoken Media, she’s more inspiring than ever. Lisa clearly gets it. No, she lives it. There are no half-schemed attempts to fill blank space. Every word channeled through her keyboard adds meaning or perspective or a new dimension to conversation. The people she connects with become more than colleagues — they become friends. Although I had set out to carry on her tradition, I was missing this essential understanding. I was doomed from the start.

So I studied the masters.

Scott Polk turned me on to Gary Vaynerchuk after he returned from Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas last month. Gary had delivered the opening keynote of the conference and he shared with me the video that is available online. Man, that is a keynote. Gary, like Lisa, is someone who gets the power and potential of online relationships. The key, he explains, is that successful communication is based on “cool”, “real” and “authentic” interactions. The Internet is merely a tool for communication. People love each other, and the reason social media has taken off so fast is because we crave connections.

And then it struck me.

I had spent so much time and energy writing content that I had overlooked the point of sharing it. On my social networks I had continually reaped the benefits of the stories and links and opinions shared while rarely ever contributing to the conversation. After taking so much without giving anything back, it could come as no surprise that apathy started to creep in to people’s opinion of the blog — of me.

Yesterday Tony Adam wrote a blog post about a common issue he’s noticed on the social networking front. Too many times he’s seen people growing their network at the expense of building quality relationships. When networks become too big, when the content you’re pushing pollutes feed readers, when value becomes lost in the noise, the odds of really reaching people diminish. I commented that the opposite holds true, too — I see these issues as two sides of the same coin. When the give-and-take nature of communication becomes lopsided the message is lost.

And there you have it. My latest adventure in a journey toward marketing enlightenment. It’s humbling, and I know I’m still learning, but I think I finally get the big picture. The truth I found is that good marketing occurs when everyone wins. It’s not about comments, a paycheck or cleverly crafted prose. It’s about you and me and the electricity we feel when we talk to each other — when we really share.

So let me start. One thing you may not know about me is that I don’t like to make the same mistake twice. I don’t intend to.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (23)
Filed under: Social Media Marketing
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23 Replies to “True Confessions of a Boring Blogger”

So, how do you motivate yourself if you’re not feeling motivated? I think the feelings are key to understanding the root challenge.

Virginia Nussey

Tamaras, I think motivation is a different problem entirely. I was motivated to write quality stuff on the blog — the issue I outlined in this post was not knowing how.

When I’ve hit a motivational low point, I use a few different approaches. One thing I do I might do is take a break, step away from the keyboard, and give my brain a rest. That way when I return I feel refreshed and new ideas have come to me while my mind was open and relaxed.

If I can’t take a break, another approach I’ve found productive is just writing through the problem. By continuing to write when not motivated, I find I’ll discover something about myself or why I’m not motivated and I’ll have proved to myself that I’m a strong writer for not throwing my hands up in defeat.

Virginia Nussey

Thank you, Kim. Getting to this point has been a journey! All the supportive thoughts and words have helped me see it’s worth it. I think I still have a ways to go, but I do enjoy a good adventure. :)

Kim Krause Berg

I wondered at how long it would take for you to find your own voice. There couldn’t be a way to replace The Lisa or her and Susan’s hysterical banter, but you and Susan or you alone, have gifts to share. Lisa started out slowly…warmed up, found her voice and ran with it. So will you! Actually, I think you just did :)



I am a pretty much new reader to say the least, I have never been a reader of blogs, but I do like to read yours. That was a great post and shows that you really do care in what you do and how you go about doing it. You will only learn more as you move along gaining more knowledge and expertise. Keep up the great writing Virginia.

Virginia Nussey

@Shane, I can fill that request! So here’s me and Lisa on Squishable Day: . And here’s Lisa, Susan and I modeling Audette Media’s righteous shirts: (SEO Geek and proud, baby!). Here’s the time I met 86’d top chef Fabio: . I should just whip out the projector and start my vacation slide show…
@netmeg, you’re a riot on Twitter. (Follow @netmeg everyone!) Thanks for reading, Meg :)
@Steve, what a perfect example. It’s amazing what we can find and learn through our communities.
@Adam, why thank you. And this — — awesome!!!

Virginia Nussey

@Kat, thank you. I had a feeling I wasn’t the only one working through this issue. I definitely want to hear from you as you figure things out. I’ve committed to doing the same. [Adds GottaQuirk to feeds] Awesome indeed!

@Jayme, just 11 more steps to go… Or is it 11 million? Also, I never liked shadows much — just trying to find that sunny patch. Thanks to friends like you I think I’ve finally seen the light!

@Riz, yay! Thank you so much for the compliment! I’m going to try to do you proud and keep giving you a reason to come back. P.S. Checking out your blog and you talk about McDo! My momma’s from Manila! I love this small world of ours!

@Pat, SO good.

@Lisa, I’ll just admit I’d be lost without you. Watching you navigate the space has given me something to aspire to. I think some people think I want to copy you, but that’s not it. Just be as sharp, as committed and as good of a friend. I seriously don’t know how you do it ALL. Do you even sleep anymore?

Virginia Nussey

Wow, just wow. Thank you for all your frank comments and amazing support.
@Burgo, I will do my best. Also, your blog is awesome. Thanks for helping people find treasures off the beaten path. We aren’t so different after all.
@ J Matlock, I’m definitely going to try to share useful info consistently. This confessional has been nice because I feel like some people who no longer found the blog valuable might be giving me another chance.
@Scott, I totally agree – it’s such a tough balancing act. I can understand why companies are hesitant to enter the social media space. Success here requires a serious commitment of time and devotion.
@Kate, coming from someone who lives it, I’m flattered! I need to just follow you around for a day. The presence you keep in the industry makes me dizzy!

Clear and refreshing and true Virginia!

Steve Livingston

Virginia, that was a terrific post. You most certainly do “get it”, and here are the quote’s to prove it:

Too many times he’s seen people growing their network at the expense of building quality relationships.

It’s about you and me and the electricity we feel when we talk to each other — when we really share.

Social media is about quality conversation. Frank, real, authentic. That is what makes an interesting read. That’s what makes people really connect. I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually read this blog before (somewhat new to the online marketing community), but your post was very engaging. You can be sure that I’ll be making frequent stops. I’ll be looking forward to reading more!

PS. Virginia,

This is my first visit here. My first impression of Bruce Clay and this blog is that it reads and feels like a sheet of letterhead paper. Outspoken’s reads and feels like a bar napkin at a happy hour.

What do people say, “I can’t wait for happy hour,” or “I can’t wait to see a sheet of letter head paper.”? That could be another issue addressed. Who cares if you look professional, if you’re professionally unapproachable?


[adding you to my reader]


Very honest reveal of self. Thank you. But, another thing Lisa Barone gets is that a picture of herself speaks more than 1,000 words can. Where is your picture. Start there, and good luck to you.


A few months ago, Bruce wrote:

When Lisa was interviewed, she was a sweet, shy, quiet girl. Or so we thought.

I’m not sweet, shy or quiet. Neither are you. Be louder. Demand that. There’s an entire community out there waiting to fall in love with you. You’ve always inspired me. You can do it to them, too.

Hey, V. I’m an avid BC reader/lurker, and I have to say, I really enjoyed Lisa’s blogs in the past. However, I kinda lost track of her whereabouts when she left BC, but what I didn’t lose track of was my daily BCblog fix. I still read your stuff every day, and I just realize now that maybe it’s not really Lisa, but the credibility of this blog that makes me come back everyday. And IMHO, you’re doing a great job. Keep it up! :)


I’m so proud of you Virginia. Acceptance is the first step of recovery and you’re well on your way. Don’t be another Lisa…because one of her is enough! Be Virginia and contribute to this community like only you can do. Step out of her shadow and make your own mark on the blog. I eagerly await the new Virginia, and her blog posts.

Hey Virginia, you have no idea how much I resonate with your post! I started blogging for Quirk about a year ago, and negotiating how you connect with people through a company blog is something I’ve had to figure out too.. I agree completely with your sentiment (will be checking out that video) and hope we both live up to what’s possible. When you actually start connecting with people it is just an awesome feeling.

Well said Virginia. I am with Susan, your best post ever. One to be bookmarked and shown to those in the future who are just beginning.

great post, “Too many times he’s seen people growing their network at the expense of building quality relationships.” there is a lot to be said for this… I have found that it is still just a slow steady development of relationships that works

Confession is good for the soul. Yours seems genuine and sincere, which is a good thing.
There’s an old saying: “The most important thing in acting is sincerity. When you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
So whether real or fake, it’s sincere and I think you’ve got it made.
Now put in some data that’s worth knowing into the blog on a regular basis, and I’ll come by and read it. I don’t have time for tweets, much less blog posts, unless there’s something juicy I can use to better optimize websites. I’ve learned a lot from Bruce over the years and sent him some business. This blog has lacked useful tidbits the last few times I looked. I’m hoping that’s behind us now.

Hey Virginia,

After this post, I’d have to say that you certainly do “get it”. I think it’s important that you realise too that, not everyone *wants* “another Lisa” around these parts.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that in a bad way, Lisa’s undeniably great… but we’re looking for new faces around here, not “imitating old ones”.
Lisa’s great… but so are you. Now go do you.


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