The Life Cycle of a Blogging “Guru”

30 Days To X recently published a post on reasons not to join a master-mind group. It got me thinking about a pattern I’ve seen among other blogs several times. I left a comment on his post, and figured I’d put it on my own blog:

1) You come across an interesting blog. The blogger has a unique perspective on life or some aspect of it, or some career field. You can learn a lot from them, and enjoy their posts.
2) The blogger starts to grow an audience.
3) Rather than continue to grow personally, (and you grow along with him), the blogger resorts to writing content to the new audience, that keeps growing. New readers comment as if this is the most insightful thing they’ve ever heard; you consider the content about a skill level between tying your shoes and not getting your dick caught in your zipper.
4) The blogger publishes a book (self or traditional; doesn’t matter)
5) The blogger starts a podcast, which is usually a rehash of old blog posts.
6) The blogger then starts selling multi-hundred dollar to thousand some dollar “courses” and $45 a month or more “master mind” groups.
7) Every blog post is either a kindergarten level overview of the blogger’s content written to a┬ánew audience, a sales pitch for said “master mind” group or “courses”, testimonials from group or courses, or teases for group or courses. Or “I so LOVE writing this blog post from a Starbucks in Bangkok! You should too!”
8) After getting several “<your name>, I can’t BELIVE YOU HAVEN’T JOINED MY $45,000 <how not to get your dick caught in your zipper> course!” emails, you move on. Nothing left to see here.

I’ve seen this pattern repeat several times on blogs I’ve read over the years. You might call it “jumping the shark”. I’m happy for the blogger for finding success, but as a reader, I’m no longer the target audience and it’s time to move on by step 8.

This cycle can take a blogger up to a decade. In a recent case, the guy released a book just last year, and already is selling spots in his “Master Mind” group.

I can think of one blogger in particular, whom I have followed for about 10 years, that only in the last few months has grown almost intolerable with trying to sell his “courses”. Even after 10 years, he was still posting good content just a few months ago, until he entirely converted to rehashing old ideas and trying to sell his “courses”. He used to say he gave “98%” of his material away for free, but now he seems to do nothing but rehash old content, sell courses, or post testimonials.

One example I used on my old blog is Michael Hyatt. (You may have to scroll to the bottom of the landing page to click “Blog”). I first came across him in 2004 when he was with Thomas Nelson. I think by that time, he was President and CEO. At that point, he was posting VERY useful content. I thought “Great! Here is a Christian man who is a successful businessman, posting content that is very helpful to me!”. I read his blog for years. Then, suddenly, the cycle I documented above began to happen. He grew an audience. Then he quit Thomas Nelson for a speaking career. Then it was all about recycling old blog content, or writing at about a Kindergarten level. He started a podcast, which I listened to at first, but it was only a rehash of old blog posts. Plus TONS of commercials, which I’d heard before.

(NOTE: It drives me nuts in podcasts to have to listen to the same thing over and over again. “Boilerplate” is for the newbies, but if you want me to stick around, CUT IT THE HECK OUT!).

I still check his blog from time to time, because he occasionally posts something useful. But I long since cut off his RSS feed and unsubscribed from his emails, although every time he launches a new “course”, I get several emails over 3-5 days trying to get me to buy.

He’s not the only case.

But there are bloggers I’ve followed relentlessly over the years. Vox Day is one example. He’s very successful and intelligent (151 IQ), but he continues to grow and doesn’t try to sell the hell out of you. Sure, he runs Castalia House, and I’ve bought tons of their books, but he keeps growing and I learn from that growth, and I grow along with him. And the majority of the commenters on his blog are people I can learn from and grow with. He mercilessly takes care of the trolls and gammas. His growth challenges me. I bought his book “Return of the Great Depression” when it was first released in 2009. For the most part, the book was over my head, but I learned and put pieces together as I went along. Then, when he started writing about “game”, little of it made sense, but I learned from it. I’m convinced that what I learned about game from Vox and branched out into was instrumental in getting through my divorce, meeting my current wife, and having a much better marriage.

But so many others seem too tempted to the great riches. They stop feeding the audience that made them big in the first place. And that audience moves on. I guess if I could find an audience that would pay me for nuggets of wisdom that amount to “A,B,C,D,E,F,G…” my life would be better.

Hell, even John Maxwell has turned into a Mastermind Group selling troll.

Someday, I probably will start collecting email addresses. But I promise, I’ll provide value for it. That’s who I am. I’ve been blogging since 2004, and haven’t yet figured out a topic I should stick to,