I know, I know, American Idol screams pop-stardom, tabloid-overload, and celebrity gossip — surely you can’t learn a thing from that show!

Behind the surface, however, are some of the most powerful stories you’ll ever come across. Take Kelly Clarkson, American Idol’s first winner from back in 2002.

American Idol

Clarkson grew up in Fort Worth Texas – the daughter of a first grade teacher and former engineer. According to Clarkson (and Wikipedia) music was her refuge from her parents’ financial struggles and divorce.

After graduating from high school, Clarkson worked several jobs to finance a demo, record material, and connect with record labels. She received little response. Still, she never gave up.

A spot on American Idol changed the course of Clarkson’s path. After winning the show’s first season, her career soared – she rose to become one of the biggest names in the music industry. Her album topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart. It’s an understatement to say that today she has a thriving career.

I’ll admit that I don’t watch much TV. American Idol, however, is a show that I find quite inspiring. Having built multiple marketing companies, I know how it feels to chase a dream, work hard, and wonder if I’ll ever make it.

American Idol has more to do with blogging and marketing than you may realize. Here’s what I’ve learned:

#1 There is no such thing as “overnight success”

Success

What a lot of people forget is that becoming really good at something takes a lot of work. Even when you’re really great, you might never “make it”’ What I’m trying to say is that really successful people have been working for years to perfect what they do.

One of the reasons I really like American Idol is because so many artists have become successful; but this wasn’t due to one little reality TV show. It is because these talented artists used the TV show as a launching point for their career.

For Clarkson, she used it as a way to stretch her boundaries and open new opportunities. Never in her life would she have imagined that a “just for fun” audition would propel her into a lifetime of stardom.

And yet, here she is today. Facing rejection after rejection, she continued to put herself out there.

Blogging is far from the entertainment industry, but trust me, it’s just as cutthroat. There are millions of writers vying for audience attention. Very few become industry-leading names. Even fewer are in a position to earn a living through writing. But these marketers continue to pursue their passions and write for the sake of writing.

#2 If you are talented, you will rise to the top

Mountain Top Sunrise

A blogger’s success is entirely dependent on his or her audience. She’ll start at the bottom and build a small audience. If she sticks with it, she’ll grow.

American Idol contestants are very much a product of their audiences.  Yes there’s a panel, and yes, you need to be talented, but it’s more than the show that will put contestants in a position to win. It’s your talent.

American Idol was neither a beginning nor an end for Kelly Clarkson. Her career began years prior and has skyrocketed since the show.

Bloggers are in the same boat.

As the field of content marketing becomes more metrics-driven, editors have access to a range of analytics and tools to quantify social sharing activity, comments, pageviews, and overall web traffic.  Bloggers – who can demonstrate a quantifiable audience impact – are the ones who will land more gigs and thrive in this highly competitive multimedia channel.

#3 You need to connect with your audience

Connect with Your Audience

There’s no question that Clarkson stood out on American Idol. Her hard working, down-to-earth, and passionate attitude makes her a very likable character that you can connect with. You don’t feel like she’s putting on a show, even when she is.

The same is true in blogging. Readers are smart and they know if you’re simply putting on a show – so don’t do it!

Be authentic. Be real. Your audience will only grow because they’ll appreciate, and most importantly, they’ll want your honesty.

Final Thoughts: Learn from Failure – Strive to Improve

Blogger success stories are never instant. Yes, the top folks in the field make it look easy – they’ve quit their day jobs to earn six figures writing articles all day. Yes, it’s the dream. But these writers worked hard to get where they are. They faced rejection after rejection, learned from their mistakes and continued to persevere. They, like Kelly Clarkson, refuse to give up. They take their failures with stride, listen to editor feedback, and always keep going.

They’ll continue to make mistakes, but they’ll always pick themselves up and believe in themselves enough to keep going. They know that for every 100 “no thank yous” that they hear, the one “yes” will make all the difference.


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