If you haven’t seen it, Syfy’s new show, Killjoys is about a trio of space-faring bounty hunters (called “Killjoys”) who work for a mysterious independent interplanetary organization. The first season just wrapped up and you can watch it on the official site.
If you have seen it, you’re probably wondering what in the world it has to do with blogging.
As with any great story, there are lessons you can learn from watching the characters and analyzing their decisions… and mistakes.
And as a blogger, you know there’s no one course or degree that teaches you everything you need to know about blogging. Continuous learning is incredibly important for bloggers, since we’re all self-taught and have to keep up with a rapidly developing industry.
These lessons may not be a matter of life and death for you like they are for the three Killjoys, but they might be life or death when it comes to your blog’s success!
1. Focus on Your Primary Goal and Avoid Distractions
When a Killjoy first starts working for the R.A.C. (Recovery and Apprehension Coalition), they must swear to remain impartial, outside of the influence of politics and personal relationships. To a Killjoy, “the warrant is all.” Once they accept a warrant, they need to follow through on it – no matter what.
When they do let themselves get distracted, it often leads to serious consequences, like in the first episode when John accepts a warrant for personal reasons without telling Dutch, or when Dutch finds herself indebted to a powerful politician and needs to put her request above the warrant.
If they'd focused on the warrant instead of being swayed by outside influences, it would have prevented a lot of trouble.
As a blogger, that same focus and impartiality can be hugely beneficial to the success of your own blog.
Blogging is creative work, and it can be hard to put your words out there for the whole world to read. Every time you publish a post, you open yourself up to criticism or even trolling, bullying, and abuse.
By staying impartial and not lowering yourself to the level of trolls or bullies, you can hold onto your sanity and emotional health, and gain the respect of your more level-headed readers.
Try this: If you’re having trouble with mean-spirited comments, take a break for a week or so before you respond, or hire an assistant to moderate comments for you.
Keep Your Eyes on Your Goals
Bloggers are faced with a ton of distracting and conflicting advice on the web. There’s always a new course, ebook, community, social media platform, or blog that purports to be everything you need.
It’s important to stay focused on your blogging goals, and not be distracted by every new course or strategy that you come across, or you won't get anything done.
Try this: Only take one course or read one e-book at a time, and cut down on your number of blog and newsletter subscriptions. Evaluate how closely related the material is to your blog and your goals.
2. Choose Your Team Wisely
A great team is an amazing tool for growing your blog – but having the wrong team members can get you in a lot of trouble. On Killjoys, the team learns this the hard way in the episode “Kiss Kiss, Bye Bye,” when one of their own teammates turns against them, and one of the trio almost dies.
As your audience grows, it’s important to invest in your blog to keep that momentum going – and that often means hiring help. This could mean hiring a graphic designer, virtual assistant, moderators, or even your own team of writers.
But adding new team members is a risky business, as Dutch and her team learned the hard way.
You can vet potential new team members by:
- Investigating their website and social media accounts to look for red flags
- Thoroughly checking their portfolio of past work for similar projects
- Making sure the work in their portfolio is real, and is really theirs
- Asking to speak to references
Keep an eye out for these red flags:
- Poor communication skills: They don’t have to be perfect, but you should be able to understand each other enough to work well together, and communication should be prompt and professional.
- No references: It’s a huge risk to hire someone with no references. Use your best judgment.
- Super-low rates: Maybe you got lucky and found an awesome freelancer who doesn’t know their own value – but chances are you’ll get what you pay for.
(How do you vet freelancers? Have you come across other red flags? Share them in the comments!)
3. Communication Is Vital
On Killjoys, keeping secrets from your teammates can be deadly. Dutch, John, and D’avin all have their own secrets, and when they’re discovered they end up almost getting the others killed.
Honestly, if they had better communication skills, the show would be pretty boring – but they’d be a lot safer and more successful!
Luckily, as a blogger, success is preferable to drama.
That means keeping secrets to a minimum, and valuing honesty in all your communication with your:
- Team: In order to successfully work with others on your blog, whether you’re working with a developer, designer, writers, moderators, or others, you need to communicate your expectations. Keeping an open line of communication is crucial to working together successfully.
- Audience: It’s important to be genuine with your readers. There’s a certain amount of “faking it till you make it” that you can do by projecting confidence and professionalism even when you don’t feel it. But you should never take that to mean misrepresenting yourself to your audience by claiming expertise you don’t have.
- Peers: Communicating with other bloggers in your niche is a key strategy of blog promotion. By connecting with other bloggers in your niche, you can expand your reach exponentially.
- Think about and write down processes and expectations before hiring anyone for your blogging team.
- Try connecting more deeply with your audience by writing a 100% honest and open blog post about your struggles as a blogger in your niche.
- Subscribe to a fellow blogger’s email newsletter – and write a personal response to their welcome email.
4. Cooperation Instead of Competition
In the episode “One Blood,” Dutch must compete against top Killjoys to find a fugitive. But when she gets in trouble, her teammates have to cooperate with a rival Killjoy to help her… and he ends up doing exactly what needs to be done when they can’t.
You may have noticed above that I mentioned other bloggers in your niche and referred to them as “peers” instead of “competitors.” That’s because as a blogger, you should work together with and try to complement the work of other bloggers instead of thinking of them as the competition.
As a blogger, you don’t have to directly compete against others in your niche. With so many readers out there, everyone has different tastes and preferences. You’re not fighting over the same audience; you’re trying to reach the audience that’s perfect for you.
Try this: Interview a fellow blogger in your niche and write a blog post featuring him.
Killjoys might be a futuristic action sci-fi show, but at its heart it’s really about the main characters and their relationships with each other, and how they work together to deal with challenges both internal and external. As a blogger, you can take those life lessons and apply them to your own blog… and you’ve probably already done the same with other media around you.