blog

Are you entitled to have a blog? Six questions to ask yourself before you start one.

Possibly. Well, if we're speaking candidly of course you have the right to blog. However, knowing why you're blogging is even more important than what you're going to blog about. Just because you can write about something doesn't mean you're entitled to a blog.

What is it that makes you unique in your work environment, school, neighborhood, or family. When you identify what that is you may have discovered why you should blog. Because that one thing, whatever it is, adds value to those around you. It's something you do naturally and you could teach it to someone else. Often, people try to pick a topic to blog about instead of taking on the role of a teacher or coach in what they already do well. What can I learn from you? What would make me better as a person, employee, leader, home owner, parent, etc?

Now, you may be the leading expert on a topic and able to lead an entire community in conversation around that topic. Most people are not the worlds greatest expert but they are successful at something that comes naturally to them. Reflect on what comes naturally to you and break it down so that I can learn from you. Can you observe others attempting to do what you do and offer coaching tips? A blog like this will last. Anyone can start a blog but few can make it longer than six months, a year, or even two years.

Check out this great infographic titled "How we are Blogging".

So remember these things when you think about starting a blog:

1. What do I naturally do better than anyone else?

2. Do I have a strategy of how often I will post?

3. Is this something I want to financially invest in? (Don't invest financial resources unless you're committed to two years of consistant writing).

4. What blogging platform would I like to use? (Wordpress, Blogger, Typepad, etc...)

5. Who do I know that could help me? Do I know anyone already doing a great job?

6. Again, what do I naturally do better than anyone else?

The biggest challenge to blogging is not design or building an audience. Neither of these will make a blog last. The biggest challenge is consistently writing on a weekly schedule. Are you up for the challenge? I'd like to see you try.

Why you can't let your blog become a politician

You know what politicians are obsessed with? Approval numbers.

Is that what your blog is about? Are you writing to gain approval?

Here's my gift to you.

Being read is great. Having blog traffic statistics is nice because it feels like you can see a return on investment. But seeking approval is causing the most engaged people in your tribe to back off.

Here's why:

1. We're getting less of you - We see this in politicians all the time. We get less of what they actually feel because they become sensitive to having mass appeal. I'm continuing to learn this rule: provide content to the tribe and the tribe will take it to the masses. Politicians burn out trying to make sure they have as many followers as possible. Blog's aren't sustainable based upon how many reads either. Blogs are sustainable when a tribe leader is passionately connecting the tribe to an idea.

2. Broken Polls - How many times have you watched the news and have seen polls on politicians approval ratings? How many times do we find out later a poll was wrong or had false numbers? When it comes to blogging there is only one trusted counter: Google Analytics. I know this from my search to be an affiliate through my blog. I haven't applied to be a potential affiliate and asked what my Wordpress statistics say. Every single affiliate application has asked for my Google Analytics statistics. Who's opinion would you take in to regards of who you are: Your mom or Jesus? Giving Wordpress statistics control over your content is comparable to moving back in at 26 years old because your mom thinks your great. Don't let polls control you.

3. Don't lose your "why" - A common result of popularity is forgetting the "why" you started to do something in the first place. A helpful tool I learned from ProBlogger is to create five profiles of readers. They don't have to be actual people, the important step is that you have five different type of people you want to help with your blog. Every post should be written towards one of those five profiles. This exercise will keep you from getting distracted from the masses and keep you focused on providing the best content to a specific audience.

Here's what I've noticed recently - Politicians rarely say how they feel. They rarely give a guide with concrete steps. They do say things they don't have control over to gain approval. Don't let your blog do the same to you. Write to create. Write to help. Write to provide space for a conversation. Help the tribe grow your readership and focus on content.

 

Relax, you're as famous as an Elvis impersonator

Sometimes when I first tell someone they should start a blog I can see fear overtaking them.  First comes the blank facial expression, then the stuttering, and then the worrying about self promotion.  

I compare it to an Elvis impersonator, like our boy pictured above, who believes he has the exact same fan following as Elvis.  He says "Uh-huh" just right, "You ain't nothing but a hound dog" with that southern draw, and he can work the eyebrow.  After all, he's Elvis.  Wrong, he just has a pair of sideburns, but in his mind, he has as many fans and as much pressure on him as the actual Elvis. 

Just because you decide to write a blog  on the internet, doesn't mean all 6.8 billion people will read your blog.  Just like being an Elvis impersonator doesn't mean you have the same amount of fans as the real Elvis.  To be honest, your friends probably won't even read your blog.  So, remind me again why you feel so much pressure about writing a blog?  

Calm down there sideburns.

A blog should be a self expression of your creativity and interest, not a popularity contest.  So relax, you're not famous.  Have fun writing, or vlogging (video blog), or taking pictures...whatever it is you love to do.

 

Where's your blog?

Everyone around you is waiting for you to write it.

The idea has been rolling around in your head, you have an idea to write a blog.  As soon as the idea comes to your mind, your lizard brain sneaks up and halts your progress.  The lizard brain is your amygdala, the oldest part of your brain, and it fights for survival.  It doesn't want you to take the risk, because you might have to change or work harder.  

BUT, shrug that feeling off.  Write a blog.  You have something to offer that no one else has to offer.  Plus, the blog is going to replace your job resume'.  When you apply for a job you can put something you have done on a piece of paper or you can can show what you are doing online.  That's a big difference to a possible employer.  

Here's my starter kit to blogging once you've gotten over the fear of failure:

1.  Research - The best resource I've found is www.bloggingwithamy.com.  If you have any questions about establishing a blog and how to make it your own, start there.  I've also emailed Amy to ask her a question and her response time was amazing!  

2.  Wordpress.com/Wordpress.org - Any pro blogger will say that consistency is critical to develop an audience.  Decide how often you will post.  I post Monday, Wednesday, Friday for leadership entries, and every Tuesday for Things BIG men don't understand.  So start with "Free."  That's the difference between Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org, Wordpress.com is free and easy to manage.  Try being consistant for six months to a year.  If you pull it off and are still excited about blogging then it's time to get a host and move over to Wordpress.org.

3.  Hosting - Having a host means that you are paying a company to put your writing on their server.  Your written material has a home address on a host.  It's like putting your money in the bank.  Except now you are putting your intellectual property on someone else's hard drive.  I love, LOVE, BlueHost.com.  Their customer service is outstanding.  I have a button on the right side of this page that will link you to their site.  

4.  Evernote - Evernote is a note taking system that operates on your smart phone and computer.  The best part about it is that regardless of how many devices you have it on (in my case iPhone, iPad, and Mac) Evernote syncs the notes across all the devices.  If I'm driving down the road and I have a blog entry idea I get out my phone and I can leave myself an audio recording describing the idea.  Then when I sit down to write I can play the recording on my computer.  Go to www.evernote.com to get started and gather your ideas.

At some point you have to stop waiting for that one specific moment where someone will notice your talent and sky rocket you to success.  Instead, be proactive and start sharing your ideas and talents, create a conversation we haven't had yet and you will create opportunities for yourself.