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A Primer for Blogging; thoughts on 3,000 posts…

Old books

Just in time for this ‘milestone’ post, Chris Brogan provided this handy list that I’ll use as a preamble to what it is that I already wanted to share with you…

If you would like to get further into blogging, here is a brief primer:

  1. Get a blog. (Easy: tumblr.com, wordpress.com, blogger.com. Better: host your own -affiliate link.)
  2. Pick an area of focus, but one that has broad sides. (Mine: helping people do digital business in a human way.)
  3. Start writing.
  4. Start by planning to publish 1 post a week.
  5. Get daring and try for 2 posts a week (eventually).
  6. Make the posts more than 100 words and less than 1000 words most days.
  7. Spell-check.
  8. Delete the sentences that don’t matter.
  9. Realize that posts that are helpful to others get shared more than posts that are merely interesting.
  10. Never write a “sorry I haven’t written” post. Ever.
  11. Posts that just comment on other people’s posts and sum things up aren’t all that interesting.
  12. Do NOT get hung up on the tech. Get hung up on passion.
  13. The best way to write better is to read more. Second best: write more (often).
  14. Don’t try to copy other people’s style. Try to copy their proliferation.
  15. My best (most popular) posts were the ones I spent the least time writing.
  16. My least popular posts were the ones that took me more than a half hour to write.
  17. Pictures are a great place to start a post idea.
  18. Inspiration is a verb and a muscle.
  19. Lazy is, too.
  20. You’re doing it wrong. So is everyone.
  21. There’s not a single rule on this list that isn’t breakable. Break all the rules you want and enjoy yourself.

There. Write. Stop what you’re doing. Don’t comment. Don’t even share this post. Go write. On whatever came to mind. Delete it, if you hate it. But write. Now.

Source: A Primer for Blogging

Far be it from me to take issue with the great Chris Brogan, but regarding #1 I’ll say choose WordPress.com if you’re just getting started. Tumblr and Blogger are nice, but if you’re looking for traffic, nothing is better for Search Engine Optimization [SEO] than WordPress.com. You can always graduate to the self-hosted version of WordPress later if you want…

Regarding #2, sooner or later, you’ll have to face up to the fact that if you want to get good at it, your blog will have a brand. What is a brand?

“A brand is a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” Branding began as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. A modern example of a brand is Coca Cola which belongs to the Coca-Cola Company.” Source: Brand – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Simply put, if you’re going to find faithful readers, you’ll have to curate or create information on a narrow scope of topics so that people will know what to expect from you – what they come to expect of you is your brand. A blog gives you a share of voice on the internet which gives you a share of mind which may ultimately give you a share of market if you pursue it. You might even become a thought leader like Chris Brogan if you work your blog well enough! Thought leader? To me that’s a recognized expert that can be found in Google search. To become one you only need to do two things well; deepen your expertise [continuously learn – stay on top of your craft] and document your expertise [blog and engage in social media].

Regarding #11, I think curation is an important part of thought leadership and I think Chris ‘sums up’ more than he realizes! In this age of information proliferation, you have the ability to become a source that people trust through your blog by consistently curating and creating information that is useful to them. Also, I’m following rule #21 by breaking rule #11 and quoting Chris himself twice in this post! Here’s another great post he did this weekend about having a plan and working it;

“It’s a gorgeous and sunny day as I write this. I would like to be outside, maybe grilling up some steaks and drinking a beer or 12. But I’m working because that’s the plan. I have a short window of time to get a bunch of things done before I hit the road again, and because part of my business is to create media, that means writing and creating information that might be useful to you. Work the plan. That’s the message of the day. Work the PlanMy media plan says I should be writing one of six types of posts:

  • How to
  • Vision/Perspective
  • Promotion
  • Interview
  • Do it Better
  • Review

In this case, I’ll call this post a “how-to.” It’s not the best I’ve ever written, especially because it’s so self-referential, but it proves the point. If your goal is to reach into the heads of the people you hope to reach, you’d best have a plan. If your goal is to make money, and this digital strategy is part of the plan, then what are you doing to stick to it?” Source: Work the Plan.

Only you can decide if my post is ‘not all that interesting’ because I ‘summed up’ Chris’ post — obviously I think it’s beneficial or else I wouldn’t do it…

btw, yesterday I passed the 3,000 post milestone on my personal blog and I’m fast approaching 5,000 on my business blog but these are just the posts that have been published! Counting other blogs that I’ve done since I started 7 years ago I conservatively estimate I’ve created over 20,000 posts. I’m no Chris Brogan, but I have developed an efficient ‘lather rinse repeat’ cycle of blogging using Google Reader and WordPress. This screencast shares some of my best blogging secrets with you – I promised you’ll learn at least one time-saving tactic if you watch the whole think…