I just added up the number of blog posts I’ve written and it stands at 687… well 688 if you include this one. That’s a lot of blogs – and it’s definitely been quite a journey. This journey kicked off in 2006, but got serious in 2009 when I started to build three separate blogs, with two I continue to be serious about.
Blogging is like breathing for me. There have been many times my husband has taken our kids out on the weekends to give me time to write. Because I have to do it. It helps me to learn, to consolidate my thinking and it is a way I can give back by sharing my perspective. It also helps me to be calmer.
What have I learnt on this long journey? Lots and lots and lots. Here’s a few ideas….
1. Consistency – if you start a blog you have to keep going and be consistent. When I was blogging at the beginning, it seemed hardly anyone noticed. A share of my blogs, a like or even a comment was as rare as rocking horse poo. There were many times it was distressing – ‘everyone must hate my stuff if they’re not engaging with me’ – but people didn’t hate them. What I found was people referring to my blogs in-person, not online. The truth is, I was early and the sharing/giving economy hadn’t entered into people’s psyches yet – especially in Asia Pacific. To start now, with content shock in full swing, it’s even harder to get attention. But don’t let that hold you back. Go for it, and once you start – never ever give up, even if the silence is deafening
2. Offer something real – the best way to keep yourself going is to have a reason that is so real, so heart-driven, and so powerful, that you know by sharing, eventually, you will get enough attention because you are changing people’s lives. As the first focus area for your blog, I encourage you to tap into the only superpower we have – a burning desire to change the world, or a desire to make people’s lives better, or to make business better, or any other real reason, because it is this deep reason that elevates you above the noise. Those who are blogging because they think they have to, or are 100% outsourcing their blogs because they need an online presence, are not connecting deeply to what they are sharing and it’s obvious. I recommend you go and review your favourite blogger and I guarantee they are deeply connected to a core purpose, which drives them every day. As a blogger who wants to make a difference, tapping into your super power is what will drive you too. It’s not a job, it’s a way of life
3. Be focused and flexible – to become known for something you need a focus, something tangible, so set your theme and what you are going to write about. Here are two blogs (first and second) where I took a couple of colleagues on a journey to get their focus. Focus is critical – what is the story you want to share with the world, and what is it you want to give your audience by sharing it? Remember this isn’t about you, it’s about them, the customer, the audience. Always always put yourself in their shoes. As your blog evolves, remember to be flexible. As an example, I started my professional blog talking about messaging and positioning for businesses before evolving into content marketing, personal branding, social leadership and employee advocacy – but it all sits under the banner of excellent communication. Being flexible and evolving your message is fine
4. Evergreen content – the holy grail of blogging is coming up with evergreen content – read The power of evergreen content for SEO if you’re interested. I achieved an evergreen in 2012 with my blog Mission Statements – the World’s Top 10 Brands. This blog has had more than 135,000 views and with two other blogs (here’s one of them) on the difference between mission and vision statements (collectively achieving close to 50,000 views) – more than half of my traffic is from just three blogs. Obviously, I wasn’t trying to achieve this. I just happened to write about something very specific and Google likes me when this question is asked. So do your research, utilize Google Trends, as well as other data sources, and think in relation to how Google, Bing, etc… are asked questions. In my current world, it’s harder for me to achieve evergreen content because many people are writing similar things and putting a lot of money behind it too. But my existing evergreen content drives new people to my site. The thing is, I don’t obsess about it, which brings me onto the next point…
5. Is credibility or popularity more important to you? – I think it’s really important to ask yourself this question at the beginning. You can build yourself into a big super star, or you can keep going, quietly in the background, consistently building your brand by delivering value. I do believe it’s important to consider this question, because hitting the big time can be quite lucrative, however is it aligned to who you are and what you want to achieve? Most popular influencers sit more in the consumer space, but there are big names in the B2B space as well. For me personally, credibility is much more important, as well as getting positive feedback from a handful of senior business people versus a huge number of fans. With that said, getting fans has definitely been interesting for me, but it’s not my goal. I just want to deliver value and hopefully be known for talking the talk, and walking the walk – always. Again, be flexible, because who knows where this journey will take you
6. Rules – I have always hated rules, but I especially hate rules applied in a world that is changing so dramatically, all the time. The only thing that matters is the quality of what you are sharing, so think about that first. Some will say blogs should be 400 words and yet apparently Google values 1,200 words. Neil Patel, one of my favourite bloggers, writes really long blogs, but they are so valuable for me, I don’t care. Value is where it’s at, but if you’re just starting out, perhaps write shorter blogs to get the momentum, before you start getting really long. Entertain, enlighten, improve lives, make people laugh, be exceptional, etc… that is all that matters. Incidentally, my most popular blogs have always been when I make people cry…
7. Amplification – spend money if you can – whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn boosts, signing up for Outbrain, or even Google AdWords. The goal should be to get the right people reading your stuff, whoever that is. But it’s hard to get momentum on your content without putting dollars behind it. Your peers and friends should also help you to amplify your content, but, as I have learnt the hard way, you can’t rely on that, because many still do not appreciate how much the support is needed. A supportive tribe is critical, but it’s not always intuitive to your tribe to support you in this way. So spend money – it doesn’t have to be much. I spend, on average, $10 per blog, $50 if I think it’s a goodie
I could share so much more on what I’ve learnt. There are so many aspects to blogging, and these are mostly philosophical thoughts, with a few tactics in the mix, but it’s hard work succeeding at blogging. Many more are jumping on the bandwagon now as well, which means the noise really is deafening.
Aim to stand out in the melee of today’s content. Find your voice, have real purpose, be consistent and committed, and never ever give up. I could’ve given up so many times, because I was getting nothing back, but in the end, it was helping me when I blogged – it helped me to crystalize my thinking – and so I just kept going. Now I am gaining many benefits from that commitment and I want you to as well.
I wish you luck in the journey of blogging. Persistence and down-right pig headedness is your greatest asset.
What else should I have added?
Blog image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Thank you so much for reading my blog. I really appreciate it. If you like this, I’d love a comment, or perhaps you can tell me what you learnt from blogging? Of course, please feel free to share with your communities, because that’s what this is all about today – sharing and giving to each other. If you like my style and what I talk about, feel free to follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter or on Facebook.