I'm sure you've heard you should get into blogging in a big way in 2014.
Meaningful blogging means daily blogging - right?
(Really I know you're saying "he's mad. If he thinks I have time to sit down & write a blogpost every day, he's thick.")
Read Gary Vaynerchuk's book - all 195 pages - if you're keen to succeed in this tough new social world. He says "To do social media... requires more effort than most people realize." (page 8)
Alternatively - read this advice (specially written for you).
I'm going to show you blogging is a lot easier than you fear. From this one (long) email you're going to get the key to blogging - without screwing your business or wrecking your family.
250 blogposts in 365 days means you get weekends off
(or if you do shift-work you get two days off each week - to play golf, enjoy the spa or simply be).
Is 250 posts by 1 February 2014 a stretch goal for you? Stretching enough? If not, you can always aim for 300 (but see Rule No ....)
There are 21 rules
If you don't follow all of them, you won't become a great reliable blogger.
There are 5 types of Rules: all equally important
- Rules designed to control your thinking & set you up to achieve exactly 250 posts in 365 days.
- Rules on what to do when you're not blogging.
- Rules on when to blog & when not to blog.
- Rules on how to be creative, efficient while keeping your sanity.
- Rules on how to celebrate success properly - every step of the way.
Let's invent a business, some owners & staff. Let's give it a fun name - say "PartyWorld". And let's imagine this social blogging world is completely new to them. They have a shop & an online store - new e-commerce website almost ready to roll.
Let's pretend they're feeling very nervous about the notion that they're going to have to blog every day. That otherwise
- sales will suffer
- their reputation won't grow enough.
Let's say they're :
- hungry for growth
- mad into customer service
- obsessively into fun for everyone.
You could say they are enthusiastic, apprehensive, willing to give it a go - but they're human, not super-human. They don't want to burn themselves out.
Get your head straight
Rule 1: Blogging is not writing. Say that to yourself 20 times a day until it works. People continue to treat blogging as if it was for writers. They're wrong. Bloggers are not authors. Looking at a blank page - wondering what to write is a recipe for failure. Blogging is not writing - if you do nothing else today but repeat that over & over to yourself & others, you'll have started your blogging career well.
Rule 2: You are an artist - behave like one. Artists use whatever materials they can lay their hands on & start making stuff happen. Artists don't wait until they're rich & can afford the ultimate canvas. They duck & dive, borrow & steal ideas, inspiration from everywhere. Artists don't hang around waiting for their Muse to materialise. Get this into your head - bloggers are artists - not slaves to technology or even bits of paper. Act like an artist - be a bit mad. Don't be safe, boring & unattractive. Artists rock the boat.
Rule 3. You work to live. Means you work all the time to ensure you stay alive. Stop working - you dry up. You'll never be a half-decent blogger if you go lazy. Remember working is not slaving away doing more and more of the same thing. Work is paying attention to what's going on around you. Listening, watching, eavesdropping, recording, copying, imitating, amending, re-packaging, re-framing, re-engineering. You observe. You notice like crazy when you're working well. You have at least 5 senses - use them all. Bloggers need to be awake, alert & open to surprises. Otherwise give up.
Rule 4. Practise is all you do. Every blogpost is practice. Every work of art an experiment. Your work will never be perfect. If you dare try to make it perfect, you'll slow down, fall behind + miss your target of 250 in 365. Better to screw up & fix it than waste loads of time getting it perfectly right.
Rule 5. Mistakes are wonderful. They prove you're human. Others love you to make mistakes. They love it when you catch yourself getting it wrong. They love it even more when they catch you first. For example, if PartyWorld puts up a blogpost that says all pink costumes come from China - and they don't. That's an unexpected opportunity for PartyWorld to poke fun at themselves & even give prizes to those clever people who pointed out the mistake. Mistakes build community. Simply say this: " I love mistakes - they are fun, interesting & attractive".
You don't blog all the time.
Rule 6. Go to sleep. Dream. Wake up refreshed every morning. (And when you wake up exhausted, blogging will bring you back to life, if you follow every Rule).
Rule 7. Go out in society. Mix with people. Talk to strangers - especially "foreigners". Put yourself about. If you think you can hit 250 in 365 without practising the art of chatting to new people every day, think again. You must revitalise yourself. Become much more curious than you are now. If PartyWorld lock themselves up in their shop, warehouse or office - they'll never become fun bloggers.
Rule 8. Listen to how children express themselves. They haven't learned to conform. They have wonderful imaginations. They even have imaginary friends. You need plenty of that. Your friends keep you motivated. Don't just watch & listen to kids, join in their world - that'll reconnect you with your own childhood. Kids dress up all the time - that must give PartyWorld an advantage over bloggers from the insurance company. Blogging is all about connecting with the imaginations of others. Great bloggers imagine how certain people are feeling, what others want. Really magnificent bloggers imagine what the people they want to attract are dreaming.
Rule 9. Be a good citizen. Read newspaper headlines - including newspapers you wouldn't be seen dead carrying round. Tap into what's going on - even football matches, elections, concerts. Don't be an outsider. You must be in touch with what's going on - if you're going to be ahead of it. You'll never hook the heartstrings of potential customers unless you quickly bond over something trivial. (This Rule could be very long - but you get the idea.)
Rule 10. Leave Ireland. If you stay stuck in Ireland, and don't seek out intelligence on the goings-on in North America, China, Egypt, Cuba & Peru (where Paddington Bear came from) - you might as well spend your whole live where you were born. If PartyWorld confine their interest to what food people eat in Ireland, they'll be very boring & won't attract half as many supporters as they hope to gain. When there's a team of you, travel the world - in your imagination & research. (An occasional trip abroad helps too.)
Blog when the sun shines
Rule 11. Ignore all advice except that you blog every day at whatever time you can fit it in. There is more to life than blogging but a business day without blogging is a failure - if you're serious about 250 in 365. If you want a day off, you produce three posts one day & schedule publication.
Rule 12. Do not blog when your family needs you, when you need your family, when your football team is playing or when you're out with your girlfriends. At times you are preparing to blog later. (This is very very important)
Rule 12. Blog when you don't have your computer. Produce blogs when you have enough electricity & the charge on your device is enough. (Believe me I've lost loads of blogposts by my charge running out.) Don't associate blogging with any particular device. It's best to be able to use laptops, smartphones, tablets - anything you can connect to the internet. Sometimes you produce blogposts & upload them later. If someone comes into PartyWorld shop for service, stop blogging, save what you've done, give them your full attention & after they've gone, resume.
Rule 13. Vital. Blog when you have 15 minutes. 90% of your blog posts must take only 15 minutes from start of production to end. If you take longer, you won't keep it up, you'll start thinking "this is a drag; I have better things to do". It'll take you about a week to be able to blog at this speed - you'll need to practise getting your speed up. (See Rules 4 & 5.)
Rule 14. Following Rules 7-10, research all the time - even in the shower. Talk to yourself about what you feel like blogging about. Dig into your memory of what you've experienced yesterday - very recent stuff. Be current - up to date.
Rule 15. Put yourself in your customer's Converse. Forget the masses - think small. Focus on niches - today it's kids, tomorrow it's mothers in Dublin... You produce blogposts for individuals, small groups - never for everyone. Generic is bad. Producing something that everyone will love is too hard. Takes too long.
Be a really smart person - and show it.
Rule 16. Be creative - be memorable. If you're PartyWorld, your highest value is "Fun" & your position is "Express yourself". This means your every blogpost has to be fun. In as many different ways as possible. Things they do for fun in other countries, cultures. Things that are so crazy people will laugh at them. If you're an Irish company based in Co Waterford, what do people regard as fun locally. Unless you're creative, you're dead inn the water.
Rule 17. Avoid being too clever. Being creative doesn't mean showing off. You'r not blogging to impress people that you've cracked it, that you're fantastic. You're blogging to serve others. You help them to do what they want to do. In PartyWorld that means helping people express themselves in a great fun way. It's all about your customers & potential customers.
Rule 18. Enjoy this or you can't succeed. You are human - not a machine. Humans give up what we don't enjoy. Always be a slave to this mantra: "Health is Wealth". Your business depends on your sanity. Your way as a blogger isn't the same as anyone else. As unique as you are, you way of creating 250 posts in 356 days is unique. Fit for your purpose.
Rule 19. These are the specific daily habits you develop & stick to. Routines you use to apply your time & skills. You blog on the following platforms all of which ensure your website is alive with activity that flesh & blood people + search engines love. [Another day I'll give you an example of what you'll use & the time it'll take - a timetable for your week. You will edit this to suit you. But you will not spend more than 15 minutes per blogpost 90% of your days.)
Celebrate or fail
Rule 20. Fail to plan and you plan to fail. I didn't make that up. It's dynamite. (Of course there are times when it's better not to plan - to be open to anything hitting you.)
Rule 21. Be the revolutionary within. Read the rules again from the top - every single one. Think carefully "can you hack this?" Are you ambitious enough? Sign up to this blogging manifesto. Not now. That's too soon & superficial. Better to join this social business movement after you chew over the implications for you, your family , your business & the legacy you're creating.
This newsletter took me more than 15 minutes to write. It took me all the years of experience I bring to this business. There are times when you'll want to express & communicate all your best advice in one go.
Quote "If you're going to be a finance director - you need the mentally of a finance guy. If you're going to be a blogger - you need the mentality of a blogger."