Have you ever failed at something?
I sucked at it. I'm pretty sure most people suck when they start blogging. Mostly because we all make the same mistakes.
- We write a lot of rants.
- We write to everyone and no one.
- We write about twenty different topics.
And so I quit. I didn't want to suck publicly. So I killed the posts.
Then I tried again, a couple of years later. A lot of my friends were writing technical blogs. But guess what?
It sucked. Again. So I killed the posts again.
But two years ago, I tried one last time. First blogging every week, then 2-3 times a week, and then finally landing (in October) on daily blogging.
Three tries. Over fifteen years. With two serious failures.
Sound at all familiar?
If at first you don't succeed…
I've told you before that the third time around, I started working with Chris Brogan in his Blog Topics Master Class and it was a great resource for confirming things, as well as learning new things.
I took three things away from his course that I'll share with you today. Three essentials if you want to start a blog that matters. And these are the same three things that I've been teaching my daughter, as she's started blogging.
1. Always be helpful.
I no longer write on a blog like a diary. I no longer write (most of the time) as a way to go off on a rant. Instead, I sit down each day and I write to try and encourage you to act in a way that drives you closer to your goals.
I was that way in real life, but not in posts. And now that's changed. So I use my blog to try and help folks.
2. Help people find / see you in your posts.
As much as I write posts for you, you're not just looking for academic research. You get more comfortable when you know who's writing and where they're coming from. Right?
So even though I write for you, and sometimes even about you, I need to make sure I leave a part of me in each post.
That can be hard work. I'm much more inclined to tell you about the latest research I've read.
But that's not as helpful or powerful (in terms of connection) as telling you my story.
3. Go where others won't
Sometimes I write posts that take days or weeks to write. Other times I work on a post in 15 minutes. But the ones that take a long time don't necessarily look longer or shorter, deeper or more intense than the rest. They just take me time and energy.
But if no one else will go there, then it's an easy place for distinction. Because I'm willing to do the work others aren't.
Daily blogging, for me, has not always been a thing that I wake up loving. I get tired like anyone else. Sometimes I don't feel like writing.
But writing is the single most important skill to keep developing forever.
And because of that, it's good for me to keep doing. Because I'll get better. Even if I don't feel like I'm getting better. I'll get better.
So whether it's writing comparison posts, creating infographics, writing eBooks, or daily blogging, I do the hard work others may want to skip because it helps me stand apart.
And in a noisy world, standing apart is work (but worth it).
Sometimes I get nervous about sharing results because I don't want to suggest everyone can get the same results if they do the same things.
We're all lucky in terms of timing and circumstance.
I'm positive the results have been a consequence of hard work, discipline and lots of luck / timing.
That's just the way things work. But as my friend Alex wrote today,
It may not be true that 80% of success is just showing up, but not showing up will prevent success 100% of the time.
— Alex King (@alexkingorg) June 30, 2014
You want to start a blog that matters? Pick a topic that people are already searching for. Answer questions people are already asking. Notice I'm not telling you to find your passion. 🙂
And once you find your topic(s), then just lean in and:
- Help others
- Share your story
- Do the hard work
If you do that, I can almost 100% assure you that your blog, regardless of topic, will be a success.