I’m going through 31 Days to Build a Better Blog with 60+ other bloggers. Today is Day 6. The e-book lesson includes 27 articles of blogging tips and tutorials, which we’re supposed to read, digest, and discuss.
It’s a bit much, in my opinion. As I wrote in a comment, it’s a bit like drinking from a fire hose.
Generally speaking, I’m not big on memorizing a lot of little things. I much prefer to learn some general principles and then apply those principles to specific situations. So, as I was reading through all these tips, certain underlying principles started to emerge.
What’s more, I noticed that a lot of the general principles for blogging well are actually derived from even broader principles for living well. Here are 7 general principles that apply to blogging as well as life in general.
1) Be yourself. People are sick of spin, sick of sales pitches, sick of phonies, sick of people who act one way with one group of people and another way with another group of people. It’s great to learn from other bloggers, but don’t try to act like someone else. Be honest and authentic.
2) Serve others first. The best bloggers write to help their readers. If you’re primary reason for blogging is to make money, promote your own agenda, become popular, or express yourself it’s probably not going to work. That means blogging posts that help your readers, responding to comments & emails, and answering questions. This principle is true in most areas of life. If your motives for starting a business, getting into a relationship, or even volunteering are selfish, you are much more likely to fail and be disappointed.
3) Think from perspective of the people you’re serving. As a blogger, it’s important to imagine things from the perspective of your readers. Understand your readers’ backgrounds, education, spiritual beliefs, and politics may be different from yours. Don’t use insider language. Don’t talk down to your audience. Understand that they’re busy and reading & discussing your blog posts are a very, very low priority. Make it as easy as possible for them to engage. Same is true with your business, church, non-profit, neighborhood organization. In any situation where you are serving others, it’s important to understand the perspective of the people you’re serving.
4) Build relationships. Blogging really is all about building relationships – with your readers, with other bloggers in your niche, with people you can collaborate with. Everything else is life is primarily about relationships too. Great businesses build great relationships with their customers, their vendors, and their partners. Great churches facilitate great relationships among their members. And obviously great marriages, families, and friendships are all about building relationships.
5) Read a lot. As a blogger, it’s important to read other blogs. This helps you learn from others, get to know others in your niche, provides new ideas for blog articles, and enables you to stay informed on the latest developments and issues. Same is true in life in general. Reading helps you learn, challenges you to grow, and often provides opportunities to develop relationships with others who are reading the same things.
6) Commit & do the work. You can’t develop a great blog if you write when you feel like or when you find the time. You’ve got to be intentional about keeping a scheduled and writing a certain number of posts each week. You’ll have to sacrifice some other things to meet your commitment. Same is true in business, marriage, raising kids, volunteering, even playing golf. If you want to do well, you have to commit to it.
7) Take risks. Bloggers that never take risk are boring, fail to connect with others, and fail to take steps to get to the next level. Some risks you may be challenged to take:
- Reveal some personal, painful, or embarrassing things about yourself in order to help people who are facing similar circumstances.
- Write an opinion on something you know a lot of your readers will disagree with.
- Criticize someone or something you disagree with.
- Write about a topic that is taboo.
- Ask someone to guest post on your blog. They could turn you down.
- Try to raise money for a charity. Your readers may not respond, you could fail miserably, and look like an idiot in the process.
Same is true in life in general. You have to take risks to be successful, some of the same risks – authenticity, sharing an opinion, speaking up about something taboo, asking for help, going public with big goals.
Do you see a lot of similarities between what makes for a great life and what makes for a great blog?
Which of these principles resonates with you most?