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5 Blogging Lessons Learned From The Harry Potter Series

Posted by on Feb 13, 2012

For those who have been with this blog for awhile, you know I’m a major league Harry Potter fan, both the books and the movies. One of the earliest posts on this blog was about the series of Harry Potter books, and last year I wrote a review here of the last movie Deathly Hallows Part 2. I’m not sure anyone has read, watched, and studied as much about this stuff as I have, other than J.K. Rowling herself.

Harry Potter Book Series 1-7

I’m a bit strange sometimes. I write about blogging all the time, and often while doing or experiencing something else I wonder how it could relate to blogging or social media. Hey, those are the things on my mind, so I guess it figures. Therefore, I’m going to relate 5 blogging lessons I’ve gleaned from all this stuff concerning Harry Potter, whether it’s in the books, movies, or elsewhere. Here we go.

1. Research can help bring more meaning into what you’re doing. One of the things that I found fascinating about the Harry Potter books were the names. It seems that Ms. Rowling took a lot of time studying the etymology of names that she used for her characters. Almost all of the names used for characters in her books have meanings that fit their personalities in some fashion in the book. While most of us that try to write fiction might pull a name out of our heads that we like, hers had more meaning, and I bet there’s a large audience that was pulled into her writing because of that.

When we blog about topics that we both know or might be on the fringe of our knowledge, a little bit of research can help us stay on point and protect us from making a major mistake. I do that often with my finance blog since I write on a lot of topics that I know something about, but not a lot about. That’s why I’ll sometimes link to a reference on all my blogs if I think someone might want to know more about the topic or the word. It never hurts to try to get it right.

2. Continuity makes people feel comfortable. In this case I’m talking about the cast of the Harry Potter movies. Over the course of 11 years making 8 movies from 7 books, they were able to retain 75% of the actors in the series, which is phenomenal. And not just major characters either, but many secondary or fringe characters both integral to the storyline or not. As I’ve watched the movies over and over I’ve noticed faces in the crowds that my mind recognizes from previous movies; fascinating stuff.

For blogging people call it “niche” writing, which isn’t a bad thing to do when you’re trying to reach a particular market. Of course this blog isn’t niched, but what I hope I’m doing is writing in a fashion where, for the most part, people get comfortable with the overall style. Sure, I change it up from time to time but even the Harry Potter movies had to change Dumbledore’s after the first two movies. 🙂

3. Each book and movie is as long as it needed to be. With each new Harry Potter book the number of pages got higher and higher. Each movie was at least 2 hours, and if you count the last two movies as one movie it reached 5 hours. Yet for all the movies there were things that had to be taken out to keep the movies, well, watchable. Whereas someone like me would have loved watching 6 hour movies each time, the masses would have felt like they were in history class and tuned out.

I see the topic of how long blog posts should be on many blogs. Sometimes a person makes a recommendation, while other times the person will say that it’s up to each individual blogger. What the Harry Potter series shows us is that if you can get people engaged in what you have to say that it won’t matter to them whether it’s 300 words or 3,000 words. Create a compelling story and people will not only read it, they’ll come back for more.

4. Sometimes being the lone voice is lonely, but you might be right. Many times throughout the series Harry Potter speculated on things that others just weren’t ready to believe. Even his best friends sometimes couldn’t see the truth the way he could. He didn’t let that stop him, and invariably he’d end up being correct. However, even with his scrutiny he did get one thing wrong, really wrong, which was planned so he could eventually do the right thing to save lives, and he made up for it by giving his youngest son that man’s middle name.

It takes guts to blog about something you feel you know is correct yet feel others might not agree with. Sometimes it’s in the delivery, sometimes it’s in the research (see #2 above), sometimes it’s a gut feeling based on your perception of the information you have at the time. We all have to be willing to stick to our guns in our beliefs, while at the same time ready to acknowledge when your wrong because of a misperception or a belief in something that turns out not to be true, something I actually addressed in a post on my business blog last week.

5. When the chips are down, or the situation is important enough, if you’ve built up a community they’ll come to your rescue or fight on your side. This is ultimately what happens in the Harry Pottericonseries. With overwhelming fear of being killed many students decided it was worth fighting the bad guys rather than allow known killers to rule their lives going forward. Others came as they could to help out, and a lot of people got killed. Yet in the end what had to be done was completed and everyone ended up better for it.

When you build a community through blogging they’ll always be there to come to your aid if someone decides to challenge you in a very negative way. It’s amazing the good feelings one can earn from people they’ve never met in person by being consistent, fair and friendly. Negative thoughts and feelings can be powerful and hard to overcome, but good feelings bring people together and always seem to win out eventually.

Whew; that was a lot wasn’t it? Good thing I didn’t go for 10! 😉

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I love annologies especially when they are related to something I really like (such as harry Potter). Been as long as it needs to be is a fair point but I think you could develop furhter by saying that if the earlier ones are good then people will be more happy with a longer one later on, if you come out of the blocks 1st time with a 5k word post or a 4 hour movie people might not fancy enduring it!

February 13th, 2012 | 2:11 PM

Thanks Lexi. I kind of did say that, just not in so many words. lol Jazzing people up for better things to come is always a good thing I’d agree.

February 13th, 2012 | 10:52 PM

Great text, I really like your point on the conclusion which is from the Harry Potter’s message. I’m a fan of Harry, too, I think the book gives a lot of help on any scene of the human life.

February 13th, 2012 | 2:21 PM

Thanks Emilia. I love this series and keep watching them all over and over again. I almost feel like they’re part of my family now; I’m so weird. lol

February 13th, 2012 | 10:53 PM

I enjoy analogies Mitch so thanks for sharing this one.

I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books but I’ve seen the majority of the movies. Very entertaining that’s for sure.

I love taking books, movies or even TV shows and seeing how they relate to our online activities. I love the examples you used like researching the topics and even how long our posts should be. Great way to spin these lessons into a blog post. Very inventive if I do say so myself, great job Mitch!

Hope you’re enjoying your day and have an awesome week.

Adrienne recently posted…Advice To Me 10 Years AgoMy Profile

February 13th, 2012 | 4:32 PM

Thanks Adrienne. Actually, this past summer on my business blog I talked about leadership lessons we all could learn from both Harry Potter and Kermit the Frog; both posts were well received. On this blog I’ve related blogging to working out at the gym and playing poker. I always figure we have to have our minds open to see connections, no matter how goofy they might seem at the time.

February 13th, 2012 | 10:56 PM

Well hello Mitch, it is great when you can reveal a point by using a tale such as Harry Potter.

Harry Potter succeeded because he took an interest in others and had the courage to lead from the front but ensuring that no one got left behind.

By doing this with your blogging, you can build up the strong community you describe that will come in your hour of need.

igor Griffiths
igor Griffiths recently posted…Marketing with Passion from the World Around You.My Profile

February 13th, 2012 | 5:46 PM

Great stuff Igor, and that’s a great point as well. I love the claim he makes in the last two movies about not wanting anyone to ever have died for him, and in a way it explains why he’s always stood up for doing the right thing, even for the wrong people at times. Another lesson we all could learn.

February 13th, 2012 | 10:57 PM
Olawale Daniel:

Hi Mitch,

Truly, I have never watch or read any of the Harry Potter series, but what I can say is that, you’ve really opened my eyes to the benefits of watching the series to implement it into my blogging style. Thanks a lot

February 13th, 2012 | 7:54 PM

No problem Olawale. Everything isn’t for everyone, but this was a great series of both books and movies, and open eyes will see many lessons we all can learn.

February 13th, 2012 | 11:00 PM

You know that I’ve mention on your other blog that I am not a big fan, but actually you’ve made an excellent statement which changed my mind. I think analogy is pretty good, actually I’ve read similar articles about “Stanta” or “Bill Gates” as blogger, but I think yours is much better.

February 13th, 2012 | 7:58 PM

Thanks Carl; Stanta? That one you’ll have to explain because I just tried looking it up on Google and lots of different stuff came up. lol I figure we all have the things we love that take us to places we might not have thought about before.

February 13th, 2012 | 11:01 PM

Ops, I think it is a typo, I meant “Santa Claus”, recently read – article called “Santa will be successful blogger”. Actually some good ideas came up from this blog posts.

February 14th, 2012 | 9:22 PM

Well, if we can get Santa away from that list of naughty and nice kids maybe he could find some extra time to blog. 🙂

February 14th, 2012 | 9:31 PM

Very clever. The sign of a good teacher is someone who can make learning fun. Putting the blog into examples with Harry Potter was cool. It may not be the first of it’s kind but it’s still cool.

February 14th, 2012 | 12:03 AM

Timmy, it had better be the first of its kind; I don’t need anyone else coming up with my stuff first. lol

February 14th, 2012 | 8:05 AM

u hit the nail i found your blog from another marketers blog and i like your metaphor

February 14th, 2012 | 12:09 AM

Thanks Tanisha.

February 14th, 2012 | 8:05 AM

I would never have believed someone would be able to relate blogging to Harry Potter but you have.
Matt Kinsella recently posted…How To Change Your Life In One Simple StepMy Profile

February 14th, 2012 | 1:08 PM

Of course I did Matt; it’s what I do. lol

February 14th, 2012 | 6:33 PM

Interesting theory, I think that the Harry Potter series, if it’s really carefully read, could give very nice messages for everyone. The only problem is, that some people misunderstood it, and think that it’s only a tale for children. But it isn’t.

February 14th, 2012 | 2:35 PM

Not even close Julie; at least not after the first book and movie. I’m not sure what I’d have thought if I’d read the first book, well, first, but I ended up reading the 5th book first, not knowing it was a series, and was intrigued enough to see the first movie, then go back and read all the books.

February 14th, 2012 | 6:34 PM
Mike Beaumont:

Mitch, I am a new visitor to this site, and was guided here by one of Adrienne Smith’s posts. Wow, you have some great stuff here. I too am a Harry Potter fan, maybe not to your extent, but I have had all the books, which are now in my granddaughters possession, and all the movies. I obviously haven’t been blogging as long as you have, but I too come up with some good ideas in the weirdest ways. I will definitely be coming back to this blog to read more of this awesome content. Thanks for sharing.
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February 15th, 2012 | 2:35 AM

Thanks Mike. Adrienne is good people, as you know. And I love learning lessons from things like Harry Potter, even if that’s not my initial intention.

February 15th, 2012 | 10:00 AM

Ha ha ha! This is an interesting approach. I’m a fan of Harry’s too!

February 15th, 2012 | 7:08 AM
Connan B.:

I strongly believe that research does help bring more meaning to what you’re doing. That’s the number one rule. What’s your favorite Harry Potter Book of all the series by the way?

I just like the first one! Thanks for the lessons you’ve shared here. They’re very true.


February 15th, 2012 | 7:46 AM

Thanks Connan. You know, I’d have to say that the last book is my favorite, and the last movie also ends up being my favorite though it’s close between it and the 4th movie. I liked how it was all pulled together, even if some people thought the last book contained a lot of extraneous stuff.

February 15th, 2012 | 10:04 AM
Brian@language learning:

I didn’t find the books readable but I do admire her success. But your first point, what does Harry Potter’s name mean?

February 21st, 2012 | 3:20 AM

Brian, if you didn’t like the books I’m not going to do the work for you & tell you what it means. lol

February 21st, 2012 | 2:48 PM